Notespinner

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

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SEARCH RESULTS

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The unaccompanied traditional song

The ABRSM requires a traditional unaccompanied song at all grades. Here are some thoughts: more to follow, but for now: Narrative, Range, Difficulty - and where do you find folk songs anyway?

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Why singers are lazy

Singers have something of a reputation, and not always in a good way. They don't practise as much as instrumentalists - in fact, many of them confuse the words practice and rehearsal - a cardinal sin in my book.

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How singers practise

The short answer would be "With some difficulty". If you are an instrumentalist, ask yourself, how would I practise if I didn't have my instrument with me? That puts you, more or less, in the position of a singer.

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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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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?

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Quick-fix Checklist for Sight Singing

This is a check list for sight-singing in ABRSM Singing Grades 1 to 5, and for general aural tests in Grades 6 to 8 (tests 6b, 7b and 8b).

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Sight singing

I realise that many instrumentalists find sight-reading difficult. However, they should spare a thought for singers. Except for those who have perfect pitch, singing at sight is a lot harder than playing at sight on an instrument.

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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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Adjusting to the Brave New World

Fergus Black of John Clare School talks about his experience teaching music online over the past year.

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What do singers need for online singing lessons?

One thing, often overlooked for online lessons is that both the teacher and student need a copy of the same edition of the same music. But singers need still more.

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Singing in english

Why is it that some singers manage to pronounce words clearly when they are singing? and others do not.

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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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