Your Accompanist - Rehearsal Tracks for Singers

 

Welcome

Welcome to the first edition of the Your Accompanist newsletter.

We're delighted to say that over 4000 of you from more than 100 countries have visited Your Accompanist since we got going in the early summer of this year.

Thank you so much for all your encouraging messages. You've proved by your positive responses that there is a need for easily accessible, affordable accompaniment tracks for classical singers, and it's been great to know what you want from the site.

Autumn is a popular time of year for singing, and we hope that this newsletter finds you in fine voice when preparing for the festive season.

Best wishes,

The Your Accompanist Team

ps The Choose a song for free offer ends on the 1st December. If you've not had your free track yet, please hurry!

 

Newsletter

Issue 1
October 2007


In this issue:
What's new to the catalogue?
The nights are drawing in
Brush up your diction

Helping children to sing in tune
Free singers' resources?
Singer profiles
Inspirations: Grieg's songs
Performance tips: Face the Music
About Your Accompanist



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Latest AddtionsWhat's new to the catalogue?

It's been a very busy summer for us: more than 400 tracks have been added to the original catalogue since our launch in April.

Apart from masterworks works by composers like Mozart, Handel, Schubert and Brahms there are now many songs by less well known writers, such as Adolf Jensen. We're sure you'll agree that they deserve more attention.

We're also happy to say that we've recently added Schumann's Dichterliebe for Low Voice to our song cycle collections.

Latest additions: www.youraccompanist.com/latest

Collections: www.youraccompanist.com/collections

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Singing TipsBrush up your diction

Ever heard Hubert Eisdell or Trevor Jones sing? Nowadays, their style of singing might be considered a bit 'unfashionable', but no one could ever find fault with their diction – clear as a bell. Especially in ballads and Victorian songs where so much of the enjoyment and understanding of the song is bound up in the lyric, it has to be all about clear enunciation.

Some of the best artists to listen to for this are those who recorded before 1930 when the use of microphones became more common. Music Hall artists of the early part of the twentieth century are also good examples. They had to make themselves heard – often over very noisy audiences.

Even now, not everybody will be lucky enough to have a perfectly attentive audience in a hall or room with a perfect acoustic. It's a help if the audience already knows what you are singing about – but people still enjoy hearing the words no matter how beautiful the tone quality.

Lieder Line by Line Book CoverIn songs that are not in the language of those present, make sure that you understand the true meaning of the lyric as far as possible and that you can convey it in character to the audience. Do the research using a book like wonderful Lieder Line by Line: And Word for Word by Lois Philips (Duckworth 1979). Some excerpts - including Gretchen Am Spinnerade and Schäfers Klaglied - are available to view online in Google Book Search

Remember the cardinal rule, 'Thou shalt make thyself heard'. Not just by volume but also by intelligently interpreted, beautifully clear words.

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Teaching TipsHelping children to sing in tune

One of the life's little miracles is hearing young voices singing in tune to the delight of their audience. 

Kids choirFaced with shy, reluctant or inexperienced singers, the responsibility of turning them into a sweet-sounding, audience-captivating choir can be a daunting job for any music co-ordinator, but there are lots of practical steps you can take to ensure that you all have a fighting chance...

Easy to overlook, but let's say right away that the room must be well ventilated and not too warm. All that breathing…!

Make sure that everyone is breathing correctly (not over-breathing enough to pass out!) Hankies out – noses clear. Can they breathe through their noses? – It's quieter than gasping for air.

Posture must be good too. By all means get them to stand up stand up (straight! - it wakes them up), but not for too long - they get tired. Sitting straight is ok too and chairs with backs can help.

Always start with a warm up – try 'This Old Man (moving up the scale)' is a great one for kids of all ages, available for download on our free resources page.

Get them used to singing scales at the beginning of the rehearsal as a routine. Useful sometimes to start high and sing down the scale rather than always singing up the scale. (Get lots of harmonised scales accompaniments from our free resources page.)

Sing songs from memory. If you can afford the time, teach them the words yourself by rote (no temptation to look at the copy).

Where possible, use a harmonised accompaniment. Try not to play the tune in octaves. Hearing notes in context always helps intonation.

Don't be shy about demonstrating what you want by singing it yourself.  It'll brighten their day if you sound awful – as long as it's in tune!

Finally, remember these little ears haven't heard as much music as you have. Broaden the musical outlook of the children by giving them songs in a variety of keys. You'll find that they often understand 'key colour' instinctively.

You'll find lots of great ideas for songs to sing with your class or choir in our Young Voices category.

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Seasonal SingingThe nights are drawing in

Although it's a pity that the summer is over, the long nights are a clear sign that the the festive season is on its way, and with it the excitement of choosing and rehearsing your pieces, limbering up your voice for the forthcoming carolling period.

If you're looking for ideas for varied and engaging festive singing, we hope our Christmas genre will be a fine source of inspiration. Check out the Carols Collection for a great deal on popular carols.

New additions to this category include:
- See Amid The Winters Snow
- Come To The Manger
- O Come O Come Emmanuel
.

View all carols: www.youraccompanist.com/carols

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Have you tried our free singers' resources?

Proving to be one of our most visited pages, is our free scales and warm ups section.

Help yourself to scales and warm ups: www.youraccompanist.com/free

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Singer ProfileShare your voice with others

In each future edition of the newsletter, we're going to be featuring one of our customers, bringing you a glimpse of their singing life.

If you would like to be featured, please email: profiles@youraccompanist.com

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InspirationsGrieg's songs

It is odd to think that Grieg was once better known for some of his songs than he was for his piano music. He wrote many types, ranging from beautiful and passionate lieder like Ich Liebe Dich and the engaging Mit Einer Primula Veris to some much darker pieces like Langelandsk Folkmelodi.

GriegGrieg was carrying forward a great Norwegian song writing tradition whose renaissance had been started by Halfdan Kjerulf and these captivating works deserve much more performance attention than they are receiving at the moment.

In this centenary year of Grieg's death, compile a fascinating recital programme with some of these wonderful songs.

Be inspired... find songs by Grieg at: www.youraccompanist.com/grieg

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Performance Tips Facing the Music

When Shaw said 'A drama critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned' you might wonder if he would have included music critics too – let's hope not. Face it though, we all worry about how our performance is going to be received, but, remember, no singer walks on to a platform wanting to do less than the best; nobody goes to a performance hoping for a miserable time.

So stay calm.

You know you've done your technical preparation - it's taken years.

You know you've thought long and hard and honestly about your interpretation - you're not just imitating somebody else's performance (even if it is 'iconic').

You know you're not going to treat the occasion like a sporting event or beauty contest (even if you do suspect that one or two of the audience might appreciate that more).

Step on to that platform, take a deep breath, wear a big smile and keep your chin up (figuratively speaking of course, otherwise you'll spoil that lovely tone you've worked so hard for!)

Remember, you're there for the music, not the music critic.

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Feedback please

If you've enjoyed this issue of the newsletter, if there's something you'd like us to talk about in the future, if you've got a question you think we could answer or a singing tip you'd like to share with others, please let us know.

Use our online contact form:
www.youraccompanist.com/
newsletterfeedback

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About Your Accompanist

We make real piano rehearsal tracks for singers. All tracks are recorded by a real pianist on a real piano in a single take. You download them directly to your PC in MP3 format. They can then be transferred directly to any portable MP3 player (such as an iPod or, Sony MP3 walkman, Archos box or iRiver), or burned to CD.

They are ideal for soloists, ensembles, choirs and classrooms, for those who sing professionally, recreationally or secretly. The quality of the musicianship and sensitivity of the performances means that the accompaniments make great listening, even for those who don't sing along.

Our catalogue covers a large part of the standard repertoire and is growing all the time. We bring you a wide variety of genres and composers, and aim to cater for all vocal ranges and levels of proficiency. Each track can be sampled on the site so you can be sure you've got the piece you want.

We believe very strongly in the importance of music in education, and have a great deal of experience in the field. We hope to support music teachers, promote singing in the classroom and provide an effective low cost solution for singing teaching situations where good quality live accompaniment is not readily available.

All of our tracks are available for instant download, so if we've already got the piece you want, there's no need to wait for a CD via post. If you'd like something we don't already have, or you need it in a different key, let us know. If it's in the public domain and we can get hold of the music, we could have it online for you quite quickly.

Read more in our User Guide: www.youraccompanist.com/userguide

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