Kathy's Korner

COACHES COMING!!

posted Jun 13, 2019, 3:17 PM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Jun 17, 2019, 11:10 AM ]

I'm very happy to let you know that we have awesome coaches lined up.  After talking with my Music Team and agreeing on dates that would work well around other chorus activities as well as the mid-range plan, I contacted the following:


October 19-20 (Sat-Sun) - Tori Postma (Showmanship)  tentative, but mark calendars now!

January 11-12 (Sat-Sun) - Dede Nibler  (All-around coach for chorus & me)

February 7-8 (Fri-Sat) - Sandy Marron (Sound)  Note - it is FRI & SAT (nothing on Sunday)

March 14-15 (Sat-Sun) - Lea Beverley (expression).  This will be our ADVANCE weekend.


For now, mark your personal calendars and let your families know that this weekend is yours for OSC.

YIPPEE!!


SUMMARY - 6/12/19

posted Jun 12, 2019, 9:30 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Jun 12, 2019, 2:34 PM ]

We are sure glad the Elks has good air conditioning - it kept us comfy last night as 21 singers (and returning guest Marsha Eiding) worked on skill-building and checking accuracy on the new song.  We missed those of you who couldn't make it and hope to see you back next week - it's just not the same without you.  But I've gotta give a big shout-out to the leads who hung in there all evening: JoAnn Perry, Leah Law, and Kathy Smith (and Lynne Rice for part of the time).  You ladies rocked it - thank you!

 

NEWS & STUFF

  • Hayley Bault passed the Spirited Sister boa to Jennifer Steinmetz!  Sure love those ladies!
  • Denise Taylor announced that the CMT will be sending an email to all members with a brief survey and a call for a vote on a change of dues for Associate Membership.  Watch for that around the end of the month and please respond right away.
  • Register for SUMMER AIM!  Let's show the region that Oregon Spirit wants to learn and be a part of Region 12's educational program.  The planners want to know how many are attending each session.  Here's the easy link: 
    • https://www.sairegion12.org/dbpage.php?pg=view&dbase=events&id=84997
  • Karen Wildman announced that she will lead a meeting next week to discuss our show, A'Cappella Spirit: Holiday Harmony.  She invites everyone to attend, because everyone will have a job (takes a village!).  We have confirmed the following guest performers:
    • LoveNotes Quartet -  Look 'em up on youtube; can't wait to share them with the Salem communty!
    • Oregon SenateAires - I have proposed that we do an 8-part (men/women) song with them (Feliz Navidad) and will let you know when they confirm that part of the plan.
    • Almost Famous Quartet - Elizabeth Keller, Kim Chadwick, Donna Stewart, Katie Jacob
    • Willamette Girlchoir 
  • Some of you have not yet responded to the Doodle poll for small group/octet coaching.  I need to hear from ALL of you in order to finalize the schedule.  There are just 3 dates, so it truly just takes a moment.  Click on the link I sent you, fill in your name and the dates/times you can make it and, voila', you're done.  JoAnn Perry has offered her home for the July 15th sessions; still need a place (in Salem area) for July 24 and July 25.  If not, we'll do it at my house up here in Aurora.
  • If you have a potential guest, get her to come next week (June 18) because the rehearsal schedule for the next several weeks is very different than our norm.  See the "look-ahead" section below, and check the chorus calendar regularly to stay informed.
  • Since my expectation has always been that the chorus learn new songs in 3 weeks, I'd like to remind you of the best proven method of learning new material.  The secret is to LISTEN to the song several times, no singing, no humming, just listening.  Print out the document (attached below) "How to Learn a Song Quickly" and use this for 
    • Change the World
    • Whether Good, Whether Bad
    • And any other song that is presented - a couple of Christmas songs will be coming soon 

VOCALS

  • To remind your body where to "breathe to sing", take a big breath and gently hold for just a moment (no clenching or tension anywhere), then blow out while resisting collapse of the ribcage.  Feel the tummy slowly lift in/up to push the air out of the lungs, and strive to replicate that motion every time you breathe to sing.
  • Pretend you are going to yawn, feeling the widening of the throat, the lifting of the soft palate, the slight flaring of the nose - all that added space for resonating your sound.  Strive to maintain that space through an entire phrase of a song.  Repeat this several times and it will become more habitual so your body automatically takes this "pre-yawn" type of breath.  This is a method that Sandy Marron teaches, so let's show her we've been working on it (I'm trying to find a date for her to come and work with us again).
  • Breathe as if you are going to sing the note an octave higher than written.  This gives you an additional "lift" to the voice and lightens up any heaviness.
  • Do the Stemple exercises (as demonstrated by the LoveNotes quartet at Harmony College), trying for: 
    • Total freedom from tension anywhere - face, shoulders, arms, etc.
      • The softer the better.
      • Do each exercise 2x each, 2x daily
      • Good for the first warmup of the day and cool-down at the end of rehearsing
    • Sing EEEE (on an F note) as long and soft as possible - goal is 45 seconds - repeat 2X
      • Try MEEE to get the sound forward in the face and get air moving
    • Sing OHH from lowest to highest note as softly as possible - repeat 2X
    • Sing OHH from highest to lowest note as softly as possible - repeat 2X

MUSIC

  • AFTER I'M GONE -  Worked on the intro to establish energy, while maintaining smooth delivery, and more dynamic contrast.  Practice singing it on a LOO-LOO to get the feeling of connecting the words, and minimize/soften all hard consonants (T, D, C, B, etc.).  
  • SING & CELEBRATE - Everyone needs to go back and look at the sheet music and check accuracy; I'm hearing several wrong notes from each section.  This is the song we sing when welcoming new members into the chorus, so let's make sure it's of the highest quality to show our respect for them (and the music).
  • STAR-SPANGLED BANNER - The melody moves around from part to part on this arrangement, so take a look at it and you can see where you do (or do not) have the melody, and be aware of maintaining the proper chord balance so the melody is always predominant.  
  • I'LL BE SEEING YOU - Worked on making each held note come alive with some added energy/lift, propelling us into the next word/phrase.  Every breath should have a feeling of emotion and eagerness to tell the story.  And every face should be fully involved with a lovely, happy expression - take a look in the mirror and practice singing this with lots more facial expressions, changing (or refreshing) the expression on every phrase.
  • CHANGE THE WORLD - Most of the singers/sections are doing a great job on this song and after sectionals, we went through the song a few times together, then did the RTE (Road to Excellence).  I'll be hearing from the section leaders on progress and for those who either missed last night, or had accuracy problems, here's the next step:
    • Send a recording of you singing with your "part missing" track to your section's reviewer.
    • Sing in person for your section leader at a time of your mutual agreement.
    • Everyone is expected to be 100% accurate on this song by the end of the month.

 

LOOK-AHEAD SCHEDULE

Look closely at this closely - it's a little different each week.

  • June 18 
    • 5:30 - Show Meeting
    • 6:45 - Get ready for chorus - meet guests, do voice-placement!  Bring your guests tonight so I can meet them before leaving for vacation for a couple of weeks.  
    • Presentation by Linda O'Donnell on FUNdraising projects and the potential to make BIG BUCKS if we all participate!
  • June 25 
    • 6:30-8:30 - Everyone in sectionals for 2 hours.  Section leaders need all of you there in order to work on unity, problem spots, vowel matching, reminders about breathing space/vocal placement, etc.  You will also have time to do all the duet combinations, and maybe even some octet fun.
  • July 2 
    • Dark - no rehearsal since it's a holiday week.
  • July 9
    • 6:30-9:00
    • Leads and Baritones only (Basses and Tenors can stay home if you'd like)
    • I will work with leads for an hour; baritones for an hour; then duet for 30 minutes.
  • July 16 
    • 6:30-9:00
    • Basses and Tenors only (Leads and Baritones can stay home if you'd like)
    • I will work with basses for an hour; tenors for an hour; then duet for 30 minutes
  • July 20-21 (Sat-Sun)
    • Summer AIM 
    • Don't delay - register today!
    • Learn the song and set the example
  • July 23
    • No rehearsal, assuming all members will attend AIM.
  • July 30
    • 7:00 - 9:30 - Back to regular rehearsals; guests encouraged to come!
    • All new music learned so we can polish 
    • Start on music for the Dec 7 show (more info in a few weeks but here's the list of songs if you want to get started early:
      • Christmas songs (guests must audition with 2 songs to perform with us - more info later)
        • Happy Holiday
        • Mary, Did You Know?
        • BankAmericard
        • Winter Wonderland
        • Mary, Mary (new song - tracks are in the music library)
        • Scarlet Ribbons
      • Other songs (OSC only)
        • Let Freedom Ring
        • Change the World
        • Sister Act
        • and maybe Whether Good, Whether Bad

 

 

PLAN - June 11

posted Jun 5, 2019, 9:01 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated Jun 5, 2019, 9:07 AM ]

We're going to have a busy evening and I can't wait to see/hear you!   

GUESTS

·        I've heard that there are new guests planning to visit - that's awesome!  Keep 'em coming!  Actively go out and share the excitement and joy you feel about OSC and we'll meet our goal of 50 members!  Send me the names of your guests ahead of time so I can greet them personally when they arrive (you know how much that means when someone knows your name).  

·       If you are assigned as a Chorus Sister, take time to go through the contents of her guest folder with your new friend.  Introduce her to others, invite her to the afterglow, and help her feel a part of the group.

·        Guide her through the music on the risers as well as during sectionals.

SECTIONALS

·        You'll focus on "Change the World" to be sure you've worked out the problem areas

·        Go through other songs to make sure the singers are applying good vocal skills for total unity like:

o   breathing in the pre-yawn space, 
o   vowel matching
o   vocal placement
o   tempo
o   rhythm

RTE (Road to Excellence) 

·        As described in last week's Kathy's Korner article, you have already completed your self-evaluations on "Change the World" and are now ready to sing it for review.  Bring your copy of the sheet music and a colored pencil for your reviewer to use. She'll mark it up and give you some helpful feedback.

·        While we are doing the RTE, guests will meet with one of our members so they can ask questions (and not feel left out of the action happening on the risers).

MUSIC 

·        We will review the following songs:

o   After I'm Gone
o   Sing and Celebrate
o   Star-Spangled Banner
o   I'll Be Seeing You

·        The new Song Priorities List is attached to this post and also is in the Music Library. I've moved up "Whether Good, Whether Bad" as you should be working on it now.

 

TO-DO LIST

·        Register for Summer AIM - July 20-21.  You received an email with the link but you an just go to the Region 12 website and click on Events and you'll see it all there.  Go to: www.sairegion12.org 

·        Think about going to Fall AIM in August 16-18 because Oregon Spirit will be invited to perform on the Pep Rally which is a really thrilling experience - even better than contest because it's not being judged!  I'll take a show of hands soon so look at your calendar and see if we might be able to do accept this invitation (if we can truly represent OSC with a balanced group).  

·        Respond to the Doodle poll for coaching octets.  I've heard from 15 of you so far - but I need to hear from everyone before I can put the groups together.  Also, I would like to hold these sessions in the general Salem area, if possible, but I don't yet have a home for July 24 or July 25.  Go to:  https://doodle.com/poll/v4xssvxnww4rzz4t

·        Read the Chorus/Director Agreement that Denise Taylor sent out recently so you'll know what you are agreeing to when you sign it. 

·        Read your chorus emails at least every 2 days in order to keep current on plans and activities.  And respond to emails as requested right away; if you think you'll "do it later", it often gets forgotten (and avoid using "reply all" ).

·        If you are going to miss a rehearsal, let your section leader and me know well ahead of time.  We all know that summer is when we take vacations but if there's any way you can plan yours between Tuesdays, it would sure be helpful so we can keep the music moving forward and not lose all the skills we learned as we prepared for contest.  

·        Be sure your information (profile) is correct on the Region 12 website.  If not, it means it is not correct on the Sweet Adelines International database.  

·        Give a big hug to each member of the newly installed Chorus Management Team:

1.      Team Leader - Denise Taylor
2.      Finance Coordinator - Cindy Meyers
3.      Marketing Coordinator - Diane Watson
4.      Membership Coordinator - Lynne Rice
5.      Communications Coordinator - Janet Owen
6.      Ways & Means Coordinator - Linda O'Donnell
7.      Events Coordinator - Pam White
8.      Director - Kathy Scheel

 


MAY 28

posted May 29, 2019, 11:17 AM by Kathy Scheel

WOW - I couldn't sleep last night because the new song kept going through my head!  Thank you for the awesome work you did on this song this past week; it was leaps & bounds further along and that's very exciting to hear the progress!  With just 19 of us there (plus 2 guests), you made some great music!!  And 8 of you even volunteered to sing it for us in an octet - way to go!  We'll get another 8 of you up at the next rehearsal (in 2 weeks).

We had two first-time guests last night and both of them loved the chorus and are planning to return!
  • Marsha Eiding (bass) - Meetup -  Chorus Sister:  Laurie Burk
  • Sylvia Jones (lead) - friend of Lynne Rice - Chorus Sister:  Lynne Rice
Judy Gobat led a fun rhythmic warmup - I love her choice of music each time!  If any of you would like to do these warmups sometime, let Judy know. It's always fun to see other people's styles of teaching, moving, playing.  We mainly are looking for something rhythmic that gets the bodies moving and blood flowing and builds stamina.  Fun!

VOCAL SKILL-BUILDING
  • Pre-yawn breath - Do it now (as you're reading this article) and feel how the roof of the mouth (soft palate) lifts up, the tongue lowers, the throat widens - all adding resonating space in your singing mechanism.  That's the resonance we're aiming for and it takes lots of practice so incorporate this into your personal rehearsal time on every song, every phrase.
  • Vowels - Doing the "wee-wee-wee" exercise, we can hear how very slight adjustments can be made to improve the UNIT sound, by listening carefully to the singers around us and always using the pre-yawn space.  We can only ring chords on vowels.  
MUSIC:
  • Fun in Just One Lifetime - By applying some of the above techniques to this song, we elevated it by at least a level.  It was the best we've ever done it.  The attention to vowels (and minimizing consonants) made the whole song sail along smoothly (no choppiness) and there was a wonderful unity of sound.  Way to go!  Now practice that at home so it stays with you (there are some kind of statistics that show a remarkable amount of skills are forgotten if not applied within the first 24 hours, and then exponentially more as the days pass).
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Ditto all the above!  And basses, thanks for keeping that wall of sound going by singing vowel-to-vowel instead of hitting those Bs so hard on the Bum, and singing/buzzing through the MMMs.
  • Change the World - As mentioned above, you're making great progress on this song and I fully expect everyone to be off the sheet by next week.  You each know the problem spots for your section and I'm sure you'll work that out.  By singing along with the learning track, you'll have it down pat soon.  One way to check yourself is to sing along with a metronome, and you'll feel those "jump" beats that are so fun in syncopated rhythms. 

Music Team Meeting Notes:  I met last night with Judy Gobat, Elaine Rosenberg, Eileen Kemp, Laurie Burk, and Karlene Hancock.  These ladies are your section leaders and they bring their talents and passion to each of their respective sections!  Here are the some of the highlights of our meeting:
  • Coaches:  I will be contacting Sandy Marron, Lea Beverley, Tori Postma, and Dede Nibler to set some dates for Oct, Jan, Feb, and March.  Once those dates are set, put them on your calendars and hold them "sacred".
  • Rehearsal Schedule:  I'll post the schedule on the chorus calendar for sectionals, but rehearsals will basically go back to 7:00-9:30 for most weeks.  I'll post the weekly rehearsal schedule on the Chorus Calendar so check there and mark your own personal calendars accordingly.  Here's a heads-up on the basic plan:
    • June 4:  No rehearsal, Installation & Awards Banquet - Hollywood style!  Guests are certainly welcome, but be sure to contact elaine.rosenberg@oregonspirit.org to order your meal ahead of time.  It's going to be a very fun evening
    • June 11:  7:00-9:30; RTE (see notes below in this Kathy's Korner)
    • June 18:  7:00-9:30; sectionals during rehearsal  (show meeting is at 5:30)
    • June 25:  7:00-9:00: sectionals for 2 hours 
    • July 2:  "Dark" (no rehearsal) since it's a holiday week
    • July 9:  6:00-7:00 leads and baritones have a one-hour sectional; I will visit each for 30 minutes; regular rehearsal 7:00-9:30
    • July 16:  6:00-7:00 basses and tenors have a one-hour sectional; I will visit each for 30 minutes; regular rehearsal 7:00-9:30
    • July 23:  "Dark" (no rehearsal) since we are expecting all members to attend the AIM weekend (get registered soon) 
    • July 30:  7:00-9:30
  • Quality Assurance programs:
    • Road to Excellence (RTE) is attached.  Print your own copy and put it with your OSC materials and read it frequently.  As you'll see, the self-evaluations are an ongoing part of the process (for all songs), to check your accuracy on notes, words, rhythms, breathing plan, etc.  You should each be doing this now on the new song.  Then on June 11th we'll do the RTE program (as described on the attached). 
    • Octet Coaching is offered but only 12 people have signed up for it (per my Doodle poll), so I'm going to cancel the June dates offered and will reduce the number of dates for July & August.  Watch for (and respond to) a new Doodle poll in the next week or so.
    • Private Vocal Instruction (PVI) are offered by me, and you can also sign up for a session at the upcoming Summer AIM (Adventures in Music) weekend.  
  • Christmas Chorus: People who want to perform on the December 7th show (Spirit of A'Cappella; Holiday Harmony) will be expected to audition on two songs.  Others who just want to sing around town for the holidays do not need to audition.  Diane Watson is training Jackie Kearns as our new Performance Coordinator so she'll be looking at dates for retirement homes, the rotunda, Oregon Garden, and will keep us all informed.
  • Music:
    • Change the World - Be off the sheet music by June 11; that's when we'll do RTE.  Self-evaluations should already be done.
    • Whether Good, Whether Bad - Start work on this now, then sectionals to work on unity will be June 25.
    • Mary, Mary - New Christmas song, learning tracks are loaded into the Music Library.  I will be getting the sheet music soon, but go ahead and listen to this fun song and start getting familiar with it.  We'll start working on it in August.
  • Contest 2020:  We will do the same two songs as we did this year (After I'm Gone, and I'll Be Seeing You).  The goal is to build on the skills we gained this season and continue to move these songs to a higher level.  (Hint:  I love the idea of getting the award for "Most Improved Chorus".)


AND...
  • Bring guests - YOU are the key to growing this chorus!  
  • Register for Adventures in Music (AIM)

SUMMARY - 5/21/19

posted May 22, 2019, 8:37 AM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated May 23, 2019, 4:55 AM ]

There were 19 singers in attendance and it was great to have Toni Roush back on the risers with us!  The night was basically split between two basic activities:

- Vocal training and skill-building:  breathing, tuning, vocal placement, tempo, forward motion
- Working on the new song

VOCAL TRAINING & SKILL-BUILDING

Every singer can learn the basics:  correct notes and words (and rhythms and breath plan and vowels and all that).  But one of the most important skills is to truly listen to the melody and tune each note in relationship to that sound.  Of course, this means that the Leads (who have the melody 99% of the time) must be accurate and unified in every way.  This provides the framework for every harmony singer to be able to tune perfectly to the melody.  But as we discovered last night, there are many times in barbershop harmony (or any ensemble singing, for that matter) that the same note may need to be sung slightly different (higher or lower), depending on the specific chord.   We used the final five chords in the "wee-wee" exercise, also known as "MEH-MEE-MAH-MOH-MOO", and worked on some of these principles.  Each singer can apply these principles to every song as we are rehearsing them each week.  Sections can invite other parts to visit their sectionals in order to work on that singing relationship.

We also identified the importance of total unity in:
  • Breathing - Use a "pre-yawn" breath to create the most resonating space possible, and then strive to maintain that space throughout the phrase.  Do this every day, on every phrase, and record yourself so you can hear the difference (improvement over time).  This will not only make your own voice even more beautiful and resonant, but it will create a much better match with the singers around you (blend).   Another interesting approach to breathing is to breathe with your mouth posture in the position of the vowel you are about to sing.  For instance, when you are going to sing "You", you would breathe with the OO mouth posture so that when you sing so the sound will be in that vowel shape/sound instantly upon making a sound.  Voila!
  • Vowels - The vowel that gives us the most trouble is "AH" and several singers are reluctant to sing a true AH sound so it comes out a bit wide like the word "half" instead of tall like the word "gone".  Work on this at home so it becomes more natural for you.  
  • Vocal placement - Remember last week's lesson about Voice #1, #2, and #3 - strive for voice #2 (a combination of all the parts of your voice) to have the most success in matching your section's vocal placement.  Some voices sound "bright" while others sound "dark" so here is an easy reference for you - experiment with this:
    • Sing or say HEE-HEE-HEE very forward and nasal, towards the front of the face. This is Voice #1.
    • Sing or say HOLY MOLY very hooty and woofy, towards the back of the head.  This is Voice #3.
    • Sing or say HELLOOO right out the top of your head, with a mixture of both #1 and #3 so it's resonated and a nice blend of both sounds.  This is Voice #2.  
SONGS
  • Sister Act - 
    • Worked on maintaining tempo and as I study it here at home, I like the tempo of 66 bpm for this song, so set your metronome for that and work on internalizing the tempo so it's always got that feeling forward motion, delivering the message with purpose.  Leads have a lot of pickup phrases and it's important that you own those assertively in order to maintain energy and provide a unified sound for the harmony parts to sing their notes.  The more energy that EVERY SINGER puts into the product, the better everything sounds!  
    • Refer to the learning tracks for the proper breathing plan.  Put on some headphones and really study how Speed of Sound sings it (without singing along - just listen to it 2-3 times first), then sing along and emulate everything they are doing.
    • Leads and Tenors - switch parts on measures 24-25.  This will fix the problems we were continuing to have with balance.
    • All of the concepts of unity should apply to this (and every) song - pre-yawn breathing, vowels, vocal placement, tuning to the melody, forward motion.
  • Change the World -
    • Sectionals for 30-40 minutes helped to identify problem areas and it sounds like everyone is doing well on the notes, but the rhythms need a lot of work.  I find it most helpful to write the beats on my sheet music (1-&-2-&-3-&-4-&) above each of the notes so I highly recommend that each person takes the time to do this.  If you're not sure about how to go about it, ask your section leader or someone else in your section who knows.  This will help you learn those rhythms. I'll prepare a graphic that may be helpful and will post it in the next few days.
    • Listen to the learning tracks at least 3 times before you try to sing along.  Use the "How to Learn a Song Quickly" (attached at the bottom of this Kathy's Korner article) and follow the instructions.  
    • Basses - You have the most critical part on this song, providing a continual rhythmic foundation, so it's imperative that you get a good handle on those fun rhythms.  There is a pattern and once you learn it (and feel it) it will all fall into place.  We decided last night that ALL of the basses will go ahead and learn the (higher) notes as sung on the learning track.  Be sure all of you have marked your music with the notes an octave higher in those places
    • Baritones, Leads, and Tenors - The measures alternate between having the 3 of your parts with the exact same rhythmic pattern, then having a totally different one.  For example:
      • M1 - exactly the same pattern
      • M2 - totally different - leads are on beat 2, tenors on beat 3, baritones on beat 4.  These must be sung in the exact right timing or it will sound very "muddy".  So work on clarity of those rhythms.
    • Again, your best source is to study the tracks very closely (using the reference, "How to Learn a Song Quickly").
    • This song has been available to everyone since March 11 - that's 2 months!  My expectation is that you will each make the time to know it much better by next week.  Each time we sang it, it got better and better and you became more comfortable and confident.  I could see that some of you were off the sheet music - YAY!!  Thanks for the commitment and dedication!  Let's make a goal of EVERYONE OFF THE SHEET MUSIC by next week.  For those of you already off the sheet music, go ahead and start your self-evaluation process so you can be sure and catch any errors/problem areas in early stages (before they get engrained).

Several of us enjoyed the afterglow last night:  Diane Watson (who had just learned that she won the vote for Chemeketa Community College Director), Linda O'Donnell, Cindy Meyers, Janice LaCombe, Judy Dixon, Toni Roush, and me.  What a rowdy bunch we were!  Hope more of you can join us next week.  Our waitress, Barb, is such a hoot and totally looks forward to us coming every Tuesday night.  It's such a great way to unwind (since we'd all be awake for awhile anyway) and have some great social time together.

Hmmmm….what are YOU going to wear to the Hollywood Awards Show theme for our June 4th banquet?  Can't wait to see your crazy creativeness!



In harmony,    Kathy







SUMMARY - 5/21/19

posted May 22, 2019, 8:36 AM by Kathy Scheel

There were 19 singers in attendance and it was great to have Toni Roush back on the risers with us!  The night was basically split between two basic activities:

- Vocal training and skill-building:  breathing, tuning, vocal placement, tempo, forward motion
- Working on the new song

VOCAL TRAINING & SKILL-BUILDING

Every singer can learn the basics:  correct notes and words (and rhythms and breath plan and vowels and all that).  But one of the most important skills is to truly listen to the melody and tune each note in relationship to that sound.  Of course, this means that the Leads (who have the melody 99% of the time) must be accurate and unified in every way.  This provides the framework for every harmony singer to be able to tune perfectly to the melody.  But as we discovered last night, there are many times in barbershop harmony (or any ensemble singing, for that matter) that the same note may need to be sung slightly different (higher or lower), depending on the specific chord.   We used the final five chords in the "wee-wee" exercise, also known as "MEH-MEE-MAH-MOH-MOO", and worked on some of these principles.  Each singer can apply these principles to every song as we are rehearsing them each week.  Sections can invite other parts to visit their sectionals in order to work on that singing relationship.

We also identified the importance of total unity in:
  • Breathing - Use a "pre-yawn" breath to create the most resonating space possible, and then strive to maintain that space throughout the phrase.  Do this every day, on every phrase, and record yourself so you can hear the difference (improvement over time).  This will not only make your own voice even more beautiful and resonant, but it will create a much better match with the singers around you (blend).   Another interesting approach to breathing is to breathe with your mouth posture in the position of the vowel you are about to sing.  For instance, when you are going to sing "You", you would breathe with the OO mouth posture so that when you sing so the sound will be in that vowel shape/sound instantly upon making a sound.  Voila!
  • Vowels - The vowel that gives us the most trouble is "AH" and several singers are reluctant to sing a true AH sound so it comes out a bit wide like the word "half" instead of tall like the word "gone".  Work on this at home so it becomes more natural for you.  
  • Vocal placement - Remember last week's lesson about Voice #1, #2, and #3 - strive for voice #2 (a combination of all the parts of your voice) to have the most success in matching your section's vocal placement.  Some voices sound "bright" while others sound "dark" so here is an easy reference for you - experiment with this:
    • Sing or say HEE-HEE-HEE very forward and nasal, towards the front of the face. This is Voice #1.
    • Sing or say HOLY MOLY very hooty and woofy, towards the back of the head.  This is Voice #3.
    • Sing or say HELLOOO right out the top of your head, with a mixture of both #1 and #3 so it's resonated and a nice blend of both sounds.  This is Voice #2.  
SONGS
  • Sister Act - 
    • Worked on maintaining tempo and as I study it here at home, I like the tempo of 66 bpm for this song, so set your metronome for that and work on internalizing the tempo so it's always got that feeling forward motion, delivering the message with purpose.  Leads have a lot of pickup phrases and it's important that you own those assertively in order to maintain energy and provide a unified sound for the harmony parts to sing their notes.  The more energy that EVERY SINGER puts into the product, the better everything sounds!  
    • Refer to the learning tracks for the proper breathing plan.  Put on some headphones and really study how Speed of Sound sings it (without singing along - just listen to it 2-3 times first), then sing along and emulate everything they are doing.
    • Leads and Tenors - switch parts on measures 24-25.  This will fix the problems we were continuing to have with balance.
    • All of the concepts of unity should apply to this (and every) song - pre-yawn breathing, vowels, vocal placement, tuning to the melody, forward motion.
  • Change the World -
    • Sectionals for 30-40 minutes helped to identify problem areas and it sounds like everyone is doing well on the notes, but the rhythms need a lot of work.  I find it most helpful to write the beats on my sheet music (1-&-2-&-3-&-4-&) above each of the notes so I highly recommend that each person takes the time to do this.  If you're not sure about how to go about it, ask your section leader or someone else in your section who knows.  This will help you learn those rhythms. I'll prepare a graphic that may be helpful and will post it in the next few days.
    • Listen to the learning tracks at least 3 times before you try to sing along.  Use the "How to Learn a Song Quickly" (attached at the bottom of this Kathy's Korner article) and follow the instructions.  
    • Basses - You have the most critical part on this song, providing a continual rhythmic foundation, so it's imperative that you get a good handle on those fun rhythms.  There is a pattern and once you learn it (and feel it) it will all fall into place.  We decided last night that ALL of the basses will go ahead and learn the (higher) notes as sung on the learning track.  Be sure all of you have marked your music with the notes an octave higher in those places
    • Baritones, Leads, and Tenors - The measures alternate between having the 3 of your parts with the exact same rhythmic pattern, then having a totally different one.  For example:
      • M1 - exactly the same pattern
      • M2 - totally different - leads are on beat 2, tenors on beat 3, baritones on beat 4.  These must be sung in the exact right timing or it will sound very "muddy".  So work on clarity of those rhythms.
    • Again, your best source is to study the tracks very closely (using the reference, "How to Learn a Song Quickly").
    • This song has been available to everyone since March 11 - that's 2 months!  My expectation is that you will each make the time to know it much better by next week.  Each time we sang it, it got better and better and you became more comfortable and confident.  I could see that some of you were off the sheet music - YAY!!  Thanks for the commitment and dedication!  Let's make a goal of EVERYONE OFF THE SHEET MUSIC by next week.  For those of you already off the sheet music, go ahead and start your self-evaluation process so you can be sure and catch any errors/problem areas in early stages (before they get engrained).

Several of us enjoyed the afterglow last night:  Diane Watson (who had just learned that she won the vote for Chemeketa Community College Director), Linda O'Donnell, Cindy Meyers, Janice LaCombe, Judy Dixon, Toni Roush, and me.  What a rowdy bunch we were!  Hope more of you can join us next week.  Our waitress, Barb, is such a hoot and totally looks forward to us coming every Tuesday night.  It's such a great way to unwind (since we'd all be awake for awhile anyway) and have some great social time together.

Hmmmm….what are YOU going to wear to the Hollywood Awards Show theme for our June 4th banquet?  Can't wait to see your crazy creativeness!


In harmony,    Kathy







SUMMARY - 5/21/19

posted May 22, 2019, 8:36 AM by Kathy Scheel

There were 19 singers in attendance and it was great to have Toni Roush back on the risers with us!  The night was basically split between two basic activities:

- Vocal training and skill-building:  breathing, tuning, vocal placement, tempo, forward motion
- Working on the new song

VOCAL TRAINING & SKILL-BUILDING

Every singer can learn the basics:  correct notes and words (and rhythms and breath plan and vowels and all that).  But one of the most important skills is to truly listen to the melody and tune each note in relationship to that sound.  Of course, this means that the Leads (who have the melody 99% of the time) must be accurate and unified in every way.  This provides the framework for every harmony singer to be able to tune perfectly to the melody.  But as we discovered last night, there are many times in barbershop harmony (or any ensemble singing, for that matter) that the same note may need to be sung slightly different (higher or lower), depending on the specific chord.   We used the final five chords in the "wee-wee" exercise, also known as "MEH-MEE-MAH-MOH-MOO", and worked on some of these principles.  Each singer can apply these principles to every song as we are rehearsing them each week.  Sections can invite other parts to visit their sectionals in order to work on that singing relationship.

We also identified the importance of total unity in:
  • Breathing - Use a "pre-yawn" breath to create the most resonating space possible, and then strive to maintain that space throughout the phrase.  Do this every day, on every phrase, and record yourself so you can hear the difference (improvement over time).  This will not only make your own voice even more beautiful and resonant, but it will create a much better match with the singers around you (blend).   Another interesting approach to breathing is to breathe with your mouth posture in the position of the vowel you are about to sing.  For instance, when you are going to sing "You", you would breathe with the OO mouth posture so that when you sing so the sound will be in that vowel shape/sound instantly upon making a sound.  Voila!
  • Vowels - The vowel that gives us the most trouble is "AH" and several singers are reluctant to sing a true AH sound so it comes out a bit wide like the word "half" instead of tall like the word "gone".  Work on this at home so it becomes more natural for you.  
  • Vocal placement - Remember last week's lesson about Voice #1, #2, and #3 - strive for voice #2 (a combination of all the parts of your voice) to have the most success in matching your section's vocal placement.  Some voices sound "bright" while others sound "dark" so here is an easy reference for you - experiment with this:
    • Sing or say HEE-HEE-HEE very forward and nasal, towards the front of the face. This is Voice #1.
    • Sing or say HOLY MOLY very hooty and woofy, towards the back of the head.  This is Voice #3.
    • Sing or say HELLOOO right out the top of your head, with a mixture of both #1 and #3 so it's resonated and a nice blend of both sounds.  This is Voice #2.  
SONGS
  • Sister Act - 
    • Worked on maintaining tempo and as I study it here at home, I like the tempo of 66 bpm for this song, so set your metronome for that and work on internalizing the tempo so it's always got that feeling forward motion, delivering the message with purpose.  Leads have a lot of pickup phrases and it's important that you own those assertively in order to maintain energy and provide a unified sound for the harmony parts to sing their notes.  The more energy that EVERY SINGER puts into the product, the better everything sounds!  
    • Refer to the learning tracks for the proper breathing plan.  Put on some headphones and really study how Speed of Sound sings it (without singing along - just listen to it 2-3 times first), then sing along and emulate everything they are doing.
    • Leads and Tenors - switch parts on measures 24-25.  This will fix the problems we were continuing to have with balance.
    • All of the concepts of unity should apply to this (and every) song - pre-yawn breathing, vowels, vocal placement, tuning to the melody, forward motion.
  • Change the World -
    • Sectionals for 30-40 minutes helped to identify problem areas and it sounds like everyone is doing well on the notes, but the rhythms need a lot of work.  I find it most helpful to write the beats on my sheet music (1-&-2-&-3-&-4-&) above each of the notes so I highly recommend that each person takes the time to do this.  If you're not sure about how to go about it, ask your section leader or someone else in your section who knows.  This will help you learn those rhythms. I'll prepare a graphic that may be helpful and will post it in the next few days.
    • Listen to the learning tracks at least 3 times before you try to sing along.  Use the "How to Learn a Song Quickly" (attached at the bottom of this Kathy's Korner article) and follow the instructions.  
    • Basses - You have the most critical part on this song, providing a continual rhythmic foundation, so it's imperative that you get a good handle on those fun rhythms.  There is a pattern and once you learn it (and feel it) it will all fall into place.  We decided last night that ALL of the basses will go ahead and learn the (higher) notes as sung on the learning track.  Be sure all of you have marked your music with the notes an octave higher in those places
    • Baritones, Leads, and Tenors - The measures alternate between having the 3 of your parts with the exact same rhythmic pattern, then having a totally different one.  For example:
      • M1 - exactly the same pattern
      • M2 - totally different - leads are on beat 2, tenors on beat 3, baritones on beat 4.  These must be sung in the exact right timing or it will sound very "muddy".  So work on clarity of those rhythms.
    • Again, your best source is to study the tracks very closely (using the reference, "How to Learn a Song Quickly").
    • This song has been available to everyone since March 11 - that's 2 months!  My expectation is that you will each make the time to know it much better by next week.  Each time we sang it, it got better and better and you became more comfortable and confident.  I could see that some of you were off the sheet music - YAY!!  Thanks for the commitment and dedication!  Let's make a goal of EVERYONE OFF THE SHEET MUSIC by next week.  For those of you already off the sheet music, go ahead and start your self-evaluation process so you can be sure and catch any errors/problem areas in early stages (before they get engrained).

Several of us enjoyed the afterglow last night:  Diane Watson (who had just learned that she won the vote for Chemeketa Community College Director), Linda O'Donnell, Cindy Meyers, Janice LaCombe, Judy Dixon, Toni Roush, and me.  What a rowdy bunch we were!  Hope more of you can join us next week.  Our waitress, Barb, is such a hoot and totally looks forward to us coming every Tuesday night.  It's such a great way to unwind (since we'd all be awake for awhile anyway) and have some great social time together.

Hmmmm….what are YOU going to wear to the Hollywood Awards Show theme for our June 4th banquet?  Can't wait to see your crazy creativeness!


In harmony,    Kathy







SUMMARY - 5/21/19

posted May 22, 2019, 8:35 AM by Kathy Scheel

There were 19 singers in attendance and it was great to have Toni Roush back on the risers with us!  The night was basically split between two basic activities:

- Vocal training and skill-building:  breathing, tuning, vocal placement, tempo, forward motion
- Working on the new song

VOCAL TRAINING & SKILL-BUILDING

Every singer can learn the basics:  correct notes and words (and rhythms and breath plan and vowels and all that).  But one of the most important skills is to truly listen to the melody and tune each note in relationship to that sound.  Of course, this means that the Leads (who have the melody 99% of the time) must be accurate and unified in every way.  This provides the framework for every harmony singer to be able to tune perfectly to the melody.  But as we discovered last night, there are many times in barbershop harmony (or any ensemble singing, for that matter) that the same note may need to be sung slightly different (higher or lower), depending on the specific chord.   We used the final five chords in the "wee-wee" exercise, also known as "MEH-MEE-MAH-MOH-MOO", and worked on some of these principles.  Each singer can apply these principles to every song as we are rehearsing them each week.  Sections can invite other parts to visit their sectionals in order to work on that singing relationship.

We also identified the importance of total unity in:
  • Breathing - Use a "pre-yawn" breath to create the most resonating space possible, and then strive to maintain that space throughout the phrase.  Do this every day, on every phrase, and record yourself so you can hear the difference (improvement over time).  This will not only make your own voice even more beautiful and resonant, but it will create a much better match with the singers around you (blend).   Another interesting approach to breathing is to breathe with your mouth posture in the position of the vowel you are about to sing.  For instance, when you are going to sing "You", you would breathe with the OO mouth posture so that when you sing so the sound will be in that vowel shape/sound instantly upon making a sound.  Voila!
  • Vowels - The vowel that gives us the most trouble is "AH" and several singers are reluctant to sing a true AH sound so it comes out a bit wide like the word "half" instead of tall like the word "gone".  Work on this at home so it becomes more natural for you.  
  • Vocal placement - Remember last week's lesson about Voice #1, #2, and #3 - strive for voice #2 (a combination of all the parts of your voice) to have the most success in matching your section's vocal placement.  Some voices sound "bright" while others sound "dark" so here is an easy reference for you - experiment with this:
    • Sing or say HEE-HEE-HEE very forward and nasal, towards the front of the face. This is Voice #1.
    • Sing or say HOLY MOLY very hooty and woofy, towards the back of the head.  This is Voice #3.
    • Sing or say HELLOOO right out the top of your head, with a mixture of both #1 and #3 so it's resonated and a nice blend of both sounds.  This is Voice #2.  
SONGS
  • Sister Act - 
    • Worked on maintaining tempo and as I study it here at home, I like the tempo of 66 bpm for this song, so set your metronome for that and work on internalizing the tempo so it's always got that feeling forward motion, delivering the message with purpose.  Leads have a lot of pickup phrases and it's important that you own those assertively in order to maintain energy and provide a unified sound for the harmony parts to sing their notes.  The more energy that EVERY SINGER puts into the product, the better everything sounds!  
    • Refer to the learning tracks for the proper breathing plan.  Put on some headphones and really study how Speed of Sound sings it (without singing along - just listen to it 2-3 times first), then sing along and emulate everything they are doing.
    • Leads and Tenors - switch parts on measures 24-25.  This will fix the problems we were continuing to have with balance.
    • All of the concepts of unity should apply to this (and every) song - pre-yawn breathing, vowels, vocal placement, tuning to the melody, forward motion.
  • Change the World -
    • Sectionals for 30-40 minutes helped to identify problem areas and it sounds like everyone is doing well on the notes, but the rhythms need a lot of work.  I find it most helpful to write the beats on my sheet music (1-&-2-&-3-&-4-&) above each of the notes so I highly recommend that each person takes the time to do this.  If you're not sure about how to go about it, ask your section leader or someone else in your section who knows.  This will help you learn those rhythms. I'll prepare a graphic that may be helpful and will post it in the next few days.
    • Listen to the learning tracks at least 3 times before you try to sing along.  Use the "How to Learn a Song Quickly" (attached at the bottom of this Kathy's Korner article) and follow the instructions.  
    • Basses - You have the most critical part on this song, providing a continual rhythmic foundation, so it's imperative that you get a good handle on those fun rhythms.  There is a pattern and once you learn it (and feel it) it will all fall into place.  We decided last night that ALL of the basses will go ahead and learn the (higher) notes as sung on the learning track.  Be sure all of you have marked your music with the notes an octave higher in those places
    • Baritones, Leads, and Tenors - The measures alternate between having the 3 of your parts with the exact same rhythmic pattern, then having a totally different one.  For example:
      • M1 - exactly the same pattern
      • M2 - totally different - leads are on beat 2, tenors on beat 3, baritones on beat 4.  These must be sung in the exact right timing or it will sound very "muddy".  So work on clarity of those rhythms.
    • Again, your best source is to study the tracks very closely (using the reference, "How to Learn a Song Quickly").
    • This song has been available to everyone since March 11 - that's 2 months!  My expectation is that you will each make the time to know it much better by next week.  Each time we sang it, it got better and better and you became more comfortable and confident.  I could see that some of you were off the sheet music - YAY!!  Thanks for the commitment and dedication!  Let's make a goal of EVERYONE OFF THE SHEET MUSIC by next week.  For those of you already off the sheet music, go ahead and start your self-evaluation process so you can be sure and catch any errors/problem areas in early stages (before they get engrained).

Several of us enjoyed the afterglow last night:  Diane Watson (who had just learned that she won the vote for Chemeketa Community College Director), Linda O'Donnell, Cindy Meyers, Janice LaCombe, Judy Dixon, Toni Roush, and me.  What a rowdy bunch we were!  Hope more of you can join us next week.  Our waitress, Barb, is such a hoot and totally looks forward to us coming every Tuesday night.  It's such a great way to unwind (since we'd all be awake for awhile anyway) and have some great social time together.

Hmmmm….what are YOU going to wear to the Hollywood Awards Show theme for our June 4th banquet?  Can't wait to see your crazy creativeness!


In harmony,    Kathy







PLAN - May 21, 2019

posted May 17, 2019, 7:31 PM by Kathy Scheel   [ updated May 21, 2019, 12:34 AM ]

EACH WEEK
  • Invite women to come and visit us!  Ask them to come a little early so I can do voice placement, and be sure to send me a note to let me know who you're expecting.  Offer them a ride, if possible, the first night.
  • Wear your name badge to help our guests get acquainted.
  • Vocalize on the way to rehearsal - sirens, bubbling - and also get mentally ready to perform at 212 degrees!
  • Be on the risers before you're asked. 
  • If you are going to be absent, give me as much advance notice as possible.
  • Be a really gracious/responsible Chorus Sister to prospective members.
  • Hug 5 people.
  • Wear your lovely 1st Place Ribbon!

THIS WEEK:
  • 6:15 - Voice-placement for guests (send me names)
  • 6:30 - Getting going!
    • Rhythmic warmups 
    • Vocal skill-building
    • Introduce guests
    • Spirited Sister Boa
    • Good news
    • Announcements
  • 7:00 - Review current repertoire
    • Sister Act - staying in pitch, balance, breathing, phrase ends
    • Fun in Just One Lifetime - smoother delivery, unity
    • I'll Be Seeing You - vowel matching, finesse
  • 7:30 - Sectionals (45 minutes)
    • Change the World
  • 8:15 - Work the new song together on the risers 
  • 9:00- Game Time/Visit Chorus Sisters & Guests/Small Group Rehearse
  • 9:20 - Wrap-Up
  • 9:30 - Afterglow at Denny's  (invite guests to join the fun)

PLAN - May 21, 2019

posted May 17, 2019, 7:30 PM by Kathy Scheel

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