Katie Gerber

Greetings, Intermediate Singers,

Thank you for a good rehearsal last night. Elena was so impressed with your beautiful singing and you made some important progress on all of your massed songs. Please be sure to work very hard at home this week to fix any challenging sections we had last night – particularly in We Can Plant a Forest! Keep up the great work – you will truly shine in our concert on May 6th!

Important Reminder About Next Week: Next week, our rehearsal will take place at United Methodist Church, Palo Alto at 625 Hamilton Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301 at the usual time of 5:00-7:15. This is due to Easter Week at FCC. See you there!

Trivia Question:  What are some of California’s most important natural resources?

Practice Log: It is very important to practice at home, and to know how much you are doing each week. At Cantabile, we expect our Intermediate singers to practice at least 20 minutes per day. Please use this practice log every Thursday morning as a tool to record the approximate number of minutes you have practiced that week (for example, Week of 10/20: 106 min). This does not include musicianship homework. The singer who has logged the most number of minutes will receive a special prize on the last day of rehearsal!

Action Items and Recap

Please see this list of songs you will be singing in the Spring Concert on Saturday May 6, and with whom. Many are memorized already, and everything (except for We Are a Circle) should be memorized by April 1st:

We Are a Circle (ALL)

For the Beauty of the Earth (Intermediate only)

My Maple Tree and Me (Intermediate only)

Kimineero (Intermediate only)

Kusimama (with Ensemble)

Can You Hear Me? (with Prep 3)

We Can Plant a Forest (with Prep 2 and Prep 3)

There Has to be a Song (ALL)

We Can Plant a Forest

  • LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN AND LEARN YOUR PART! Here are some short and useful excerpts of the challenging 3-part sections:

Part 1 Bridge and Chorus:

There Has to Be a Song

  • Sopranos keep working on that flat 7 in measure 39 – “Somewhere, somewhere..” Sing it soulfully – with feeling and beauty!
  • Watch all the staccato notes –use a more caressing sound as Elena showed you last night.
  • Please review mm. 39-45, which we worked hard to perfect last night!
  • Continue to practice the repeat from m. 69 back to 22, then the jump to the CODA from m. 36 to m. 70.
  • Take note of all the blue notes in the song, and make sure you are singing them – sing the D major scale, and incorporate si (sharp sol) tah (flat ti).
  • Continue to memorize and take note of all dynamic and articulations markings as you do so – they must be memorized and practiced along with the notes and the words!
  • Continue to listen and follow in your score.

Can You Hear Me?

  • Remember Elena’s words – to sing this as if it were to someone who cannot hear – how would you present yourself, with sign language and expression? Please practice in front of the mirror.
  • Watch your vowels to be tall and beautiful, particularly words such as “know” and “grow.”
  • Continue to review these measures very carefully: mm. 5-6, mm. 18-20, mm. 38-40, mm. 61-63, watch your pitches!
  • Please practice the sign language in front of the mirror and make sure the changes match the lyrics – try not to rush through them, but feel them along with the relaxed tempo.
  • Listen to the vocal tracks this week whilst following in your music.
  • Also watch this video of Biralee Chorus from Australia – their sign language is largely what I would like to use, with a few additions.

Kusimama

  • Please practice your motions slowly and precisely this week, but with flow and musicality! Great work!
  • Continue to watch this amazing video from Cantabile’s Spring Concert in 2013 to review the dance moves that you learned!

We Are A Circle

  • Please note we will just sing the main melody and the lower harmony through page 2 but then sing in 3-part harmony from the bottom of page 2 to the end of the song.
  • Continue to practice all the sections we worked on but also Listen to the full piece while following along in your score.

For the Beauty of the Earth

  • Part 1, please review the sections from rehearsal B, where we worked on a lighter and more precise sound, particularly the phrase “for the joy of love.” – no lazy singing!
  • It is time to really keep your eyes up for my direction of dynamic changes and final consonants/cut-offs!
  • Study and memorize the dynamic changes in your score as well!
  • Faster passages require clear pronunciation, for example: “Sun and moon and stars of lights.”
  • Altos can be lighter and more lyrical – give more shape to your phrases rather than focusing on a loud dynamic.
  • Remember the order of the verses:
  1. For the beauty of the earth
  2. For the beauty of each hour
  3. For the joy of human love
  4. For each perfect gift of thine

    I recommend speaking the text like a poem from memory!

  • Listen to the vocal tracks while following along in your music!
  • Continue to review these sections in solfege: 1. Page 5 “of the day and of the night..” 2. Page 6 “Lord of all…..hymn of praise.” 3. Page 7 “Friends on earth..//thoughts and mild.”
  • Continue to find all the phrases which have sustained notes such as half notes, dotted half notes, whole notes, and tied whole notes – how will you continue the sound and give the note direction? Use your finger to “paint” the phrase or aim the note in a direction so the music continues to move!

My Maple Tree and Me

  • Part 2 please review all the 2-part passages to make sure your pitches are secure, especially the two sections with the lyrics “side by side.”
  • Continue to review the “giggling” section in measures 52-53; you should practice getting into it from measure 49.
  • Please also review measure 54-end of the song, especially the two “growing toward to sky” sections.
  • Everyone must review all the sustained notes sections  (such as measures 15-16, mm. 26-27, mm. 33-34, m. 36, m. 38, m. 55 and m. 57.) Find the correct vowel and sustain it beautifully as you sing the note for its full value. Paint the note with in the sky as you sing!
  • Listen to the vocal tracks while following along in your music!
  • Continue to review these measures in solfege: m. 17, m. 26, m. 30-31, and m. 36.
  • Continue to study the dynamics and how you can sing them healthfully, with plenty of expression and clarity in the text.
  • Listen, while following along in your score.

Kimineero 

  • Excellent job last night – this is sounding very exciting and beautiful.
  • Sopranos, please review measures 21, and 41, where you must hold your “mo” syllable for a sustained 5 beats!
  • Altos also need to study measures 21 and 41 to be better prepared for their light “ba-ba-ba’s.”
  • Both parts review measures 44-53, to see when you start your phrase with high sol or low sol.
  • Everyone maintain a lovely “ooh” vowel on “in-kum,” (“in-kooom”) even when the notes are fast! It will sound so much better!
  • Please review all dynamics and take note of the sections where the Sopranos and Altos sing a different dynamic from one another!
  • Listen to the vocal tracks whilst following along in your score.
  • Please review the final section from our key change (m. 89) to the end of the song, particularly the last page, which some singers are rushing. Keep your 2 Rhythm Block and sing it slowly!
  • Review the body percussion, and keep it crisp and precise, and not overpowering your vocal precision:
  1. During “Inkum kiddy kum kimo” it is clap-chest-chest pat-pat-stomp-stomp

2. During “Bah bah bah bah billy illy inkum” it is clap-chest-clap-chest-clap-chest-chest-pat

Musicianship A

Great job playing your vegetable rhythms in 6/8. You also reviewed whole steps and half steps, and worked on your sight-singing! It is now time to start reviewing for your exam. In addition to the pages below, please start reviewing these concepts for the exam on April 20th (sight-singing) and April 27th (written):

Music Theory

  • Identify and explain time signatures with 8 on the bottom
  • Write a major scale (C, G, and F major)
  • Write in counts for rhythms including 16th notes
  • Increased vocabulary (added tempos and articulation markings)

Aural Skills

  • Sing a diatonic scale (C, G, and F major)
  • Sing a tonic triad (in solfege)
  • Take a simple rhythmic dictation in 2/4, 3/4 or 4/4
  • Take simple dictation in C or F major
  • Identify whole and half steps
  • Sight read melodies in C, G, and F major

Homework

  • Singers starting Book 2 should complete pages 38-40– please make sure you are all caught up to these pages!
  • Singers continuing Book 2 should make sure they have completed to book and start to review all pages for the exam on April 27th

Intermediate B

Great job improvising Vegetable Rhythms and creating some awesome rhythmic layers. I also was very impressed with your ability to sight-read and count some complex rhythms in 3/4, 6/8 and 4/4. You also came up with your own sentences to remember the order of sharps and flats, reviewed the major key signatures, and sight-sang in B-flat major. It is now time to start reviewing for your exam. In addition to the pages below, please start reviewing these concepts for the exam on April 20th (sight-singing) and April 27th (written):

Music Theory

  • All Intermediate A skills
  • Identify all major key signatures
  • Know the order of sharps and flats
  • Identify and write all diatonic intervals
  • Write in counts for rhythms with mixed sixteenth and eighth notes

Aural Skills

  • All Intermediate A skills
  • Sight read in keys up to two sharps or flat
  • Do simple dictation in those keys
  • Identify intervals
  • Sing a tonic and dominant triads (on solfege)

Homework

  • All singers should make sure they have completed Book III and review all pages for the exam.

Singers who have completed Book 3 – Please continue to work on last week’s Noteflight assignment, and to review all sight-singing excerpts from past blogs:

  • Log-in to Cantabile’s Noteflight (first name and first letter of last name) with password cantabile2016
  • Be sure you are all caught up with your assignments and have read and followed my comments and feedback which ARE NOW AVAILABLE. I am very impressed with your compositions and please note they are part of your final exam grade.
  • Please continue to work on the attached sight-singing excerpt and do the following:
  1. Identifying the key (major or minor)
  2. Writing in the solfege
  3. Identifying the time signature and how you would conduct this piece
  4. Sight-singing one piece per day
  5. Add lyrics (preferably nature-themed), dynamics, and articulations to three of the songs, of your choice. Practice singing it with lyrics and all your compositional markings.
  6. If you play even a little piano, try adding a bass line by playing the basic chords from the key you are in as you sing the song. I, IV and V chords likely fit the best, but try some ii, iii and vi chords as well.
  7. Review additional concepts and exercises at musictheory.net

Advanced Sight-Singing

Trivia Answer: California has deposits of petroleum, natural gas, tungsten, gold, and boron. Forests, mostly of sequoia and pine, cover about 40 percent of the state. They are important for timber production and preserving the state’s water supply. Water is also one of California’s most important resources.

Have a great weekend! See you next Thursday in Palo Alto!

Warmly,

Katie

April 7, 2017

Intermediate Blog # 13 Thursday April 6th

Greetings, Intermediate Singers, Thank you for a good rehearsal last night. Elena was so impressed with your beautiful singing and you made some important progress on all of your massed songs. Please be sure to work very hard at home this week to fix any challenging sections we had last night – particularly in We Can Plant a Forest! Keep up the […]
March 31, 2017

Intermediate Blog # 12 Thursday March 30th

Greetings, Intermediate Singers, Thank you for a fun and productive rehearsal last night! From cup rhythms to 3-part singing, you made many musical achievements last night, and I am so pleased with your sound, your progress, and your wonderful dedication. Please keep up the good work as we approach our Spring Concert on Saturday May 6th! It is just around […]
March 24, 2017

Intermediate Blog # 11 Thursday March 23rd

Greetings, Intermediate Singers, What a wonderful evening of singing and great work! I felt so much positive energy and enthusiasm all around, and you created so many beautiful sounds and moments of true artistry. You are already well-prepared for the concert, but it is important to keep working in detail on the newer songs, and to start practicing the more […]
March 18, 2017

Intermediate Blog # 10 Thursday March 16th

Greetings, Intermediate Singers, Thank you for your hard work last night – it was a long and tiring evening of perfecting the challenging sections in your songs, and you persevered with impressive focus. I think a lot of us were feeling the time change as well, so remember to catch up on sleep this weekend and bring back your beautiful energy […]
March 10, 2017

Intermediate Blog # 9 Thursday March 9th

Greetings, Intermediate Singers, Excellent work this evening! I am so pleased with the progress of your overall sound and the beautiful blend you are creating with your harmonies and warm colors. You know what to do with your voices and your instinct to produce pure, unified and pristine vowels is kicking in automatically when we come together to sing. Thank you […]
March 4, 2017

Intermediate Blog # 8 Thursday March 2nd

Greetings, Intermediate Singers, It was wonderful to see you last night after our week off, and thank you for a great rehearsal! I heard many beautiful sounds throughout the evening, along with stunning moments of pristine 2 and 3-part harmony – you are striving to reach our goal of beautiful singing and beautiful intonation.  Please continue to study your music at home […]
February 18, 2017

Intermediate Chorus Rehearsal # 7 Thursday February 16th

Greetings, Intermediate Singers, Thank you for a wonderful rehearsal last night. You made some real strides in your overall vocal progress and took many of your songs to the next level with expressive detail and fine-tuning. I am so proud of your hard work and passion for singing and it is one of my greatest joys to work with you each […]
February 11, 2017

Intermediate Chorus Rehearsal # 6 Thursday February 9th

Greetings, Intermediate Singers, You accomplished a great deal in last night’s rehearsal; we were able to touch upon a number of challenging sections in several of your songs, and made our way through most of your repertoire for the Spring concert. I am confident that you will have your songs memorized and ready for polishing by the end of February, which […]