The Effects of Acting on Choral Singing: Teaching the Choral Singer to be an Actor within the Choral Rehearsal Process
Marini, Ianthe Onelia
Maclary, Edward F
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The purpose of this project is to determine the effects of acting on choral singing. The human voice is our innate instrument and thus, singing has the capacity to be our most communicative art form. Choral directors often ask their choral singers to tell a story, or to look like the music, but rarely are the singers given the necessary artistic tools to make that happen. A good actor does not “put on” a mask, but reveals and exposes the essence of herself in order to portray a character—and that character comes from within. This project aims to provide choral directors and their singers the techniques necessary to help them achieve powerful and honest communication of the material. I have designed a rehearsal method of teaching choral music that helps choral singers personalize and communicate the text in honest, organic, and well-informed ways. The method helps singers achieve freedom of voice, the skills of empathic listening, and encourages them to think critically and specifically about the music. It creates a learning environment that is free of judgment and that invites unapologetic risk taking that leads to artistic growth and self-actualization. This method of choral rehearsal was experienced with a group of undergraduate vocal performance majors from the University of Maryland School of Music and culminated in a performance after ten rehearsals. The paper contains the following: descriptions of the methods used, the materials, goals and procedures actualized with this ensemble, reflections from singers and audience members, modifications for choral directors of other types of ensembles, and conclusions. The recital was performed in the Ulrich Recital Hall at the University of Maryland. Recordings of the performance and talkback session can be accessed at the University of Maryland Hornbake Library.