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:
- Guided listening. You are immediately building up references you can point back to in rehearsal.
- Shared musical experiences. Frequent performances, particularly early in the year, are shared experiences that can lead to a common language.
- Humor. Laughing together can build a bond and a language.
- Struggle. Struggling together “in the trenches” towards a shared goal can bond an ensemble and give them shared understanding.
- 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?