Magic Choral Trick #192 Choreography – Rehearsing With a Metronome

Nothing is more fun than watching a chorus doing a spectacular job on the choreography for an uptune – unless it’s singing in a chorus that’s doing a spectacular job on the choreography for an uptune. (And directing this – just bliss)

Getting to spectacular is a slow, deliberate learning process for body, mind and soul that involves drilling and drilling and drilling. But smart drilling.

Like any other kind of problem solving, it needs to be broken down into its smallest component parts – each rehearsed separately. Then we need to start stringing these units together – but still in short, manageable sections. Each section drilled and drilled, until the chorus can’t do it wrong.

Once this is all done, and everyone is able to get through the moves of the entire song without any expletives, it’s time to turn on the metronome. (At this point, there are almost always expletives)

And by this point it’s almost certain that the tempo will have slowed to accommodate all the extra neuron firing that has had to go on.

When the chorus first starts to rehearse with the metronome it’s a good idea to either just mouth the lyrics, or to speak them very quietly, so that everyone can hear the beat. There will probably have to be more breakdown of the moves, and more joining them up again to make them work smoothly with the metronome.

The next step is to sing the song quietly as the choreography is rehearsed. (Upon hearing what has now happened to the quality of singing, the director’s internal dialogue looks something like this: ‘AAAAAaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhh’. Directors – try not to panic. Keep the faith Girl/Bro)

In order for choreography to work it needs to be drilled at rehearsal, and at home by the individual chorus members. It has to be completely in muscle memory in order for the chorus to be able to give its attention back to stunning sound, blooming phrases with forward motion, synchronization, ringing chords, perfectly matched vowels, singing from the heart and watching the director for any subtle, spur of the moment changes of interpretation. Doesn’t get more fun than this.

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About janetkidd

I've been waving my arms in front of choirs now for more than 35 years - and these are descriptions of all the very best things I've learned. I direct a Women's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Men's Competitive Barbershop Chorus, a Med School choir, and for a few weeks each year - Big Choir (about 100 voices) - which performs at an annual fundraising concert. Hope at least some of these Choral Magic Tricks will be useful to you - and thanks for reading. Janet

Posted on October 24, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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