Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tonal Tuesdays - To a Capella or not to a Capella

When you sing in the shower, unless you have one of those waterproof radios, you are singing a Capella or without accompaniment.  This can be very tricky for both singers and directors or conductors (now that delineation is a topic for another Tuesday).
There are groups such as the Nylons who have made their names based on singing without any accompaniment other than percussion (things like drums and sticks etc.).  They sing in tight harmony as do Barbershop singers and this harmony, in my opinion helps the singers stay in tune.
The Nylons make it look easy in this clip but you have to pay attention to realize that there are only percussion instruments and clapping as accompaniment.
However, it can be very tricky to stay in tune when singing without accompaniment especially for amateur singers.  Personally, I almost always opt for accompaniment especially for soloists and usually for choirs.  Children in particular can benefit from being able to hear the sounds they want to replicate.  The piano has a full range of overtones to help fill any voids in sound but also has clear tones.  The pipe or even electronic organs can sound "muddy" and make singing in tune a bit trickier especially if you are trying to hear a specific part.
Chris Rowbury has a quirky but very sane view on a capella singing that merits a read.  Tell me what you think.  Why I don't like "a capella".

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tonal Tuesday - Excitement vs Nerves

Many times people will say that they are nervous when they really mean they are excited.  There is a vast difference.

Excitement is an energy you can use to make a performance sparkle.  That isn't to say that there aren't people who get nervous.  While searching out other choir blogs I came across a great article on how to deal with those nerves that can stop some people from even attempting something new.  Check out 5 Ways to Deal with Nerves.  I couldn't say it any better.

In any situation, as Elena suggests above, when the butterflies start flying in formation the nerves become excitement which you can then share with your audience.  Smile, and sally forth.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tonal Tuesdays - Tips for Singers & Directors

Welcome to Tuesday.  Each Tuesday I will share a tip or two about songs, singing and directing.  Sometimes they will by Kitty's and other times we will welcome guest posts.
If any of you have ideas to share from your experience as a singer, director or audience member, please pass them on.  We will share them here.

Today's Tonal Tuesday Tip
SMILE - One of our guiding principals for the ETS is to HAVE FUN.  The way to pass that on to all around you is to smile.  Yes you can smile and still have a round, well placed sound.  Smiles are like measles and are easily caught.  When you have fun so does your audience.
Watch these young people and decide whether they are having fun.  Is it catching?

You will have to agree that their sound is superb but I think they are having a ball.  What do you think?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Singing for Our Supper

The Embro Thistle Singers had a great night at the Red Cross Wellness Dinner.  We were fed a fabulous dinner, which of course can be a bit of a problem just before singing.  However, in this case, it didn't diminish the results one bit as they let us go to the buffet first.  Cool.

Our songs were very well received and the Red Cross Red Cross Oxford group were fabulous at singing along.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Embro Thistle Singers Sing for the Red Cross

The Embro Thistle Singers are celebrating the Volunteers of the Red Cross at their annual Wellness Dinner.  We are singing songs that lift up the spirit while also joining our voices with winter songs.  Stay tuned for pictures and more news.