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.

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

To Old To Learn Piano – 9 reasons why you’re not!

You might be wondering: Am I to old or piano lessons?

Let’s face it: as you get older it becomes harder to remember things. Your joints don’t work as well and aren’t as flexible.

Life gets in the road and practicing becomes difficult. You may even feel that since you missed that vital window as a child, that it is to late to learn now.
Even growing up, teachers told you that you don’t have a musical bone in your body.
Sounds like the odds are stacked against you right?

It gets better: you are never too old to learn piano.
Want to know the best part?
With some simple online tools, a change in mindset and determination on your part, it is possible for you to learn to play piano!
Your dream of playing that piece you always wanted to learn can finally become reality!
Today, I am going to show you just how fun learning piano can be!

Now: I’m going to share the 9 coolest reasons why you are not too old to learn the piano.

You are More Motivated

as an adult, you  are more  motivated than children usually are.   

Here’s the thing: as an adult, you really want to learn how to play the piano. You aren’t forced to learn. Motivation is high. Lessons will be fun because you want to learn.
Here’s the kicker: because you have the motivation and desire, you will succeed at playing the music you love.

You know what your goals are

Again: You have an advantage all those children who have taken to lessons week in, week out. Unlike children, you have a goal. A piece you always wanted to learn is within reach.
The desire to learn the songs you love is now possible.
All you need to do is sit down and work out what you want to achieve from lessons.
Is it a song you wish to learn? A technique you always wanted to learn. Perhaps you love a particular style of music.
Whatever it is: grab on to it and write them down.

Now: you are on your way to learning piano!

Learning Piano is fun

As a child, learning can become boring. But now you are an adult, learning will be fun!
Lessons aren’t just about sitting at a piano, playing boring music and technique any more. Now: there is an abundance of software, apps and even online lessons out there!
This makes the process of learning much more injoyable.
With so many resources now available, learning can be fun!
So: when looking for a teacher or online lessons, make sure they use a variety of resources and approaches.

Learning Piano Stimulates the Brain

Yes: you read right. Music stimulates the brain. It uses both sides of the brain which is fantastic for maintaining mental health and activity.
Learning piano is stimulating, makes you think and allows the brain to get a good work out.

Unlike children, you are a fluent reader

Remember back to when you started reading? It was hard work remembering all those words and could be frustrating.
As an adult, you are able to read and understand the materials given to you. No struggling with the words on the page. Even reading music will be easy: you understand the logical up and down movement of music notation and you will pick it up fairly easily.

Even if you Don’t Think so: Every One is Musical

You are wondering: is every one musical?
Is there hope for me as someone who doesn’t have a musical bone in their body?
Every one is musical even if you don’t think you are.
Don’t listen to all those people who say that you are to old to learn piano because you are not musical.
Music is built in to every one. Every time you walk, you are doing a rhythm. Your heart beats, creating rhythm also. Your voice is a musical instrument.
Now: take hold of this fact and don’t let it stop you for learning piano.

Find a teacher online, or some software and start learning today.
Online Lessons and Software Makes Piano Accessible

Gone are the days when you have to find a teacher in your area.
Now lessons can be conducted online. It can take many forms from video lessons, or skype lessons.
There are many books and piano software out there also. Learning piano is more accessible than ever before.
Now: take the plunge and start learning with some online lessons or software. You won’t regret it!
Learning Piano Relieves Stress


Let’s face it: Life is no picnic. It is stressful at times. The busyness of life become overwhelming.
Learning an instrument such as piano can really help with your stress levels. It gives you something to focus on apart from your every day life. You can sit down and play some music, and be transformed in to another world. Music can cut through all the stresses of life and enable you to forget just for a moment the stresses of life.
You have a more Logicaly Appoeach to Learning

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You have a far more logical approach to learning than a child does. You will be able to practice far more effectively.
You take more logical view of the piano. You will be able to understand the why behind certain techniques. You can understand things such as the structure of the music better.

Now: Take the above reasons and start your piano journey.
Remember: you are not to old to learn the piano. Grab some online lessons now and start inviting the riches of music.