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TitleEssentials in Conducting
TagsConducting Rhythm Tempo Pop Culture Singing
File Size6.6 MB
Total Pages200
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leader must be able to raise a hearty laugh occasionally,
and he must by the magnetism of his personality be
able to make men and women who have not raised their
voices in song for years past forget their shyness, forget
to be afraid of the sound of their own voices, forget to
wonder whether anyone is listening, and join heartily
in the singing.

There is no one way of securing this result; in fact,
the same leader often finds it necessary to use different
tactics in dealing with different crowds, or for that

matter, different methods with the same crowd at dif-
ferent times. The crux of the matter is that the leader
must in some way succeed in breaking up the formality,
the stiffness of the occasion; must get the crowd to
loosen up in their attitude toward him, toward one an-
other, and toward singing. This can often be accom-

plished by making a pointed remark or two about the
song, and thus, by concentrating the attention upon the
meaning of the words, make the singers forget them-
selves. Sometimes having various sections of the crowd

sing different stanzas, or different parts of a stanza an-

tiphonally will bring the desired result. By way of
variety, also, the womenmay be asked to sing the verse
while the entire chorus joins in the refrain; or the men
and women may alternate in singing stanzas; or those
in the back of the balcony may repeat the refrain as an
echo; or the leader and the crowd may sing antiphonally.
In these various ways, considerable rivalry may be
aroused in the various sections of a large chorus, and
the stiffness and unfriendliness will usually be found to

disappear like magic. But if the director is cold and
formal in his attitude, and if one song after another is

sung in the conventional way with no comment, no
anecdote, and no division into sections, the people will
be more than likely to go away criticizing the leader or
the accompanist or the songs or each other, and the
next time the crowd will probably be smaller and the

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project will eventually die out. The chronic fault-
finder will then say, "I told you it was only a fad and
that it would not last"; but he is wrong, and the failure
must be, attributed to poor management rather than to

any inherent weakness in the idea itself.

VARIETY OF SONG The majority of people have no
MATERIAL MADE opportunity of singing except when
COMMUNITYSINGING the ^ g tO church ' but many do

not go to church often, and even
those who go do not always sing, and only have the
opportunity of singing one type of music when they
do take part. Moreover, for various reasons, the sing-
ing of church congregations is not as hearty as it
used to be a generation or two ago. The opportunity
to spend an hour in singing patriotic hymns, senti-
mental songs, and occasionally a really fine composition,
such as the Pilgrims' Chorus from Tannhauser, is
therefore eagerly welcomed by a great many men
and women those belonging to the upper classes as
well as the proletariat. When once the barrier of
formality has been broken down, such gatherings,
especially when directed by a leader who is a good
musician as well as a good mixer, may well become the
means of interesting many thousands of men and women
in the more artistic phases of music; may indeed eventu-
ally transform many a community, not only from a
crowd of individuals into a homogeneous social group,
but may actually change the city or village from a spot
where ugliness has reigned supreme to one where the

dominating note is beauty beauty of service as well as

beauty of street and garden and public building; and
where drama and music, pictures and literature, are the
most cherished possessions of the people. In a place
which has been so transformed, the "eight hours of
leisure" that have so troubled our sociologists will pre-
sent no problem whatever; for the community chorus,

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