We learned this trick/imagery recently from Village Vocal Chord director Jeanne O’Connor – and it’s been very useful for reminding singers to focus on a continuous wall of sound.
Imagine that there’s a whiteboard in front of you
Now take an imaginary black marker, and place the tip against the whiteboard. (It’s important to actually mime this as everyone is imprinting the feeling.)
Sing a phrase from a song, and as you do, mime drawing a solid line across the white board. There will be fewer energy leaks in the sound. In fact, if everyone is actually doing the exercise, and not just thinking about doing the exercise, the phrase will be much smoother and more legato.
I find it helps if the singers watch their hands (not me) as they do this.
This is similar to the Toilet Paper Breath Gauge exercise – but the benefit of this one is that you can also incorporate musical ‘blooms’ in the sustained pitches just by having the singers draw a little hill as part of their solid black line.
In case you are curious, or don’t remember the Toilet Paper Breath Gauge…