Rehearsal #7/February 15th, 2017

Prep 1 Blog #2 Week of February 13, 2017
February 18, 2017
Intermediate Chorus Rehearsal # 7 Thursday February 16th
February 18, 2017

Rehearsal #7/February 15th, 2017

Dear Ensemble,

We had another good week, but unfortunately, we are still spending too much time teaching notes and rhythms that can be learned at home.  We trust that you have the skills needed to have successful practice sessions at home, and we are holding you to the expectation that you are going to be able to take over that responsibility from here on out.  We have so much wonderful music to dive into, so let’s set our sights on making music together, instead of just learning it!  

A quick note of acknowledgment and gratitude: the past few weeks you have become rock stars in getting yourselves prepared and seated at the start of rehearsals and musicianship classes.  We acknowledge you for being self-aware and proactive in knowing what needs to be done, by when, and then actually doing it!  Thank you, and keep it up!!

Action Items and expectations for next Rehearsal, March 1st:

  1. Record yourself singing The Wind for Elena and send it to her by Wednesday, February 22nd.  That also means you must learn your parts – 110% solid – for The Wind.  See below for notes.  
  2. You received another new piece this week – There Has To Be A Song.  Start learning your parts.  They aren’t hard, and you should be able to sing your part through by the next rehearsal.
  3. Continue learning Shine On Me, making sure you are singing the right harmonies!
  4. Practice choreo for Kusimama if you mean to perform it at the concert, you have to learn the dance. No exceptions.
  5. Review Turn the World Around (see notes on the piece below)
  6. As a reminder, you should be at the following levels of preparedness for each song, meaning “right notes, right rhythms, and right words”:
    1. Shine on Me: 80%
    2. In Safety and Bliss: 100% (Recordings below!)
    3. We Join With the Earth: 100% up to m.126, 80% from 126 to the end (Recordings below!)
    4. The Wind: 100%
    5. Kusimama: 100%
    6. Turn The World Around: 75% up to m. 41 and m.73-end
    7. The Earth is Full of Poetry: 100%
  7. Practice the most recent yoga flow no less than 3 times before next rehearsal.
  8. Practice breathing meditation every day for at least 5 min.
  9. Record what pieces and how long you practiced into practice log; hand in practice log to Hannah as you sign in.

Key ideas and Action Items from the last rehearsal:

    1. Repetition: Some of you have spent quality, meaningful time with your music, but some have not.  There are still wrong notes and rhythms in pieces that you’ve now had for several weeks.  If you are still struggling, you must spend quality time over the next two weeks using the approaches Elena has using in class to teach you your notes.  (Altos in particular, please see notes below on “The Wind”.)  Remember, an amateur practices until they get it right, professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong!                                                                             
    2. Deep Practice: It’s important that when you spend time with the music that’s it quality or meaningful time.  Don’t just sing through what you can already sing well.  Focus on those areas that you’re having trouble with.  Use the “divide and conquer” along with “repetition” methods to master what you can’t yet do.  This requires focus, persistence, dedication, and energy, but there’s no greater feeling that mastering that which you couldn’t previously do.  It’s worth the work – trust us!  
    3. Engage beyond the notes: For those of you who may have your notes and rhythms very solid, start engaging with the music beyond what’s on the page.  Spend time with the text alone, practicing it in rhythm until you find where the natural word stress lies.  Find a way to connect with the deeper meaning of the piece.  Practice singing in front of a mirror and see if your face tells the story that you want it to.  There’s quite a bit of ‘music’ in the songs that we have that we haven’t even begun to touch yet in rehearsal.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t engage with it when you practice.  You are all intelligent, capable musicians – surprise (and delight!) us next rehearsal by coming prepared to show us how you’ve already dug into the next level of music in these pieces.  
    4. Respect and commitment go hand-in-hand: Respect of the music, your peers, and your teachers.  We have a few rules in Ensemble rehearsals; they are simple and easy to follow. I would like to see that we have a 100% of these rules respected at every weekly rehearsal:
      1. Be 5 min early to class
      2. Bring folder, mat, water bottle, pencil
      3. Complete and turn in your practice log and musicianship assignment
        We will continue to recognize students who turn in their practice logs every week!  Be sure to put your name on them!
    5. NEW: Honestly and fully engage in the task at hand.  Whether it’s a funny warm up, or a change of standing position, or an instruction during rehearsal, you must be willing to completely engage yourself in what’s being requested of you.  Otherwise, why make music together!


The Wind, Rich Campbell

You will be singing this song on your own at the All Choir Concert this Spring.

  • Altos – you must practice the transitions between phases this week.  Use the ‘repetition’ method to practice singing the end of one phrase, then just singing the starting note of the next.  For example, sing “things you did” (m.40), then find your next note (F#) and sing just that note.  Make sure you leave space between the final note of one phrase before you sing the starting note of the next.  Practice that transition over and over until you can’t get it wrong.  Then go onto the next transition (i.e. m.44) and practice the transition between those two phrases.  You must focus on these transitions in order to be able to sing your part effectively next rehearsal!  
  • Remember your “accents baby” every time the chorus comes around.  Use your fingers (or better yet, your whole body) to give those sections some life!
  • Lyrical diction: when you practice make sure your vowels are nice and tall.  Use your vertical hand pointing up then forward to remind you on words like “a-round”.  This also applies on words such as “skirts” (“skeh” instead of “skur”), “did”, “sky” etc.
  • On “sings so loud” don’t clip “sings” use your “waiter hand” to carry “sings” forward.
  • Reminder: Sopranos no breath between m.96 and m.97.
  • Everyone needs to review from m.100 to the end for note accuracy.
  • I (Jazmine) will be recording parts this weekend, and Elena will be recording the accompaniment.  Use them to help you practice!  We will update the blog (and email you) when they have been posted.

There Has To Be A Song, by Andrea Ramsey

You will be singing this with everyone as the closing piece at the All Choir Concert.

  • Start learning your part – the notes and rhythms aren’t hard!
  • Pay close attention to when the notes are quarter notes, and when they are eighth notes followed by eighth note rests.  The composer made them that way for a reason!
  • Most of this song is in unison, except for m.16-m.17, m.33-m.34, m.39-m.45, m.49., m.63-m.66, and m.73-3nd  Make sure you learn the right part!
  • You can listen to an excellent recording here.  (Please listen to the audio file of the Lawrence Children’s Choir, conducted by Janeal Krehbiel.  It is the small triangle ‘play button’ listed above the You Tube video of the Santa Barbara Men’s Choir).   

Shine on Me, Tradition Spiritual, Arr. Rollo Dilworth

You will be singing this with everyone as the closing piece at the All Choir Concert.

  • Continue learning your part, constantly checking the the pitch you’re singing is the correct harmony, and not just what you think it is!
  • Word stress and repetition: whenever you have a series of 8th notes (i.e. m.27) there should be a slight and natural word stress on the strong beats: aka beats 1, 4, and 7 in 9-8, or the syllable “won” on each downbeat.  The arranger even wrote in tenuto markings throughout your score to remind you – please observe them!
  • Once you have a good handle on the notes and rhythms, start incorporating the feel and style of this piece.  Do you remember what the difference between and spiritual and a gospel piece is and how they are stylistically different?
  • You can listen these two different, but good recordings here or here.

Bonus Points: What other song have you sung that was arranged by Rollo Dilworth?  Write the answer on your practice log!

Turn the World Around, Harry Belafonte and Robert Freedman, Arr. Larry Farrow (from last week)

You will be singing this with Vocalise at the All Choir Concert this Spring.

  • Continue learning your part from the beginning to m.41.  In addition, start learning your part from m.73 to m.85
    • Sopranos: don’t worry about the high Bb at the end – we will address that next week.
  • Keep a steady beat somewhere on your body (feet, leg, chest etc.) to help with your syncopated rhythms.  
  • Also!  There is an important divisi to note.  M.13-16 Alto 1s sing the tenor line. (Alto 2s continue singing the alto line.)
  • Please do not work on any other sections of this piece as there are important divisi to be assigned which we do in class.  
  • Watch this fantastic video!
  • As a reminder, this song is an African folk song from Guinea about the origins of mankind, and how the elements (fire, water, mountains, earth) are what we are all made of.  The composer reminds us that we are only here for a short time, and that it’s important for us to truly know and understand each other, as we are not very different from each other.  And that from that love and understanding, we can turn the world around.  

Earth Songs – The World is Full of Poetry, David Brunner (from last week)

You will be singing this with Vocalise at the All Choir Concert this Spring.

  • Keep learning your parts for this movement, making sure that you are singing exactly the right notes in places such as m.35 and m.57
  • Please review m.55 to the end for correct notes.
  • This week in your practicing start adding in word stress, tone color etc.  (See No. 2 in “Ideas and Concepts”)
  • You can listen to a great recording of the 1st movement (“The World is Full of Poetry”) by the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir, on their album called Homeland on Spotify.  (The track is titled “The World is Full of Poetry from Earthsongs (David L. Brunner)”.)

Earth Songs – In Safety and Bliss, David Brunner (from last week)

  • Good to job to those of you who could recite the poem this week!  Next week we’ll hear from a few more of you…
  • M.88-end mark which beat you come in on, and which beats your cut off on with your “blissful hearts”.  
  • Isolate your leaps and practice them over and over, making them as smooth and legato as possible.  Right now they sound quite awkward and out of tune. (Ex: m.84 E to C#, m.85 E to D# etc.)
  • Just like with Turn the World Around, keep a steady beat (ideally with an eighth note subdivision) somewhere in your body.  This will help with keeping your place for your entrances and cut offs.
  • As mentioned above, start working on internalizing the text when you practice this week by reading the lyrics as a poem.  See where the natural word stress falls.  Remember our rule with repeated text: every repetition has to have new musical or poetic meaning.  Start thinking about how each repetition of “blissful heart” is going to mean something different.
  • NEW: You can download both the Soprano and Alto parts to In Safety and Bliss, as well as the accompaniment to We Join With The Earth here.


Other announcements and reminders:

  • Remember to email your The Wind recording to Elena by Wednesday Feb 22nd!
  • I (Jazmine) will be grading your Progress Checks over the break and will hand them back to you for corrections when I see you next.  
  • Musicianship Homework: Make sure you are turning in your musicianship books each week!  Please make up your missed work and turn it in to Hannah every week!
  • Practice Log: As a reminder, please record the day you’ve opened the blog, when you’re practicing, for how long, and what you’re practicing in each session.  During practice, focus your attention on details by following blog instructions for each song.  Bring your completed practice log with you to the next rehearsal.  You can now use this Cantabile Practice Log to record your practicing each week.  

You have two amazing weeks of practice ahead of you.  Your conductors are doing everything we can to support you in being successful with your practicing, but it is up to you to find the time, energy, and focus to make that practicing meantiful!  You are all excellent musicians, and we have complete faith that you have all the skills required to create success.  Now go show us what you can do!

Have a wonderful President’s Day and Ski Week!

Elena and Jazmine


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