What Are the Qualities of a Good Choir Singer?
Have you thought about joining a choir, but were discouraged because you think you “can’t sing”? Singing isn’t just a great exercise for the vocal chords, it’s also an excellent stress reliever and it helps create harmony in more ways than you can imagine. Studies have shown that singing can actually improve your mood, help you burn more calories while working out, it strengthens your immune system, helps you sleep better, is a natural anti-depressant, boosts mental alertness, and so much more. The benefits of singing go on and on (much like Celine Dion’s heart). Choir singing is particularly beneficial because it has an added social aspect to it without the pressures of having to be a professionally trained singer.
Anyone can learn to sing well as long as they take the time to practice and focus on improving the following components of singing.
When it comes to singing or speaking, diction is the clear pronunciation of words and each syllable and sound that makes up those words. Practicing proper diction and pronunciation is important because it makes it easier for your audience to understand what you’re singing. When the audience doesn’t have to strain or work hard to understand your words, it puts them at ease. To improve diction, it often involves simply being conscious about using clear pronunciation, but you can also practice your favourite tongue twisters and warming up your facial muscles before you sing.
Having a keen sense and control of rhythm is especially important when singing in a group. Singing in a choir requires that all sections of the group must stay on rhythm. If even one group member is singing in a different rhythm, it can throw the whole performance off. A choir that is singing slightly pitchy will sound better than a choir with a sloppy rhythm. To improve your ability with rhythms, experience is key. The more you sing and practice clear and concise rhythms, the better you’ll be. But most importantly, feel the beat! What is the time signature of the song and how does your singing fit within it? You can also externalize the music you are singing with your body (foot taps, dancing, etc).
Pitch and Tone
For all intents and purposes, pitch and tone are two very different things. Generally speaking, pitch is the frequency of a sound, whereas tone defines its quality. It’s possible to sing perfectly on pitch, but it’s impossible to sing perfectly in tone. Choir singers, within each voice group, must all sing in the same pitch, but they don’t necessarily have to sing in the same tone (although group singing sounds best when the tone of the singers are closely matched). The best way to improve both pitch and tone is by listening to your fellow singers as you sing. Is your voice much thinner/thicker/deeper/sharper, etc, than those around you, therefore making you stand out? You can tweak your voice to blend into the surrounding voices and strengthen the choir as a whole.
Breathing, along with good posture, is one of the fundamental techniques you must learn to strengthen your singing capabilities. It’s the foundation of singing and absolutely essential for good vocal control. Knowing when to breathe, and how deep or shallow of a breath to take, (never want to hold your breath!) strengthens your lung capacity and your ability to hold each note for an appropriate measure of time. That’s why a lot of singers do breathing exercises to warm up their vocal cords before a rehearsal or performance.
At My Pop Choir, we believe anyone can sing! You just have to practice and learn to master these techniques! Even if you have absolutely no experience singing individually or in a group, we’re happy to have you join our adult choirs in the GTA! Contact us today for more information!