If you're anything like me you're wondering if choir and band class will happen in Fall 2020. When the NJ back to school plan was released late last week I downloaded the 104 page document and read through in its entirety. I scoured the document for terms like “music” and “singing” but did not find a single occurrence of those terms. I was a little surprised because of all of the recent buzz about music making. I took to the worldwide web to find out more and this is what I learned:
Well…that sounds grim. The best part of making music is that it is usually done with other people and for an audience. Musicians feed off of the energy of fellow performers and the audience! TCNJ has cancelled performances for the Fall semester, but hasn't said anything about band/choir classes. Will high schools follow suit? Could high schools find a way to make choir and band socially distant in the gym, cafeteria, or outside since masks cannot be worn? There’s NO way you can blow into a tuba while wearing a mask…
I would like to see a plan for music classes that encourages outdoor singing/playing (weather permitting). The choir or band could meet on the football field to be as socially distant as possible. When the weather doesn’t hold up for outdoor meetings, students could use the auditorium, library, gym, or cafeteria as an acceptable music making space.
There are many tools for music learning online: music theory games, note reading exercises, interval practice, and even videos explaining the mechanics and acoustics of singing! We, at Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, have created a bunch of free content on YouTube to make sure our singers keep singing. While it may be impossible to sing together online at home, the music learning piece of education can be enhanced at home.
What are some of your favorite ways to keep “musically involved” without group singing? Let me know in the comments!
*Pictures are from the aforementioned NY Times article.
Sometimes people ask me this question and I try my best to explain the art and science of teaching voice lessons. It's a pinch of vocal anatomy with another pinch of acoustics, a pinch of repertoire choice and a pinch of love and understanding that all comes together to form a fun and educational experience. It's my job to listen to the student's vocal production and assess if it can be made more efficient. Then, I pick a "tool" that I think will help them achieve greater efficiency. The best tools for each student are unique to that person, which makes my job interesting and fun!
If you're interested in watching an example of how I spend my days and why I LOVE teaching so much, you're welcome to watch this video.
We begin with warm-ups to stretch and unpress the voice! Then, we move to repertoire and use tools to adjust airflow, resonance, vowels, etc. *Tools are specific, tried and true, tactile or imaginary devices to achieve a desired sound. Ex. "Goal posts:" putting your pointer fingers at the sides of your lips to make sure your lips don't go wider than your fingers (increasing rounding of your lips)!
Any questions?? Comment below!
To schedule a lesson and try this for yourself or someone you love, click HERE!
Maria Palombo is a Voice Instructor and Singer living in Central NJ. She is the founder of Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, a private voice studio in Mercer County, NJ.