About the magic of listening to one another

How do you ensure that your choir does not scream, but sings?

Screaming choir members instead of singing choir members are actually quite normal. It is because of this: everyone who sings has the need to hear his own voice. This way, you sing the right melody. But the characteristic of a choir is that you are not alone. Around you, you don't only hear your own voice, but also those of all other members around you. They make it difficult to hear yourself singing well. And thus you have the tendency to sing louder and louder. It is like a volume spiral that climbs higher and higher.

What can I do about this?

Do not focus on singing, but on listening. If each choir member listens with one ear to what others sings and with the other ear to what he himself sings, there is room for balance.


I see music as a pleasant conversation. The better you listen to what the other person says (and vice versa), the better the conversation becomes. If you don't listen to what the other person has to say, the conversation will soon be over. Or you will both start talking louder and louder and you end up in a heated discussion. The secret of a pleasant musical conversation is in balance. Harmony. Yin Yang. In a pleasant musical conversation, everyone will be treated equally.

An example please.

A loud voice that drowns out the whole immediately detracts from a performance. It gets in the way of balance and therefore in musical pleasure. The same applies to a pianist who is not very audible: you see his fingers moving up and down, but you can hardly hear him playing. This distracts the listener. The balance is disturbed.\

Music is about balance.

How do you create balance inside a choir?

Try the following exercise with your choir:

  • Divide the singers into duos. You do this the quickest by giving them a random number when they enter the rehearsal room (1 and 1, 2 and 2, 3 and 3, etc.).
  • Is everyone inside? Then ask the numbers 1 and 1 to stand up, so that number 1 discovers who the other number 1 is. Repeat this with all numbers.
  • Ask the singers to focus on the voice of his number companion while singing a song. The intention to listen is enough.
  • Ask the singers to close their eyes. This helps to exclude visual stimuli and to focus on what they hear.
  • Experience what happens.

You will discover a whole new world. You have never listened to each other this way.

So the solution is: just listen to each other. Is it that simple?

Yes. Simple. But not easy! Now that you are aware of this, you will be amazed at how much musicians are focused on singing (or playing) instead of listening to each other. We all want to hear ourselves so badly, that we forget to listen to each other.

In The Voice Gym you will discover the 12 best basic exercises that will help you to better attune to your fellow musicians. I wrote the book to share basic vocal techniques that every singer should know.

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