Totnes Market Choir – Frequently Asked Questions

If it is your first time joining a singing group or a choir or perhaps the first time in a long time, you will understandably have some questions about what to expect from the experience!

Below are answers to the most frequently asked questions…

What kind of choir is Totnes Market Choir?
Is it appropriate for beginners?
Do you do vocal warm-ups?
How many people can I expect to be there?
What songs do you sing?
Do you teach with sheet music or by ear? (do I need to be able to read music?!)
I think I’m tone deaf…can you help?

What kind of choir is this? 

Totnes Market Choir is an informal drop-in choir, we do not practice for performances but rather spend our time opening up and exploring our singing voice and enjoying the experience of singing together in harmony, here and now! The invitation to enjoy this moment allows us to settle into a different state of being to the usual ‘fight-flight-freeze’ mentality that many of us fall into in our daily lives as we go about getting from A to B as fast as possible. It allows us to explore 2-3 songs each week in a relaxed, playful frame of mind.  Back to top

Is it appropriate for beginners?

Yes, but it is dependent on your level of listening and ‘pitch-matching’ skills*. If you haven’t sung for a long time or you are not sure of your skill level and potential, why not book in a 1-1 singing lesson with me to help you to rediscover your instrument and how to play it?

*By ‘pitch-matching’ we mean the ability to hear a tone or sequence of tones (melody) and then to imitate that tone/melody with a degree of accuracy. This is the process of learning by ear, which almost everyone can do. However, a very small percentage of our population struggle with pitch-matching and may need some 1-1 lessons before a group class is appropriate. Also, if you have not used your singing voice for some time you may also want to consider exploring it in a 1-1 private lesson to re-discover your instrument and how to play it! If in doubt, please contact us via the FB page using FB messenger or email singing@robcarneymusic.co.uk

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Do you do vocal warm-ups?

Because we only have an hour to sing together we do some vocal warm-ups but we don’t go as deep into this as I do in my Tuesday evening choir ‘Voices of Freedom’ or my 1-1 singing lessons and singing retreats.

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How many people can I expect to be there?

We are a drop-in singing group which means that there is a core of regular members and also a flow of people who come and go. Typically we have between 9-12 singers but we can have up to 25 some weeks!

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What songs do you sing? 

Pretty much anything that can be sung in harmony and is accessible for our level of ability, from Motown and gospel to folk songs, protest songs, songs from South Africa, Moari culture, Hawaii, various African traditions, Bulgaria, Beethoven (!)…My songbook is always expanding and changing. My criteria for song selection really is can I teach it in the time we have (20 minutes) and can I teach it to a level where you will enjoy singing it and get a good experience from the song.

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Do you teach with sheet music or by ear? (do I need to be able to read music?!)

I do like songs that allow us to learn by ear without words or melodies written down, as this engages the right brain and allows the participant to really know the song and experience it in their heart and body in a unique way, but I am not a strictly ‘by-ear’ teacher. The thing is that everyone learns in different ways and for some people having some words really helps! For others seeing some notes on a page going up and down really helps! Other people are amazing sight readers and have learned that skill and find it hard to learn by ear and would rather just see the music in front of them. Some of my singers will have words written down and bring a pencil to draw little ‘hills and valleys’ to remind them of the shape of a melody line. With that said, I invite you to explore learning by ear, but also to come and talk to me if you have specific needs that I could help you with.

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I think I’m tone deaf…can you help? 

That’s really interesting! There is a small percentage of our population who struggle to hear the difference between two different notes BUT if you can actually hear the difference between notes in an ascending scale of notes (i.e. you can hear a tune) then you aren’t tone deaf. What you do need though is more confidence with pitch-matching. By ‘pitch-matching’ we mean the ability to hear a tone or sequence of tones (melody) and then to imitate that tone/melody with a degree of accuracy using your singing voice. Pitch-matching is crucial to the process of learning by ear.

If you are not sure if you are getting the notes right, or you find some notes easier to produce than others, you may feel that a 1-1 singing lesson could be the right thing for you to help you

  • gain confidence with pitch-matching

  • to get exercises to free up your instrument (your singing voice!)

  • to train your body to produce sung tones in a healthy sustainable way

Get Singing Lessons with Rob!

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