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Conducting

Online Catalogue |  Conducting

Itís always a Pussycat - a singerís approach to choral conducting

It’s always a Pussycat - a singer’s approach to choral conducting


Price: £7.95

format: A5 card covers 116 pages
ISBN: 0-85957-169-6
EAN: 5 060496 280046

Here is a unique book that helps unlock the mysteries of how to sing well and ways of encouraging the use of good vocal technique in all choral music. So often, in the experience of author Edward Caswell, the choral conductor is also required to be a vocal coach, helping his or her choir with tricky moments, not just interpretatively, but in overcoming vocal hurdles encountered in the music.

It’s always a pussycat, could be viewed as a book in two parts that, in part one, presents Edward Caswell’s approach to warming up and maintaining voices and in part two, applies good vocal practice in the context of many choral staples – including, amongst others, Handel’s Messiah, Fauré’s Requiem, Mozart’s Requiem and other substantial choral pieces selected as examples from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

Edward Caswell, an experienced and highly-regarded singer and choral director, writes in an authoritative yet engaging way, often making his points with humour, which makes this an eminently readable book. You will want to try out his ideas immediately – whether you’re a singer or a conductor. There are musical examples throughout which also include, in full, Benjamin Britten’s The Evening Primrose, Gibbon’s O clap your hands and Parry’s At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners.

This is by no means just a book for beginner singers or conductors; it is also intended for those who would like to gain a deeper understanding of how the voice works, thus producing better performances with less vocal strain and for those who are simply open to new ideas about good vocal practice within the choral environment.

'This book is an ideal aid to anybody who works with choirs.' - Sir James MacMillan CBE

'This is a really valuable addition to the literature in the field.' - Dr Stephen Cleobury CBE

'I like it. It's a bit different. It reads well. It's full of good advice.' - Simon Halsey CBE

'It's always interesting and provocative (lots of points had me punching the air and saying 'YES!')
- John Rutter CBE

Upbeat

Upbeat

Why not sign-up NOW?

In October, 2008, I directed a weekend course on conducting for The Schools Music Association. Those on the course were conductors of school, youth, adult and church choirs. Some had no conducting experience at all. The content of the course included:-

- Conducting gestures
- Appropriate beats for different time signatures
- Communicating with gestures and not with words
- Using warm ups and cool downs
- Rehearsal techniques
- Vocal techniques for the choir
- Vowels, consonants and diphthongs

- Diction
- Correcting choir faults
- Aiming for a better sound
- Baton technique
- How to prepare the music
- Tips on motivating your choir
- Working with your accompanist


At the end, many course members said that they would like to know more, not only about conducting, but about singing and choir work in general. After discussion, I decided to form a club which I have called Up BEAT. This takes the form mainly of electronic newsletters - about four a year. Now this service is absolutely free.

If you are interested in this please send to me your e-mail address and I will send you immediately Newsletters Nos 3 - 37. [Nos. 1 & 2 were mainly about setting up the club and what it would cover so you would not have missed anything.] Topics covered in Nos 3 - 37 include:-

- Physical warm ups - aims and reasons
- Vocal warm ups - aims and reasons
- Cool downs
- Breathing
- Posture
- Flat Singing
- Sharp singing
- A short guide to vowel sounds
- Diphthongs and Triphthongs
- Consonants
- Tone colour
- Word painting
- Some pitfalls and exercises to do with vowels
- Studying the music you are to conduct
- Making the most of teaching tracks
- Text and words
- Handling dynamics
- Exercises to help with hand independence
- Copyright, especially with regard to arranging
- Sending compositions to publishers
- Conductors mouthing the words - Yes or No?
- Working with a choir and orchestra
- Phrasing and the musical line
- Posture for the conductor
- The Preparatory Beat
- Reviews of CDs, DVDs and Books


You will also be sent a document on Rehearsal Strategies and the complete chapter of Berlioz's views on conducting.

Up Beat is for those who direct choirs/orchestra/ensembles and at present there are just over 800 members. So if you would like to join just contact me at dcoombes@clara.net

Douglas Coombes

Online Catalogue |  Conducting

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