When my choruses or choirs are being coached by judges, adjudicators or someone that we’ve brought in, there are always moments when the expert from more than 50 miles away says exactly what I’ve been saying – usually for years – and the chorus nods at this great wisdom. They then proceed to put this technique into practice, and the results are stellar.
Well – that’s the way it used to be with my women’s chorus – which for me was pretty discouraging.
Now we all know better. When a coach says something that they’ve been hearing from me, they chuckle first, then smiling at me (sometimes sheepishly), they do what’s being asked.
At this point we’re all smiling because we now know that it often takes many different expressions of an idea for the whole chorus to understand what’s being requested. And I am now very very grateful when a coach provides me with a new tool that helps with an old issue.
The Palm Push is just another technique that helps carry dynamic energy to the end of a phrase. In earlier blogs I’ve mentioned Elastic Bands, Toes Through the Soles of the Shoes, Breathing Out and Cloud Lifting.
Oh yes – I’d better tell you what to do. As the end of the phrase approaches, begin to press the heels of the hands together – increasing the pressure till the end of the phrase. When we do this it seems to work best if the heels of the hands are together, the right hand fingers are pointing left and the left hand’s fingers are pointing right (but all fingers are fairly relaxed). My right hand is usually on top, and the left, underneath. This is not actually intended to be a demonstration of great strength – just slightly more and more pressure out to the end of the phrase.
Interestingly, Toes Through the Soles of the Shoes and Palm Push work best with my men’s Barbershop chorus, and Breathing Out and Cloud Lifting seem to work best for the women. But with 5 techniques to choose from, sooner or later everyone will understand what rich full phrase endings feel like.