I suppose that the natural enemy of beautiful choral singing is timidity. Actually, I know it is! I have never heard a great singer who has not overcome it. So many many are plagued by timidity and insecurity and never learn to sing freely and naturally and robustly. But can they?
Yes, of course they can! Anyone of normal brain health is capable of outgrowing timidity, and anybody of normal physical health is capable of singing plenty well enough to be a great member of a great chorus. (I’m not saying that everybody has the makings of a great soloist, mind you, so please don’t misunderstand me.)
What I find is that it takes a lot of coaxing to get the typical chorus member in 2020 to sing out robustly, and that once you do, you’ve got to keep reminding them again and again, else they will go back to the insecure and mousey sound that typifies so many volunteer groups. But why can’t they just learn to sing well all the time? Why isn’t this a set-it-and-forget-it option that can be decided once-and-for-all?
In a recent rehearsal, I managed to coax the chorus into singing better than I had yet heard them do. And I asked them, “Why would a group who can sound like this ever go back to the mousey sound you were doing earlier?”
Of course, there is no good answer to that. There is no good reason to go back!
And so, in the spirit of overcoming and growing and learning and maturing, I offer up this musical example of what I’m talking about. Why would a group who can do this ever go back?