Notespinner

Thoughts on composing, teaching and performing music, by Fergus Black

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Proud children with exam certificates

Music exam boards go head-to-head

Which exam board should aspiring musicians follow? Which has the best syllabus? and which has the best structure? For years I have followed ABRSM: ABRSM is the gold standard, imho, against which other boards could and should compare themselves.

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Drawing of human head with post-it notes

Memorising Vocal Music

Singers often have to work from memory, in opera, for example. So, ABRSM singing exams require all song to be memorised. What is the best way to memorise vocal music? Different things work for different people.

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A dog chasing its tail

Is the backing track too fast?

You want to practise for your exam. You take out the CD from the envelope at the back of the book, but horror of horrors, it goes at the speed of light, and you can't keep up.

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cartoon of a singing teacher with pupils

Choosing a Voice Teacher

How does one choose a voice teacher? How do you know if it's someone who will develop your voice appropriately, but not harm it? It is hard to know what to look for or what to ask a prospective teacher.

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Illustration from Shakespeare with lutenist

Schubert's An Silvia in English translation

You might be asking yourself why I would need to post a translation of a very famous song. Well, if you look this song up in an CD booklet or book of translations, almost all of them give the Shakespeare original. But that isn't right.

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