How Can We Improve My Choir’s Sound?

I am in a choir of all adults (18+) but most are over the age of 40.  How can we stop sounding like snakes when we close a word that ends in “s”?  The director has tried everything he can think of.  Thanks!
Hey Alex,

LOL! That’s hilarious, and yet also a common problem for many choirs.

First off, it should be stressed to the choir that when a note is held, it should be held on the vowel. Then, the consonant should be spoken at the last possible second, just before the cut off.

For example, if you’re singing the word “flows” on a whole note, you’d you’d hold floh… for 4 and 3/4 beats, then put the “s” on the last part of the 4th beat. It would be off by beat one of the following measure.

Singing on the vowels is important to stress to singers, because we always go straight to the consonants when we speak. But when we’re singing, that sounds really weird, and gives the snake hissing effect when the word happens to end with an “s” sound.

If the problem persists after this, I’d suggest only having certain people sing the “S” sound, as sometimes everyone singing an “S” sound in a choir can be overkill.

I hope that this helps.

Best of luck with your choir!

~ Vocal Coach Ken Taylor

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