I travel quite a bit and work with a lot of singers who lead/teach others in singing. This might be a choir, sing-a-long, or other group gathering. For someone new to the role of leading a group, one of the most common questions/problems is “how to find the starting note”.
Of course this is a challenge for singers in all situations. At times it’s quick, easy, and comes naturally. At other times, depending on experience, and the complexity of the song, and your history of singing (eg, what you are familiar with) it can be challenging and sometimes embarrassing.
Well, let’s start by getting over the embarrassing component. The truth is that most of us, even regularly performing professionals, hit a wrong starting note from time to time. And, we’ve all done it in big settings with a song we know by heart – “where did that come from?” Usually followed by a laugh and sense of bewilderment.
We’re all friends here. Let us relax and simply know that it happens and step past the embarrassment.
For folks with lots of experience, you already know this. For those newer to singing in groups and public, you may need to work on self acceptance and letting go of perfection. Don’t let it stop you!
We could go on a tangent (and we will at a future point), but I’d like to get down to looking at ways to help resolve the challenge of getting the right starting note.
PLEASE CHIME IN WITH YOUR QUESTIONS AND THOUGHTS
This discussion will go for a few days/weeks depending on the flow of questions and conversation.
So, the first thing we’ll look at in finding the first note, is getting or finding it from or within the musical accompaniment.
1) ask for a single note
2) ask for the starting chord (s)
3) picking the note out from an instrumental introduction
These are the most common situations and we’ll dive deeper into the “context” and challenges with each of these. And, of course solutions that will help.
I look forward to hearing from you.