Monday, September 28, 2015

Musical Monday - A Thedford Adventure

One of our basses, Paul, has been working with a group of people who for the last 10 years or more have been quietly working with the workers who come all the way from Mexico to work on our farms here.  They have transportation limitations, language barriers, and often feel isolated.  It was a chance meeting of two workers who actually knew each other and were working not far apart and yet had not known that they were even in Canada at the same time.

From there, a small group of dedicated people started a service that these "guest" workers could attend done in Spanish for them.  A meal became part of the evening as many workers came right out of the fields.

Image result for clip art guitarPaul and his musical friends in the Men of Song from Strathroy, joined in the planning of a fund raising evening to be held at the Thedford Arena.  We also got invited to participate.  What a great evening it was!!!

Although some of the workers weren't allowed to leave the fields at the last minute, many attended to play soccer and share a barbecue.

ETS members all had to drive more than an hour to attend but oh we are so glad we did.  There was our Kristy playing the piano with the Presbyterian minister and her guitar and another church member and her uniquely mellow bongo.  They played familiar songs and the audience just joyfully joined in.

We sang with a small but mighty group and they did a fabulous job of Hallelujah, Wonderful World, You Raise Me Up and The Storm is Passing Over.  Then the Men of Song joined us and we sang a number of hymns including Just as I Am, In the Garden, and No Tears in Heaven.  Wow!

The service continued in Spanish with guitar and spiritual songs and very energetic participation from the audience.

All the while, there is food still available at the side of the auditorium for those coming in late from work.  The homemade goodies and coffee and water were abundant and people just got up and got what they wanted as the evening progressed.

This was a unique and wonderful opportunity for ETS to be able to  participate.  Thanks to Paul and a wonderful group of kind of generous people that this opportunity is available to the workers to not only have a spiritual home but a place to meet fellow workers and socialize.  Bravo all!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesdays - The BEATLES "Birthday" song

Somebody is having a birthday today.  This is for you.  The rest of us can save this in the archives and play it with lots of great memories.  Gotta love the Beatles.  

Monday, September 21, 2015

Musical Monday - The Source of Most Singing / Vocal Problems?

So many times, singers want to use their instrument more efficiently but find difficulty in understanding how to do just that.  Here is a wonderful video that explains the diaphragm and other support muscles etc.  See what you think and I hope it can help choir/singing leaders to explain and singers to practise properly.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fun Friday - Victor Borge Dance Of The Comedians

Victor Borge not only was a great comedian but a very well versed and competent musician.  Enjoy.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Musical Monday - Building Your Confidence

Enjoy this guest blog.  We can't learn enough about building our confidence and the confidence of others. My take is that confidence IS determination.  If you are more determined than fearful, you will succeed.  
Her set of actions are interesting.  In a nutshell, I think it is learn as much as you can, practice, in making mistakes, learn and be brave and keep on keeping on. Fail forward to success. But read on and see what YOU think.  I have editted but not added. 

Confidence. That elusive quality we all strive for as performers and as people. How do we get it and how do we maintain it?

It is the niggling self doubt, the existentialist fear of not making a mark, that inspires many of us to try to do better
To me confidence is overrated. The lack of it, however, does not quite command the deserved acclaim.
In many, it is precisely the lack of confidence which propels them forward.

Replace Confidence with Determination

The trait I notice in those who succeed is not so much confidence, but more a dogged determination.
It is sheer bloody mindedness and resilience.
It is the ability to try, to fail, and to try again. It is the ability to jump in the deep end with all your fears and insecurities and learn on the job, make it up as you go along.
Those who do this often enough build experience. And experience is vital. It takes time. In our age of social media, apps and computers we are under the false illusion that instant gratification should be the modus operandi of life. But it isn’t.
Building real skills and a deeper inner knowledge and reliable intuition, takes time and experience. One cannot argue with it.
Building real skills and a deeper inner knowledge and reliable intuition, takes time and experience
And building a sense of self, an ability to find a place of inner calm and acceptance is hard work. It means accepting oneself with all one’s faults and follies and accepting the possibility that one may not please everyone.
The dictionary definition of ‘confidence’ is ‘belief in one’s own abilities, self-assurance’. I have met very few people who consistently ‘believe in their own abilities’.

10 Actions That Work

So what is there to be done? How does a performer build their self esteem?
This is only my opinion of course, but here is a list of practical things which can be done and which, I have come to believe through experience, work:

1. Be prepared and practice

Preparation and practice are not elusive concepts. They are something you can do, no matter how you feel about yourself.

2. Take sanctuary

Let your work be your sanctuary rather than the place to avoid.

3. Feed your passion

Be creative with your material and explore other repertoire, other artists, other genres, go to concerts, share with other creatives, dream about possibilities.

4. Take any chance to perform

Performance takes practice. The more you do it the better you become at it.

5. Carpe Diem

When an opportunity comes your way grab it with both hands and ride the wave. Don’t let it pass. Opportunities are rare gifts. If you ignore them until a time ‘when you are feeling more confident in your ability’, they may pass you by. Accept that you may never feel consistently confident and get out there and do what you need to do in spite of feeling insecure.

6. Accept

Learn to understand and accept your good and bad days. Think about what you do to sabotage yourself. Do you procrastinate when you feel overwhelmed? Whatever negative habits you have, be onto yourself. Break a large task down into smaller tasks and write lists. Simply get them done. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

7. Appreciate your quiet, awkward, nerdy, uncool traits

Being cool is overrated. Make friends with your demons, sit with your fears, and then get on with what you have to do.

8. Understand that experience takes time

Challenge the idea that your next song needs to be perfect or your next performance needs to be flawless. All great artists have had many failures. In fact they have probably had more failures. That is why they have succeeded in the end.

9. Be creative

Play, play with your music, sculpt a beautiful sound, bring yourself to your performance rather than hide behind it, play, explore, try things.

10. Aim to increase your success rate

..rather than aim to be perfect at all times. If 5 out of 10 gigs are good then that is not bad. Work your way up slowly. Allow yourself to fail, get up, dust yourself off and start again. Learn to laugh about it.
Confidence is a misplaced concept.
Learn to trust that you can get things wrong and then happily keep going. Learn to have faith in your own resilience, without loss of passion, humour and determination.
In this way you are building experience. And experience is hard to compete with.

Leontine Hass Bio
Leontine Hass BA, Melb. Uni, BMus. Kings College London, Dip. RAM is a singer, actress, vocal coach, Director of The Associated Studios and WAM.Co (The Word and Music Company) and a contributor to The Ultimate Guide to Singing. As a vocal coach, Leontine has a busy private practice comprised of professional singers and recording artists.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"We Remember" on Wednesday - A Surprise While Shopping

You never know what amazing things can happen on a cold, drizzly day.  Stay alert.  You might just hear one of ETS's favourite songs. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Musical Monday - Explaining the SATB Choir Reprised

I have been asked to re-post this fun explanation of the idiosyncrasies of the parts of the choir.  All in good fun but I think their may be a bit of truth hidden in here.  As a soprano, I can attest to a number that I recognize.  Which ones seem familiar to you?
There is a really fun explanation of the 4 basic choir sections as seen by a young person.Thanks Kay for sharing the original.   I have paraphrased here.  

Image result for singing lady clip art
SOPRANOS - are the ones who sing the highest, and because of this they think they rule the world. They have longer hair, fancier jewellery, and swishier skirts than anyone else, and they consider themselves insulted if they are not allowed to go at least to a high F in every movement of any given piece. 

ALTOS - are the salt of the earth - in their opinion, at least. Altos are unassuming people, who would wear jeans to concerts if they were allowed to. Altos are in a unique position in the chorus in that they are unable to complain about having to sing either very high or very low. They know that while the sopranos are screeching away on a high A, they are being forced to sing elaborate passages full of sharps and flats and tricks of rhythm, and nobody is noticing because the sopranos are singing too loud (and the basses usually are too). Altos get a deep, secret pleasure out of conspiring together to tune the sopranos flat. Altos have an innate distrust of tenors, because the tenors sing in almost the same range and think they sound better.

TENORS - are spoiled. That's all there is to it. For one thing, there are never enough of them, and choir directors would rather sell their souls than let a halfway decent tenor quit. And then, for some reason, the few tenors there are, are always really good - it's one of those annoying facts of life.. So it's no wonder that tenors always get swollen heads - after all, who else can make sopranos swoon? It is a little-known fact that tenors move their eyebrows more than anyone else while singing.

Image result for TUBA
BASSES - sing the lowest of anybody. This basically explains everything. They are stolid, dependable people, and have more facial hair than anybody else. The basses feel perpetually unappreciated, but they have a deep conviction that they are actually the most important part (a view endorsed by musicologists, but certainly not by sopranos or tenors), despite the fact that they have the most boring part of anybody and often sing the same note (or in endless fifths) for an entire page. They compensate for this by singing as loudly as they can get away with - most basses are tuba players at heart.
As for the sopranos, they are simply in an alternate universe which the basses don't understand at all. They can't imagine why anybody would ever want to sing that high. When a bass makes a mistake, the other three parts will cover him, and he can continue on his merry way, knowing that sometime, somehow, he will end up at the root of the chord.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015