Vocal Pegagogy and Applications for Conductors not Trained in Singing

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2005-04-20

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Musicians who are given the opportunity to conduct a choir may not always be trained singers themselves. In particular, keyboard players who are not trained as vocalists often elect to pursue careers that include choral conducting. There is no single resource designed specifically for choral conductors (or any conductor whose primary instrument is not their singing voice) who may not have received private voice lessons for an extended period in their musical training. There are many resources for advanced choral techniques, warm-ups, vocal pedagogy for those who already have experience as choral conductors, choral singers and vocal soloists. This document provides basic discussions and applications that address the fundamentals of vocal pedagogy and how those fundamentals could be applied within basic choral warm-ups and rehearsal techniques, all designed for conductors who do not have training in applied voice or in choral music education. The heart of this document focuses on basic Vocal Pedagogy, equipping the inexperienced vocalist with anatomical knowledge of the voice and the mechanics of vocal production.

Inexperienced and untrained singers, along with other musicians who are seeking ways to teach vocal technique to choirs will benefit from this overview, as it will provide a single and concise resource to answer questions concerning foundational issues of vocal pedagogy, and their application within a choral rehearsal.

My sources include a compilation of books, articles, and videos published in the latter half of the twentieth century, weighted more toward materials published within the last ten years. I analyze, highlight and compare current leading Vocal and Choral Pedagogy texts by Barbara Conable, Meribeth Bunch, Cynthia Vaughn, Leon Thurman, Graham Welch, Roger Love, Frauke Haasemann and other authors citing, in my opinion, the most important information needed by inexperienced vocalists who find themselves teaching and/or conducting in a choral setting. I then share my own experiences, offer applications and exercises and reflect and/or comment on the information cited. I hope this makes the terminology less technical and more user-friendly to the "vocal layperson," or inexperienced vocalist, allowing for quicker understanding and application of the content.

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