Sunday, 26 September 2010

On a Plane to Llandudno

Loreto Centre where the Workshops are held. Very nice!

I am frantically trying to get everything done today as I have to fly to Manchester on Wednesday and then train to Llandudno, where I am giving workshops to the Panel of Monastic Musicians Annual Conference. That means I have to cram in as many pupils as I can on Monday and Tuesday, especially those taking exams. I will be away for 4 weeks later in October, both working and holidaying, so it is vital that the lessons are put in!

I thought I had lost my train tickets, but 36 minutes and a demented search eventually turned up trumps, and they were, cleverly, filed in the folder which says 'All Travel Documents Sept 2010' ! Duh!

My brief for the workshop days is -

Encouraging the Community to Sing !

A good title, with lots of room for manoeuvre, but I am still hoping that I can wangle it around to hands on work, rather than 'blether' as my local friends say!

Nuns and Monks sing approximately 5 services each day and start at around 6am, give or take a few dawn choruses, and they are as much professional singers as any of we secular folk, infact I think on the whole they sing more than Equity performing rules allow! They definitely start earlier! Equity says singers don't start rehearsal until 10am!

I find, when I am working with religious that I am often talking about voice damage limitation, lightening the vocal load, and taking stress away from the voice as much as possible. I try to give real practical tips such as, in a 3 hour singing period, a voice therapist recommends 8 cups of water, or liquid one can see through - excluding gin and vodka I assume! Saying that, aging voices simply do drop, it is natural and we must accommodate that hormonal happening, just reducing a chant by 1 tone for singers over 55 can work miracles - well not the sort of miracle they canonise people for however ! Encouraging non singers to have a little confidence is a very tricky one - they need TLC, the patience of Job, and maybe acceptance that it will always be something of a trial. In accepting that they do not set too high expectations of themselves, and learn to accept that their best will do.

Anyhow, I will scribble a few notes down when I am in the air early Wednesday morning in the hopes that being nearer to Heaven I might come up with some startling new ideas for voice transformation! I will take a sheet of simple exercises for each person to take home, and explain that singing is not magic, if one has a few tools to fall back on it WILL work more successfully.

The group are, of course, all the Choir Directors, Organists and Liturgy experts of their own order, so I will at least be talking the language of music.

Mind you, I think I might get a few organists up as voice guinea pigs.
They'll hate me!!

On with all I need to do...................

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