I have in my many years as a choral singer performed under the direction of 12 different conductors. Each conductor has their own style and all get great sounds out of their choirs. However when I was observing some student conductors lately who were rehearsing choirs, I found them saying (more often than not) a lot of contradictory comments to the choirs. Here are some examples:
Choir finishes singing through a piece and the student conductor says
"Ok, soprano's, this next time through the piece could you FOLD into the sound without singing QUIETER.
After the student said that and then moved forward with the rehearsal I began to think about what was asked of the sopranos.
1. They were asked to FOLD into the sound. Folding, usually consists of diminished something by halves or fourths (depending on how you would fold a napkin).
2. They were asked to NOT sing QUIETER in order to blend with the choir (which I believe not singing quieter and yet folding the sound are contradictory to one another).
After observing some more student conductors I found a lot more contradictory comments. This lead me to ask myself,
how often do we sit back as conductors and analyze what we say to our choirs and if what we say is being understood (the way we want it to be)?