A visit from students & smooth, smooth singing..
We were delighted to welcome 6 music students from Canterbury Christ Church University to our session yesterday. They spent some time over coffee chatting to members about the singing group, what it means to them and how they feel it helps them. As part of their arts & health music education they're exploring the impact of singing for people living with long term conditions, and earlier in the week I'd had the pleasure of meeting them to discuss the ethos of the group, how I prepare for sessions and what sort of musical challenges such a diverse group presents.
I try to use one or two songs in each session to practise specific techniques. This week, using 'Close Every Door' from Joseph, we focused on breathing through two phrases, avoiding a sharp and perhaps unnecessary breath in the middle, and softening the phrase ending to bring shape and dynamics. This song ends with the words 'my own', and we worked to avoid the trap of an unpleasant diphthong. You can hear our efforts on the video clip below.
The second clip below highlights the end - and perhaps most challenging part - of 'You'll Never Walk Alone'. I'm constantly amazed at the way our singers - many of whom struggle with breathing difficulties and other health conditions - work with me to warm up their bodies and voices, and then produce a sound like this. Lovely to hear our men's section growing in number and confidence too!