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Tenor off pitch

I have one tenor who only sometimes finds the pitch he is looking for. Any suggestions to help with this? We do not have many tenors in our choir. Perhaps eight tenors; ten at best.
Melanie Ray
Replies (6): Threaded | Chronological
on January 8, 2016 8:42am
I'm green with envy over eight to ten tenors! In this case, it's probably a lack of audiation (the aural equivalent of visualization). I'd try working with the section, giving just the pitch that was problematic. First, the section sings it (on "aah"), then teach singer individually. Repeat, adding the preceding and then the following pitches one at a time. Tell your singers: "Listen; audiate; sing." Exercises in the Do-Re, Do-Mi, Do-Fa, etc. patteren are also useful
on January 9, 2016 6:07pm
Thanks for the tips. I'm in the same situation and they're all 7th graders. I have one 8th grader whose voice has dropped tremendously and can sing a low C easily. My problem is keeping him on pitch and singing higher notes. Any tips!
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on January 10, 2016 7:35am
Make sure that he's singing and not just talking on pitch in his lower range. It's crucial that he doesn't force in any part of his range, especially as his mature voice develops over the next 6-10 years.  I'd vocalize him on a sol-fa-mi-re-do pattern starting on a high mid-range pitch he's comfortable with, then descending by half-steps to the lowesr comfortable Do. Then reverse directions: do-re-mi-fa-sol and up by half-steps to the highest Sol that's comfortable and well-produced, all in the smoothest possible legato. In both descending and ascending versions the final note is held. The vowel is aah -- dropped (relaxed) jaw, mouth open to 8 on the 1-15 scale.
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on January 13, 2016 7:57am
Hi Harriet,
I had one young man, high school freshman, who could only produce pitch - not sing mind you - with the E, F, G below the bass cleff staff. I asked the very same questions. One answer was to have hit talk like Mickey Mouse. The complete head voice thing helped. The next year, after wroking all the previous year on breaking out of the basement, he was able to produce actual tones, and pitches up to middle C. This year I remind him from time to time that he has slipped an octave. Otherwise, he is singing along with the rest of the guys. I think he is not yet comfortable with the D above middle C but can produce it lightly.
Don't know if this will help your young man or not. But mine seemed to love to sound like Mickey, especially when we went to Disneyland to perform. Subsonic giggles are awesome.
on January 11, 2016 5:34am
With the number of tenors you mention, and not knowing the age and/or type of choir, I'd want to know if you've checked his range?  Does the person sing in tune anywhere within his range?  You have outstanding suggestions above, but I'd add one thought - some people are not gifted with pitch and it won't matter what technique is applied.  I often had that experience directing church and school choirs and always disliked having to deal with a disappointed person who wanted to sing.  It reminds those of us who have that gift to be grateful for the joy of music in our lives.
on January 12, 2016 5:56am
Hi, Melanie,
The current Choral Journal (available online at has an article titled "Building a Beautiful Sound with Tenors" by Stephen Sieck, and it may be of help to you.
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