LAB X is half way through its session, and according Ben Johns, its leader, is improving steadily and remarkably, in part thanks to a culture of work outside of rehearsals. His most recent reflection: "During warm-up, we talked a little about vocal pedagogy and how to blend the different registers of the voice. Finding a "mixed voice" in the middle range can help prevent a yelling quality as one approaches the upper range. I've been mining recently in pedagogy books by Richard Miller and William Vennard for good exercises that address the challenges young voices face. LAB X is receiving some intensely specific vocal information as a result.
I've found excellent singing to ride the line between technique and expression. Paying too much attention to technique can lead to robotic, expressionless singing. Paying too much attention to expression and drama can tie a voice up in knots. So I like to balance out technique ideas with thoughts on expression. This week, we discussed how to develop "character" as an actor/singer. Answering questions about the character seems to be an effective pathway toward acting well. Most LAB X singers have participated in drama and musical theater productions, so they got to share their experiences with each other...a self-teaching group!"
One of LAB X's singers wasn't feeling able to sing, but came to the rehearsal anyway, took some pictures, and made this observation:
"Being outside the choir during a rehearsal is a new experience for me. In an environment where one is so focused on their own execution (of notes, rhythms, etc.) one rarely takes the time to appreciate the magic being made within the rest of the group. I'm glad I had the chance to do that today."