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Assigning Voice Parts in rehearsal

How do you assign your singers to voice parts?
Is it a separate process for individual voice placing for you, or the same?

Here are a couple things I've tried, and why I'm not completely happy with them...
  • Hear individuals singing scales/short song = Excellent for matching similarly balanced voices together, and assessing students' strengths, but takes too long!
  • Whole choir scales = Students "choose what is comfortable" This often leads to "lazy sopranos" singing alto, and many of the youngest singers in soprano, and most of the older girls in alto. The younger students don't get the benefit of sitting next to and being mentored by the older girls, and I lose altos as the school year becomes more stressful..
There must be a better way!?
Looking forward to hearing your responses, brains trust! :)

For reference, I run a high school girls choir grades 7-12, 45 students. Rehearsal 75mins weekly.
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