The first essential of a good choirmaster is discipline ; no amount of learning can compensate for the lack of it. There are many cases on record of an " obliging," " easy-to-get- on-with " choirmaster, who takes hints publicly offered by those he is supposed to teach, and loses his position by his own indefiniteness and failure to lead. In Uking boys into a choir, considering all the preliminary training it is necessary for them to have before they are really useful, nine years old is not too young to start ; five or six years' work can then be obtained before the voice " breaks.
Whether the choir is large or small, it is advisable to have some boys even younger than nine as probationers. It is necessary that the vacancies, as they occur in the choir, should be filled up by those who have already had some training. When regular choristers have become efficient, it is a good plan to let each become a sort of '' godfather " to a probationer ; each boy will readily take an interest in teach- ing what he knows to his probationer, and will take a cer- tain amount of competitive pride and responsibility in try- ing to place his protege in the choir before the others.
A probationer should always stand next to his " godfather " in the practice-room, and full scope to a child's imitative powers can then be indulged in.
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This is generally very effective punishment. In many cases in larger towns there is some trouble in keeping a boy in the choir after he has be- come particularly useful as a leader, or solo voice. This is often caused by the unprincipled advances, in the way of more generous fees, made by some other church, often by some layman interested in music, who fails to see how unfair it is to a choirmaster after he has expended great pains, trouble and time to secure good results, to rob him of the just fruits of his labor. This evil is more common than is supposed, the author having suffered on more than one occasion.
It seems almost incomprehensible that a so-called Christian man, knowing that a certain church has paid the tuition-fees of a rough boy for a year or more, and probably given him. In a measure, this evil may be obviated by having an agreement signed by the parents of a likely boy, and the rector and choirmaster, to the effect that as long as he is useful and remains in the town, he shall sing in their choir only. In small towns it is seldom necessary to pay the boys.
The parents will probably be glad their boys have an opportunity to study singing without cost ; but in larger towns, where there may be opposition, it often becomes a necessity to offer a payment based on the number of practices and services required of a boy. A sliding scale is very advantageous, owing to the fact that it gives a certain amount of ambition to a boy to excel, and put forth every endeavor to become a soloist. A certain portion of a boy's pay should be retained, and perhaps a yearly interest might be added.
Then, should a boy leave without a reasonable excuse, or otherwise violate, his agreement before his voice breaks, he forfeits the whole sum, otherwise it should be given him on leaving, with possibly a good-conduct bonus. Any little help towards efficiency, such as medals or certificates, is to be encouraged, and a monthly examination in the course covered is also a great help in showing a choirmas- ter how much theory is really understood.
Music should be carefully catalogued and num- bered, and a record kept as to date from which it was used. A librarian can usually be pressed into service, and a choirmaster can help a great deal in systematizing under various headings, such as "Canticles " or "Anthems," or special seasons, etc. Hints for the Practice-room.
Use a square piano. A reed-organ is to be avoided, as boys unconsciously imitate the nasal tone. A piano gives prompt attack. Always place poor singers next to good ones. Teach all boys to sing solos in the practice-room ; it gives confidence.
Make boys count time during symphony, and take breath one beat before singing. Never allow the eyes to be taken off copy till finished ; the mouth or face should never be covered with copy. Devote quarter-hour to scales and exercises. Practise softly. Conduct often without accompaniment ; this makes boys self-reliant.
Don't bother boys with technical words. In long passages, apportion different places for breath. Don't let ail breathe at once, e. Repetition of an error confirms it. Should a choirmaster him- self forget he is not in the practice-room, or be guilty of joking or any inconsistency, he cannot expect his boys to be reverent. It is not so much a high standard of conduct that is required during services, as a general feeling of so- lemnity in and respect for the house of God whenever en- tered, that is necessary to inculcate into boys.
It is not the amount of breath taken, but the amount controlled, that tells ; but develop the lungs by every means. Don't spend too much time learning to control the breath alone ; take vocal exercises in conjunction with breathing-exercises. The act of breathing is passive rather than active. The system known as " lateral-costal " is the method used with the greatest success, and the exercises in this book are based on that method. All breathing should be deep abdominal , and while there should be absolutely no rigidity, the chest should be raised and remain so throughout the musical phrase ; the shrinking should take place at the waist-line.
The dia- phragm is a muscular shield ex- tending acrqss the body, separat- ing the breathing apparatus from the digestive organs, and forming the floor of the lungs. In other words, the expansion of the lungs when full, according to this method, forces the diaphragm from a con- vex to a concave position, thereby allowing room for lung- expansion, at the same time pressing down the viscera.
It is obvious, then, that in fixing the diaphragm we gain doubly ; first, by obtaining a greater " side-rib " expansion ; secondly, by avoiding the tremolo. Exercise i. Exhale slowly through mouth. In drawing breath through the nose the air is both warmed and filtered. Exercise 2. Same as No. Choirmaster should watch the expansion, and measure boys with a piece of string or tape, and note increase after a week or so of practising.
When lungs are full, exhale explosively through mouth ; boys will easily feel the sudden collapse of their expanded ribs and realize the extra space occupied by the lungs when full. See to it that the shoulders do not rise. If they do, it is a sign of clavicular breathing, which is entirely wrong and injurious. Exercise 3. If shoulders do rise, practise Exercise 2, but instead of placing hands on ribs, sit in chair and firmly grasp the underside of seat with both hands ; the shoulders are fixed by this means, and cannot rise.
Insist incessantly that the preliminary to all breathing is the slight indrawing of the front wall of the abdomen, and be careful that too much effort is not expended on it. Having obtained a fair increase in expansion, slow notes on "ah" should be taken, very softly. The student should try to imagine that breath is being inhaled, a sort of yawning feeling.
This has the advantage of making the voice bright and clear by raising the soft palate, and also of saving the breath. On the subject of registers much has been written. The best results have been gained by " antici- pating" the head-register in ascending, and bringing the head-register down in descending scales. This is the " golden rule " of singing ; in many books the first half is taught.
These notes are naturally those below E p zij. The best vowel for head-tones is " oo. Practise diligently, taking a semitone higher each time.
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It is impossible to sing " oo " as an upper medium note on F or FJf in most cases. If a clear head-tone is not obtained by all boys, it aids the effort to place the right foot slightly forward, resting the weight of the body on it, at the same time lowering the head a little, and thinking of the top of the head. With the writer, this has proved efficacious in all cases. To get rid of breathy sounds, practise Exercise 4. Exercise 4. J uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh Do not sing these notes staccato, but as short as pos- sible. Feel tones are made by a sort of " click " at the vocal cords, not by action of ribs.
Do not allow the ribs to move until after the tone is made. The registers of a voice are divided accord- ing to the feeling produced in the singer. The " lower medium " notes sound as if produced in the back of the mouth ; the " upper medium, " in the front of the mouth above the front teeth ; the " head " tones are felt in the highest part of the back of the head.
The mouth is the chief resonance-chamber, and the wider it is open the greater the resounding space and the louder the voice ; the pharynx and head-cavities all act as resonators, reinforcing the tones by the addition of over- tones. To accomplish a good attack, a slight, sharp inward movement of the abdo- men is necessary. Practise notes of scale on "la. The best method is to practise first on " la," then on the vowel-sound alone. Exercise 5. Lf" 1 nn d up- ard. Keep tongue as flat as possible, and mouth open for " le " just as wide as for " la.
The higher up the scale, the more open the mouth. Fix the eyes on some spot in the room during vocalizing ; it helps to keep head and jaws still. In Exs. In taking breath the vocal cords must be open, and in attack- ing the note brought sharply together again. Below are the various ideas held by some leading choir- masters as to the " division-notes " or boundaries of the various registers in the boy's voice : Sir G. Head Medium The registers in a boy's voice are chest, medium upper and lower , and head.
The chest-voice can, of course, always be used for certain effects, but is better left out altogether. Upper Medium felt on top of mouth, well forward. Head Resonance felt at the highest part of back of head. Voices trained on this plan blend much better with women's voices, and don't stand out, but add brilliancy only. Contraltos or altos use " chest" and "medium" registers only. Exercise 9. Take any head-note and train downward over the " break. Exercise Exercise n. The soft ending is the test in this exercise.
This exercise also prevents " scooping " in the first place, and teaches the use of high register on low notes. Start in head-voice, sing very softly. In so doing, the voice will unconsciously get into the medium register, which is what is required. Wrong head-tone production is combined with a loss of all facial expression, a fixed chin, and a stony eye.
For words and loose jaw. Sing second time mf. Boys often get a little flat on them. Slowly at first. See that the middle note is distinct. In Exercises 16, 17, and 18 care must be taken not to unduly accentuate the first note of the group of three. Pause on last note. Very slowly. Sometimes a fuller resonance is obtained by using " na " for vocalizing ; this combination is also very useful for making the tongue active. All words should be said or sung distinctly, in no case should words be so gabbled that it is impossible to use the tongue quickly enough to form clean consonants.
It is a good plan to slightly accent the word " in " in "As it was IN the beginning. All the regular church responses should be carefully gone through with regard to pronunciation, and with a little care one would not so often hear the responses to the litany : " Web 'seach Thee t'yeerus ;" " Good Lor' dliverus. The shaded parts in the squares of the following example will give some idea of the proportionate value of the Conso- nants to the Vowels. Incline Thine ear-r, incline Thine ear to me.
Not Incline Thine earincline.
EXHAUSTIVE LIST OF WORKS
Glory be to the Father.. Not Glory be to the Fatherand to the Son. Care must also be taken in the pronunciation of such words as fire: "FFre. The people that trust in Thee, Often sounds The people tha' trust in Thee. Most choirmasters, with but two practice-days a week, find themselves too fully occupied to teach the rudiments of music, time and sight-reading to the boys ; but it is in the end a longer journey not to attempt it, than to spend a little extra time on these subjects in the first place.
The upper figure shows the number of beats in a measure ; the lower figure, the kind or value of note. S 1 I 4 iji 1 1- Ariv upper figure into which 3 goes more than once, is " compound time," having so many groups of three notes i! Thus g divided by 3 gives two beats or groups of three notes each ; as three notes always equal one dotted note of the next higher value, g equals 2 beats of dotted quarter- notes, 4 being the next higher value to 8.
Boys should now be made to fill up measures on the blackboard to which various time-signatures have been set, and when singing should beat time, commencing with two in a measure. Starting with the Major scale, the notes " one above " or " one below " are easy to recognize. It is not advisable at this stage to point out the different qualities of a " Second, " as long as the interval is correctly named.
The next easy interval to recognize and sing is the octave. This has already been seen in Exercise n. In singing the common chord it may be well perhaps thus early to point to the fact that the three notes are super-imposed "Thirds," and the higher Third is smaller than the lower.
Sing and Study
Tramm, Conductor. Tuesday, October 9, at pm. The 10 voice, award-winning vocal ensemble, Choral Chameleon, took audience members on a whimsical journey through the magic of choral storytelling. Harnessing powerful commentary in the style of the Greek chorus combined with the beauty and empathy of human singing, this unique performance narrated rich life stories, of both a sacred and a secular ilk, through the lenses of composers from across five centuries, These included Mateo Fletxa el Viejo, Josquin des Prez, The Beatles, and others.
Sunday, May 13, at 3 pm. This minute odyssey offered an opportunity for contemplation, as cello and piano explored different degrees of stasis and patterns of harmony and color. Patterns in a Chromatic Field reflects his lifelong fascination with the Abstract Expressionist painters.
His wide-ranging musical interests include contemporary chamber music, improvisation, and electronic music, and he has coached with the Arditti and JACK quartets. Tuesday, April 17, at pm. The Dorian made history in , as the first wind quintet to appear at Carnegie Hall, and since then have been universally recognized for their polished and passionate performances. They have been responsible for 40 commissions of 20th and 21st century wind music from major composers such as Luciano Berio, Lukas Foss and Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.
At St. Written for the Dorian Woodwind Quintet in , 'La Nouvelle Orleans' showcases this composer's talent for writing in very diverse styles. We would expect nothing less from the man who composed the theme to 'Mission Impossible'! Tuesday, March 20, at pm. Great Music at St. Biegga is a call to the wind, conveying a sense of the divine. This concert was made possible by a generous gift from Robin Henry. Sunday, March 4, at pm in the Chapel. Since its founding in , the Apple Hill String Quartet has earned praise around the world for its concerts presenting interpretive mastery of traditional repertoire—including Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Beethoven, and Ravel—as well as for new and commissioned works by outstanding composers.
The Great Music at St. At this event, audience heard St.
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William K. Trafka, St. The program included organ works of Bach, Guilmant, and Mendelssohn. Audience experienced the joy and warmth of the holidays with great choral works, sacred and secular, and the chance to sing the beloved carols of the season with organ and orchestra in the candlelit splendor of St.
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Bart's famous Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ to three short comedies of Buster Keaton. Convict 13 featured Keaton as an innocent and untalented golfer who is mistaken for a convict. In The Boat , Buster and his family sailed into the Pacific Ocean in a homemade vessel that is barely seaworthy. The audience experienced these films as their first audiences would have: with live accompaniment, and heard St.