Monday, February 28, 2011

Feb. 28th

Great job singing with the microphone tonight...not a shy singer in the group!  Next week will be our last class.  I invite each of you to share a song with the class.  It can be one we've done or it can be a song of your choosing.  I'm so proud of the progress you've all made!  Here are the parts for "Circle Round for Freedom" and also a singing exercise in minor mode.

melody (middle line)
Soprano (top line)
Baritone (bottom line)

singing exercise in minor

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feb 7th

We talked a bit about the different registers of our voices.  We are most familiar with our chest register as this is where our speaking voice is.  Our higher register, or our head voice, is not as familiar and it feels kind of funny at first to sing up there.  This will get more comfortable as you use this part of your voice. Your brain is building new lines of communication with your vocal folds as you expand your singing range.   We also talked about the place in your voice where the chest and head register come together.  You will learn how to maneuver around that spot so that you don't have a gap or a big change in tone.  Once again, it is just a matter of practice.  If there is a place in a song where you feel your voice jump or give out, just take it slowly and think about how you want it to sound before you sing it.  Keep practicing the songs and exercises from the previous lessons.  This coming week we will sing the minor key songs listed in the previous post as well as Wimoweh.  See if you can pick out the different parts as you listen to Ladysmith Black Mambazo sing Wimoweh.  Try to sing or hum along with one of the parts. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

January 31st

Here are a few singing exercises.  You can follow the notation for the C scale exercise on the sheet I gave you last night or you can follow the Tone Ladder.   The advantage of the Tone Ladder is that you can see the whole and half steps.  If you have the sounds in your ears without that guide, then you will do well with the standard notation (the sheet from last night).  Don't forget to do the voice sliding exercise everyday and also some deep breathing.

Ee, eh, ah, oh, oo exercise
C major scale exercise

We sang mostly in the key of C major and D major last night.  These two songs are in E flat which is just a little higher (half step) than D.  See how you do with these.

"Make New Friends"
"Sing, Sing, Together"

So far we have been singing songs in major keys.  Listen to these songs that are in minor keys.

"Out of Eternity"
"Shalom Chaverim"
"Ah, Poor Bird"
"Peace Round"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jan. 24th

Making music came before writing and theorizing about it, but as humans we like to organize and classify.  The concept of organizing notes into scales and naming notes goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks.  Music notation on a staff came much later in the 10th century and started with just a horizontal line (F) as a reference point for the pitches going up or down. 

The practice of singing scales is a tool that helps us understand the music intellectually and to get our ears accustomed to the sound of the "majorness" or "minorness" of a song.  Singing the scales with solfege (do, re, mi...) also prepares us for reading the music on a staff after we have the sound in our ears.

So, having said all of that, here are your scale exercises for this week.  I put each scale in a separate file so that you could work on them individually.  Note which scales, if any, are easier or harder for you to sing. Follow the tonal ladder for major scales as a reference as you echo the exercises.  It is important to listen and then echo so that you can hear your own voice.  Also, remember to relax and breathe.  Take your breath on the last two notes that I sing. 

C Major
D Major
E Major
F Major
G Major

Monday, January 17, 2011

The beginning - do, re, mi

As Julie Andrews says in The Sound of Music, "When you read you begin with ABC, when you sing you begin with do, re, mi."  So here is your "do, re, mi" practice. I promise it gets easier as you practice.   Remember to relax and breathe.  Try singing as you lie on your back.  It will help you relax. 

Listening is an important prerequisite to singing.  The music must be in your mind before it can come out your mouth. Many of the songs we will be singing in our classes are listed below and in the previous post if you'd like to get them "in your ears".

"Irene, Goodnight" 
"Circle Round for Freedom"
"Chairs to Mend"
"I Love the Flowers"

Here is a really cool YouTube of a flash mob in the Antwerp train station dancing to "Do, Re, Mi" from The Sound of Music.  It will put a smile on your face.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Class cancelled due to snow

The good news is that our class is full (6 students).  The bad news is that our first class is cancelled due to the snow.  We will meet next week and will find a time to make up this missed class.  You can get started by printing out the song sheet below and practicing singing the songs.  Listen to the songs until you can sing along in your mind.  Then try singing aloud.  You can also go to my main blog and follow the lessons there.  Many of the lessons have singing in them along with learning to read music.  See you next Monday.

Songsheet 1

"Make New Friends"
"Sing, Sing, Together"
"Hot Cross Buns"
"Little Things"
"Out of Eternity"