I cannot say enough good things about the experience of singing with a good choir or chorus. Its benefits are many, and being a choral singer should not hurt your solo technique, especially as you learn to separate the two.
Wait, choral singing for solo singing?? Say what?
Some of the benefits you can gain from singing in a choir include:
-Improved sight singing. What a great skill to have: to be able to sing your part without having to labor at the piano to figure it out!
-Sharper ear. Not only do you develop more “internal” listening – better for blending – but you also have to hold onto your part with conviction. Bringing us to the next point:
-Improved harmony skills. Even sopranos, who often sing the melody line, have the occasional descant or harmony, so a choral singer quickly learns to hear, understand, and sing in different harmonies. And what fun to be in the middle of all those voices as the parts start to come together!
-The fun of an ensemble. In a choir, you meet like-minded people who love music and love singing. You make friends and colleagues.
-Learning new music. From Bach to Eric Whitacre: there is a lot of great choral music out there which you might never hear if you are only singing solo repertoire and not listening to choral music. Madrigal groups, too, are popular – they are typically small ensembles who sing music from the Renaissance. There might be one at your local Ren Faire!
So, will singing in a chorus hurt your solo technique? It’s all about separation. In a chorus, you need to blend with the other singers, while as a solo singer, you need the strength to sing out. So, opposite demands, right? The good news is, the difference is clear-cut. Work on your solo technique with your teacher outside of chorus, and bring it all back to a soft level when singing in a choir. The skills that you develop in a chorus will only help you in the long run as a musician.
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