Can we memorize?
Date: August 7, 2013
A recent ChoralBlog entry featured a fictional letter from a choir singer encouraging their director to require memorization of their repertoire, providing perfectly valid reasons about expression, ensemble, and so on.
Revealingly, though, the letter was signed "Your student". School choirs which rehearse daily have a much easier time with memorization, a process which requires frequent repetition. How practical is memorization in an adult community choir, which probably only rehearses once a week? You might not even get to every piece on the program every rehearsal, meaning some pieces would go two weeks without being sung. Sure, if choir members are dedicated they can work with MIDI files or whatever at home, but my singers at least don't have that level of dedication. Barbershop-type groups seems to make it happen. What are your thoughts?
(I've sometimes asked my group to memorize a piece or two for a concert, then made sure we hit those pieces at every rehearsal, but it's kind of a pain, and come with an opportunity cost of less rehearsal time on everything else.)
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