Choir sheet music is necessary for the Choir director, musicians and choristers to aid them in learning a new song. It is advantageous for everyone involved to know how to read music but it is not absolutely necessary for all of the choir members to. You must have at least one musician preferably the pianist, to have music reading ability.
The Choir sheet music should be written in standard SATB which stands for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass. You can have an effective choir just using Soprano, Alto and Tenor with all of the men singing Tenor. This may require the men to sing the Tenor part at two different octaves but this will work and will sound pleasant.
Another thing that will greatly aid in teaching a choir a new song is to have sectional leaders, one for each section. When learning a new song it is best to give the musicians and sectional leaders the song one week in advance so they can learn it.
In most cases I recommend starting with the Tenor unless you are doing a harmony inversion and utilizing a Tenor lead in which case I recommend starting with the vocal part that will be singing the Tenor part. Learn the song line by line one or two lines at a time. Have the sectional leader sing the line while the pianist plays the single vocal part. Once the sectional leader sings the line have the choir section sing the line with the sectional leader. If it is not correct, make the necessary corrections and proceed to the next line.
I recommend learning the verse with all sections before moving on to the chorus. Usually I will teach the verses first, then the chorus and finally the tag. I will not move on to the chorus until all parts know the verse and I will not move on to the tag until all parts know both the verses and the chorus.
Make sure that the choir sheet music is written in a comfortable key for the choir. You do not want the song to be too high as this can cause unnecessary strain to the choristers and also cause them to sing flat. Nor do you want the song to be to low as this can cause strain as well as producing low volume.
It is best to make sure that you as the choir director are familiar with the song and that your musicians are equally familiar with the song before attempting to teach it to the choir.
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