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How to get a more focused sound from an adolescent choir

I am asking this question for a colleague whose first language is not English, but I am also interested in this answer myself, although my choir is younger.  So the problem she experiences is that she can't get a very focused sound from her choir, consisting of about 2/3 girls and 1/3 boys.  I think we can get the answer about boys changing voices in many of the discussion trails.  But I could not find a lot about adolescent females, except cautions about their changing quality of voice at this age, and not to try to force a clear sound.  But apart from voices changing in quality at this age, what safe techniques do we have an choral conductors to safely get a more focused sound from those who can?  If we can get answers for two groups (very approximately breaks), would very much appreciate your experience, particularly your successes.
 
1) 8-12 
 
2) 12 - 16
 
Thank you so much!
 
Irene
Replies (14): Threaded | Chronological
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