Movement and Gesture as a Pedagogical Tool in the Choral Rehearsal

June 27, 2011 / By: Karen Lutgen

The intent of this thesis was to determine the nature and function of movement as a pedagogical tool leading to healthy and expressive singing in the choral rehearsal.

The research questions in this study addressed1) what specific movement exercises can be used in a choral rehearsal to address technical issues such as body alignment, breath management, diction, energy, intonation, physical preparedness, range, tempo/rhythm, and vowel shape; 2) what specific movement exercises can be used in a choral rehearsal to aid in the teaching of stylistic elements such as articulation, dynamics, phrase shape, and tone; and 3) how these movement exercises can be applied too five historical choral pieces.

The author collected movement exercises that have been published in scholarly journals, books, videos, and dissertations and catalogued them according to the vocal skill they addressed.  Thirteen skill categories were identified: articulation, breath management, diction, dynamics, energy, intonation, phrase shape, physical preparedness, range extension, tempo/rhythm, tone, and vowel shape.  Once the catalogue was compiled, five choral octavos from five different musical eras (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern) were analyzed for salient technical and stylistic elements.  Exercises from the catalogue were applied to each identified element and explained in written rehearsal plans.