Ensemble

Ensemble singing describes how a choir of many voices blends together to sound like one big voice.

When you sing in a choir, you are part of a team. This means everyone has to work together to make a great sound. To do this, you need to listen to the other singers around you.

Breathing

To sing a long phrase, singers need to breathe at different times so that the sound keeps going. The audience shouldn’t hear any breathing.

You need to breathe very deeply so you’ve enough air to finish the phrase with the right sound.

If you are singing quietly or softly, it’s even harder to sing a long phrase as you need to use your energy in a different way to singing loudly. This is because when you are singing quietly, you need more effort to control your breathing.

In the next video, our choir sing a long phrase twice but can you hear where they breathe?

The first time they sing the phrase ‘somewhere only we know’, the choir breathe after ‘we’ and all at the same time. By breathing together, it breaks the line so the sound loses shape.

The second time, they breathe deeply before starting the phrase and carry the note through until the end.

Watch again and see if you can tell the difference.

Keeping Time

When many voices sing in an ensemble, the sound should blend together so that no one voice sticks out. This will create a balanced sound.

The conductor uses her hands to set the speed, tell you when to sing and how to sing your words. To see these visual cues, watch the conductor very carefully so that you don’t miss out on any important information.

In this video, our conductor sent lots of different messages to her choir, see how they change their singing to follow her lead:

Were you able to follow the conductor’s cues?

Did you see our choir’s facial expressions as they try to keep up with her mixed messages?

School choir skills, there's more to learn...