Posted by Gillyanne Kayes on 10/4/2013 to Teaching and performance thoughts
Please don't ask the singer to come to rehearsal with their songs already fully memorised. It's a rehearsal for you to fit things together and try things out, not the definitive performance or recording.
Yes, the notes should be known and the words familiar (unless your job is to note-bash the song for the singer). But if everything is already committed to memory before you rehearse, how on earth do you expect the vocalist to change anything?
Just take a moment to think about how the voice is inside the body, and how the ears are placed in a position that makes it very difficult for the singer to hear him/herself accurately. The singer creates the notes entirely without external aid (no fingerings, no strings, no valves) and has to deal with vowel shapes, consonant clusters and resonance changes at the same time.
The singer is NOT stupid because she is using a lead-sheet still, or has the lyrics to hand. Using the lead-sheet or words during rehearsal enables the singer to externalise what they are doing, and have a chance to adjust their proprioceptive feedback loop to incorporate new messages and new behaviours.