You are a musician. Having made the decision to pursue further studies in music, and more specifically large ensemble work as a member of the UTSC Concert Choir, you have multiple responsibilities including personal practice, rehearsal preparation and engagement, and active listening. To extend your thinking, you will become a reflective performer through informal and formal reflective writing journals.
Active listening is the foundation upon which the process of music making rests. With this in mind, you are asked to:
Dialogue and examples of your personal practice and rehearsal preparation and engagement through the term to date. You may use informal language. However, the writing style must be prose and the use of musical terminology both prolific and accurate.
Three specific examples and descriptions of the successes you have experienced during the practice and rehearsal period
Three specific examples and descriptions challenges you have experienced.
A paragraph discussing at least three goals you have for future practices and rehearsals and a brief description of the strategies for next steps in the practice and rehearsal process you will use to achieve those goals.
A short paragraph discussing at least two aspects of concert performance that you expect to be challenging for the current repertoire and briefly explain why
Purpose of the assignment will help you develop the following skills needed to develop as a reflective performer and as an informed musician through:
• The ability to identify and articulate successes and challenges through the act of music making; propose reasons why successes came about or challenges still remain; and next steps to build upon successes and imagine creative solutions to solving challenges.
• The ability to use musical terminology to effectively identify, describe, and explain your successes and challenges through the act of music making
• The ability to differentiate between the acts of personal practice and rehearsal preparation and engagement.
Music as a source of income
As most philosophers state, music is the way to a person’s heart. Music is becoming one of the significant sources of money today. Different music genres exist that range from gospel to secular music. This choir group majors mostly in gospel music. Due to the increased importance of music for entertainment to message transmission, there is need to evaluate different aspects during rehearsals (“Music” 303). A lead choir member organizes the group into various ensembles depending on the skills of a person. They then designate dates for practice to assist them in preparation. With more practice, perfection builds up. A choir is dependent on the leadership of the choir member to guide them to their success. Every choir member has the vocal tones that make them unique. It is necessary to evaluate the achievements, challenges, goals, steps to achieve goals, and challenging aspects of concert performances to understand more about music.
Success in rehearsals and practices only happen to those people determined to prosper in music. When a person efficiently engages in rehearsals, they tend to gain creative experimentation (Walters & Christopher 10). For instance, during the practice of the song Gloria, I managed to learn about tempos, tones and their significance. Soprano artists began the first stanza that involved the repetition of the words patris [5:00-8:00]. Singers with a bass voice joined in later while singing a stanza with the words qui-tol-lis [8:00-9.23]. The effect of change in pitches is also evident in the song. At the beginning, singers use a low pitched voice that increases as they proceed to the other lines in the song. When they are about to complete the song, the lower their pitch again to indicate the ending of the song (14:13-16:23). Secondly, practice period provides participants with the opportunity to learn the essence of members of an ensemble. Our choir consisted of both the bass and soprano individuals who coordinated to ensure our achievements (2:00-36:00). Therefore, members of the same group had their specific roles to play. If such members were unavailable during practice, it would mean that no activities would be carried out. I also learnt the essence of extending a word in a song to bring out the meaning. In Credo [23:46-24:34], the singers used the word amen to create a full stanza. They applied extension technique to fit the word into a line while repeating it to fill a stanza to create a song [23:46-24:34]. In Benedictus, the use of only instruments to create a song became visible. The artists in this song utilized their instrument’s skills to create a rhythm that was almost similar as that of singing choir members [28:23- 32:23]. Another success as a result of training was the ability to record music and also provide ideas to be used by members (Walters & Christopher 12). During this practice, I had a chance to learn how to record music of their own, and also ways to edit music to obtain the required song.
Organizing a Choir Group
Even with the mentioned successes, I also experienced difficulties during my practice. The first challenge that happened was sudden illnesses that some of the members had. For instance, I remember we were supposed to practice on a scheduled weekend but had to postpone due to the absence of some members of my group. This group consists of people with a tenor voice. The other challenge was disagreements that occurred during the practice (Walters, M. Christopher 14). At times, I would find members of the choir arguing over a particular part of the song that they did not agree altogether. Sometimes these disagreements would be so severe that lead choir member would postpone the session until disagreeing party came up with a solution. Lastly, I faced the challenge of time consciousness. Almost every day, a member would arrive late due to different reasons. Personally, I attended one session halfway late due to an emergency at home.
Goals are paramount in every field of practice. Similarly, in this choir, there is need to set clear goals to motivate members to reach them. The first goal that I would like to set is a deadline in which members of my group will have attained the right skills. Without a timeline, it would be a definite waste of time for the members since they do not need to hurry to meet it. The second goal that which requires all the members to ensure that improve their rhythm in the song (Jaros &Marc David 23). During the beginning, a group does not always have a smooth and accurate rhythm, but it improves as the practice continues. Lastly, the last goal that I would recommend is to ensure that the group promotes their tonal variations to meet the required standards. If there are unrequired disparities in the tones, improvement is necessary to reach perfection before the deadline. Allocating more practice time, engaging in discussions to help improve the errors, and participating in recording songs will allow the group grow to meet its goals.
Challenges are bound to occur in a choir group with different ensembles. The first challenge is the lack of uniformity. During a performance, it is often possible to find disorganization in a group. For instance, one ensemble may begin their singing slightly ahead of the rest which may cause a distorted song. The reason for this difference is because of the unpreparedness of a group which causes some members to get nervous. The other challenge is that which involves equipment use. This group uses trombones that have a low pitch that may cause some members not to hear the beat in time causing disorganization of the rhythm. In addition, some devices are hard to operate hence may challenge the players if they do not familiarize themselves. These equipment play a significant role in the success of the song. The instruments assist in giving the members a direction and motivation to sing. For instance, in Credo, found in Nelson Mass, the instruments introduce the singers to the rhythm of the song (17:02-17:60). Therefore, if there is improper use, some of the singers will experience difficulties while coordinating due to improper rhythms.
To sum up, from the essay it is clear that there are benefits and challenges of a rehearsal. Advantages include increased creativity, ability to engage in fruitful discussions, and recording skills. On the other hand, problems experienced include illnesses, group disagreements, and untimeliness. Therefore, it is essential to formulate clear goals to help solve these challenges. Engaging in these rehearsal allowed me to feel successful because of the new things I was able to learn. I also felt happy because I was able to participate in an activity I enjoyed doing, which was music.
Haydn Joseph. “Mass No. 11 in D Minor. YouTube. Uploaded by Olla-Vogalla, 5th October 2015. Retrieved from www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EiefC0eesc&app=desktop
Jaros, Marc David. Optimal experience in the choral rehearsal: A study of flow and affect among singers. University of Minnesota, 2008.
Music, Western Art. "Choral Repertoire as Pedagogy." The Oxford Handbook of Choral Pedagogy (2017): 303.
Walters, Christopher. "Choral Singers" In the Zone" Toward Flow through Score Study and Analysis." Choral Journal 57.5 (2016): 8-19.
Walters, Christopher Matchette. A conductor's analysis of standard choral works applying the high challenge-skill balance dimension of flow theory. Diss. Boston University, 2014.
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