Vocal Night 20th May 2021

It is with great excitement that I can announce the first Singing Strong Vocal Night for 2021.

It has been a long time since we have been able to hold an in person concert and I am so looking forward to

hearing everyone sing.  I am sure you are too.

The performance will be on Thursday 20th May at 6.30pm at the VRI hall, 18/20 Queens Parade, Traralgon.

This is a casual evening, where students are given the opportunity to perform in front of an audience.

Tea and coffee will be available.

Bookings are essential and tickets are online at TRYBOOKING. Click here to book your tickets.

Singers, family and friends must all book a ticket as there is a limit on the number of people who can attend.

There will be a COVIDsafe plan in place.

The tickets are free, but I would ask if you are able,  please make a small cash donation at the door to assist with covering costs.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

Mary

Singing Strong

The Challenges of Performing

ANZAC DAY 2021

I had the joy and honour of singing at three Anzac Day Services on Sunday. It has been a long time since I have sung in front of an audience and it was wonderful to be able to sing for people again. There were good crowds at all the services and I had a lovely response, with many saying how much they enjoyed my singing.  I believe it is such an honour to be able to sing at an Anzac Day ceremony and to be able to sing at three was very special.

The first ceremony was actually held at the local cemetery.  In my town we have quite a beautiful cemetery, with beautiful gardens, a recently renovated band rotunda and a substantial newly built memorial in memory of returned service men and women who are buried at the cemetery. This year was the first year since 1946 that an ANZAC day ceremony was held at the cemetery. This is because the town cenotaph was built after the second world war and the yearly ceremonies are now held there. 

THE LAST POST

One thing I was able to observe in detail was the bugler at each ceremony. There was a different person at each ceremony and they all had a very different experience performing. One of the buglers was a mature person who had been performing for many years and was very experienced at performing. One was still quite a young person but had played for many Anzac Day ceremonies, even though they were early on in their performing career. The third was a young person, had been playing for a few years, but had not had experience playing to a crowd. It was interesting to note that they had all obviously practiced for the event and they could all play the last post, but they had very different experiences. None of them played it perfectly, but the mature person and the very young person continued on in spite of any little slips they made. 

The person who had never performed for an audience before did get through the performance, however I could see very clearly that they were extremely nervous and tension had built up in their body, and they simply could not get enough air in to support the notes fully.  They are to congratulated on their performance, performing for the first time and in spite of being nervous, they did get through the last post and overall it was played correctly. It was sad to see their response afterwards. I didn't get a chance to speak to them, but if I could have, I would have told them how well they played for a first performance.  

PERFORMANCES ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN

We can be so harsh on ourselves for performances that don't go as well as we would like. Especially when we are first beginning to perform for an audience. As I said previously, none of the performances were perfect, but the people who had performed previously did not worry too much about perfection, shrugged off a missed note and kept playing.  It is so important that we practice performing, getting used to being in the stressful situation of standing in front of an audience and playing or singing. I have been performing for many years now, and although I can still get nervous, I have performed enough times to understand how my body works and I can prepare and be aware of what I am doing, relaxing and breathing well for good breath support. That does not mean my performances are always perfect.  Usually I go off stage thinking about what I can do better, but generally I am pretty happy with what I have done. The audience wants you to do well, and are for the most part very supportive, so we shouldn't be afraid to perform for others. Perfection is hard to achieve, but we are often hard on ourselves when we don't achieve it.

So get out there and perform.  A LOT!

Newsletter Term 4 2016

singing-strong-is-on-facebook

Can you believe we have reached the last term for 2016??surprised

 

 

 

Singing Strong studio had a huge Term 3.

Students continued working hard during lessons, working on technique and learning new repertoire. This was quite a challenge for some as there were so many activities on this term.

A large number of students were involved in various Eisteddfods achieving great success.

I held a workshop about preparing for Eisteddfods and performing.  This was very well attended and the masterclass that was held was very worthwhile.

We ended the term with a dinner dance held at the Premier Function Centre. This was a terrific end to the term. It was fantastic to see student up on stage performing with a live band. The night was so much fun!

You can read all the details about these events and more by clicking here.

I have been adding some interesting articles on my BLOG.  The latest is about organizing a practice space at home and getting into a practice routine. Good revision before starting a new term.                   You can read it here.

Term 4 will be fast and furious.

1) CD production

I had said last term we would be making a cd. This will be done in term 4.

Last year we made a Christmas cd but this year we will be making a cd of various songs. Students need to choose the song they love to sing and then we will make a recording of it.  It can be any song, but would you please let me know what you would like to sing asap so that I can create a list.

 2) AMEB Examsshop-banner-1

There are a number of students completing AMEB exams at various levels this term and we wish them well with their studies.

3) End of Term Workshop

I will be holding a workshop day on Saturday 10th December.  This will be broken up into 3 sessions, each for one hour.

10am: 1st session will be for all primary school students.

11.15am: 2nd session is for any secondary school students.

12.30pm: 3rd session will be for all adults.

This will be an opportunity for any students who have missed a lesson during the term to make up this time.  For any students who have attended all lessons, this is a bonus session for you.

4) Performance Opportunity

Our major event for the year was held last term, however I would like to do something for the end of the year. I will be organizing some small concerts that will be held at various nursing homes in the community.  I will send out dates and times soon. This will not be a huge commitment. You can choose which one you would like to be part of.  It is not a compulsory activity, but I would like to see as many students participate as possible.

Please note that the last lesson for the year will be the week ending 9th December.december-calendar

Break a leg!

A quick message to wish all those who are participating in the Sale Eisteddfod this Saturday.  They have all worked very hard, preparing their repertoire and are sounding fantastic.

The main thing I would remind you all is to BREATHE!

 

Also this weekend is the last performances of The Little Mermaid by the Latrobe Theatre Company.

This is a lovely performance and would highly recommend attending if you are able.

To book tickets click here.

 

The Latrobe Chorale is also performing this weekend:

Saturday 21st May 2pm Presbyterian Church, Morwell.

Sunday 22nd May 2pm, St Michaels Church, Traralgon.

I will be conducting the program:  Rutter’s Gloria and Faure’s Requiem.

Here is a taste:

 

 

Can anyone sing?

boy singing with mic cartoonThe answer is yes.  If you are able to talk then it is possible to sing.

Singing is a skill that can be taught just like any other instrument or any skill actually.

I have worked with many students who wanted to sing but didn’t have the skills. Over time with study and practice these students became very good singers.  These students wanted to be good singers and they put in the time and effort required to get good at it.

I am an ok dancer. I can move in time to the beat and when I take time to go over a dance routine I can learn it reasonably well.  But I will never be a great dancer.  That is because I like dancing, but not enough to want to do it all the time and take the classes to become really good at it.  My daughter loves dancing, goes to classes, practices a lot at home and is becoming really good.

But I love to sing.  I have had lots of lessons and performed quite a lot and I have developed skills I need to be a good singer.

I will never be great at violin because I don’t have an interest in playing it. I would like to learn cello though.

I love to teach but I would be pretty useless as a nurse as it is something I don’t want to do.

They say it takes around 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.  I think that this is pretty close.  If you were to ask anyone who is an expert at something, they would probably tell you these sorts of hours.  They would be working on their craft every day over a long period of time.

Learning how to sing well is like any instrument.  You can’t expect to become a concert pianist with a weeks worth of practice.

When you look at the lives of some of the famous singers who are really good at their craft –  you would discover that most have been singing since they were young children. They sing all day every day, listening to music and singing along, they probably go to voice lessons and are involved in any performance opportunity they can.

If you would like to be able to sing reasonably well, in tune, yes you can learn.  You probably don’t need to spend 10,000 hours.  Maybe 100 hours would be a great start.

How good you get depends on how much you want it. How much is your desire?  Are you willing to do what it takes to get really good?

 

Here is a video of  Jessie J at 15. You can tell she has been working on her craft for many years already.

Another video of a young Jessie J

A more recent live acoustic performance.

 

Dream!

Seasonal allergies and Singing

sneezingSpring has sprung!  Anyway it has for us in Australia.  And with it all the pollens, grass etc  that brings on hayfever.  This is never good for singers as the post nasal drip that occurs directly affects the vocal chords.

Sometimes it seems almost impossible for singers to perform at their best during this time of year, however there are a number of solutions that can be considered to ease the problem.

 

There is some good advice from the Osborne head and neck institute you can read at this link:

Tips for a healthy and powerful voice

Or you might like to watch the video below that I found on you tube (with thanks to Mark Baxter):

 

 

Wanting to work with Mary to achieve the voice you have always dreamed of?

Mary has in person and online lessons.

Click here to register your details and Mary will contact you to see if she might be able to help.

What’s one thing to remember to ease performance anxiety?

With a cafe concert fast approaching, I thought it valuable to discuss performance anxiety.
It is always nerve wracking to get up and perform, I have been doing it for years and I still get nervous.
In the video below I talk about one thing you can do to help with those nerves.  It sounds a bit obvious but we often forget to do this.
Please feel free to comment or ask questions.