Hello my awesome Wonderland Singers! This is where I'll keep a running tally of the songs we sing and other bits of recap from each session. You can come look here if you've missed a session and want to do some catch up with the audio learning files (found up above on this page), or even if you're just curious and wanting to review. :)
June 3 ~ session #1
Weekly singing analogy: Think of a really awesome kid you know, then think of how they will flourish if they are given unconditional love. I think you know where I'm going with this, yup, your voice is that super awesome kid. If we love and accept our voices, as they are, unconditionally, they will flourish.
We did some very open call and response over a drone as a warm up... :)
Learning files are available for these first 2 (feel free to optionally learn the verses on these, or any of the above songs, if you want to try singing "lead" when these ones come around):
The River - I taught the melody and then the middle harmony part for the chorus and then we did a sing through of the song.
Rebirth - I taught all three harmony parts of the chorus, we practiced coming in cold a couple of times, with starting notes given out. And then I sang just the first verse to give some context. We will work towards doing the whole a little later down the road.
No files for these other 2... they were more easy, breezy and in the moment. That's right... no homework on these! :)
The Power Of Love - this is a new song that I'm still working on writing. We played around with it for a while with a looped drum beat. There's no learning files for this one, but it's very simple, if we jam on it again you'll be able to pick it up quickly. :)
This Little Light Of Mine (Written by: Harry Dixon Lowes) - This is one of my favourite songs of all time. I had some pre-recorded backing vocals for us to sing along with.
June 10 - session #2
First off, I introduced Connor Walsh. He will be with us on all our sessions from now no. He is the bass player in my band and a fantastic human... and a fantastic harmony singer!
Weekly singing analogy: Singing is like playing in the sand. Not every attempt at building a sand castle will lead to towering spires. But all the moments of playing and running our fingers through the sand can still feel lovely... and lots of other textures and shapes of sand can be just as beautiful as a castle. :)
The River - We sang through the song. I played ukulele and we took it nice and easy, a quick review from last week. (parts up above)
Improv exercise: Connor and I led this together. I talked about the 12 bar blues and demonstrated singing a bit of scat vocals over that form. Then we all tried singing over the 12 bar blues with Connor walking the upright bass for us. Something that can be intimidating about improvisation is not being sure what to sing, and maybe also being a little worried that you won't know what notes to sing. We started by everyone only singing on one pitch and playing around with different consonants and vowels and vocal tones. And we did it again with 2 different notes/pitches allowed, then 3, then anything goes.
(You can try this exercise down below in Connor's Corner. Slow Blues in G... I've done a big write up with some different approaches to try over the track, woot!)
Holding My Heart - This is a 4 part layer song that I wrote about 4 weeks ago, We worked on all 4 parts. (parts up above)
This World Is For Everyone - A brand new song I had written earlier that day! We sang through the whole thing together. It's all call and response and then multiple short chant style choruses.
Hold On Just A Little While Longer - traditional spiritual (parts up above)
A Song To Sing - one of my songs from my Rebirth album. We did this as an acoustic campfire style sing along. I led with my ukulele
June 17 - session #3
Weekly Singing Analogy: Try thinking of a singing session as similar to a yoga or stretch class. With stretching, we stretch to where it feels still ok and if we're listening to our body, we know our limits and we know when to stop. Maybe some days we can touch our toes and other days not, and that's ok. It's the same with singing, Some days that higher note on a certain song may be there for you and other days perhaps it's not... that's ok! If you're singing on a regular basis, those notes will be there for you more often than not. Just as stretching regularly will help you be more flexible. However, if we push too hard and squeeze to try and get those notes out that don't want to come, if we're over reaching... well, you may get that note today, but you're not helping your voice in the long run.
No need to overthink any of this though... the basic gist is, if it feels good do it! And if something is not feeling good, stop doing it. :)
Oleo - This is a woman's work song from Ghuana that's been shared around quite a lot in community singing circles. I taught the call and response for the main part and the 2 harmonies. We also jammed on the second part of the song but I didn't get into the harmony parts for that yet. (parts up above)
Improv exercise: Connor laid down a groove for us on the upright bass and then I gave live ideas and cues in the chat feed for people to try singing. There's a good chance we'll do something similar to this again, people seemed to really like it. :)
(You can try this exercise down below in Connor's Corner. Jam in D minor... I've included some written prompts and cues to try over the track.)
You've Got A Friend - (Carole King) I taught the chorus and both harmony parts. The harmony parts for this one are a little more to learn than some of the other songs we're doing. I will definitely be teaching it again but, if you're looking to do some part learning in your own time, this could be a good choice. Then of course, we sang the whole song and jammed out a bunch at the end. We did a simple 2 part repeating riff of "you've got a friend". (parts up above)
We ended with a sing through review of Oleo
June 24 - session #4
Weekly singing/creativity tip: Sometimes scooping or bending your into notes gives it character and makes it sound less flat. You can think of your voice like molasses if that helps. If you start pouring molasses, it will eventually get to where it's going but it will take it's time... yum!
We did a very open call and response warmup, where I sang short phrases, and let you explore whatever felt right to you in the spaces. (and I was playing keyboards... fun!)
Down By The Riverside — We took an in-depth look at this and learned three part harmony for the verse and chorus, using my ukulele and also a slow version on my looper. Then we jammed out to a faster version on the looper, and just let loose. (parts up above)
Improv exercise: Connor played some bass, while I “jammed” with him using hand gestures, inspired by natural elements (earth, wind, water, fire) and the various feelings/imagery those things brought to mind. I encouraged singers to vocally explore while listening to Connor and optionally watching me. Before the exercise I also demonstrated 5 different options for vocal textures to play with;
jazz scatting (buh buh buh, bop, doo, buh, dee dut)
soulful singing (oooo, ooohhh, whooooaaa, long bendy notes)
spoken word (using words to describe the imagery)
sound effects (exploring other sounds the human voice can make, to emulate the water, wind and fire movements)
lullaby (soft cooing, simple melodies, quiet long ooo's, or any other vocalizing that might feel natural to help sooth/lull a wee one)
That Old Feeling - I quickly taught the chorus melody, and one lower harmony. (There’s a third, even lower harmony that you can check out in the learning files). We finished by singing through the whole song with the looper. (parts up above)
July 1 - session #5
Canada Day campfire style sing along jam session!
Yay! Now that we've made it through taking a look at all 8 of our core songs.... on July 1 we'll be doing a light and easy sing along style review of as many of these as possible:
Hold On Just A Little While Longer
Holding My Heart
You've Got A Friend
Down By The Riverside
That Old Feeling
I know we haven't fully 100% learned any of these yet, but we'll try to sing a little bit of each in this coming session to see what they all feel like together. On some we'll just sing the chorus and on others we'll do more.
Also be prepared to print something for this session as well (for the weekly improv exercise). I will send that along with the Zoom link. :)