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THIS WEEK (1st Week of May)

posted Apr 30, 2012, 9:06 PM by Kathy Scheel
WOW -  I went and observed (experienced) Jim Arns and choreographer Renee Porzell coaching Pride of Portland Chorus on Saturday!  What an amazing duo they are - and it was incredible to see and hear the huge difference in the songs with relatively small changes being made.  But what really made it happen was the 100% commitment by every chorus member on the risers.  They were wonderful to watch - each of them challenging themselves to become better with each moment, "upping their game" on every phrase.   
Of course, I took lots of notes as I watched, as there are so many nuggets of wisdom that apply to every song - not just those specific songs that PoP was working on.  For instance:
  • Do SOMETHING - even if you make a mistake, that's okay as long as you're fully in the character.
  • Don't placate the technique - do it abundantly.
  • The 3 judges that are not looking at you (Sound, Expression, Music) should hear the "radio play" - all voices in character at all times.
  • Singing in character adds vibrancy to the sound - to the whole experience.
  • Add more and more word sounds - all the time.
  • There is a difference between "planted energy" and "lifted energy".  Most of the time, we want LIFTED ENERGY.
  • Learning tracks are only good for the first week - as soon as you start working on a song, they are no longer useful.
  • Each person works on building self-discipline so when director is focusing on other parts, you're all still involved.
  • Stumbling builds skills as you learn to fix problem spots.
  • Lyrical expression MUST be believable!   Not faked.  Be a human being - tell the story!
  • You can only fix YOU - don't worry about others in the chorus who don't know their music, their choreography, are late, are absent, etc. 
  • Don't do LESS just becuase your neighbor is doing less -  work harder to influence her to do more!
  • Be willing to take and trust the director's or section leader's input in order to improve.
  • Attend as many educational events as possible to keep growing as a musician.
  • Figure out how to make the sound you want on the right vowel - while always telling the story.  Look in the mirror and see what your mouth and face are actually doing. 
There are other things I wrote down for myself.  I loved being able to watch PoP to help me fine-tune my own skills so I can continue to help you learn more about this wonderful art form.