Voice for Life Syllabus

The skills developed in Voice for Life

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Each level of the scheme provides training in the following areas:

Module A: Using the voice well

This module aims to teach singers how to develop good vocal technique. It contains many practical exercises and helpful diagrams enabling you to deliver the training in this Module with confidence. It begins by helping singers get used to the physical sensations of healthy vocal technique, and in the later levels develops their understanding of the physiology of the voice.

Contained in this module: posture, breathing, tone and range, diction, style and interpretation, blending with the choir

Module B: Musical skills & understanding

Musical skills and musical understanding should grow together; as a singer makes progress with their voice they need to develop the understanding and skills to support them in their singing. Singers need to understand the music they are looking at and develop an ability to read and interpret what they see. Likewise, they need to develop their listening skills. This module develops knowledge of music theory and notation, and then encourages singers to demonstrate this understanding through sight-singing and aural skills.

Contained in this module: music theory (note values, rests, time signatures, note names, ledger lines, accidentals, double sharps and flats, intervals and degrees of the scale, keys and scales, modes, chords and cadences), sample sight-reading tests, sample aural tests.

Module C: Repertoire

This module aims to develop a good understanding of the musical and historical contexts of the music performed by the choir or individual singer. It also gives singers the opportunity to demonstrate the musical understanding they gain in Module B through some simple musical analysis. Singers are encouraged to find out about the background of the music that they sing: to translate and understand the text of a piece, to look at the historical background, to look at the purpose of a piece, to develop an understanding of the style/genre. Through this research, singers develop the ability to gather information from various sources and to present this in an original form.

Contained in this module: finding the information, sample questions, sample answers, how to write programme notes, programming for your choir – basic principles.

Module D: Belonging to the choir

If a singer wants to be part of a choir, there is more required than simply being able to sing. There are issues of commitment, punctuality and responsibility. This module considers how a singer can be encouraged in these areas and gives plenty of additional advice for you on recruiting singers into the choir and how to maintain their interest and commitment.

Contained in this module: recruiting and publicity, new singers, when a singer moves into the adult section, when singers leave the choir, roles for singers within the choir, choir pay, discipline, notes for head choristers/choir captains, copyright issues, child protection, weekly standards, general progress, rehearsal tips, starting a choir.

Module E: Choir in context

A choir does not exist in isolation. Although it is a community in its own right it is also part of a wider community such as a school, church, village or town. This module encourages singers to explore the wider context of its choir’s existence: Why do they sing in that particular choir? Why does the choir exist? For whom does it sing? How does the choir benefit its members and those outside the choir? The material is divided into various sessions, each based on one topic, and these come complete with photocopiable worksheets.

Contained in this module:
For all choirs: the gift of music, the power of music, what is a community?, the community of our choir, the wider community, the roots of our choir, the changing repertoire of our choir, special project: serving the wider community.
Additional sessions for church and worship choirs: Christian ministry and music, regular and special services, festivals and seasons in the Christian year, places of worship (church buildings).