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Magic Choral Trick #166 Saving the Chorus

Yes – absolutely we want Type A personalities in our choruses. They’re the go getters – the people who know their music, recruit new members, do what needs doing and organize all the rest of us.

However the real trick with these wonderful people is to make them aware that they don’t have to carry all of the musical responsibility.

They need to be assured:

– That they are not required to start every phrase a little early to make sure that the people around them get the right note, at the right time.
– That singing the correct phrasing extra loud is not necessary (and does not help the synchronization or the blend)
– That rhetorical questions don’t actually need to be answered
– That other singers in the group are ready and willing to take on some musical responsibility
– That it’s ok to not be a leader when they’re singing

In my women’s chorus, since we’re all now aware of the phrase ‘Saving the Chorus’, sometimes all it takes is my eyebrow raised in the direction of any one of our most determined members – and whoever it is knows that she needs to make the heroics more subtle.

Incidentally, Saving the Chorus is something that we directors are also tempted to do. (Taking very loud breaths to show everyone where they should be breathing; doing little grunty things to rally the troops to pick up the tempo; singing along; over directing…) But these and other director foibles are the subject for a later posting.

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