Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Footnotes: In Search of the Meaningful Relationship

Exploring the Marriage of Music and Text—Part 1

I have always believed that it is the successful combination, or marriage, of two art forms—verbal expression, spoken word, sounds or poetry with the elements of music—that is THE determining factor in a quality, meaningful choral work.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Developing the Solo Voice

Lesson 1: Ask questions

I teach private voice lessons to college students in a musical theatre program as well as high-school students in a college-prep program. Some of them come from a strong choral or solo background, while others don’t know anything about singing beyond what they see (and imitate) on popular TV shows. Each student has unique goals and expectations for voice training, but all of them can benefit from having a solid foundation in healthy vocal technique. Regardless of the style or format of singing they prefer, we should give all young singers the gift of knowing how to produce a healthy sound and care for their voices.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Did You Order This Concert To Go?

Pre-packaged Holiday Concerts for Progressive High School Choirs

selections from Heritage Music Press

Edward Pola and George Wyle are names which you most likely won’t recognize. This duo, however, wrote a Christmas song in 1963 which has stood the test of time and become a favorite of many: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year! As a past public school teacher, and especially from the month of September through the month of December, I would often find myself disagreeing with the lyrics to this song. The most stressful time of the year always somehow felt more appropriate!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Story Behind the Song, Ubuntu

I was contacted by Shawn Berry, the artistic director of The Young Singers of the Palm Beaches, in 2012 to write a commissioned piece for his 2013 Spring concert. His choir ranges in age from 8 to 18 years and when everyone is on stage, the singers are 350 strong. As a starting point for the commission, Shawn suggested I research the word, ubuntu, which was new to me. What a wonderful journey of discovery that was.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Help! I need to learn 200 names!

Music teachers are often responsible for hundreds of students, and no one ever pretends that this is easy. Just the same, we all entered this profession because we wanted to share the joy of music with the next generation (however cheesy that sounds, it’s true!) and having large numbers of students is simply an obstacle we need to overcome. Here is one way to help you reach your students more effectively.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Creative Process—Getting Started

Isn’t the creative process fascinating?  I love to watch artists at work – with minimal strokes of the brush a picture emerges.  From a few lines of a pencil, a portrait begins to materialize.  Sculptors play with clay and a recognizable form takes shape. Composers put a pen to paper and… a song is born?  Could it really be that easy?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Life Changing Moments

I remember the day so clearly. You’d think it was a major life event like the day I first laid eyes on my future husband or the day we found out we were expecting. No, it wasn't one of those life events, but it did end up eventually changing my life in a very unexpected way. It was the day a friend and fellow music teacher introduced me to Activate!