Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - Using Social Media to Promote Your Choir

Here you are reading a blog so you are all ready part of social media.  There are so many opportunities to be in touch with other musical people that we will try to sort those out.
File:Twitter bird logo 2012.svg
Twitter is an amazing way to connect with people all over the world.  It is fun because each message is 140 characters or less.  You can add pictures or videos or links as well as the message.  We chat with people in Australia, where it is summer right now.  We chat with lots of people in the United Kingdom and the United States and Canada.  We got a great idea for a new fund raiser for next Christmas from Twitter - but more on that later.  Check it out and follow us on Twitter.  Click here or on the link at the side.

1. Follow others.  Every time you tweet, someone somewhere is reading about you.  You want to "follow" other choirs or musical groups and they in turn will follow you.  Say something catchy or fun and be sure to comment on other tweets.

2. Favourite & Retweet - When someone says something you like or appreciate, then Retweet it.  It is easy to do.  Those buttons are right under each Tweet.  Be sure to Favourite as well.  The more times your name is mentioned, the more chance you have of being noticed.  I have really enjoyed conversations with various musical groups all over the world.  It takes very little time but is so much fun.

3. Linking.  You can link your blog posts to automatically be posted on Twitter.  If you don't want to be the Twitter guru then appoint someone as your Twitter reader and writer.  It is most important that you stay on top of what is happening.
Facebook can also be linked to your blog.  Your posts can automatically be posted to your Facebook page.  I find that Facebook is more used by local people.  It is not as far reaching as Twitter but has its place in keeping your community in the loop.  I do not find that this is as good vehicle for disseminating information as the blog but certainly brings some to your blog posts that wouldn't otherwise read it.

1. Like - You can click on LIKE on other posts to show you have read them.  You can also make a post you don't think is appropriate be hidden on your page.  If someone continues to post what you think is inappropriate, you can "un-friend" them.

2. Share - When you find something like a video or poster or picture you would like YOUR friends to see then you can click the share button.  You can add your own comment to that as well.

We have e-mail for direct communication with the choir.  Seeing as most people have smart phones, they will get their e-mails right away.  Our choir has requested e-mail as our main communication although the schedule and updates are always available on the blog.

Make the social media work for you.  Learn from and share with others who have similar interests.  It is simply amazing.  I am of the age that I remember when you thought twice about using long distance on the phone as it was very expensive.  Letters (snail mail) were written regularly.  Now, communication is immediate and ever present.  Don't be afraid of it.  I knew nothing about using social media just two years ago.  Now there is no turning back.  Make it a part of your choir's persona.  Why not?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Where Has All the Power Gone?

I know there are many in our fair province and all the way over to New Brunswick who have no power and may be staying in shelters.  Not an easy time of year for that to happen.  Hopefully most will be restored soon.  We just now got our internet back but we luckily have had power and thus heat.

Luckily, we have had cell phones for communication and keeping up with the world. If all you have is your cell phone right now I hope you can enjoy with us the Celtic Women as they and we wish you a happy, healthy and musical Christmas.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fun Friday - Christmas Flash Mob at the Mall

Thanks Attie for finding this one.  It just makes you want to sing along.  I never understand those who walk by or don't just join in.  One, Two, Three - SING!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - How to Restart with Enthusiasm

Okay, so here we are in the middle of the Christmas holidays.  All the Christmas concerts are over for which we practised like mad fools, albeit happy ones.  We all know in a a week or two, we are back to practices.  How to we get the enthusiasm and excitement into the post holiday music?  Let me suggest:

1. YOU need to be excited! - That sounds easy to say but YOU whether the conductor or the singer need to bring a bag full of energy with you.  If you don't feel enthusiastic, then put on some music you love and rock up a storm before you go to practice or listen to your favourite comedian.  YOU be exited to start!

2. Sing something surprising. - You may have a spring concert to prepare for.  Does that mean you have to sing only those pieces?  I don't think so.  Sing "Baby It's Cold Outside" or "Harvest  Moon". While singing those songs, focus on the skills you will need for your next musical challenges, blend, dynamics, pronunciation etc. but have some fun.

3. Meet somewhere different. - Depending on the size of your choir this may or may not be possible.  If you are a singer, why not think about and suggest a place where you could practise that would give you a different perspective.  As a director, you may have access to other venues, a church, a school auditorium or even your home.

4. Invite guests or join someone else. - If there is another choir nearby, why not invite them to join you.  You could return the favour by visiting them at a practice of theirs.  It would take a bit of organization but it would be worth the effort.  Your guests could sing your music and when you go to their practice, you could sing theirs.  It would be good reading practise and a great deal of fun.

No matter what, go back to #1 and make sure you bring a  basketful of fun with you whenever you sing.  Life is too short not to enjoy each and every opportunity to be with others especially when you make music together.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Silent Monks "Sing" Hallelujah

This is really well done.  You can tell these are young people and boy have they ever practised.  I think it is just as much fun to hear the audience reaction. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - Mary Did You Know - What Makes the Difference?

On Sunday, the Embro Thistle Singers were privileged to lead the music at St. James Anglican Church in Ingersoll.  They sang with such heart and the sound was some of their very best.  The atmosphere was one of praise and worship and the acoustics really great.  All of that came together with committed singers to add that "je ne sais quoi" to the resulting sound.  It was simply beautiful.  So many told us just that so it wasn't just my biased opinion. (Tee, hee)

Here are two videos of the very same song by the very same singers.  There is a big difference in the presentations, I think.  Although, both are beautiful one is so much more intense than the other.  Please, listen and then click, COMMENT below and let us know what you heard.

Video #1 

Video #2

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Singing for Community Service for YFC/Youth Unlimited Ingersoll & St. James Anglican

We thoroughly enjoyed our time last night at St. James Anglican Church in Ingersoll.  The acoustics in the church are lovely and the our Embro Thistle Singers were in top form.  We sang Glory to God for the first time along with the Huron Carol and O Holy Night and they were spot on.

The small but appreciative crowd sang along with Joy to the World and Hark the Herald Angels.  They sounded so good we hoped they might consider joining us.

Tomorrow morning we are back at St. James, this time to lead an Advent service.  We will be singing When a Child is Born and Peace, Peace and Huron Carol as well as the rest of the music for the service.  Our marvellous Kristy is the pianist and organist at St. James so we are thrilled to be able to give back even in a small way.

We hope to see you there at 10:30, Sunday, December 8.  All are welcome.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fun Friday - Air Canada Flash Mob

Who says Canadians are dull?  We know how to do it.  Notice the "worker" who draws attention by telling the band they aren't supposed to be there and then joins them.  Fun.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tonal Tuesday - Thinking Outside the Music - ThePianoGuys

Listen to this amazing video and see if you can count how many ways these amazing musicians have created new ways of creating sounds.

How many times do we look at a piece of music and how we could make it "different"?  Or do we just sing it "straight" each and every time.  I think there are some simple ways to add some spice to a piece without in any way spoiling the intention of the composer or arranger. Let's see what they are doing in the video above.

1. Change positions.  Exactly.  Stand in different places .  Stand so that you are NOT with anyone singing the same part as you.  Stand in a circle.  Play a type of musical chairs through your practice.

2. See the song differently.  Obviously, they are singing a very traditional song and using non-traditional accompaniment.  This big change has not spoiled the sound but added to it.  Even the picture taking is very creative.  See how you can change up a tried and true piece with different approaches.  For instance, we are singing O Holy Night quite quickly and not repeating the "chorus" or harmony part.  The result is that those who haven't liked that piece were much happier with the result.  Cool.

3. Collaborate.  Talk about what you want to do amongst yourselves.  At practice on Sunday, our singers had some really good suggestions about the order of singing unison sections and dynamic variations.  When you have others around you with experience and interest, tap into their ideas.

4. Be fearless.  Who cares what others may think?  What is the worst that can happen?  Really, the worst thing is that you don't end up liking that piece or style or manner of presentation.  The great news is that it can be changed.  You will never know if you don't try.

Now listen to the ThePianoGuys again and enjoy!