Sunday, November 19, 2017

Musical Monday - Les Miserable in 5 Minutes

Thanks Elaine for this reminder all the way from Antigua.  It is such a treat to have such fine talent sing parts of the songs you know and love.  Maybe ETS should come up with a 5 minute recording of our favourites. Okay now which songs and which parts?   Ready Set Go!!!!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Musical Monday - Nordic Choir - Sure on this Shining Night

Our wonderful singers are working on this beautiful piece.  The dynamics that this choir achieve are so effective. 
Thanks Harold for suggesting it. 
Who wants us to sing it at their event?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Musical Monday - Singing Pumpkins in Many Styles

This is fun just to listen to but imagine letting young people listen and be able to figure out the types and eras of music represented by these talented pumpkins.  How many do you recognize?
Happy Hallowe'en!!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Musical Monday - Top 5 Apps for Singers and Singing Practice

These are wonderful resources that you can use as a choir director or member to ramp up your skills.  Sometimes we just need a refresher for ear training or even getting the right note when singing a capella somewhere.  Again this comes from the
VoiceCouncil Magazine.  Fine tune your ears and refresh your theory knowledge with these essential top singing apps for singers.

Top 5 Apps for Singers and Singing Practice

Various app logos
Fine tune your ears and refresh your theory knowledge with these essential apps for singers.

1. Virtual Piano Keyboard

Virtual Piano Keyboard logo
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a keyboard or piano to practice with, which is why Virtual Piano Keyboard is a great app to have.
This app is a portable keyboard and voice recorder that is perfect for finding your starting notes and keys, and recording your practice sessions. One bonus about this app is that the keyboards range is not limited and unlike other apps, you can easily scroll between octaves when practicing.

2. iRhythmic

iRhythmic logo
Metronomes are so important, especially when learning quick and difficult runs, and iRhythmic is the perfect combination of metronome and teacher.
This app allows you to change the time signature, as well as the tempo and also enter your own rhythms into the app. This is great when you are trying to learn specific rhythms that you are finding difficult to work out! The fact you can change so much within the app sets iRhythmic apart from other Metronome apps. Unfortunately, it is not available on Android, but don’t worry because Jelly Metronome is a great substitute with a fun interface and very similar features.

3. SwiftScales

SwiftScales logo
Warming up properly is vital in any singers’ routine, and SwiftScales provides a variety of scales to help you do so.
With SwiftScales you can use the preset warm-ups specifically suited to your range, or create your own scales and save them to the app. The best thing about this app is that once you have created your own scale, you can share it with other people with ‘Scale Codes’; perfect if you want to swap routines, or share scales with students to ensure they warm up correctly.

4. Harmony Voice

Harmony Voice logo
Singing and creating harmonies is a difficult skill to learn, but Harmony Voice will work out your own harmonies and practice them.
With this app you can listen to the harmonies the app creates while you sing the melody line, or sing harmony line on top of track imported from your music library. Unfortunately, this app is only available on iOS, but if you are an Android user, why not try a recorder like the J4T Multitrack Record, so that you can record one or two lines and practice singing another over the top.

5. ABRSM Aural Trainer

ABRSM Aural Trainer
Aural tests and ear training can sometimes feel repetitive and boring, but ABRSM is an engaging way to practice your aural skills, whether you are working towards an exam or not.
The app will work you through aural exercises that increase in difficulty, which means you can practice and improve your aural skills. Make sure you use the interval trainer this app provides. It is the perfect tool to use when you want to improve your sight singing. Although this app isn’t available for Android, you can use AuralBook for ABRSM, which will provide the same progressive training and the official ABRSM app.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Want Your Voice Fit For Singing? Dr. Rachael Gates explains how...

When you are a singer, you continuously get told to "warm up" before singing.  What exactly is that?  This is a good article from Voice Council magazine with great explanations about how and how much to warm up.

4 Easy Fitness Tips for Better Singing
The physical demands and stressful aspects of vocal performance can decrease the ability of the immune system to fight off infections – says Dr. Rachael Gates.
My advice: Establish routines that increase your general well-being and help you maintain a healthy singing voice.

1. Exercise with purpose

Just by walking a minimum of twenty to thirty minutes at a consistent, comfortable pace every day, you may find that you have more energy and cognitive sharpness.
Eurhythmics, Alexander technique, Feldenkreis, yoga, and dance are recommended conditioning options for singers for their ability to reduce stress and visibly contribute to stage presence and poise.
Power lifting is not recommended as it requires strenuous compression of the vocal folds and can overtax laryngeal musculature. If you do lift, be sure to continue breathing throughout exertion to avoid holding your breath.

2. ‘Warm up’ don’t ‘wear out’

The vocal folds benefit from being warmed up and stretched before intense use.
Begin your practice by vocalizing with light and easy exercises in your middle register before moving gradually into voice exercises (vocalises) that involve your high and low registers.
Condition for a performance months ahead. The night of a performance, avoid extreme vocal warm-ups that would tax the muscles and potentially cause vocal fold swelling.
Time spent warming-up may depend on the time of the day, the time of the month for some women, when and what you last ate and the level of difficulty in what you’re about to sing.
Be very careful not to oversing or rush into your extreme top and bottom ranges. Keep in mind that the reason you warm up the voice is to be able to sing your loudest, softest, highest and lowest without strain.

3. Give yourself a cooling off period

Beware of post-performance receptions. In noisy crowds you may push the voice to be heard
After an intense singing session, use vocalises that are light and gentle to cool down. The easy cool-down will prevent blood from pooling in the blood vessels of the vocal folds and will prevent tightening.
Avoid talking for approximately 30 minutes after an intense practice or performance. Beware of post-performance receptions. In noisy crowds you may push the voice to be heard. Such strained speech can easily damage the vocal folds after a taxing performance.

4. Allow your voice to rest and recover

Your voice’s muscles need to replenish nutrients through rest. As you use your voice for long periods of time, the muscles stop contracting as well and you begin to feel fatigue as you lose more and more muscular control.
Once you stop singing or talking and thus begin to rest the voice musculature, you start to regain strength and control.
When we refer to building better stamina, we are referring to muscles that are becoming more efficient at bouncing back after rest periods. No matter how fit a person is, no one can go on contracting a muscle forever.
The body needs short breaks. You need the rests written into your songs and you need the breaks between songs during a concert to help stave off fatigue.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Musical Monday - We're Canadian & Thankful

It is our Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend.  I am SO thankful to be Canadian.  This song has so much that is Canada in words and pictures.  For all our fellow Canadians, ex-pats and friends from around the world, we are thankful for YOU!!!