My First Performance with the Chorus

Last week, I had the pleasure of parttaking in my first performance with the new synphony chorus. I thought I would write about my experience here.

This was a very short performance as part of a broader programme. It was from Handel’s Messiah and quite short, so quite easy for a first run.

We arrived at what they call the stage entrance, which is not for public access. It’s like a whole separate building from the hall itself. As I’d never been there, I had to do some . This involved asking anotherchoir member to meet me at the main entrance of the hall, before walking with that person to the stage door. Since I did not have my dog with me, I needed that extra assistance.

Once there, it was time o warm up our voices ready. First it was explained about the layout of the stage and how we would enter and leave the stage. Then we sung our piece through.

I was shocked at how awful it sounded. It was extremely loud to my ears. It apparently is normal. We were given instructions on sections that needed slight modification while on stage. My brain was in overload which added to my nerves.

Then there was wait for the call to enter stage. Then it was time to sing my heart out. Not exactly though. Because you cant just go for it. As a choirister, I’m part of a team. I’m there to express the music, with all the varying dymanics etc, with the tempo changes etc. I listen arefully to each note around me and the breathing to make my entrances spot on. I listen for the subtle tempo changes that the conductor might give.

As the piece draws to a close, the excitement builds as I realize that I have just completed my first performance doing something I love. And as I sung the last cadence, I was left with a feeling of exhausttion, but also felt my crying for joy. I was left on a high as I left the stage.

Our next performance is in 2 weeks and marks the first time I sing with the synphony behind us! I’m sure it will be yet another chance to learn and experience the joy that is music.

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First Impressions of Synphonic Chorus Rehearsals

So far, I’ve had two rehearsals with the local synphonic chorus. What a ride it has been!

I cant speak highly enough of the people and the corinators of the chorus. All have bent over backwards to help and chorus members are extremely friendly. I feel do as a member and feel like my experience is something that is needed. As in, I’m just another choir member and my blindness is just a part of things.

Things I have found help lduring rehearsals include:

1. My braille music scores. the, i would find it very vdifficult o keep up. Bar numbers are referenced all the time and I need to be able to find them quickly. Also, having both lyrics and music means I can sort of read both at once, depending on what I need. Now, I can sing a lot of the music and mostly just look at the lyrics.

2. A digital recorder is absolutely necessary. I mostly use my phone, mostly for small things such as markings on the score that need to be made or little things that we need to know. I quickly comit them to memory, but do have a page at the back of my score with all those markings and may add them in to my electronic version and embose before the conductors rehearsal. I found hard copy braille much easier to use due to the speed of which I need to locate sections.

3. My concentration level is at 200 all the time. I must listen constantly to every thing around me. Not just the director and my entrances but every thing else too.

There have been vfew challenges, except one small issue. This is the largest choir I have ever go and it is an adjustment. Because of what I think is my hearing issues [I wear 2 hearing aids] sometimes I struggle to actually hear myself. It threw me really badly and I think my intonation has been off at times. I fixed this by changing programmes on my hearing aids, but sometimes I have to switch programmes on my aids quite a bit to hear every thing. I’m hoping I can see my audiologist soon to have her create something that may work better for me.

I’ve had little problems hearing since then, it’s just something I have to work with and I am finding my ears are adjusting to what at first seemed to be a huge sound that nearly blew me out the room!

I cant wait to sing with the actual synphony itself in a few weeks! I’ve never done that before and always had a dream to do that.

I’m having an absolchte ball doing this chorus work and it has made me even more passionate about all things music!

How I, as a blind person sing in a Choir

I’ve been singing in choirs for many years. First in primary school, then singing acapella in high school, then in music school and now with another chorus.

As a blind singer, there are some things I need to do differently, since I cant see the conductor. You may think this could be a difficult thing, but for me it isn’t.

Braille Music is Key

First of with out braille music, singing in a choir would be a lot harder. I can tell a lot from just reading the score. Word placement, dymanics and phrasing are just some of the things I pick up from using a braille music score.

I cant always tell from listening where the words fit, esspecially when it is spread over many sylables. Tempo changes are also very important as I rely on the music for these, instead of watching the conductor.

How I mark my Scores

It is a given that a choir member would always bring a pencil to rehearsal, to mark the score if necessary. Quite often subtle changes are made in the score and we are expected to mark them.

as a blind person, we don’t have that. But we do have ways of marking a score too.

  • We can record the rehearsal, and mark the score after we get home by putting sticky notes on the page of music where the marking occurs;
  • We use a braille notetaker, typing the notation directly in to the electronic braille file. [this is the method I use]
  • The music is embossed double spaced, leaving room to add the markings later at home after rehearsals.

How do blind people Follow the Conductor?

This is hard to explain. I use a variety of methods to keep track of what is going on including:

  • listening to the breathing of the singers around me, taking my cue to start or cutoff at the right time;
  • Being so familar with the music that I literally can sing it in my sleep;
  • Counting the bars rests as required when first rehearsing a piece, so I can know when to come in;

– A sort of “knowing” when something is haspening. I can almost sense when a cressendo happens, with out even knowing how. I just and just happens.

I’m sure I will have more to add as I continue on my journey. The choir I have just joined is a lot larger than I’m used too and of a professional nature, so it will be a interesting experience.

Musical changes

I know it’s been a while since I have written in this blog, now is the time to start blogging again as I enter a very different stage of my life.

What is happening?

When I left off writing this blog, I was writing and freelancing. It has been a great time. I wrote blog posts, web copy and content for various companies and loved doing so. But work has dried up and my circumstances have changed. Hubby is no longer working so I am also looking for work.

What am I Doing with my Music?

As far as music goes, my focus has changed. I realized recently that teaching kids was not an option for me. Most children just don’t have the passion and many students and parents wouldn’t practice or left after a short period of time.

I am open to teaching at a music school as long as it is locally. But I doubt this will be the case, because my musical life took a new direction recently. I can no longer teach after school.

A dream Come True

One of my dreams has always been to join a professional choir and to sing the great choral works such as Haydns Creation and Handels Messiah. And even to sing a solo from time to time.

Recently, I auditioned for the Melbourne Symphony Chorus. It was quite a hard audition in some ways. I had to prepare a classical aria, which I have not sung anything like that for years. I prepared “but who may abide” from Messiah. I also had to do some vocal exercises and some sight singing. Because of my blindness, they played that on the piano and I had to sing what I heard.

To my shock, I made the audition and start rehearsals soon! I am so excited and beyond energized by this. I was in a choir in another place for about 3 months, but now will have to leave that.

What I’m considering

This has lead me to soul search again about my options. I’m debating if I go back to study, this time voice. I’d love to direct my own choir or sing in a paid choir one day. I’ve always wanted to do this, but didn’t have confidence to take it on.

So, stay tuned as I share more of my journey.

A change in the journey

It’s been a while since I wrote in this blog. You see, there’s been a lot happening in my world bothusically and not. I thought it was about time I wrote  here and update you all.

First of all, my life has changed quite a lot in the last few months. I have decided to cut back on teaching to pursue my journey of writing. After writing articles for TutorsField Australia I was asked to write for another website. Soon after that, I received a job writing for various companies with an agency. I loved it so much that I am applying for jobs all over the place. I have now decided to take my life in a different direction. I realised that teaching is not the best fit for me. While I love teaching the adults, kids were another story. Most were forced to learn because of their parents,  and I found it hard, as music is my passion.  However, it is not going to be the end of my musical life. Not by a long shot.
You may be wondering what my plans are now? First of all, I want to join a choir of some sort, or an early music group. I have always dreamed of singing the great choral works, and after my experience of singing the Haydn Neilson mass a few weeks ago, I am even more determined to pursue this goal. This w  be a post on my experiences of singing the Neilson mass shortly.  I also plan on writing about music, my dream is to find a job where I can review concerts, cd’s, online music etc. I love researching and writing about my passion.

What it is Really like recording a cd

Do you have a dream? Would you like to have your music heard? Maybe you have some songs that you want to put down and have them recorded? Today, I am going to write about the process of going in to a recording studio and what it so really like.

Why I Recorded a cd in a Studio


I had 12 songs which I wanted to put on to cd. I had a message I wanted to get out there, but also because it was something I always wanted to do. So I decided to buy some audio software, a microphone, a keyboard and do it myself. The problem was that I could not get the sound I wanted; even though I tried to create the sound I wanted I couldn’t. I could not mix it myself, and it was taking me hours just to record one song. I decided it was time to find a recording studio, where I could get it done. I used my rough recordings as a guide for the person at the studio.

First Steps


There are severa things involved in recording your own album. Know what you want; if possible have some samples of your songs to show the producer. It doesn’t mater how rough it is, just give them the ideas you have. My recording was full of pops and crackles, and not mixed well. But it gave some ideas on what I wanted.

Secondly, book the studio well in advance. I booked 4 months before I planed to record. I also booked it for a month. Plan to book more time than you might need as things that could go wrong. It is a long process recording an album. It took me over a month of solid daily work to get my album recorded, mixed and mastered.

Before The Big Day


Before the big day of actual recording, I attended a planning meeting with the studio. During that meeting, I shared my rough cd recordings, explained what musicians I needed, and that I would need an arranger for some of my album. The studio discussed what I had to do, the time it would take and their role in finding artists etc. It was quite a lengthy meeting but a necessary part of preparation. Make sure you know Exactly what you want and have practiced your materials well before booking the studio.

Early Days


The early days of recording was quite difficult. First of all, I remember coming down with a slight cold beforehand, and as a result delayed the vocals. Usually, I sing and play at the same time, but when recording I didn’t do this. Instead, it was suggested I put down (record) the piano tracks first; then would add the vocals and after that, the other musicians and backing vocals. So began a rather long process. Each piano part was recorded. Some were done in one sitting, but others took a few goes. It was hard to shut up and not sing while playing as I was not used to that. So before recording, practice playing with out the vocals. Of course, if you are in a band, the process is probably different. I was just recording on piano and didn’t have a band behind me.

The Vocals


Recording the vocals is also a challenge. First of all, watch the breathing. I had trouble at first and had to do several repeats due to this. All your imperfect intonation problems will reveal themselves. For the most part, though I found the vocals quite easy.

arranging and working with musicians


Next, I had to work with an arranger and some musicians. This can vary from musician to musician. Motherost of them were fantastic to work with. If I had my time over again, I would be much more fist about the musicians I use. There’s a difference between sightreading the music and actually putting feeling in to the music. There is also a glaring tenor who is so out of tune in one track that I cant stand hearing it. However, having said all that, most people wouldn’t notice. But don’t go for second best like I did.

Mixing and mastering


The final steps, and in some ways the most frustrating part. Mixing and mastering can take hours. I’m not sure if you are required to be there for that, but I was. I had to make sure that every thing was mixed to my liking. Sometimes, I would ask for certain things to be mixed differently than what the producer thought. Sometimes, not. It was a team effort.

Panasonic ErgoFit Review

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We all know how important a good pair of earbuds can be. They are almost as essential as our mobiles phones; we use them to listen to our music, make phone calls and as entertainment during the long commute to work. But finding the best earbuds can be a challenge, especially for those with different sized or sensitive ears, or those needing to listen to music on the go. With these compact and lightweight ErgoFit earbuds, listening to music can be a comfortable, stress-free reality.

Description


The ErgoFit in-ear earbuds are versitile – they have a range of features and will work with many phones, tablets and audio devices. The earpads are extremely soft, and come in 3different sizes to fit a variety of ear shapes. With the long 3.6 feet cord, these are designed for comfortable and prolonged wearing.

These are very durable earbuds made to withstand most situations. However, these earbuds are like most that just fit in the ear. They are designed to fit right in the ear canal. This was not immediately apparent from the packaging but with some experimenting a great fit and sound can be achieved.

features


The ergoFit has many features you would expect in a decent pair of headphones. Built-in mic and remote control enables easy access to all functions, including play and stop, answering phone calls or listening to music. Music can be enjoyed with the ErgoFit’s high-quality crisp stereo sound.

These are not audiophile earbuds by any means; but here’s the kicker: for the price, they have superb sound quality. Both the treble and the bass perform well, but don’t expect the booming bass of many bass-enhanced headphones. These are more for every day use, not studio work or monotoring.

Receiving phone calls is a snap with the remote. But are more for music listening than phone calls.

Performance


Here’s the thing: Overall the ErgoFit earbuds are fantastic, every day earbuds. They have decent sound and volume. The frequency range is adequate and with the remote has all the functions, which are easy to use. The earbuds fit well in most cases and with the extended cord are comfortable and easy to wear while on the go. These earbuds are a good, well-rounded headphone for a reasonable price.

What we liked


  • Doable, comfortable fit;
  • Reasonable sound quality;
  • Easy access to music player; -functions via the remote;

What we didn’t like


  • Can be hard to adjust when first wearing the earbuds;
  • Didn’t work well with phone calls;
  • some people may find the bass isn’t strong enough for their needs.

audioRumble rating: 85/100