One of the regular participants on my weekly ZOOM singing sessions offered me some unexpected feedback the other night. Since first using Zoom, I’ve been thinking all along that the inability for us to hear each other was a major drawback and that meeting online was a poor substitute for a regular choir practice, but J told me she found the sessions very encouraging. In fact, J found her ear had improved.
Firstly, because she could not be heard by anyone else, she felt less inhibited and more confident to sing out — this is an obvious benefit in itself for those who don’t otherwise get the opportunity to take chances.(Being in a room where you can hear yourself clearly and feel good about whipping it out may be a first for you.) And as we know, confidence is a big part of maintaining pitch. The more confidently you sing, the better your chances of singing accurately; and singing more accurately surely must increase your confidence. And so on…
Secondly, In a face-to-face choir practice, it’s often the case that each section gets about 25% of the rehearsal time, and when one’s section is not engaged, it’s easy to be distracted and inattentive. J may be atypical, but in the Zoom sessions she found herself using the down-time usefully: she paid more attention to the other parts as they were being taught, and either learned their part, or practised singing her part against the others. Choir directors are forever asking their members to do those things, but J has found them easier to do in the Zoom environment.
So these two things – confidence and engaged listening – have resulted in an improvement in J’s musical ear. Like all of us, J misses the social contact and interactions and the thrill of being in the same room surrounded by voices, but in making the best of the alternative, has discovered unanticipated benefits. I didn’t see that coming.
I currently runs a Zoom session every Monday evening at 6pm (AEST)/8pm (NZ) which runs for an hour or so, and offers another tutorial session once a month via Patreon. For more information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.