Wonderland Singers Audio Learning Files

Summer Choir songs 2020

Wonderland Singers

Here is a sneak peek of some of the songs we'll be singing in the 2020 summer choir. We probably will try most of these plus more that I add as we go. The favourites will rise to the top and become our core material that we sing more often.

These learning files are here you to optionally use. It's completely up to each singer how deep they want to go with these songs. You can learn verses and sing lead on songs if you like, or not. All the parts are almost always arranged into high, middle and low and those parts can be sung in any octave. If you find a range that feels good then feel free to stick with that (example: always singing "low"). Some singers may wish to move around and try singing different harmony parts.

I would recommend having a go-to part you first learn for each song (middle is probably a good starting place if you're not sure that your range is lower or higher). Once a song is feeling comfy (after we've worked on it a few times), from there I recommend looking for ways to get the most out of the song, for you! This could mean trying a different harmony part or dipping your toes into some light improvisation, singing little bits in the spaces between the main parts.

High = soprano-ish, middle = alto 1-ish, low = alto 2-ish

If you are traditionally a tenor singer, start by trying the the middle and/or high part down the octave. Bass singers could try the low part down the octave.

Read more… close

Session logs

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.

session log:

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:

The River 

Hold On Just A Little While Longer 

Holding My Heart 

Oleo

You've Got A Friend

Rebirth

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. :)

Connor's Corner: slow blues in G

Wonderland Singers

For this track, Connor is jamming out on a 12 bar blues in G. What's a 12 bar blues? It's the same simple chords coming around and around again in a 12 bar pattern and it's a great place to play around and try singing some scat horn lines or words and try making up some melodies and rhythms on the spot.

If you’ve already improvised a bunch and you just want to get in there and try some new stuff…. have at ‘er!

If you’re newer to improvisation I know it can seem intimidating as first, like that blank page in a new journal or a dance floor with no dancers on it yet… How do I start? How will I know what notes to sing?

Try this: try singing along with this track and just choosing one note (one pitch) to sing. You can choose whichever pitch you like and then sing whatever you want with that one note. Try playing with different vowels and consonants, experiment with your tone, dig into rhythm and groove. What kinds of sounds and textures can your voice make? Louder, quieter, harder, softer… we have so much vocal range even if just one note. With the 12 bar blues, almost any note you pick will work over all 3 chords. But as you sing a note and the chord changes under you, the character of how that note feels and sounds will shift a bit. Which is really cool I think!

Ok, by now you’re going crazy (maybe that took all of 20 seconds for you or maybe a minute or two)! Ok, now try the same experiment but with 2 notes… you’re allowed 2 different pitches…. woo!

Yup, that gets tired pretty quickly too. If you want to jump straight to singing any and all notes, got for it. Or feel free to keep incrementally adding notes. Or, you might want to go back to singing just on one pitch again but try a different one than last time. You can try singing over this track in many ways, you can try using just one vowel at the time, or look around in your desk or purse or kitchen for some words printed somewhere and try singing them over top… fun!

Basically, like with anything that feels possible intimidating or overwhelming, we want to break it down into smaller parts that seem almost too easy. Like, if someone said to me, “bake a souffle”, I’d say, “pardon me?” hahaha. But if someone said, “measure out one cup of flour”, well, I’d be all over that!

And here’s some random scat syllables you can try, you know, for maybe the second time singing through this track (I’m literally going to press play, and scat along with Connor’s track and then write as I sing…. haha… weeeee):

bu dut bu du du bu dut bu du du bu dee bu dee bu dee

bway-ooo-det bway-ooo-det det det det det

bu dut du dut doo dut bu dut du dut doo dut

boo dut boo boo dut boo boot boo boot-t-t booooo-weee-eeee oooo-weeeee oooo-weeee

ba dut dut duh dayyyyy bu dut duuuhhhh

……..

Oh snap, I forgot to talk about space. Feel free to leave as much space as you want, always. It’s one of my favourite parts of music and improvisation and singing. The space between the notes is so beautiful. But for goodness sake don’t think in the space, try not to let the bossy brain step in and start running the show…. try to just breath and feel in the space between notes. and then sing your next phrase when you’re good and ready!

It took me the full 2:43 to get through those scat syllables I have typed up there. That doesn’t mean that more notes is wrong, I just mean, take all the space and time you want, and each sing through might feel a little different. Once you’re getting the hang of it, you could also try making it through all those scat syllables up there twice in the 2:43…. oooo… spicy!

oooo…. and also try a time through the 2:43 doing all melty long swooopy notes…. oooo’s, mmmm’s, ooh’s, whoa’s, iiiiiiii-eeeeee…. oooooh!

Ok, I’m done. :) Coco

Read more… close

Connor's Corner: jam in D minor

Wonderland Singers

This is a random jam in D minor with Connor Walsh on the bass. Feel free to sing anything you want over this at any ol' time you like. However, if you want to try singing through it with some cues and things to try, I've mapped out a possible path through the jam... and here it is:

0:00 - 0:30 try loong ooo’s

0:30 - 1:00 la la la …. ooooo…. la la la…. la da da da daaaaaa

1:00 - 2:20 try some very simple words like, “I walk with you” (try different melodies and timings… if you’re not sure of which melody notes to pick, start with just singing only one melody note and pretty quickly your super awesome brain and or spirit will offer up some other melody note ideas for you…. if that doesn’t happen, that just means you must have picked a really good single note to sing!)

2:25 - 3:25 Connor steps up to a faster funky groove here. You could try some scat phrases that sound like simple horn lines.

buh boo dut

buh boo dut

buh boo dut

bu dut dut

bu dut dut

bu dut dut

bu du boo dut dut

bu du boo dut dut

3:25 - 3:45 try singing a “weeeeee” up a little higher, and scooping in to your note. (scooping means you’re starting a little lower and sort of melting your way lazily up to the note you want to hit) Then maybe do a melty and bendy “ooooo” up there as well

3:50 - 4:10 time falls off again… try transitioning back to some mellow, long and flowy ooo’s here for the end.

:) Coco

Read more… close
0:00 / ???
  1. 1
    0:00 / 4:12

Winter Choir songs 2020

Wonderland Singers

Here are the songs we sang in the local Owen Sound, ON winter session of 2020. We still hope to gather in person and sing these songs again when we can. :) :)

Read more… close