REHEARSAL STRATEGIES of David Wilcocks: “Many times, in dealing with choral-orchestral works, he would tell us to ‘clear the beat!’ The idea was to release a phrase before the downbeat of the next measure, or a beat within a measure. This was certainly different from what I had been taught! To teach the concept, he would have us say ‘1-2-3-4- ONE!’ Then he would have us whisper the ‘ONE!’ Finally, he would have us say silently say the ‘ONE!’ Worked every time.“
LIFEHACKER: Focus Your Efforts On The Process. “The state of your life right now is a result of the habits and beliefs that you have been practicing each day. When you realize this and begin to direct your focus toward practicing better habits day-in and day-out, continual progress will be the logical outcome.“
RICHARD SPARKS: The Power of Positivity.
“A violinist faced with a difficult passage should tell himself, ‘Nail that A-flat,’ not ‘Oh boy, I hope I don’t miss that A-flat.’ Psychologists call this ‘positive framing,’ and provide plentiful theories of how framing affects our subconscious mind.”
So, do we ask our choirs to focus on the positive, on the goal? Or do we say, “Watch that pitch, it’s a little under?” Demonstrate (play or sing) the correct pitch and make that the focus.
RICHARD SPARKS: The Importance of Exaggeration. “In teaching a new concept to your choir (let’s say the difference between bright and dark sound), an exaggerated example will make the concept clearer—not intellectually, but in concrete terms—faster than anything else.”
AMANDA BUMGARNER Blogs about writing for the Choral Journal.
UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI: Listening to Classical Music Helps Your Thinking. “According to a latest study, listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic neurotransmission, learning and memory, and down-regulated the genes mediating neurodegeneration. Several of the up-regulated genes were known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds, suggesting a common evolutionary background of sound perception across species.” More discussion here.
RICHARD SPARKS: When You Get It Right, Mark The Spot. “When we as a conductor, get something right—a conducting gesture, a tempo, a particular rehearsal technique—we need to do exactly as Coyle says, ‘Rewind the mental tape and play the move again in your mind.’ It’s one of the ways that we improve, that we incorporate something new into our repertoire of skills.“