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BUKIT PADANG – The Church of Mary Immaculate (CMI) English Choir engaged a professional vocal coach and choral director to teach its members the right vocal techniques and to help them discover their voices on 8 Sept 2016 at the church here.
Mr Adsone, who is a trained vocal coach and choral director, spent two hours assessing and providing vocal strategies in which they could use to improve themselves not only as individual vocalists but also as a choir.
The first section of the night focused on the more technical aspect of vocal training; registration, resonance and breath management. Individually they have developed vocal habits of their own and very often these habits need some readjusting in order to realise a healthy vocal technique.
Adsone’s approach to vocal training began with listening and observing each member’s vocal abilities particularly on registration. Registration, the balance between the head voice and the chest voice, is an issue that needs addressing in vocal training.
Head voice helps develop a much better use of air and engaging in head voice for higher pitches can also prevent the strain caused by using chest voice. It is also critical to ensure in-tune singing as the muscles used in producing head voice helps in regulating pitch.
After observing their singing individually and the specific strengths they bring, Adsone directed their attention to the ways they use their individual voices while helping them recognise the unconscious choices that they are making as well as presenting them with different techniques to improve.
Another aspect was resonance, the distinctive tone produced by the sound waves from the vocal chords through the throat and mouth. The overall sound of a choir is heavily impacted by the individual singers’ resonant qualities; hence choir directors will seek for uniformity in a choir’s sound.
Adsone pointed out a few ways to resolve this issue; firstly by focusing on bringing awareness to each member’s vocal qualities, and secondly by building the awareness of the way they shape their mouths and throats as well as the feel and sound of their singing.
Breath management is also an essential vocal technique that is often neglected. Adsone explained that breath is the source of power in one’s voice. Effective breath support is an integration of the entire vocal system that includes resonance as well as registration. Singing in head voice helps to coordinate airflow and pressure and once a singer is able to achieve this combination, they will be able to sing without straining their vocal chords. Exercises for a more healthy and efficient breath managements are quick and easy and when done repeatedly, are helpful for establishing a more sustained airflow.
The second section of the night focused on the sound of each choral parts; soprano, alto, tenor and bass. Adsone helped explain the roles and significance each of these parts. Once all the participants understood their parts, Adsone used a hymn to guide them.
Adsone ended his lesson with one simple advice: never start singing without proper vocal exercises.
Discovering new possibility in one’s singing is definitely exciting but it is more important to have the willingness to seek knowledge and to learn rather than just simple being told to change. – CMI English Choir