Friday, 26 April 2013

The Magic Mr Vaccaj

It was a very good first week of term, and I feel back in the swing remarkably quickly. There have been a few absences during the course of the week, largely due to a horrid bug which seems to be circumnavigating the UK as well as Paradise! A number of folk have been laid low, and as I don't want to catch it, I was pleased that they all have the consideration to tell me, and stay well away from my music room !

There has been a plethora of new music this week. After Song School and such a long break, all the adults want new repertoire and the children have learnt and almost got bored with the old stuff from the holidays. So with exams looming this term we are cracking on with some super repertoire. I have given out a number of the Vaccaj Italian exercises and mostly folk like them. There are two set for Grade 8, one is beautiful and written for singing runs and roulades. It is so tuneful, and in essence like a small Italian bel canto aria, joyful, quite predictable and very melodic. The other is for leaps of a 7th ! I suspect not even Mr Vaccaj could turn that most tricky of intervals into a memorable tune, and it is, if I am honest, quite hideous ! Apologies to the man himself.

My favourite is the lovely one sat for grade three. It is just gorgeous, so strong, harmonious and satisfying. Almost without exception the singers like it. One young lady even chose to sing it in a concert, which was distinctly high praise for a piece which comes under the heading of 'boring vocal exercise' ! The translations of the Italian is sometime quaint and rather old fashioned, but adds a smile to the procedure. I noticed when I downloaded the new syllabus this week that the Trinity Guildhall Exam Board have decided to offer an unaccompanied folk song as an alternative to the Vaccaj. On reflection I will not be choosing that option.

Mr Vaccaj has my vote, and I simply love that I can get my Grade one babies to start their journey to singing in a foreign language !

The rewards for a well worked lesson are many and various. For my adults a sense of fulfilment and achievement. For the late teens and early twenties, some well chosen words of praise, a high mark or a silver trophy. For my delightful under 12's, see below.





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