We spend a lot of time discussing how important it is to sing as a group, to listen to the other parts, and to blend seamlessly, but it’s just as important for sections of the choir to break off sometimes and have their own time in a sectional, separate from the rest of the choir:
#1. Bashing notes:
At its most basic function, sectionals provide the opportunity for everyone in that section to really learn the notes and the rhythm. This is the significantly less glamorous aspect of choir, singing the same section of a piece over and over again, until everyone has the note, but it serves an important function. Not everyone learns at the same rate, and some choristers need more time within their own section to really feel confident in their part
#2. Section unity:
Going off in different sections of the choir is important because of the social aspect as well. There is something about identifying as a part, soprano, altos, tenors, or basses, that makes choristers feel like they belong. This is important in their singing as well. By knowing the people in your section, and their voices, you know who to rely on in the more difficult parts of a piece.
As we’ve discussed before, listening is just as important as singing in a choir. Breaking off into sectionals forces choristers to listen in a different, and often more nuanced way. No longer are choristers trying to hear their part against others, and blend their voices within a myriad of different timbres; instead they must contend with the difficulties of unison singing – blending their voice with others that have similar timbres, ensuring that rhythms and pitches are crisp and clear.
How else do sectionals benefit choristers? Tell us in the comments below!