Postyr Project – Time in the Rehearsal Room
by Tine Fris, Postyr Project
2012. A whole new year. It’s like a blank piece of paper, just waiting to be filled out with new adventures, experiments, and thoughts. I guess, it comes as no surprise, that Postyr Project couldn’t keep all that space empty for long. We had our first meeting and rehearsal this week, where we had a chance to talk a lot of things over, make some decisions and work with some new music. Already, there is so much to tell, but today I will focus on the one thing that both Line, Anders, Andreas, Kristoffer and I had on top of our wishing-list for 2012: Time in the rehearsal room.
While most of 2011 was spent in the studio and on the road, we have decided that at least the first half of 2012 should more or less be spent in the rehearsal room. Of course, there will still be time for a few concerts and some studio-sessions, but the main topic, the main focus, will be on the musical process and not the final product.
We always start our rehearsals with a brief talk, where every one can get a chance to say what ever they have on there mind. Things having been the way the have lately, these brief talks have had a tendency of turning in to long discussions of both important personal and organizational matters. Necessary talks, but with the consequence, that there weren’t much time left to actually sing. As of now, we have decided to separate business briefings and rehearsals. We still hold on to the brief personal updates in the beginning of the rehearsal each Wednesday, but leave the business briefings to our new Monday-noon Skype meetings. So from now on our rehearsals are structured like this:
1) Setting up all the microphones, the computer, the in-ear monitors etc.
2) Personal briefing. A couple of minutes pr. person.
3) Warm up.
4) Working on new material.
5) Working on old material pinning out particularly challenging phrases focusing on one parameter at the time, just like we have been taught by The Real Group;-)
We try to keep our cell-phones and pending emails off, while rehearsing. The rest of the world can wait -at least until there is a break.
Now let me go a bit deeper into the warm up.
At the moment one we focus on two things in our warm-ups:
1) Improving our physical posture.
The goal is to balance the muscle power and flexibility on the front and back of the body and on the right and left side, so we can
a) breath more easily
b) release muscles that had previously been used for keeping us upright to keep our breath control more steady.
c) maintain a steady intonation no matter the duration, volume or pitch.
d) gain a more balanced and rich resonance.
e) connect with our inner power and find peace and grounding, so we can open up to our feelings and emotions in the music without feeling insecure.
2) Improving our blend and intonation.
The goal is to balance the timbres of the five voices even more and to get a deeper understanding of the harmonies we sing, so we can balance the chords better. We do that by
a) improving or physical posture
b) knowing the songs and each other very well, so we won’t be too nervous on stage.
c) practicing with our in-ears almost every time we rehearse, so we can adjust with the special head resonance you get from the ear-plugs.
d) and of course by doing a lot of “classic” intonation and blend exercises.
e) singing the difficult phrases over and over again, making small changes, talking about what we hear, which notes should be louder here? And here
f) adjusting the sounds of the vowels, so they match the vowels of the voices we are linked to in a particular phrase.
g) adjusting the way we begin the note. Is it with air? Without air, but soft? Without air, but hard?
At some point we will change our focus to other areas like time, emotional expression or performance, and when we think, we are done, we will just start all over again. That’s the beauty of it, you can always improve as an individual and as a group. The sky is the limit, you just got to keep moving forward.
Tine Fris is a member of the Danish vocal group Postyr Project, an very successful teacher and vocal coach and seems to be simply everywhere composing, arranging, teaching, singing and networking. It’s so great to have her as a co-blogger here on Vocal Blog to write hands-on articles of practical use with a little glimpse behind the scenes of a group of hard-working musicians from vocal music Mecca, Aarhus/DK. Be sure to check out Postyr’s website, Facebook fanpage and Twitter channel and if you are a singer, vocal group or choir, don’t miss an opportunity to meet Tine as a teacher and coach.