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How to Sing in an Ensemble

Make a joyful noise!

Overview

Congratulations!

You’re singing in an ensemble. In case you didn’t already know, “ensemble” is just a big word for “group.” And you’re not just taking part in any ensemble. You’re going to be a member of a chorus—an orchestra of voices!

Never sung with a chorus before? No problem. We’re going to tell you everything you need to know. Already sung in an ensemble? Great. Review these tips with your friends and help them out if they get confused.

Part of the Team

Choral singing is all about teamwork. You’re going to need your fellow singers to help you make music. And, guess what? They’re going to need you, too!

A chorus is like a picture painted with sound. In a picture, you want all of the colors to go together nicely, because if one color stood out more than the rest, the whole painting would just look weird. Remember this when you sing with your chorus members. Your voices should blend. Don’t sing too loud—you might drown your buddies out. But don’t sing too soft either—your friends might want some help if they forget a word or a part of the tune.

On that note, keep in mind that a good team player knows all of the music. We know you’ve probably been rehearsing with your friends, but make sure you go through the tune and the words over and over by yourself before you get to the concert, so you’ll never get lost.

And while we’re on the subject…

Stay Alert!

Music can be tricky. Sometimes a lot of things happen at once and it’s hard to figure out exactly where you are. One way to stay on track is to pay close attention. Listen carefully to the music and keep quiet until it’s your time to sing. Occasionally, the music will make you think you should sing along when it really isn’t time yet. Try not to start singing too early. If you get really confused, stay calm, and watch for a sign from your conductor.

As you’ve probably guessed, the conductor is the person in charge. Always watch the conductor. Usually, he (or she) will have a baton or stick that he will wave around to help the chorus keep the beat. As we said before, he will also give you a clue as to when you should start singing. This is called a cue.

Be sure to look closely at the conductor’s hand motions. If the conductor lifts his hand with his palm facing away from you, this means he wants you to get LOUDER. If he lowers his hand with his palm facing towardsyou, he needs you to be softer. Also, look out for a “cut off” or “stop” signal. Usually, the conductor will close his fists and stretch his arms out to his sides when he wants you to stop singing.

Some Final Pointers

When you’re ready to sing, sit up tall in your seat (or stand if your conductor says it’s okay) so that you can breathe easier and your voice will be at its best. Also, take breaths after each phrase of the song…running out of breath is not good.

And last but not least, enjoy yourself! Make your team and your conductor proud by having a good time. Happy singing.

Credits

Writers

Eleni Hagen
Original Writer

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