Sunday, December 30, 2012
Sunday, December 23, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
For many people Christmas is the only time of year that they sing or go to see a choir perform. But singing is not just for Christmas, it’s for life!
Sunday, December 09, 2012
But how can you stop them from going stale and keep them fresh for performance?
Sunday, December 02, 2012
Wrong! I don’t get paid that every hour I work. In fact, I would say I spend over 80% of my time in the office not being paid, and only a few hours each week actually doing any paid singing work.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
But I’ve been getting comments about the quality of the recordings. People are asking me to record the songs as soon as we’ve learnt them rather than at the end of the day when people are tired.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
This lead me to wonder: do I have to be a good performing musician (i.e. singer) in order to be able to lead a singing workshop or to run a choir?
Sunday, November 11, 2012
60 strangers gathered in a church hall and after just three hours we had a choir with three songs in four-part harmony (plus dance moves!) ready for public performance. How did we achieve that so quickly?
Sunday, November 04, 2012
It’s not innate talent or vocal range or ability to read music or quality of voice. And it’s something that most singing teachers won’t tell you about.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
But when all the other parts come in, you end up singing the tune instead. What’s going on?
Sunday, October 21, 2012
This week I want to consider those of us who lead choirs and singing workshops. How can you avoid using all your energy up too quickly?
Sunday, October 14, 2012
Have you tried a full singing day only to duck out at lunch time due to exhaustion?
How can we – as singers or choir leaders – pace ourselves better?
Sunday, October 07, 2012
You can have music without words, but can you have a song without music? When music is wedded to lyrics, is it greater than the sum of its parts? What do words add to music (and vice versa)?
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Sunday, September 23, 2012
How do we go about planning each term? What guidelines are there for choosing songs?
Sunday, September 16, 2012
It’s made me wonder: how close do I need to stick to the original recordings when doing voice-only arrangements?
Sunday, September 09, 2012
For years I’ve been meaning to attend the annual Rencontres de Chants Polyphoniques de Calvi (literally: Meetings of polyphonic songs) organised by the Corsican singing group A filetta. This year I’ve managed it!
Sunday, September 02, 2012
Sunday, August 26, 2012
contact form if you want to submit a question.
“Because I like to sing, my work has asked me to do a lunch time fun singing workshop for my colleagues. I would dearly like to do this as it would be fun, but I have no idea where to start and what songs to teach.
I imagine when you say rounds it is 3 blind mice etc. but I don't know what a call & response song is or a chant. Could you please start me off with a few ideas?”
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Too hot to do anything really other than lay under a shady tree sipping Pimms. Certainly too hot to sing.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
I thought it might be a fun idea to do the same kind of survey here, but in the context of songs we have sung ourselves – whether we learnt them from our Mum, at school or in a professional choir.
Sunday, August 05, 2012
Sounds familiar? Next time, rather than waiting to feel the urge, take action and the feeling will follow.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
There were about 20 singers who’d come together only a week before to learn around 30 – 35 songs. They worked for up to seven hours each day to learn the songs. That’s about one song every 1½ hours. A pretty impressive feat.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Sue wrote in to ask:
“As a self-funded community choir, do we need a constitution?”
The short answer is “No”!
Unless ... you're applying for funding or opening a business bank account. In which case you will also have to have a committee with posts such as treasurer, etc.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
But what happens if not everyone comes to every session?
Sunday, July 08, 2012
But how long does it take to really get a song under your belt so you can sing it confidently without referring to either lyrics or sheet music?
Sunday, July 01, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
I’ve been planning for a long time to write a beginner’s guide to music theory and jargon for singers who learn by ear.
I’m going to try very hard to write it this summer. Honest!
So ... I’m asking for your input.
What musical jargon or concepts would you like me to explain?
I’m just going to cover those bits of theory that a singer in a community choir who learns by ear might encounter. I’m not going to deal with written music (so nothing about repeat signs, key signatures, treble clefs, etc.).
Do leave a comment and let me know if there’s anything particular you’d like me to cover, whether it be ‘thirds’ or ‘semitone’ or ‘pitch’. Any questions welcome, no matter how elementary they might seem.
Chris Rowbury's website: chrisrowbury.com
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Even though I’ve been teaching for almost 30 years, I still get affected by that glum-looking face in the third row.
Just one frown amongst a sea of smiling faces is enough to make me doubt myself. But what might that glum face mean?
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Last week I wrote about choosing suitable songs to arrange.
This week I want to get down to the nitty gritty of how to create an arrangement.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Well, it’s a long story and I certainly can’t teach song arranging in a blog, but I can give a few pointers. There’s quite a lot to cover, so I’ve split the subject in two. Second part next week.
Sunday, June 03, 2012
A woman came up to me last Saturday and said “I like coming to your workshops because there are always lots of men”.
Little did she know that only a week before there had been 45 women and just one man enrolled on the workshop!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
When I started my first ever choir, WorldSong, it was an open-access beginner’s choir and anyone who wanted to sing could join.
Over time, as people stuck with the choir, the singing and the singers got better. We weren’t really a beginner’s choir any more. But beginners still wanted to join!
Sunday, May 20, 2012
Sometimes in a small group there is just one person out of step with everyone else.
In a large choir, it’s not too much of a problem, but the smaller the group, the more noticeable it is. How can we deal with this?
Friday, May 18, 2012
Some of you may have had difficulty finding this blog these last few days.
My apologies. I changed website host and have only now just managed to link the blog to my website address.
Did ya miss me?
Sunday, May 13, 2012
Jargon is a useful shorthand for people in the know. But for those outside our world, it can be confusing or even meaningless.
We might think we’re being clear, but how can we be sure that everyone understands what we’re trying to get across?
Sunday, May 06, 2012
I often get enquiries about how you train to become a choir or singing workshop leader.
I don’t offer courses myself, but there are a few around. But do you really need training?
Sunday, April 29, 2012
I wrote last week about people who think they can’t ‘sing’ because they think they need training or singing lessons first (Your singing voice: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!).
We focus so much on our mouths and what comes out of them, that often we forget one of the most important aspect of singing: listening.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
My main point was that many people are frightened to sing in public before they’ve had ‘training’ or ‘proper’ singing lessons. But can’t you just sing without any ‘technique’?
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Sunday, April 08, 2012
When I’m promoting a singing workshop or recruiting for a choir, I want a shorthand way of describing the kind of songs I teach.
There is such a range of different ‘choirs’ out there (which is great!), that we need to distinguish between them so people can make an informed choice. But does ‘world music choir’ actually mean anything useful?
Sunday, April 01, 2012
I’m always on the lookout for new ideas for singing workshops.
I’ve pretty much covered all the bases so far: gospel, Eastern European, sacred songs, ABBA, Beatles, Beach Boys, Paul Simon, 60s California, World Music, Sing Africa, Rhythm and Voice, Songs from the British Isles, Men’s harmony singing, Classic Pop, Songs from the 60s, and more ...
I’m running out of ideas, so I thought I’d hand it over to you.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
I’ve written before about how hard it is to get a cross-section of ages and genders in your choir (How to recruit singers to truly reflect your local community).
But maybe that’s because we don’t have strong communities any more – at least not here in the UK.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
It’s the first week of the new choir. Everyone is having fun, songs are being learnt at a cracking pace, the whole room is in tune with each other, things are really cooking!
Then the following week everything goes pear-shaped and things fall apart. It’s as if everyone has lost their way, has forgotten how to sing and can’t remember any of the songs! What’s going on here?
Sunday, March 11, 2012
When I’m booked to run a singing workshop for someone, I always make sure that I get there early. I usually arrive to find people milling around, chatting and drinking tea.
The hardest part of the day is to then get them singing!
Monday, March 05, 2012
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
A concert is looming and there are a couple of songs you don’t know that well.
You’ll need to put in some practice at home, but how do you rehearse on your own?
Sunday, February 12, 2012
I was at a business meeting recently and we were asked what we did. I explained as well as I could.
A guy came up to me in the break and asked: “Yes, but what actually happens in one of your sessions? And what is a ‘workshop’ any way?
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Planning a singing workshop is a lot like planning a regular choir session.
The main differences are that a workshop is usually a one-off and the participants will usually be strangers.