This morning we had choir with the both the year 1’s and 2’s. It was really enjoyable and I think it broke the ice between the year 1’s and the year 2’s. We started by talking a little bit about the anatomy of the voice. Then started warming up. Firstly we looked at our ‘croak voice’ we made the ‘croak sound’ and started doing scales to ‘wake up’ the larynx and vocal flaps. We then sang ‘zubbadubbadubdubdubdubzubbadubbadubbadubbadoo’ which is sung in vocal ranges. Then we sang ‘My dog is a good dog’ which is my favourite warm up song because it warms the vocals up slow yet efficiently. The last warm up that we did was ‘Robin Hood’ which is a song that mixes up four parts and it becomes challenging when everything is apart of the song and you have to do the actions as well.
After we warmed up our voices we split into sectionals and started learning ‘Ease on down the road’. It is a fun swing/blues song that has a lot of swings and crescendos. The sopranos part is generally the tune however there is a section that is pure harmony which for me personally is the section that I need to look over and work out before the next choir session with Paul and the other year groups…etc. On a whole, I think we all sound really good together and so I don’t think that we will have to worry about what we sound like, if we are all kind, humble and helpful we will all manage to help each other with the parts that individuals are struggling with without judging them. We learnt the first 2 pages all together.
This lesson we were with Paul and talked a little bit about our applications and audition pieces. He is really encouraging that we do as many drama school auditions as we can so that we have more of a chance of getting in with confidence. I am looking to audition for 5 Drama schools which are
- MTA – Musical Theatre Academy
- MEPA – Mandy Ellen Performing Arts
- PPA – Performance and Preparation Arts
- Bird College
We then talked about our T.I.E project which is Teaching In Education. We were asked to look up some educational songs for children online. We had quite a few examples which include; ‘Avocado Song’, ‘I am a square’, some from ‘Horrible Histories’. However one of the ‘Horrible Histories’ were inappropriate for our audience which are younger than 11 years old. There was too much information coming out all at once and its very overwhelming. Here is the YouTube clip which we based our judgement on.
It is a great idea because it is busy, colourful and loud but the speech is too fast and there is a lot of complicated words in there and because our audience is under 11 years old we will need to take under consideration about the words that we use and how we write our songs. They have to be simple, good pronunciation, the structure of the songs have to be simple enough that the audience can interact and respond. Also, we need to write a song that is catchy so that the little ones will remember the melody to learn what we are trying to teacher them.
We looked at what makes a song work for a young age group and here is what we came up with as a group:
Method of doing this by completing these:
- Simple Words
- Physical Theatre – demonstrating physical gestures
- Dance – (e.g. ‘Hoki Koki’)
- Call and response (e.g. When I say this.. you say..)
- Original Songs
- Already made songs that everyone knows and just change the lyrics to suit the theme (e.g. Oooh I’m halfway there… Oooooh Lemon and a Pear)
- Character based
- Reinforcing on facts using different methods
- Get the kids moving and active (e.g. Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)
- Simple concept
- Humour – keeping hold of their attention
- Sound effects
- Secrets (telling the audience secrets so that they feel involved with the whole experience.)
- Setting up time and packing away time
- Recycling (e.g. Spring Awakening chairs)
- Lighting (e.g. LED Groups?)
- Size of the stage we are using
- Health and Safety – Trip hazards…not wanting loads of wires…etc.
We then talked about what the year 2’s thought they could improve on and what they thought went well when they did their T.I.E Project. Here is what we found. There were a lot of positives as well as negative but because looking back there were a lot of things they would have wanted to change there are a few more things that we noticed that could be improved on rather than what went well.
Things that went well:
- How appreciative the children were and how that affected the performance and made them feel proud
- Found it fun because it was something they have never done before so it was challenging
- Liked going to different places and performing in different circumstances and performance areas
Things that the year 2’s would have changed:
- Spending more time rehearsing rather than doing everything last minute
- Improving props and set
- Being more organised
Here are a few questions that I came up with that I am going to use to help with the structure of the pieces, songs, script, music so make sure it is suitable for the younger audience members.
- What do you want the children to think about when we have left?
- Song duration? Beginning and end?
- Who is charge of what?
- Does it work for touring?
- Look up people who did educational songs and copy/look at how they did their structure for songs.
- Research, preparation is everything
- Are they going to retain information?
- Does it work for their age group?
- Is it relevant to the subject we are looking at?
- Does it work for children?
Our goal is to teach them information, then test them on the information and make sure that they understand and keep hold of what we have taught them.
Other elements that we need to make sure happen include:
- Big Gestures
Today I had a practical lesson that I could focus on finishing my portfolio before the lectures mark my work. So I did, I printed out my personal statement and made sure that it was okay; in actual fact it was messy and I am glad that I checked it with Helena first because otherwise I would have looked really silly sending it off with my application forms. So she helped me so that I would be able to change it and add things to make it sound better and extra tips. I started doing that after I finished college so I am ready to show her again tomorrow so that I can send off my applications as quickly as I can to get it over and done with.
After I completed the extra things for the portfolio I went into the dance studio because it was the only free space, plugged in my phone to get music loud enough for me to sing to and practised my solo songs without the sheet music or words so I could check how well I could remember each piece. The mirrors in the dance studio really helped me identify what I do with my facial expressions when I am singing.
I had my first singing lesson with Birgitta Kenyon. I went in and sang ‘Why was I born’ Sweet Adeline. She told me that I had a nice tone to my voice but she told me that some parts that I was singing sounded tense. We then talked about vocal anatomy (Vocal flaps, larynx, air moving through the throat from the diaphragm) We then talked about diction. Pronunciation. Constriction in the throat was something that we want to look at avoiding. We did some sirening so that I could warm up my voice because I was doing my monologue beforehand and couldn’t warm up because I have no time to do so. Diction activity that I need to do before next week is write out the alphabet and then look at the placement in my mouth. Lips, Teeth, Tip of Tongue and Back of Tongue. This is to work on building up lip muscle. Finding random words like ‘ga, do’ ga – back of tongue, do – tip of tongue.
We then did ‘Fake Laughing’ she was showing me how the throat opens up the air way can open and did the demonstration with my hands, thumbs wanting to open and strengthen my throat so that it will be easier to reach the high notes without feeling as though I am straining my voice. It really helped with the ‘soft’ sound of the voice so I sang the song again with vowels instead of singing the words to focus on softening the sound. It was awesome because a high note came out that I have never sung before without struggling and it was as if I wasn’t the one singing.
We then looked at ‘I’m not afraid of anything’ to show her my belting voice and let her know what it is like. She said that I sound as if it’s a comfortable thing for me to do. So she said that the next time that she sees me she’d like to start with that one.