Jazmine Harnishfeger-Brand

Dear Ensemble,


Thank you for a wonderful night of music making on Wednesday!  Each one of you showed up ready to breathe, move, sing and share the joy of learning new music!

This week there is a lot more music to learn.  Please see your action items for practicing below:

Breathing meditation, standing position and a Yoga flow

Continue practicing breathing as follows (5 min a day.) This technique will not only relax and center you but will also greatly improve your ability to sing long sustained phrases.

Mind and body are one continuum, reconnected through breath

  1. Sitting on the floor cross legged, close your eyes and lengthen your spine: crown reaching up/tailbone reaching into the ground, sternum lifted, chest expanded.)
  2. Notice your natural breath for several rounds, while relaxing your abdomen and facial muscles. Notice gentle expansion of the ribs and belly on the inhale.
  3. Empty the lungs completely by pulling the navel close to the spine but keeping the chest up. Inhale slowly and mindfully, filling up with air from bottom to mid- to upper lungs. Exhale slowly pulling the navel in. This is the extended breath.
  4. Continue with extended breath for a few more rounds. Feel your body expanding with shimmering luminous light and contracting into the belly. Notice your body relaxing and feeling lighter.

Standing Pose…

Is the most important pose to learn for anyone who wants to improve his/her singing, posture, health, wellbeing and creativity!

Here is your “template” practice daily and try to keep this posture intact while walking too!

Stand with FEET parallel, feeling “rooted” through the 5 points in connection in both feet

  • Inner heels, outer heels
  • Mounds underneath big toes and little toes
  • Big toes

Activate the arches of feet, relax the KNEES with a microbend

Tap THIGHS to activate them but stay relaxed

Tuck and tip pelvis slightly to find the neutral position of the HIPS: in line with knees and heels

Lift STERNUM noticing the space between hips and RIB CAGE

Relax SHOULDERS down and back (shoulder blades tucking into imaginary pockets)

ARMS relaxed and long, by your side

Reach up through sides of the SKULL, CHIN tucked in, JAW relaxed, NECK elongated.

Gentle smile – – feeling calm, present, rooted to the groups and open to the limitless sky of possibilities.

Our first yoga flow…

Singers and musicians of any kind, athletes of all types, and creative people all over the world have long recognized the power, benefits and joy of yoga. Mindful, fluid movement through yogic poses — a flow — is one of the greatest ways to re-align your body with your mind, to feel calm, joyful and energetic. We will spend about 5 min at each rehearsal practicing different poses — monkeys, pigeons, roosters, green dragons, cats, cows, dogs and sphinxes!

Flow #1 (Forward bend/monkey/chair)

Begin in standing pose (as described above)

Hands together in front, slowly raising them to a forward salute (inhale)

Exhale — forward bend: round the back, release neck, head, arms; let gravity pull you down, stretching the hamstrings, lower back, calves.

PLace hands on lower back, bend knees, chin tucked: slowly unbend – vertebra by vertebra- to standing, neck and head come to place last — this takes INHALE and EXHALE

Slowly bring arms up as before, inhaling — forward salute and forward arch

Exhale- forward bend

INhale — monkey (legs straight but relaxed, spine straight and long,hands on knees, back and head make a “table”

Exhale — forward fold, bend knees

INhale — Chair (knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms raised above head.

Exhale — standing

Exhale into standing.

Sing Legato

This is a great book of vocal exercises that we will study throughout the year.

Each “song” focuses on a particular style of singing like legato, staccato, marcato or a vocal skill such as singing leaps, executing tricky intervals or changing dynamics quickly. Essentially, these are warm-ups and (just like the warm ups we do each rehearsals) they should be sung in several keys — going up and down half steps from the original key. It is called “transposition.”
Once you learn the melodies, simply give yourself a new starting note and continue in a new key.

At the last rehearsal, we learn #1 song: Sing Legato. As part of your homework:     

  • Practice singing this in several different keys, keeping your notes smooth and connected.
  • We also had fun guessing what word Elena substituted for “smoothly” based upon her facial expressions.  See if you can practice conveying different emotions or qualities in the mirror when you practice at home!

Grace, arranged by Mark Hayes

Homework: learn your part solid from beginning to mrs. 57.

Altos and Soprano 2, mark your score to reflect the changes in voicing (see below)

This is one of the songs that you will perform at the Holiday Concert in December, together with Vocalise and Bravi.

In class, we listened to a great rendition of the piece on Spotify, performed by the Women’s Chorus of Bringham Young University on their CD, “Wonderous Love” (you can hear it again on spotify)

  • Continuing reviewing your part through m. 57 (just before the key change) so that it’s solid for rehearsal next week.  
  • As a reminder, Here is the new divisi:
    • m.54-m.73: Alto 2’s drop to the Tenor line on beat 2 of m.54 (“will”)
    • m.55: Soprano 2’s join the Alto 1’s on the Alto line

Caverns In The Clouds

You did a great job learning this song beginning to end in one rehearsal! It was thrilling to see and hear!


  • Review your part by singing the song from the beginning, in a steady tempo. If you don’t play the piano too, simply give yourself a starting note for each entrance. Note where all parts are singing in unison and where your section has a different part/melody.
  • Pop quiz: do you remember what three scale degrees (think solfege) the composer repeats to change keys in m.54-m.58?  
  • The score has pictures of Cantabile singers and Cantabile director on it? Why is that??

Old Fox Wassail

Homework: learn your part beginning to end

  • We read through the text of this piece and talked about the tradition of wassailers and the meaning of the words they sing in their greetings. Wassailers were practically carolers: a tradition that developed later — going door to door singing and asking for either food or money or even shelter. If you are a history buff like Elena, you might enjoy reading this great article about wassailing here http://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/Wassailing/  
  • Listen and start learning your parts so that we can put together the harmonies next rehearsal. At the very least, you should be able to say the text in rhythm beginning to end.


  • Continue practicing your part from beginning through m. 77 (the key change). Listen to the song (video link below) and sing your part along. Make sure you got the pronunciation right for this Finnish-language-influenced nonsense text.

(not everything in life must have purpose and make sense — some things are simply for fun and pure joy! Vindo is one of them 🙂  I promise to give you plenty of “serious” songs later!)  

Here’s the video we listened to in rehearsal.

If you are unsure of your part placement (Soprano 1, Soprano 2, etc.), you can find them here.  

Other announcements and reminders:

  • Carpooling: Please use this spreadsheet to both request and offer carpooling to and/or from weekly rehearsals, events (eg. Retreat) and concerts. The more of our families that use this resource, the more useful it will be to our community. If you can offer a carpool – please add yourself to the list. Thank you!
  • Parent orientation is Wednesday, September 7th at 6:15pm.  Your parents must attend – we will cover a whole year of vital information! Ensemble is a family commitment: for you to be successful, your parents must be well informed and stay current to all our activities.
  • Retreat: all singers are required to attend the Cantabile retreat at YMCA Camp Campbell September 16th – September 18th.  Please make sure you read your handout given out last week.
  • Girls: We are changing the shoe requirement for this year.  Please purchase your new shoes (Capezio Daisy Ballet Flat in black) through Amazon or Capezio asap!
  • Bring your yoga mats!  Every week we will start at exactly 5:05pm on the floor with our shoes and socks off, and our yoga mats half-rolled beneath us. New singers will be getting their Cantabile yoga mats at retreat.  
  • Pop Quiz Answer!  The composer uses a sequence of “do-re-mi” in the keys of
  • Musicianship Homework: please make sure you finish your assignments for this week, as well as any work you didn’t do last week, and bring them to rehearsal on Wednesday!  We had several of you not complete your homework last week.

Thank you all for your focus and attention throughout our rehearsal.  We hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and we’re looking forward to another wonderful Wednesday full of music making!

Elena and Jazmine


September 2, 2016

August 31, 2016/Rehearsal #2

Dear Ensemble,   Thank you for a wonderful night of music making on Wednesday!  Each one of you showed up ready to breathe, move, sing and share the joy of learning new music! This week there is a lot more music to learn.  Please see your action items for practicing below: Breathing meditation, standing position and a Yoga flow Continue […]
September 2, 2016

August 29, 2016/Rehearsal #2

Dear Vocalise, Thank you so much for a great rehearsal this week and ESPECIALLY for arriving so promptly and getting settled and focused for the welcoming mediation BEFORE 5:30. We had no late arrivals and that is a great year way to start the season! Your home practice assignment will be a bit more than usual since we have two […]
August 27, 2016

August 24, 2016/Rehearsal #1

Dear Ensemble, It was wonderful to see each and every one of you on Wednesday, and on behalf of all of us at Cantabile, we are so excited for another year of exceptional music making! On Wednesday, in addition to meeting many new friends, we started two new pieces.  Please see your action items for practicing below: Yoga Standing position […]
August 25, 2016

August 22, 2016/Rehearsal #1

Dear Vocalise, It was wonderful to see each and every one of you on Monday night, and on behalf of all of us at Cantabile, we are so excited for another year of exceptional music making! On Monday, in addition to meeting many new friends, we started three new SATB pieces, and one SSA.  Please see your action items for […]
January 6, 2016

Singing into the future

Happy New Year! It’s the first week of January and, like most people, I like to pause on the threshold of 2016, reflecting gratefully on the gifts of the past year and welcoming the unknown with a smile and excitement. Thoughts and emotions fill my mind and heart as I think back on Cantabile’s many wonderful events, concerts, rehearsals, gatherings, and conversations. But […]