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Online Catalogue |  Conducting

Choral Singing and Healthy Voice Production

Choral Singing and Healthy Voice Production

Price: £19.95

By David M Howard
ISBN 978 0 99262 161 2
In Choral Singing and Healthy Voice Production David M Howard sets out to explain choir singing in a novel way. His book helps directors achieve the best performance they can from their choirs. He explains why choirs only give their best when their voices are healthy and how to achieve this in a guide full of hints and tips. David has the same love for and synergy with his singers as a musician taking care of their instrument. In a nutshell, singers are vocal instruments and this guide delivers the best help a choir director can offer. But the author goes deeper . . .
He explains to singers how their voices work and the exercises and care needed. Singers will discover the reasons for the demands made on them. The actions expected of them are clearly explained in a way that fosters the partnership between singer and director, leading to the ultimate performance.
A few of the many important questions that are covered are:-
Can anyone sing?
How does my voice work?
How can I hear myself better when singing in a choir?
What is the point of cool-down exercises?
Why do some unaccompanied pieces always go out of tune?
How do I improve the overall blend of my choir?
David M Howard has distilled many practical years of research and choir directing into producing this 'hands-on' guide. He passionately believes that by putting it into practice not only will we reach new levels of performance - we also play our part in the modern-day renaissance of choral singing.

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



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

Douglas Coombes

Online Catalogue |  Conducting

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