Energetic Singing is the Key

Although the calendar year begins on January 1, the “choral year” usually begins in August or September.  School choirs, church choirs, and community choirs across our country are all beginning a new season of music making right about now.  With that in mind, I’d like to discuss in today’s blog a quality I think we should bring to this new year of singing, and in fact, to each rehearsal of the year.  That quality is energy, and I believe it to be a key ingredient of good singing.   Beauty and placement (resonance) are also important parts of fine singing, but it is energy that is on my mind as we start this season. 

Consider the fact that the voice is a “living” instrument and that energy is the foundation of the sound created by that instrument.  One of the essential differences between an excellent choir and a merely average choir is the energy the excellent choir brings to its performance.  Realizing that a choir is made up of individuals will remind us of our personal responsibilities in creating choral energy.  If each singer enters the rehearsal room with an attitude of enthusiasm and motivation, there will be a much better chance that choral energy will be achieved in the rehearsal. 

Here are some synonyms for energy:  animation, drive, intensity, spirit, vitality, zeal.  Here, also, are several antonyms for the same word:  idleness, inactivity, laziness, lethargy, tiredness.  Which set of words would you wish to be used to describe a choir in which you sing?  I would expect it to be the synonyms for energy, rather than the antonyms.   I invite you to share your thoughts about how one can bring this special energy into rehearsals and then maintain it throughout the season.

Showing 5 comments
  • Tim Henderson

    Preparation and the confidence that comes with it are important to generating energy in choral singing. Perhaps viewing each rehearsal as a performance is helpful as well.

  • Allan Kennedy

    Another word to throw into the mix is Passion.. People that have a passion in their lives live longer, experience more joy give off as well as create energy. The following Teddy Roosevelt quote says it quite well.

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
    In the upcoming 22nd season of MOS we have the opportunity to “dare greatly” , to have great enthusiasm and to “spend ourselves in a worthy cause!”

  • Michael

    Allan, thanks for the fantastic quote from TR.

  • Lilly Chen

    Well said Allan. Going to have to copy that quote…I also like surrender or release. To surrender to the unknown and to release all control. Great singing I’ve always thought is like flying…total freedom. Hey I know who Slim Whitman is!!! he’s a country singer known for yodeling. Nice one Dr. O!

  • Debby Robic

    One of my favorite quotes from Charles Fillmore, co-founder of Unity, perfectly captures the excitement I feel about about singing with this remarkable choir: “I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm and spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.” That includes the practicing, the rehearsing, and the performing! So lucky and blessed by the opportunity to be part of MOS!

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