Magic Choral Trick #335 Warming Up the Hive Mind (Lessons From the Borg)

I saw Dr. Jim Henry use this one during a chorus warm up.

On each of the Director’s beats, the chorus says “one”, “one’, “one”, “one”……until it’s perfectly synchronized.

It’s actually amazing how this can go from very messy to very tight, in a short period of time.

The trick here is to encourage the chorus to just allow themselves to become one with the Director’s beat, and feel, rather than decide when to say the next “one”. When as chorus members we elect to decide every note for ourselves – its character, onset, duration and tone quality – we create an infinite number of differences with other chorus members.

In order to become part of the hive, the unit, or the Borg, individual identity needs to be handed over. (“We are the Borg. You will be assimilated”)

However, the rewards for assimilation are huge. The synchronization and the ringing chords that are the result of handing over our vocal identity allow us to feel like a part of one of those flocks of birds all swooping together – a murmuration.

The next step is to have the chorus sing, in unison, on the Director’s beat, a string of notes on the syllable “tah”.

I used this last night during warm up at rehearsal and had just half the chorus sing, while the other half watched. Then I had them switch.

I find it’s an eye opener for all of us when we get to watch and listen to this exercise. We miss the full impact of the importance of the hive mind when we’re actually participating.

Again with the singing of “tah”, it’s remarkable how quickly it can go from a mess, to locked in – which could make all the difference in the world to a performance, or to the quality of a rehearsal.


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 June 10, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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