Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Week 5, Day 22

Here's the general status of the music and the girls---
Au Joli Jeu - all voice parts learned by every singer. We are now singing parts together from start to finish and stopping to pick apart the details. This piece will not be performed on the Fall Concert. It will be performed for Solo & Ensemble Contest - the group of 32 girls will be divided into 3 ensembles to perform. Those ensembles have been assigned. We are working on neutral syllables. Text will come soon - no later than October 9 or 10, maybe sooner. A colleague is making a French pronunciation recording for us. As a teacher, I LOVE teaching this piece. It is difficult, but accessible. Teaching all singers all parts forces the musician to really THINK and respond to the music - they think in parts and globally.
After making a couple of Finale blunders, I have issued the real music to the girls. I inputted all parts into Finale, then printed each voice part out individually. Like a band part. Soprano 1 went great. A really good sightreading exercise. Soprano 2 was swimming along nicely when I realized that I made mistakes in m25-26 and m51-52. So, I corrected, reprinted, reissued, the girls re-solfege'd - we went on our merry way sightreading. Then Jan Juneau gave a listen and mistake #2 was the SAME measures, just a different mistake. Horrors! I went ahead and issued the original music at that point - they recycled all of the individual scores. The girls seem to really like the original music more because it is edited well with breath marks, crescendos/decrescendos, and accents - they can see where they need to go with a phrase. The Finale version was just notes.
Gia il sole dal Gange - m1-48 is learned and we can sing parts together. It is rough. We need to move on and learn other notes. We understand it is a work in progress. I would like to be further along in this piece, but we are working on FOUR pieces at one time at the beginning of the school. That's a lot for middle school singers of any level. The girls really love the melody and harmonies of this piece. They like how they sound. This is one of my all-time favorite pieces of music, so it is lovely experience for all of us. This piece was composed by Alessandro Scarlatti when he was 19yo - that fact still amazes me.
Regina Angelorum - we have made it successfully to m20. We need to move on. It's a scary piece though. It shouldn't be, but it is. It's a Grade 2 piece on the UIL Prescribed Music List - it should not be hard. It is through composed by Mozart - when he was 11 or 12yo. It is brilliant piece of litany - not boring at all.
The Ring - oh, this piece! The girls sound amazing on it, and then it falls apart on a run of half steps or a pesky tritone. Michael is coming back on Friday - I'm just going to let him run with this piece. He worked it for 4 minutes today. Not enough time.
Rehearsals - overall, rehearsals are going well. I require a lot of these girls. They are singing in 4 different keys and they have to sing the starting pitch for each piece after the tonic triad. Now that laptops have been issued, uniforms fitted, fundraiser collected, and t-shirts have been decided, I think we can get down to business of singing. September to October - we move from 2 part morning sectionals on Th/F to 3 part morning sectionals on W/Th/F.
Jan Juneau visited for a listen last week during class. I published her rehearsal notes on our school's cloud for the girls to read. Marsha Robinson has come 2x to help with rehearsals. Brianna Kruse worked the girls during Tuesday afterschool rehearsal - just working on tone placement. Lots of forward placement. I took notes and published them on the cloud as well. The girls loved her. Sally McGowan - our regular accompanist has been coming each week to help in rehearsals - with sectionals or just as a rehearsal accompanist. Aimee Thompson has been coming for small group help. Michael Goede comes on Wednesdays and Fridays to listen or work with the girls.
The Girls - they are still dedicated. They want more from the music than just notes. I'm trying to move as fast and accurately as I can with them - keeping them energized and interested. They are overwhelmed with schoolwork. My best girls are showing signs of "too much" - they get scatterbrained and can't remember everything. They enjoy school. They like each other. We have begun making a music video for the VIP luncheon - they are super excited about showing ways that make them feel proud.
Upcoming - Kendra Welton Lipman will be with us all day Tuesday as our clinician. We have a set of rehearsals on Friday, Oct 5 and Saturday, Oct 6 with group photos somewhere in there. Fall Concert is October 8, then it is Solo & Ensemble time. The next leg of this trip requires running shoes with lots of support.

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