Shaping and Sharing Techniques for Sight-Singing


  • Kathryn Smith Bowers Webster University


Between John Cabot's discoveries in the New World and the turn of the new millennium lay five hundred years of a remarkable English and American choral music tradition. The body of choral literature on which this tradition feasts is much like an iceberg: most of us only experience its tip during a lifetime. If we think carefully about this picture, two primary factors determine how much repertoire each of us is able to perform as a choral singer. First, we must have ample opportunities to sing choral music. Since most choral directors maintain an active and ongoing search for good choral singers, finding an excellent choir in which to sing should not present a problem. Beyond that negligible hurdle then, one must have the skill to learn music quickly and accurately, by note, rather than by rote. Without facile sight-singing skills, the unsophisticated singer is relegated to the slow and tedious process of learning music by imitation. How can such a singer ever hope to plumb the depths of fascinating and meaningful choral literature and to attempt that which is challenging?