Intermediate Blog # 10 Thursday March 16th

Vocalise Blog #9: 3/13/2017
March 17, 2017
March 20 – Bravi / VTG Rehearsal #9
March 22, 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 next week. From now on, our rehearsals are focused on polishing for the Spring Concert, and this includes practicing your stage presence and expression, and sharing the beautiful message of each song! I am sorry our Music Jeopardy Game prevented us from leaving time for the Irish Jig! We will do this next week!

Trivia Question:  This week, we will learn a new song in the style of traditional Native American music, entitled “We Are a Circle.” What are some common Native American percussion instruments?

Save the Date: Thursday March 30th Masterclass with Elena Sharkova

Parents are welcome to sit in on this special opportunity for the singers of Intermediate Chorus to perform and receive expert instruction from our world famous Artistic Director. The Masterclass portion of our rehearsal will take place from 6:00-7:00, during which time the singers will perform and work on 1-2 selections from their current repertoire. Please join us!

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 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)

Thula Klizeo (with Prep 2 and Prep 3)

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

There Has to be a Song (ALL)


  • If you practice, you must warm up as well, as we do in rehearsal. You can choose from any number of warm-ups we do, and move up and down by half-steps: Mama Made Me Mash, Vowels (Oooh Oh Ah Eh Eee), My Dog Has Fleas, Sing Ee Sing Eh Song Ah, I Sing My Song La-la-la, Soda Pop Can…and many more!

Can You Hear Me?

  • Please review these measures very carefully: mm. 5-6, mm. 18-20, mm. 38-40, mm. 61-63
  • 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.

For the Beauty of the Earth

  • Altos please review the timing on the final page.
  • Everyone continue to feel the sensation of the “scarf breaths” we took a few weeks ago – the expansion, exhale on a vowel, and release!
  • Remember the “giggling sections” here as well – make sparkling, electric points with your fingers to show their light and energy!
  • Try to 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

My Maple Tree and Me

  • 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.

    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!


  • 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


  • Listen to the vocal tracks while following along in your score.
  • Continue to review the following:
  1. Sopranos: m. 7, m. 11, m. 15 mm. 43-45 – also remember to check for all sustained notes and to sing through them for their full value, for example m. 16 on “do”.
  2. Altos: m. 7, m. 8, m. 10, m. 12-14 – you must also keep track of longer notes, and be sure to hold the “oh” in measure 13 for its full value to create a dramatic harmony with part 1!
  • Reinforce this song’s complex rhythmic motifs by keeping your 4-Rhythm Block whilst singing or chanting the different sections.
  • Please remember the true literal pronunciation and practice speaking in rhythm:

Koo-see-ma-ma, mee-mee koo-see-ma-ma, nah yoo-pen-doh, nah tai-mah-nee, wa-toh-toh nee kah-ree-boo doo-nee-yah

  • Continue to watch this amazing video from Cantabile’s Spring Concert in 2013 to review the dance moves that you learned!

We Can Plant a Forest

  • If you have not yet done so, write in the solfege for the 3-part sections. It is in B-flat. Then practice your part in solfege!
  • Please  continue to study the middle section (known as the “bridge”) mm. 48-56.
  • This song is pitched quite low, so be sure to stand tall and use a light and focused voice in the lower part of your range, so as to not over-sing or “belt” – sing on the vowel, and use a scarf to encourage strong breath support for this one, too.
  • Listen and follow along in your score.

We Are A Circle

  • Listen and consider the beautiful lyrics below. What do they mean to you?

We are a circle within a circle
with no beginning, and never ending.

You hear us sing, you hear us cry,

now hear us call you, spirits of Air and Sky.

Inside our hearts there glows a spark,

love and desire, a burning Fire

Within our blood, within our tears,

There lies the altar of living water.

Take our fear, take our pain

Take the darkness into the Earth again.

The circle closes between two worlds
To mark this sacred space where we come face to face.

We are a circle within a circle
with no beginning, and never ending.

Musicianship A

It was so much fun playing Music Jeopardy and seeing how well you know your musical facts!

  • Singers starting Book 2 should complete pages 28-30– please make sure you are all caught up to these pages!
  • Singers continuing Book 2 should complete pages 39-40– please make sure you are all caught up to these pages!

Musicianship B

It was so much fun playing Music Jeopardy and seeing how well you know your musical facts!

  • Book 3 singers should complete pages 39-40 – please make sure you are all caught up to these pages!

Singers who have completed Book 3

  • 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! Next week, we will share some in class.
  • Please work on the newly 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.

Trivia Answer: Drums, rattles, rasps, bells and clap-sticks!

Have a great weekend! See you next Thursday!



Advanced Sight-Singing


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