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Give your choir's learning a boost with recorded rehearsal tracks

Give your choir’s learning a boost with recorded rehearsal tracks

For many choirs, offering rehearsal tracks is an essential part of how the choir learns. Without them, many singers can only practise at the rehearsal. While the main bulk of learning takes place in rehearsal, it is not possible to attend to all individuals’ needs at all times, so rehearsal tracks are a great support to the choir leader and singers alike.

There are numerous ways to record rehearsal tracks and make them available to your choir. They can be on CD, in a private membership area of your website, distributed on USB sticks. A word of warning though – do check the copyright situation in your country. Making audio tracks is a form of copying, so if the music is in copyright, you’ll need to check that your jurisdiction allows that sort of thing for private study or for educational purposes.

If you don’t have the benefit of an accompanist in rehearsal, having tracks that you can play to the choir (particularly if they’re learning by ear) can be a great help when you want to focus on a particular section or vocal part. This means you don’t have to have every single note of every part memorised the whole time (even if I do that, it all falls out of my head when the choir is in front of me!). I have a small keyboard that I use to pitch key notes but I’m no pianist and if I try to play a phrase it takes a little while! Much better for my singers to quickly hear it on the rehearsal track.

Making rehearsal tracks, while tremendously useful, can be a bit laborious. You either have to play in each line on a keyboard or using a computer programme, or you have to sing it. Singing the parts yourself has its own challenges because, if you’re leading a mixed choir, you almost certainly can’t sing all the parts at pitch. You could hire singers, but that would make the whole process rather expensive.

Of course, at Total Choir Resources we’ve taken this experience of making rehearsal tracks into full consideration when developing our new digital music store. We know how hard choir leaders work and how time-consuming the process of making rehearsal tracks can be. All our arrangements will come with ready-made rehearsal tracks which you can roll out to your choir straight away.

14 Responses to Give your choir’s learning a boost with recorded rehearsal tracks

  1. Joy 19 May 2017 at 7:19 am #

    I’m really looking forward to trying the music store! Keep up the good work.

    • Christine Mulgrew 19 May 2017 at 10:58 am #

      Thanks Joy

  2. Joan Horsfield 19 May 2017 at 7:45 am #

    Yes please, the soone you can do this, the better. Wonderful news! Joan

    • Christine Mulgrew 19 May 2017 at 11:00 am #

      Thanks Joan, not long now!

  3. Jeanette 19 May 2017 at 7:47 am #

    I think its wonderful that you are going to do rehearsal tracks. For other choir leaders who has no budget like me, my school girls often bring their phones and if a particular part is giving them difficulties (they all learn by ear) I bang the notes out on the piano and the girls just have a simple recording on their phone with which they can iron out their problems.

    • Christine Mulgrew 19 May 2017 at 11:01 am #

      Thanks Jeanette,

      Rehearsal tracks are definitely a big bonus. This can be a very time consuming part of choir leading otherwise.

  4. Jill 19 May 2017 at 11:11 am #

    We have been recording rehearsal tracks for literally years! But it would be so good to have them readily available. As you say, it takes so much time – but they are the only way to go if there is no accompanist available! Love your site.

    • Christine Mulgrew 19 May 2017 at 2:26 pm #

      Hi Jill,

      Absolutely, rehearsal tracks are an invaluable tool for choir leaders and singers alike.

  5. Angie 19 May 2017 at 11:14 am #

    What a great idea! Using vocal (melody) and backing tracks is great but having all voice parts available sounds like such a time saver.

    • Christine Mulgrew 19 May 2017 at 2:28 pm #

      Thanks Angie,

      Having all the parts available is an amazing tool and will help your singers learn their repertoire.

  6. Ernest 20 May 2017 at 6:31 pm #

    Having a rehearsal track will be a life saver for my choir. How can we make our own tracks and make them readily available has been our challenge….any advice is welcome

    • Christine Mulgrew 21 May 2017 at 9:05 am #

      Hi Ernest,

      Thanks for your message, sounds like rehearsal tracks will be a great benefit for you. Our new arangements which we will have in our digital music store from 1st June will have rehearsal tracks included. This will save you the time of making them.

  7. Robin Hare 7 September 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Since acquiring Sibelius, I have helped my choirs learn their parts by creating sound clips ‘highlighting’ each part by adding instruments: oboe for the sops, cor anglais for the altos, trumpet for the tenors and trombone for the basses. Then I accentuate the relevant part by adding exaggerated dynamics to the relevant part: fffff for the accentuated part and ppppp for the other parts. I then convert them to MP3s. Works a treat and they love it!

    • Victoria Hopkins 7 September 2017 at 1:40 pm #

      Hi Robin. I use Sibelius in a similar way. By the way, you may not have realised that you can adjust the volume of different voices in the mix without your ffff dynamic – go to ‘Play’ and choose the ‘Mixer’, then you’ll see that you can change each voice volume separately, as well as solo or mute it.

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