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Singing Skills

A Brief Introduction to Voice Ranges (male and female) in Barbershop

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This blog posts excerpts content from the BHS Music Educator Guide and Songbook. It is intended to address the male and female changing voice, but has a broader application when considering mixed gendered barbershop singing.   From highest to lowest, the voice parts in barbershop are tenor, lead (melody), baritone, and bass. The following graphics indicate the common vocal ranges by gender ...
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A Brief Introduction to Accommodating Arrangements for Mixed Voices

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This blog posts excerpts content from the BHS Music Educator Guide and Songbook. It is intended to address accommodating arrangements of tags written for male and female changing voice, but has a broader application when considering mixed-gendered barbershop singing.   The coda of a song typically has a flourish of chord changes. These endings, called tags in jazz and barbershop, have becom...
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Guest Blog: FLOATING OR SWIMMING? – Brody McDonald

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Floating or Swimming? Brody McDonald, via Choir Bites More articles from Choir Bites can be found on their Facebook page! I was recently working with my top choir about developing habits aimed at increasing technique and literacy, rather than “learning their songs.” You know, the “you can do better” speech. A student came to me after class and said, “You know, Mr. McDonald, it just hit me. I t...
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Vocal Health: Voice Production and Resonance

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This regular series will examine different facets of vocal health in which we hope to dispel myths and inaccuracies. Most importantly, our goal is to provide support for those who have experienced vocal concerns and provide constructive solutions for singers.   This article is designed to be an introduction to how the vocal sound is produced and resonated. It also serves to clarify sometime...
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Vocal Health: Intro to Healthy Singing

vocal health series
This regular series will examine different facets of vocal health in which we hope to dispel myths and inaccuracies. Most importantly, our goal is to provide support for those who have experienced vocal concerns and provide constructive solutions for singers. Healthy Singing In order to establish a dialogue around the topic of vocal health, it is important to understand the components of healthy...
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Building Musicians: Resources for Learning Musicianship

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This regular series will examine different facets of building musicians in which we hope to dispel myths and inaccuracies. Most importantly, our goal is to provide support for music teams and provide constructive solutions for singers. Personal Musicianship  Singers join our chapters for many reasons, but all share the love of singing barbershop chords. Some singers come to us with years of sing...
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Meaningful Gestures: Riser Placement

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This is the second article in a series for chorus directors and music teams. This article is a companion to a video that HU produced in 2016.   Barbershop chorus singing has two variables that have great effect on acoustic output: riser placement and venue. This article discusses the science behind riser placement. I make a distinction between formation (mixed parts vs. sectional) and placem...
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Vocal Health Series: Vocal Health Perceptions

vocal health series
This regular series will examine facets of vocal health by which we hope to dispel myths and inaccuracies. Most importantly, our goal is to provide support for those who have experienced vocal concerns and provide constructive solutions for singers.  First, an understanding Vocal health has been a hot topic recently, thanks to high-visibility performers such as Adele, Sam Smith and Michael Buble...
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Meaningful Gestures: What They See Is What You Get

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Directors, have you wondered why your chorus sometimes seems out-of-sync or ragged? This choppiness might be something you’re demonstrating with your gesture, even though you might not be aware of it. This is due to something called mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are the brain cells that pick up on social and emotional cues from other humans. If someone is hurt or upset, we can usually tell jus...
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Recorded Feedback

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Digital technology makes it easy to provide custom feedback to individual singers As seen in the March/April issue of The Harmonizer, page 28.  By Dr. Jay Butterfield, Musical Director, Parkside Harmony chorus, jvbbbs1@gmail.com   About 20 years ago, when I was director of the Chorus of The Brandywine in Wilmington, Del., we instituted an effective vocal feedback program—effective, but al...
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