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What Can You Learn By Singing In A Vocal Ensemble?

 by Terri Paglusch

Being a part of a small vocal group can be a chance to expand your singing skills in ways not available to vocalists who only perform solo. In a small vocal ensemble, you can blend your voice with others to make beautiful, complex sounds, but unlike school choirs that have a large number of singers, each member gets a chance to carry their part, combining the experience of singing a solo with blending as a group. If you are looking to join a Kansas City vocal ensemble, Music House School has this kind of group.

Coached by voice teacher Jen Weiman, the Music House Vocal Ensemble gives it's students the chance to learn new vocal skills and opportunities to perform. They recently performed at the Grand Showcase in April. Students in the ensemble have been working on pop songs mainly, since that is the music they prefer.

Weiman says, "Our musical taste tends to be pop, because the current members want to sing that style. As we expand our group with different styles, the group could morph into something totally different, tackling musical theater pieces, country or even hard rock." Learning a variety of music genres is a part of growing as a performer, and performing new styles is a fun way to do that. 


Vocal_Ensemble-1-467471-edited.jpgVocal Ensemble performing at the Music House Grand Showcase in April. Members include: Adena Kapustin, Emilee Hirsch, Lauren Brucker, and Ella Wille.

At the grand showcase in April, they sang arrangements of "Firework" by Katy Perry, "Hello" by Adèle, and "Halo/Walking on Sunshine Mashup" from Glee. It was the first time this particular group performed on stage together. They are currently working on some choral arrangements of popular songs that have been voted on by the group. The next Grand Showcase is in August, and they are already getting ready. Songs will include arrangements  of "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift, "Cups" from the second Pitch Perfect movie, "Human" by Christina Perri, and "Hello" by Adele. 

"Singing as a soloist and singing as a group are actually two different beasts that we are working to combine in this group. "  

"We try to go beyond learning the notes and really focus putting on an all around show in the vein of 'Glee' or 'Pitch Perfect' by adding some dancing, and getting the audience involved," says Weiman. "The focus is learning to blend vowels and colors with one,  maybe two, people on each part. That's different from choir, where you are in a section of many singing similar pitches.  We have been using 3 or 4 part arrangements, and spend time learning specific parts in order to put on successful performances.  Some of my favorite vocal moments have happened in a quartet situation where it is only me carrying my vocal line. It gives the singers room to feel soloistic, while still putting their voices together with others around them. Singing as a soloist, and singing as a group, are actually two different beasts that we are working to combine in this group. It is a challenge, but that is what the group is all about!"

As a teacher, it's inspiring to see your students have a breakthrough. According to Weiman, "The breakthroughs happen when we really take time to focus on what we want to say with a particular piece, and how we are going to go about doing it.  All the members have clever ideas and I try to empower them to make those decisions for themselves. My role is of leader, but I also leave a lot of decisions up to the members of the group about dynamics, articulation and quality of sound. You don't get that freedom with your choir teacher at school."

"I leave a lot of decisions up to the group about quality of sound. You don't get that freedom with your choir teacher at school."  

Joining a small vocal ensemble just might be the way to expand your vocal abilities, have a fun time blending your voice with other aspiring singers, learn to make good choices about the music you sing and how it's put together, and become a stronger performer. If you want your future to include singing in professional, school, or community programs, this is a great way to prepare.



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Written by Terri Paglusch
Terri Paglusch
Terri comes to Music House with extensive experience in business management. At Music House she spends her time working to make the client experience the best it can be.