Sunday, March 1, 2015

Musical Monday - But What If They Can't Sight Read?

I have got to admit that my least favourite part of music theory was sight reading.  I really disliked having to recognize intervals and be able to perform them like a trained parrot.  I saw no need at all for having to have in my pocket that a certain spaces between notes sounded like some song.  Now, I must say that our Kristy is an ace at helping our singers hear the major 6th is the first 2 notes of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean. However, I just wanted to learn the tune and be done with it.  Guess what?  I still feel much the same even after all these years of teaching choirs.  Remember it is Kristy who uses songs to help our singers. 

So how do you help people to sing something they have never seen before?  
1.  Songs - Okay so it really does work for some people.  I think my big things was having to memorize those song intervals without any real music to study.  It does help some people to be able to have a real song to replicate.  

2. Repetition - People can learn easily that notes on one line (space) and then on the next line or space are 3rds, skip a line and then you have a 5th.  It really doesn't matter if you learn the name of the interval but to begin to recognize the SOUND that the sets of spaces makes is really important.  Our job as leaders is to point them out as they sing.  Make certain that the sounds they hear for them to replicate are well done.  Learning by rote or by listening rather than reading can be done in tandem with the reading.  It is a great way to learn both.

3. Same as above for rhythms plus - The one thing I would add to using songs with similar rhythms & repetition is to clap or say rhythms.  Sometimes even walking out a rhythm is helpful.  

4. Make it part of the warm ups - It is always wise to put challenges into the warm ups.  If there is an interval or phrase that causes some difficulty, then build that into a warm up.  Make it fun and let your singers hear it from every angle.  You will be surprised at how fast something can be learned when it is done with fun. 

Relax.  Sight reading can be learned by people who "don't read music".  They may not be able to sit down and play a tune but they can tell where the notes are faster and slower and have big and small jumps.  It is absolutely imperative that we help each other recognize what that hen scratch called "music" means in sounds.  Be patient and give people time to learn.  DO NOT be impatient.  People are all different and learn in various ways.  Bottom line - make it fun and both teacher and student will enjoy the experience. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fun Friday - MNOZIL BRASS lonely boy

I couldn't help it.  This is totally amazing.  You must watch more of the videos from the MNOZIL Brass.  They sing and play and really entertain.  This is beyond all.  Just had to post again. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thoughtful Thursday - Andre Rieu - I Will Follow Him

This is different treatment of this wonderful song.  Oh boy is the audience ever having fun.  Isn't that why we sing?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Musical Monday - Random Music

   It is amazing to me that other people don't burst into song when they see a picture of a sun (Good Morning Mary Sunshine - my mother's wake up song each morning) or a rainbow (Somewhere Over) or a dog ( How Much is that Doggie in the Window).

One day my daughter & I were caught in a huge rainstorm.  We were drenched to the skin.  We decided to sing every song about rain we knew at the top of our voices as we sloshed home.  What fun.  We were just as wet when we got home but we howled with laughter all the time we stripped off our drowned wardrobe.  
So how can we share that joy or maybe, start it. 

1. Be conscious & think- See what is around you and think of a song that comes to mind.  For instance, when I have to find a place in the alphabet, I sing it.  I am not certain I can say it.  

2. If not out loud, think it - Yup.  Just what it says.

3. Enlist a pal - Have one of your pals who loves you no matter what be on the job with you.  Make it a competition to see who can think of the next song.  

4.  Sing anyway - There may be a few places and times when singing aloud won't be all right but you can think it hard in those cases.  

WHY? - 
       *This lightens your mood.  You can't be sad and sing something like "The Farmer in the Dell".
        *If you are thinking of songs, you aren't being critical of someone or something.  
        *You can make others smile with your ditties.
        *Because you CAN. 

Do it with kids, with grandparents with strangers.  Randomly burst into song and revel in the joy. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fun Friday - Lip Sync Battle with Will Ferrell, Kevin Hart and Jimmy Fallon

                                I think our choir should choose something to lip sync.                                               
Get thinking about that one singers!!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Musical Monday - Is There Such a Thing as PROPER Behaviour at a Concert?


Image result for free clip art audienceI read the article "Classical concerts are great. Stop apologizing for them.Aaron Gervais, composer" and it made me start to wonder if people really do know how to behave at a concert whether it be orchestral or vocal or pop.

There have always been certain expectations (I hesitate to call them rules) at a concert as mentioned above.  I was treated to an Il Divo concert a few years ago at the Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.  It is a beautiful venue.  There was a full orchestra accompanying the singers (a great orchestra with a questionable conductor but I digress). The first violinist came in and the orchestra tuned.  The ladies behind me who, by their conversation, were 'groupies' wondered what "that guy" was doing out there.  That kind of comment continued throughout the concert.  The venue itself was the only thing keeping them from screaming and throwing lingerie.

As the group was singing, they continued to make comments about how "cute", "muscular", "sweet" etc. each was until I finally turned around and asked them to wait to talk until no one was singing or playing.  They looked surprised and then complied.  Whew!

So why do grown people not know what is expected at a concert and is it important?

1.  Television - We are used to sitting in front of a box and watching concerts and being able to comment at will.  Some just don't realize that in real life the commenting is interuptive.  I remember taking our toddler to his first movie at a theatre.  I had to explain that he couldn't talk as the other people were trying to listen.  Maybe, the loud ones haven't had that opportunity.

2.  Opportunity - We bribed our kids with dinner where ever they wished after each orchestra concert just to get them to go.  They ended up really enjoying the experiences and bribing didn't have to continue.  Even kids at school seldom get the chance to be an audience.  If they do, sometimes they aren't given guidance as to how to behave so as to allow others to enjoy it too.  I had the opportunity to go to a rock concert in a huge arena and loved it.  There were rules there too.  If the people behind you weren't standing, you didn't stand.  It really was awesome to be a part of that different audience experience.

3.  Basic Courtesy - This old world goes round so much better when we think of others before self.  I have noticed that young people are more apt to hold open the door at a store than middle aged people at the moment.  Some of our older adults can be down right cranky.  Courtesy says you don't speak or interrupt when those around you are trying to listen or enjoy something.

So let's do our best to be as thoughtful to others as we can and hope it catches on.  Take someone to a concert who has never been.  Create opportunities for different groups to come and be an audience then share the reasons for certain behaviours.  Let's see what we can do to help people enjoy music in ways that allow for individuality as well as courtesy.  1, 2, 3, and ---