Category Archives: Music

Looking after the semitones with Run By Singers

During a week of singing in southern Spain I lost count of the times maestro Jeremy Jackman exhorted us to look after the semitones. There were plenty of other musical elements to look after as well, of course: timing, rhythm, articulation, dynamics, balance and diction, especially bearing in mind that the programme dictated getting our teeth and tongues around no fewer than seven languages, each with their own quirks when it came to pronunciation of vowels, consonants or both. But attention to semitones, especially of the downward variety, cropped up time and again in the pursuit of accurate tuning. Each time we sagged, up would go the plea from Jeremy: “Look after those semitones!”

It occurred to me that there was scope for many other aspects of being looked after or doing the looking after during such a week. The music-making clearly had to be a collective effort and active listening and two-way communication was encouraged to produce the right blend and overall sound: we needed to look after each other. But away from the rehearsal room, meeting up with friends old and new, it was important to recognise the time to speak and the time to listen too, being aware of everyone’s place in the group dymamic. Nobody needed to feel left out and yet equally nobody would mind if you took a moment for yourself; during such an intensive schedule, I was happy to slope off for a bit of exploring on my own or simply have a siesta during the hottest part of those oh so sunny days. Sometimes you need to look after yourself.Continue Reading

Mass Tango in Husum and the kindness of strangers

If people sing together, it’s good for them. If people enjoy the hospitality of strangers, it’s great for body, soul and mutual understanding. Imagine how doubly beneficial it was, therefore, to be welcomed into the home of a fellow singer during my choir’s recent visit to make music with our German counterparts, the Theodor StormsContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Peace and harmony

I’m always up for a choral challenge, and rarely miss weekly rehearsals in preparation for end-of-term concerts.  But the timescales were overturned somewhat as far as this special occasion weekend was concerned, as choir had scarcely got going again after the well-earned Easter break. How difficult could it be, though, rehearsing ‘just a couple of pieces’Continue ReadingContinue Reading

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