When singing in a choir how can you get all voices to blend together as one? ~ Betty
Getting all the voices in a choir to blend together as one can be somewhat tricky, but it’s definitely possible.
I’d focus my efforts on these three things and you should do pretty well.
1. Make sure everyone’s singing the exact same rhythms.
Singing the right rhythms isn’t always as simple as following what the music says. There are vowels and consonants to consider. If a note holds out for 4 beats, when do we cut off? On 4? on the “and” of 4? When do you speak the ending consonant? When do we speak the beginning consonant of the next word? Unity in these “in between” spaces that aren’t always addressed by the music will help your group create such a precision that it can sound like one voice.
2. Sing Consistent vowels.
We all have different accents, and we all say words differently. Think about it… if 1/3 of the people are singing “Ah-men,” 1/3 are singing “Ay-men,” and the other third are singing “Aw-men,” then how are you going to sound like one voice? Gaining unity in the way that we speak our vowels is crucial for a group that wants to sound like one voice. I always suggest always choosing the “taller” vowel, as this will help your group know what to do automatically, and it typically sounds better as a rule.
3. Practice the above two ideas consistently. At first, your group probably won’t care for this much attention to detail, but as they say, the devil is in the details. The good news is if you just practice this for 5-15 minutes each rehearsal, you’ll start developing habit with your singers. Not only will your groups sound better, but they’ll likely start applying these principles to places that you haven’t worked with them on. Habit is a powerful thing, but if you don’t consistently work on it, you’ll never develop it. So make sure that you set aside a little bit of time each rehearsal to work on this, and you’ll be surprised how quickly your group will pick it up.
Well, this should definitely get you started. Let me know if you end up tweaking this, or if you have anything to add.
Best of luck!
Vocal Coach Ken Taylor