Choral Holidays - Singing in wonderful locations

Posted under: "General Blog Post"

Jan 19, 01:49 PM

Learning to Sing & Feel

Last Spring I attended the Avatar Masters course in Orlando, Florida and have been pondering the uses of the Avatar materials within choral singing.
Avatar, for those of you who have never encountered it, has nothing to do with blue aliens! It’s a personal development program based on the teachings of Harry Palmer, Palmer spent years searching for the answers to many of life’s deepest questions. What he ended up with was a set of remarkable tools designed to help people become more aware and alive by means of releasing themselves from self-imposed identities. In so doing people might begin to see themselves as part of an enormous whole of which they, and all creation are part.
But how does Avatar relate to Choral Singing, and how can it be used to develop a choir’s potential?
Harry Palmer teaches that we have lost the ability to feel: for instance, if you put your hand on a surface, it is extremely likely that rather than experiencing the sensation of the touch, you will translate it into words, regardless of whether or not there is someone there to describe it to. It’s like the people who go on holiday and, instead of enjoying each moment, just look forward to getting back home so they can tell other people how great it was and show them the photos.
For many choral singers, a similar sort of thing happens. They will often be slightly under-confident in their own ability and may feel very nervous about their capacity to “get it right”, unsure whether they will get the notes and words in the correct places, and scared that they might be noticed making a mistake, or worse ruin the whole thing for everyone. For others, who are perhaps more confident, there may be a feeling of having to lead, or wanting to make sure they make the different nuances and dynamics in the way the conductor has asked.
In both these cases the performance is predominantly guided by what’s going on in their minds rather than by what they feel, and much of the pleasure of the performance comes from having completed it successfully (without any glaring errors) rather than from the joy of performing and being in the moment.
What I would like to develop on Choral Holidays is a type of singing where the music is felt and really experienced by all the singers, so we can enjoy creating something worthwhile together that reaches new levels beyond just note learning.
On our Choral Holidays, we will have time to learn our parts very well so we are free from any constraints. This will allow us to explore the genuine sentiment behind the words and the music. In so doing, it will give us the chance to experience the piece fully and to really ‘Feel it’ in the way Harry Palmer describes. On these Choral Singing Holidays, my aim is that we all experience the spontaneity of music making and begin to open up to the possibility of truly living and enjoying every note we produce, without regrets or thoughts of the future.
Together with Rachel’s Yoga classes, the atmosphere of the stunning venues we will be visiting, performing music that is both interesting and achievable I truly believe that these Choral Holidays will be a most rewarding and enjoyable musical experience.
Written by Jeff




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