BOYS TO MEN. A Remarkable Transformation!. The Goal for Today. I would like to share with you… Considerations regarding classification of young tenors and basses.
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The three main things I ask my boys to think about are: BE AGGRESSIVE, TALL IN BACK OF HEAD / LOOSE CHIN, and SNOTTY TONE. A snotty tone should be encouraged!
Nasal resonance really seems to help boys, and men, release tension in their throat, ultimately helping them move through pitches that they don’t trust.
Be patient. I have had several grovelers that took 6 months to fix, but I’ve NEVER had one that went on forever!
All changed voices seem to be considered basses.
Too often the earliest voices to change are considered the basses and the later ones are considered the tenors. Then in 9th and 10th grade, half the boys are in the wrong section!
It is quite common for boys in the 9th and 10th grade to switch from the bass section to the tenor section. Why?
EVERY boy becomes a New/Settling baritone at some point. Therefore, most tenors start their “career” as baritone/basses. Be ready for this, and explain it to them. Late bloomers are no less likely to become basses than students who mature early.
G (bottom line, bass clef) is a pretty safe note for New/Settling Baritones
Although a number of your young basses may have lower notes, one should be mindful of the technique they use to produce them. Too many low notes too early could create some bad habits. Don’t be afraid to decide which singers will sing the lowest notes.
A (top line, bass clef) is the highest comfortable note for many New/Settling Baritones. That may even be a stretch, especially for “Grovelers.”
SAB music may not solve your problems
Often the “B” part utilizes full octave ranges, which many young men don’t have yet… or at least not the same octave as the guy next to them!
It may be necessary to make adjustments to the music in order to accommodate success for your singers. There are a number of composers who are mindful of developing voice ranges. (Spevacek, Harris, Parks, Althouse, etc.)
There is a belief by many that SAB music is necessary because young choirs (boys) are unable to handle the complexity of other voicings. Complexity is better than impossibility.
“This is part of becoming a man!” (not just a cave man, but a real man)
Have fun with the reality. Laugh together. Bullies get CRUSHED by me!
Be excited about what is happening for the young men. Let them know that you are enjoying the process for them.
Don’t for a second believe that they aren’t picking up on how you really feel.
Rachmaninoff got me here, but it isn’t what kept me.
You must be considerate of their limitations by not asking them to do things that they can not be successful at. (throw your ego aside and do the music that you are supposed to do, not always what you want to do)
Boys will develop a hierarchy within the classroom – be sure that it isn’t hurtful or painful. Find ways to even the playing field so that ALL BOYS are part of the difficult transition.
We will be aggressive about singing!
Voice change is not an excuse for inaccurate singing.