• Southern California Vocal Association

Festival Listening Guide

These questions are intended to help develop students' understanding and appreciation for the music being performed. They can assist students in writing critiques which may be required by directors.

  1. Does the choir have good posture, breath support, and voice production? Is the vocal tone appropriate to the selection? (Bright, strident, dark, breathy, open, etc.)
  2. How well does the group sing in tune (intonation)? Are intervals accurate and chords lined up properly?
  3. How well do the voices blend (uniform tone quality) within and between the sections? Are vowels uniform?
  4. Do the sections sing in balance with each other so that important parts are heard clearly?
  5. Is the choir accurate in their attacks, releases, correctness of notes and rhythms?
  6. Are all parts of the words correctly pronounced? Are all consonants clear? Are all vowels well shaped?
  7. Do the dynamics, tempo, and phrasing of the selection seem varied and interesting enough to bring each piece to life?
  8. Does the choir sing with real expression and vitality, and communicate the meaning of the text (regardless of the tempo)?
  9. How well does the ensemble watch and respond to the director? Do any individuals distract the audience from the music before, during, or after the performance? Does the choir sincerely reflect the meaning of the text on their faces?
  10. Does the overall discipline and deportment of the choir (on and off stage) reflect a professional musical attitude?