Vocal Tips & Contest

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Perk Up by Piping Down

“To increase the energy level of the consonants, try speaking the text in a choral stage whisper.”

Shirley Brumbaugh Dillard
Madison County High School
Danielsville, Ga.

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Sing Staccato

“To clean up pitch accuracy and intonation, I have the students sing staccato, nothing sustained. The results are immediate and obvious: either they are in tune, or they’re not – no ‘sliding to the right note.’ As we ‘repair the music,’ they begin to support the tone better and use their facial features to fine tune. Also, the effect of singing a legato passage totally staccato is a little silly, which actually helps them focus better on what they’re doing and have fun in the process! One selection my 8th graders sang this year had an extensive ‘ooh’ section. When sung staccato, a student remarked, ‘It sounds like an owl convention!’ We all laughed and they begged to sing it that way at least once each rehearsal. This process has caused my students to be much more successful singing a cappella!”

Paula Helle
Churchill Junior High School
Galesburg, Ill.