How to increase the volume of your choir.

One thing I am constantly asked is "How do you get that choir to sing so loud"? Now before we get into some exercises that will increase the volume of the choir, it needs to be said that there is a difference between singing loud and SCREAMING. You can sing loud without SCREAMING, but you cannot SCREAM and sing at the same time.

The voice box, or larynx, is a muscle, and as a muscle you should take care of it. Just like a weight lifter can tear a muscle by trying to lift too much weight, you can tear your larynx by over-singing and screaming. It is also imperative that you warm up. Just as a runner stretches and loosens and warms up his muscles before running, you need to take the time to warm up before singing, but warm ups is another tip for another time, let's look at some techniques that will help increase the volume of your choir.

One of the first things that I will do when teaching a Choir Workshop, and this may seem simple, is tell the choir to open their mouth. When singing, you should be able to take three fingers, your index, middle and ring finger, turn them so they are parallel with the index finger on the top and the ring finger at the bottom, insert them into your mouth (only the lips not all the way into the teeth). This is how wide your mouth should be open when you are singing. If you were to take a couple of songbooks and lay them on the speakers of your car audio system, it would greatly muffle the sound. Your lips are the same way, if you don't open your mouth, they will muffle and decrease the volume.

Another simple thing to do is smile. I know, that seems overly simple, but if you will smile, raise your eyebrows just a little (as if you were surprised) you will be amazed at the increase in volume not to mention the fact that it looks much more pleasant to see someone smile when they sing.

I will also have the choir memorize and quote Ecclesiastes 9:10a "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; I will have them quote this, increasing their volume each time until they reach an acceptable volume level. Again, they are speaking slightly above speech level, not screaming.

If you have a 30 member choir, and you will do these simple exercises with them, you will increase your volume by at least 50%

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