The Choir Parents' Handbook

has learned the music of the composer. We feel, at this point, that the participant is in a better position of appreciation after he has devoted himself to the composer's work. If the group finds a composer especially interesting, it may be possible to bring into use either a lecture on the composer's life, or a film, if such is available.

In choosing a composition for a beginning group, we always think it wise to select one which presents little problem or difficulty of reading, as well as of interpretation. If the group experiences extreme difficulty with a composition, it is left and returned to at a later date.

Once the initial orientation of the group is completed, the remainder of the orientation is gradual, and more emphasis is placed on the music to be learned. Adequate time is given by the instructor in studying the composition prior to a class meeting, in order that he understands not only its musical construction and work, but also some of its background and its position in the related field of music.

Thereafter, each composition of a planned program is dealt with separately, in order of difficulty, and preparation is centered around no more than two new compositions per class meeting.

If I may, I should like to add just a few thoughts on the matter of tone production. Upon encountering what we term a "white voice", (that is, a voice lacking in the obvious richness of quality) we concentrate for a period of approximately a month, to a month and a half, on the head tone characteristics of the syllable "1oo", usually beginning on a unison scale at Middle C and working by half steps upward to the pitch of F or possibly G. To sustain this common syllable for a longer period has its dangers. Therefore, the teacher must be well aware of the most likely time to transfer to other syllables.

Once the head voice is established, the subtle problem exists in bringing this quality forward into the mask of the head, in order to give the established resonance a ringing quality. This is best accomplished by the use of the syllable "ah", which is at the opposite end of the syllable scale. when the day arrives that the sound of "ah" has the resounding resonance and the overtones of the syllable "oo", one can begin to feel that tone-wise the choral group is confidently headed in the right direction.

 

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