It was wonderful to have everyone back together again this week. Your work at home is continuing to show in your readiness at rehearsal, and even though there is still more work to do, you should be proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish so far. As a reminder, we now have three (3!) Wednesday practices left before the Holidays with Cantabile Concert.
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.
Action Items and expectations for next Rehearsal, November 9th:
- Spend quality time with Caverns in the Clouds. We’ve slid backwards in terms of knowing you part, vowel alignment and dictation.
- Allunde & Amavolovo: practice with choreography in front of a mirror this week. Make sure your movements are clear and purposeful.
- All other rep – Grace, Vindo, Old Fox, Stars Tonight, Most Wonderful time, Rise Up: fully memorized including choreography.
Concepts addressed this week:
- The technician vs. the artist: “The artist (or performer) can not come out until the technician is done with his or her job.” Some of us are still in “technician” mode – perfecting notes, rhythms, and words. We need to be in the “artist” mode – where our rehearsals are about connecting (to the music, the text, the conductor, each other), creating beauty, and making music. In order for that to happen, you must spend your time at home with the technician – practicing and perfecting every piece of your music.
- Following a conductor: We are at the point in our season where you should be able to completely follow and respond to your conductor. Elena gave you beautiful gestures to follow last week and while some of you responded to her, many of you did not. Now is the time to connect with your conductor and make music together.
- Memorization of form: As we discovered last week, there are nuances in each song that make it’s different sections unique. For example, in Caverns in the Clouds, the Altos do not echo the Sopranos in the first chorus. Elena discussed that when you have a section that’s very similar over and over again (ie the chorus), you must find the differences, and practice just the sections with the differences, without the other parts (the verses) in between. Then, once those are mastered, practice them backwards – the third chorus, the second chorus, and then the first chorus etc.
- Self-Reflection and Analysis: Below each song are the recordings we made in rehearsal. I strongly suggest that as part of your practicing this week you perform the “Self-Reflection and Analysis” exercise listed below for each piece. Come prepared to share what you heard, what you learned, and how it influenced your practicing this week to the next rehearsal.
Self-Reflection and Analysis Exercise
- Before you listen to each piece, make a list of the following:
- What do you expect to hear in this performance?
- What do you think will be good about this?
- What do you think may not be as good?
- Listen once without your music: What do you hear? (Actually write down what you hear, or don’t hear.) Think about:
- Sound/tone quality
- Pronunciation and diction
- Beginning and ending consonants
- Tall vowels
- Articulations – legato vs. staccato etc.
- Expression in the text, including word stress
- Entrances and cutoffs
- Tempo – does it drag or rush? Do certain sections or phrases drag or rush?
- Overall, do you enjoy listening to your performance? Why or why not? What either makes it enjoyable, or what would you need to do to make it more enjoyable?
- Then, listen with your music in front of you. Ask yourself the same questions as above (including writing down your answers), but this time being aware of what you should be hearing in the recording. For example, if you see a crescendo for two bars, do you hear it? If you see an accent, do you hear it?
- Go back and review what your answers to number 1. Did your predictions match what you thought you would hear? Why or why not?
- Next, given your predictions and what you heard – or didn’t hear – make a list of what you need to either practice, do differently, or do more noticeably in order to accomplish what you expected/wanted to hear.
- If you were clinicing Ensemble next week, what would be the top three pieces of feedback/critique you would give them and why?
Stars Tonight, Judy Herrington
As a reminder, this is a piece that we’ll be singing with Intermediate at the Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec. 4th
- In general you’ve made some very good progress on this piece after last week’s rehearsal. A few things still need to be cleaned up, in addition to the concepts addressed above.
- Sopranos, m.24-25, hold your high E for the entire 5 beats, ending on the down beat of 4.
- m. 57-m.58: Altos, double check that you are singing the right notes – the chords aren’t coming together properly.
- A HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to finally learn page 7!
- In general this piece needs more consistent precise diction – it started beautifully and faded as we got through the song.
- Dynamics and phrasing – we can do much, much more with the dynamics in this piece, especially in all of the crescendos and decrescendos in the phrases. Spend time this week with your music, so that you know where each phrase begins, climaxes, and ends.
Rise Up Shepherd, and Follow
This is another piece that you’ll be performing with Intermediate for the Holidays with Cantabile concert.
- There’s still not enough excitement and joy in your voices. You must believe in the text. There should be a smile on your face the entire time you sing this song.
- Please practice the sforzando piano we added to the last note of the song.
- Continue practicing this with a metronome this week! As a reminder you consistently drag throughout the piece. We practiced singing only our vowels, and it helped tremendously. Your consonants need to be fast so that your vowels are sounding on the beat, instead of your consonants sounding on the beat.
- Throughout the piece your dictation needs to be clearer and more precise. This week the piece should have been called “Eyes up Shepheard”. In addition, make sure you take a good full breath and have the space prepared in your body for each entrance. That will ensure that your ready to come in on time with a big “R” for those phrases.
Old Fox Wassail
- “Fox” in “sits an old red fox” is short – practice this over and over again until you can’t sing it any other way!
- In addition “God Bless You” needs to be separated – use your “glockenspiel mallet” or “bell ringing” hands to remind you how to sing those notes. This was great two weeks ago and has fallen back into being long and connected.
- Continue practicing this with the metronome at 90-95 bpm.
- Practice this in a mirror so you can see your facial expressions come through!
Caverns In The Clouds
This wasn’t the strongest we’ve heard Caverns in awhile. Please spend time re-looking at this this week.
- Altos – for the past three weeks there has been a note in this blog that you do not sing an echo in the first chorus. Please see the concept above about how to memorize your music for help with this!
- You’ve lost a lot of your diction in this piece. Use stronger sound of “f” in words like “fly,” “fill” and “c” in “caverns” (etc.) to make the text come alive.
- Connect with the text and the sound of this piece – it was too heavy last week. It should be as beautiful and delicate as the angels that you are singing about.
- Make sure and lift during the rests (m. 29 beat 2, etc.)
- Reminder: keep your long notes moving, growing, going forward, and connected to the next set of text when there isn’t a rest.
- Make sure that all of your vowels are tall and round – use your hand (moving from a horizontal to vertical line) to help you visualize the shape of the vowel. Especially in words like “light”, “sky”, “night”, “mountains”– these tend to be a bit spread and quite bright (hey, these two more words that have the same combination of sounds!).
This is the choreographed opener for our Holidays with Cantabile concert on Dec 4th.
- Rehearse with the choreography this week. Here are a few reminders from Wednesday
- “Allunde, allunde” – your open, upstage hand (in a firm, but not stretched L) should frame your chin closely, but it shouldn’t be on your face. When you call out, your head should not be completely facing the side, but rather at a 45 degree angle from the audience.
- When you raise your hand at the beginning of each non-”allunde” phrase, trace it with your eyes – “admire” it.
- Rocking the baby should have your arms overlapping each other. Always start rocking to the right.
- When you bring your arms up and cross them with outstretched hands, give a slight lift when you reach the downbeat of the last “allunde.”
- Your hands come down straight in front of you, not in a widening circle.
- Here is a recording of Cantabile performing it in 2012 to help you practice both the music and the movement.
Grace (from last week’s rehearsal)
We’ll also be performing this at the Holiday’s with Cantabile concert.
- Parts of this went very well on Wednesday night, and other parts were very rusty. You must make sure that you are keeping all of your repertoire fresh and alive each week, even if we don’t have time to sing through it all in rehearsal.
- Please look at this again this week (especially the second half) and make sure you have your notes 110% solid.
Review: 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
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Other announcements and reminders:
- Fall Rehearsal Information: Please read the email that went out last Thursday with important information about the fall rehearsal!
- Call Time: 9:30am in the parking lot off of Bryant St.
- Uniform: Black Cantabile t-shirt, smart jeans, tennis shoes
- Please also bring: your Cantabile music, pencil, labeled water bottle, and sack lunch. (Please do not bring your yoga mat.)
- Pick Up: Approximately 2pm in the Fellowship Hall after the concert
- Tour to the Crescent City: Registration is now open on the member portion of the website. As a reminder, we need to register by November 10th – which is only a few days away!!! Don’t make Elena call you personally and remind you to sign up!
- Carpooling: Please use this spreadsheet to both request and offer carpooling to and/or from weekly rehearsals, events (eg. Potluck) 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!
Remember, “An amature practices until they get it right. A professional practices it until they can’t get it wrong.” Here’s to all your hard work to come this week, and we’re looking forward to a wonderful Fall Rehearsal with everyone tomorrow morning!
Elena and Jazmine