Print Story Choirs Ho!!
By littlestar (Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 08:52:19 AM EST) choir, singing, special powers (all tags)
So, I had my first Youth Choir, and Adult Choirs last night. Yeah for me!

 There are two choirs which I have undertaken, a Youth Choir and an Adult Choir (I also do a Tots music class but, that's pretty different... we have instruments and do parades, which the adults will likely not be into). They are both held on Tuesday night, one after the other, in the Churchill Community Banquet Hall.

I was trepidatious about both of the choirs, although more so about the adult one. This feeling had been accentuated when I had to call all of the five women to cancel the first class, as I was ill, and one of the ladies, the oldest lady, was mean to me. She didn't tell me to eat shit or anything but she was pretty pushy and unfriendly sounding. It frightened me. What if she thought she knew more then me? What if she did know more then me? It could be very, very bad.

The thing about me is I do have a secret power. I can make anybody believe I am really confident; and, who knows, maybe I am. So, I figured I would just tap that ability to appear as though I knew what I was doing. This, in fact, worked very well. Yeah for me!! I guess it is also true that I do, sort of, actually a little bit, know what I am doing.

So, the Youth; it is a class of nine students, but someone brought a friend (whom I allowed to sit in) so there were ten. The age range is big, as I allowed for the Kids class, which only had three kids sign up (two six year olds and a seven year old) amalgamate with the Youth class. So, that leaves me with a six to thirteen year range. The two girls who are thirteen are different as well as one is in high school, and the other is still in grade school.

The grade school thirteen year old is my strongest vocalist and I hope to get her for private lessons. She has a strong voice with great, bright tone and excellent tone matching ability. She is clearly very interested and tried hard throughout the class to follow the directions I was giving about how to keep our bodies upright, think about out breathing with shoulders down, mouths open etc. It is always cool to get a student who has some talent and is very interested in learning more. 

The kids really have no background so besides just the regular choir stuff of learning and singing music, I am doing music theory and ear training as well. I hope that this can allow some of them, if they are interested, to actually be musicians (vocally or instrumentally) if they so choose. So, at least they can read music, if even crappily.... it is only ten classes.

I have also decided to do music appreciation with them, as I do with my little kids. So, next time I will also be bringing my CD player to listen to different kinds of music think about the tone, the feeling and try and pick out different instruments from the blend. It is a great listening exercise as well as being excellent for being able to appreciate what is in the music you are listening to, which is always a bit about theory as well. Also, I like to have kids who know what jazz, classical, reggae and the blues are... I mean, the blues!!! Come one, everyone should know them.

I think that now, after the first class, I have a very good idea about how to structure the class, which I was unsure of going into it. I will definitely have to play a game every class, and I think that thirteen year olds didn't think the game we played was very lame, they actually had fun. I had been a bit worried about them, you just never know with kids that age, so many things seem lame when you are thirteen.

The second thirteen year old( hischool13, from now on) is very shy and had trouble looking at me when I spoke with her, sometimes she didn't even answer questions she just looked back at me blankly. I hope that I can give her some confidence. It is so crazy that little old me, could possibly, actually influence (hopefully positively) some kids life. That makes me feel so very, very great, and I hope that I  can.

The Adult Choir, of four ladies, 30 - 65, also turned out well. The ladies are all beginners as well, although two had sung in church choirs. It was fun having them tell me what they thought they could or more likely couldn't sing, and then hearing what they could actually do. One of the ladies said upon arrival, I can't sing high, but really, she is very clearly a soprano. In fact she has the best tone of the lot of them. 

As was with the youth class, after this first class I now have a much better idea how to structure each class with the ladies. I talked to them about ear training, which isn't really fun, but is definitely helpful with tone matching and staying on melody; they were all for it. So, I will add that to the next class for them as well.

I will have to make Cds for each class, with me singing the songs on them (perfectly...aagh!), and in the ladies case with their part of each song. Particularly because none of them really read music well, and certainly can't sight read, this will be a very helpful tool for them to learn the music.

So, that was that. It was a very cool thing for me. I came home feeling very excited and giddy from my classes. CBB had already gone to bed (which was.... lets say.. disappointing) so I went for a drive, but the car sounded like it was going to explode so I had to come home. I had a little by myself YEAH FOR ME! party and drank wine till I passed out.

So far so good!

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Choirs Ho!! | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden)
Singing Is Hot. by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 2) #1 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 09:27:34 AM EST
If I buy you flowers will you do me?

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da.
Judging from the diary by wiredog (4.00 / 6) #3 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 10:21:45 AM EST
All you have to do is stay awake...

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
hooray for YAY FOR ME! parties!! by misslake (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 10:02:22 AM EST
i have just spend the last 2 days alone in rotterdam in a big all by myself YAY FOR ME! party.

i took me out to all the museums.
i took me out to all the art galleries.
i took me out for a sunset stroll at the harbour.

have a glass of wine for me and i'll have a glass of wine for you.


You got it sweet thing! by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 04:30:22 PM EST
I'll drink a glass thinking of you tonight... and you know I mean it! I wish I was there with you walking around seeing the things there are to see.

Have as much fun as possible, and a little extra fun just for me!

[ Parent ]
That sounds awesome. :-) by toxicfur (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 10:40:24 AM EST
Too bad you don't live closer - maybe you could teach me to sing. Er, I wouldn't want to set you up for failure, though, and I'm afraid I'm most likely a lost cause.
inspiritation: the effect of irritating someone so much it inspires them to do something about it. --BuggEye
Secret powers really are the best by debacle (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 11:07:18 AM EST
Almost better than magic powers.

Secret magic powers, though, that's where it's at.


Dude! by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 04:31:58 PM EST
As if I didn't know. I have been known to stay awake at least part of the night trying to activate my secret magic powers... thus far, unsuccessful.

[ Parent ]
shy girl by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 11:52:06 AM EST
i recommend getting all up in her face and then giving her the ol' Bobby Knight chin pop when she looks at the ground. that always works.

You know... by littlestar (4.00 / 2) #10 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 04:33:22 PM EST
I don't think so. But, thank you so much for the delightful giggles this brought to me. I pictured it and everything, played it out in my head... it would be.. very, very bad.

[ Parent ]
Cool! Glad the choirs . . . by slozo (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 11:55:55 AM EST
. . . will work out.

You just never know what mix you'll get, and the worst is when you have people on each end of the ability spectrum - they end up getting bored/frustrated quickly. So, seems you'll have a willing bunch of singers - good luck with that!

Thanks! by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Jan 24, 2007 at 04:34:11 PM EST
Yay for me. Now all I have to do is keep coming with more shit to teach them...

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Jazz for kids? by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 12:14:10 AM EST
I believe that's outlawed under the Berne convention, 1997.  Or is it some heavy aversion training you'll be doing?

One thing to be careful of when doing the music appreciation stuff - when trapped in music class between 11 and 14 years old I'm like "this jazz is shit one week, this classical is shit the next week, this keyboard pop was utter shite last week" and so on.  That utterly lost me to music lessons; the lessons became torture.

How about getting each student to bring in a CD with their favourite song on and focusing on that for 20 minutes?  Admittedly it does suffer from the same problem as you choosing the song, but has the benefit that at least one person in the class digs it.

Anyway, GO YOU!

My tots LOVED jazz by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 03:38:47 AM EST
Although, admittedly their favourite so far is Wagner's 'Ride of the Valkyries', which every class they ASK me to put on (they call it the 'scary music').

Maybe it has something to do with the kind of Jazz  they played. I haven't been playing them modern jazz (which I am not the biggest fan of, although it certainly has its points). I played them some Louis doing Ragtime (dancey music they delighted in.. well, dancing to) and some Ella and some Miles. Come on!! That's good stuff.

It is too bad that you didn't like the stuff that they played for you in school... perhaps your teacher wasn't good with the appreciation part. Talking about the sounds, what it feels like, where it is taking us... etc. Or, perhaps, it's just not for you, which is fine too, but definitely not that torturous to listen to something different for ten or fifteen minutes, once a week.

Also, I have asked them to bring in music which they like for us to listen to. I will also be doing Reggea, Blues, Opera and Hip Hop with them, all music has something to teach us. If nothing else it opens your mind to what there is out there.

[ Parent ]
Hmmm by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 05:27:19 AM EST
Nope, Jazz annoys me on a fundamental level.  The self congratulatory smugness (SFW if you can laugh at your desk) of the fans and musicians aside, the arrhymic drumming and musical phrases that have no "closure" end up grating my sensibilities.  I'm not saying they're poor musicians by any stretch - in fact quite the contrary - but it's torture on my ears to listen to for more than 30 seconds. 

It's worth noting that jazz has a disproportionate amount of history of heroin abuse by the musicians, that's how painful it is to hear. 

/dismounts hobby horse

As an aside, the "appreciation" part was ~5 minutes of music followed by the music "teacher" plinking it out again on his shiny new synth keyboard, then asking us how it felt.  I got sent out of the lesson for replying "dull and unmoved, Mr MusicTeacher.  What about the arpeggiated intro of AC/DCs Hell's Bells?".  Heh, fight da man!

How about getting some Judas Priest (acoustic or electric) in there too?  Halford has incredible range, sustain and vibrato.  Also, look up Apocalypta.  And for a vocal challenge, how about singing along, Benedictine monk style, to Joe Satriani's Crush of Love?  And on that note, how about Enigma, where they mix Benedictine monk chanting with poppy drums?

[ Parent ]
Hmmm.... that was funny but, by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #18 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 08:52:08 AM EST
I still think you are talking particularly about modern jazz and it's many incarnations. What about ragtime? What about bigband? What about this?

Many types of jazz have much closure (particularly older, traditional styles), and, by the by, the backbeat rhythm are the same type as used by  Judas Priest and almost ALL rock songs.

I am very fond of the Benedictine chants used in modern songs as well.. in fact I am very fond of many things that mix old and new. Remember, I do sing with an electronica band at times.

It does sound like your teacher was a bit of a dud as well. Why would you be sent from class for having an opinion? That is so ridiculous. I would never be annoyed at someone not liking a type of music, as music is such a personal thing.

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Hmmm by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #20 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 11:45:53 PM EST
What's wrong with his voice?  Inoffensive in the main, although the piano rolls on that were annoying.

Ragtime I quite enjoy though.

Where were you 20 years ago in my music class?

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That's nothing. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Jan 26, 2007 at 05:26:05 AM EST
I bet my music teacher was worse than yours.

Maybe we ought to compare, err, notes.

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I LOOOOOOVE his voice by littlestar (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Jan 26, 2007 at 07:28:57 AM EST
but, I understand that it wouldn't be for everyone. It is particular. Like Tom Waits, you like it, or you don't.

Hahahah.. twenty years ago... well, I was in grade 6 I think..

How exciting that I just got to feel young! Generally now I just feel older all the time.

I hope that I can open their minds without pushing my own perceptions. Particularly after this reminder of someone's ignorance towards you. I also don't think teenagers are stupid. They are what they are, as we all were - as much as you can be with only 13 or 14 years behind you. Which, as I recall, and from what I see, can be a pretty interesting person with insight and wisdom.

I always aim high with respect and expectation, kids generally rise to the occasion (if sometimes needing a little help).

But, I am all hippity-dippity (as my girlfriend says) so... there's that. My father thinks I'm stupid. Take what you will.

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On re-listening by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Jan 26, 2007 at 09:06:59 AM EST
His voice is indeed unique.  Sort of gargling razorblades for breakfast kind of thing.

Hehe, I meant why didn't I have a music teacher like you when I was at school. 

When I was trying to learn the guitar, we didn't even have a crap electric one at school; all there was was a knackered acoustic with all of 4 strings left.  No budget to fix it / buy another because the music teacher spanked not only the yearly funding but also the generous endowment  paid to the music dept (from the parents of a schoolchild who was killed in an accident) on a spiffy new electric keyboard. 

Which he then used to record his electronic symphony.  The cunt. 

So, having someone that was supportive at least (denied use of the music dept's rehearsal hall for band practice and PA also by said teacher but eventually getting access to a condemned terrapin hut) would have greatly helped at that time.

Whooooah, rant!

Anyway, having someone with a passion for what they do and a belief in encouraging people is a tremendous asset to tuition to anyone, young or old. 

Sounds like you're going to be that person.  Rocking.

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Love that Scary Music! by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 10:15:12 AM EST
You should bring a DVD player and play the Wagner clip from Apocalypse Now.

Also, I love hearing geriatrics swear, and no child should ever understand the Blues.
Best left for the grown-ups, IMHO.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Any ideas for particular songs yet? by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #13 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 02:02:47 AM EST
I'm a sucker for choirs singing Philip Glass, but I don't know how well that'd go down with your students.

It's political correctness gone mad!

Songs by littlestar (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 04:55:57 AM EST
The Youth Choir has been given the following music to start with:
'A West Indian Lullaby' - Traditional Trinidadian (very pretty),
'Amazing Grace' - Traditional (you know it)
'Monkeys' - W. Herbert Belyea (cute and bouncy fun)
'Hush my Babe' = Jean Jacques Rousseau (pretty)

Adult Choir:
'Amazing Grace' - as above
'Route 66' - Bobby Troup (this will be way to hard for them for a while)
'Hush My Babe' - Jean Jacques Rousseau
'Down in the River to Pray' - Traditional (pretty, you may remember it from 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou?', in the scene where the baptists are walking down to the water... to pray.)

I will have to come up with some other stuff for the ladies though, cause route 66 is too hard for them, and I want more then two songs to sing. I'll be checking out Philip Glass, and thanks for the info and interest!

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Philip Glass might be a bit too weird by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Jan 25, 2007 at 05:39:59 AM EST
He's a bit avant garde, and they sound like they might be really difficult as well (not that I'd know, I know nothing about choral music).

And likewise, I shall be checking out the songs you mentioned - I don't know half of them. Amazing Grace is cool though :)

It's political correctness gone mad!

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Route 66 by garlic (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Jan 26, 2007 at 08:10:52 AM EST
that's a hard jazzy song. I did that one in highschool with a quartet. The chords can be a little hard to get used to. How many parts is your arrangement?

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Choirs Ho!! | 24 comments (24 topical, 0 hidden)