Common Language

Students can enter a course with vastly different reference points; this can make it difficult to deliver information simultaneously to the entire class.

We need to develop a common language. Common references help us communicate more clearly, efficiently, and effectively.

Here are some ways to work on building this common language in your ensemble class:

  1. Guided listening. You are immediately building up references you can point back to in rehearsal.
  2. Shared musical experiences. Frequent performances, particularly early in the year, are shared experiences that can lead to a common language.
  3. Humor. Laughing together can build a bond and a language.
  4. Struggle. Struggling together “in the trenches” towards a shared goal can bond an ensemble and give them shared understanding.
  5. Academic Knowledge. The simple act of providing shared knowledge – theoretical, technical, physiological, spiritual, etc., empowers your singers to be able to communicate with the same vocabulary.

There are many more ways than this to ensure that your students have a common language to communicate in; what is your favorite?