Sunday, July 30, 2017

Musical Monday - Some Ideas for Building Rhythmic Confidence

Sometimes, we feel uncomfortable with some rhythms.  There are songs that come along and are very challenging.  Here are a few ideas to help you develop that sense of rhythm and build your confidence.

Image result for clip art child dancingYou have seen children dancing away to music in the middle of a store or even church.  They have complete confidence and until someone tells them differently, they will enjoy the rhythm with abandon.
As in many things, we should approach learning like a child would.  Put on some music and move to it.  Oh all right, you don't have to dance but try conducting it as if the singers were in front of you.
If that seems a bit daunting, just tap your fingers in time to the music.  You can tap or snap the rhythm (that is the same as the speed of the words).  Use slower music and faster music.  Tap your knee in the car.  Every time you hear music, let your body react to it.  Soon, it will become second nature and rhythm will start to make sense.

Image result for clip art conducting2. START COUNTING THE BEATHave you ever been to a party and somebody wants you to sing Happy Birthday?  That person will just expect everyone to start singing.  The caterwauling that ensues is not pleasant.  People singing at all different speeds and in varying keys.  Ouch. 
They don't realize that you need to give a starting note (tone) and that you need to be counted in so that everyone sings at the same time.  
You can learn to do that simply by again listening to lots of kinds of music.  Instead of following the speed of the words called the rhythm, you tap the beat.  That is the steady feeling of speed in a song.  The beat is what people clap when they like a song someone is singing.  Keeping the beat is part of what the conductor does so that all instruments or voices are playing or singing in the same time.  Tap your foot, finger or hand as you listen.  Most rock music is in 4/4 time which means that you count 1,2,3,4 over and over.  Just start trying to feel that beat (like a heart beat) which keeps your music moving. 

3. FEEL THE ACCENTAs you tap a beat to a rock song like the Beatles, All You Need Is Love.  Feel the 1,2,3,4 as the songs plays.  You will notice that the word "love" falls on what we call an accent or a beat that is harder or more important than the others.  Put more strength on the first count, gives interest to the music.  If every count had the same amount of stress, it would soon be rather uninteresting. 
Image result for clip art conducting 4/4 timeYou can see in this conducting diagram, the FIRST beat is the one the conductor moves down on.  That shows a heavier accent.  try waving your hands in this pattern while counting 1,2,3,4.  This will help you feel where the stress falls.  It is also kind of fun to pretend you are the conductor. 

RHYTHM IS A LEARNED SKILLRhythm of which the beat is a part, is a learned skill.  Some people come by it more naturally than others but EVERYONE can learn. Tap your toes, fingers and head to the music whenever you hear it.  It will become second nature.  Enjoy the music & have FUN!!!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Musical Monday - Hand Clap Skit - The Original!

Next Monday we will post some ideas about teaching rhythm techniques.  These young men don't need to learn NOW but boy, oh boy have they ever got this down pat.  Go ahead and put something together with your choir that requires this kind of group dynamic.  Oh sorry.  Couldn't let that pun go by!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Musical Monday - The Choir Conductor

If you are of a certain age, you will remember the Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin movies.  Here, Jerry Lewis becomes the choir conductor.  Although it is really funny, the dynamics and responses to his movements are really great.  Okay, ETS, should I adopt some of Jerry Lewis's unique style?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Musical Monday - Want To Find Your Voice? The Brothers Koren can show the way...

We will probably not all become soloists or music stars but many would dearly love to sing in a choir or smaller group.  Yes YOU can! Read how these singers found their voices and apply it to yourself.  Use the ideas to face the fear that may hold you back.  Then, this fall come on out to a choir and put your fear in your back pocket, 'dare to suck' and do it anyway.  

Face Your Fears to Find Your Voice
Brothers Koren in The Kind on stage
The Brothers Koren (formerly of Grit Pop band ‘The Kin’) opened up for Coldplay, P!NK and Rod Stewart and earned a Gold record in New Zealand.
Isaac Koren talks to VoiceCouncil about their new artist development initiative and how you can find artistic success by embracing your imperfections.

Advice For Beginners

What advice do you have for people wishing to make the leap out of the day job to pursue a music career?
Oh my god, you are my favorite artists! You are the one who has been told all your life that you need to tow the line and felt like you are not worthy of sharing your voice. You are the ones who felt not good enough or outcast from the cool kids at school and you were the ones who did not want to disappoint your parents who had spent so much on your education.
We experienced first hand how restrictive and limited the musical landscape can be
What if there was not so much intense separation from your passion for music and your money job? We have worked with over 25 people who have left their ordinary jobs and have found their own voice and sound in music through Brothers Koren and FARM.artists.


Tell us more about FARM.artists:
When we were coming up through the ranks as The Kin we experienced first hand how restrictive and limited the musical landscape can be. We finally recognized that we had to stop trying to be ‘right’ and instead embrace everything ‘wrong’ about us – show up as who we really were as artists.
FARM. is our way to provide fellow rebels the support we wish we’d had when we were discovering who we were as artists. We embrace mantras like “Dare to suck,” “I don’t know what the f* I’m doing,” and “Get comfortably uncomfortable” and take you through a 9 week pilgrimage to uncover who you are and what you want to say in the world through full body instrument sessions, shadow work, songwriting intensives, and recording sessions.

A Perfect Recording Session

How to get the best out of a recording session?
We like to record all the vocals with just piano and click. For years, our producers made us sing over loud tracks and thought it would inspire us. No! The singer has to hear herself, otherwise what is the point? Who wants to hear a singer over compensate and pushing her voice to strain?
What about when the whole body is singing like an instrument and all the harmonics of the being line up and are captured in space and time on ‘tape’? That’s the space we like to dance in.
What are the ingredients for vocal magic?
Find a place where you are truly in awe and moved, even scared. Find the space in the air where you feel small and all the atoms become huge. When the space between the notes expands, that’s when the room has something palpable to listen to.
Singing is a meditation, it is our birth right, our connection to God. If you honour it like it is your last utterance then even the angels are listening. If you don’t sing like it’s your last chance to shine, then why bother at all?

Writer’s Block

How to overcome writer’s block?
The concept of ‘Writer’s block’ assumes something that I don’t believe in at all, and that is the idea that we know what we are doing.
I work from the assumption that I don’t know what I am doing
Too often we approach art in such a way that we think we should have some idea of what we’re doing and that to not know, to be stuck, is a failure. I work from the assumption that I don’t know what I am doing. That way I can ‘dare to suck’ and trust in the process.

Overcoming Difficulties

What have you had to overcome to become a singer?
When I was 15, I was asked to jam with my high school party in a backyard in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. My mate who was strumming the guitar said, “Sing for me, Zack,” and, overriding the painful sensations of shyness and fear of looking bad, I started wailing the blues. The whole party crowded around, and my mate turned to me and said, “Are kidding me? I didn’t know you could sing! Will you sing for my band?”
I had never sung before, but two weeks later I was singing to 250 screaming kids and have been at home in music ever since. Singing is like medicine for the shy. But you have to take the leap and dare to suck at it first.

Brothers KorenThe Brothers Koren have travelled the world both as headliners and openers for the likes of Pink and Coldplay. Now, they’re developing other artists through their FARM.artists program. Find out more at

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Musical Monday - This Is My Canada

We had the best time at our Ingersoll 150 Celebrations.  Check out our Facebook for more pictures.  I love this song too and of course the pictures of our amazing country really are stunning.  
As today is also a holiday for many here in Canada, enjoy!  Happy Independence Day to our U.S. friends tomorrow.