Only a few days left until the submission date for my competition for the Vancouver Chamber Choir. I have run through the changes and made alterations to where I needed them and have had consultations with a couple of people that are well versed in choral music. I’ll be working on getting a piano reduction and recording of it soon, but for now the score will have to suffice. To see the finalized score, look here.
As stated in my previous posts, I am using the poem “Said the West Wind” by Canadian poet Isabella Crawford. I had my mentor go over the piece and make some suggestions on what I could edit and I have taken his comments into account. As well, I have got my mom to look it over as well, since she studied voice and has been teaching music for over 15 years. As well with making some changes of my own, I feel much better about the piece and hope it will do well in the competition. Of course, I’m not going into this competition to lose, but I’m just glad to be able to participate in a competition for choral composition. At the beginning of this project I wouldn’t have been able to do something like this, and just to feel strong enough in my compositional abilities now means that I’ve learned quite a lot, and that’s pretty good if you ask me.
As well, I recently participated in a choral workshop hosted by the Canadian Chamber Choir and spent my morning at this workshop at the Vancouver Academy of Music. At the workshop, I got to learn some singing techniques, such as how to prepare a breath, how to attack a note and so on. One of the biggest things I got was comparing your air to a stream of water coming out of a garden hose. If you need to reach a not way far in the back of your garden then you’ll need more water pressure. Whereas if you need to reach a note that’s sitting in a little pot on your windowsill, you’d better not attack it with power washer-esque force. It was perhaps more helpful more me as a singer than it was for me as a composer, but it was still interesting and informative for me to keep in mind when I am composing. At this workshop, I also got the opportunity to meet a Canadian composer named Jeff Enns. He is the composer in residence for the Canadian Chamber Choir and it was almost surreal to see him, as i’ve sung a number of his music. I went up and said hello and told him that I really enjoyed his work and that I myself and doing a bit of choral composition, and we talked about being a composer for a couple of minutes until he had to leave. It was really quite great to meet him and to talk to him and I’m glad that I did. As well, a few hours later, the Coastal Sound Youth Choir, the choir I perform with, did a concert with the Canadian Chamber Choir, so I had the amazing opportunity to sing with professional singers from across the country.
Upon getting critique and suggestions from my mentor and my mom, I employed patience in listening what they had to say and listening with intent. DeBono states that one should “…listen carefully and attentively and you should get more value than if you impatiently waiting for a chance to do your own talking” (67). Sometimes this can be difficult for me, as when I have a question I want to think about that question only so not to forget it when I get a chance to ask it, or I want to add a comment in the discussion and I can think only of my comment. And of course my mind is a drifter and has the ability to end up thinking about why the word “pants” is plural and not pay attention to the importance of voice leadings. However, I’ve been finding out there is are so many interesting things to learn that paying attention with purpose is in my best interests. As well, I’ve been trying to use the technique of repeating back what I’ve learned so that nothing gets lost in information transferring. This process has saved me a couple times when asking about certain harmonic “rules”. “…repetition indicates that you have understood what was said. It also clarifies the situation in your own mind” (71).
This week has concluded my project within a project or writing a piece for the Vancouver Chamber Choir’s Young Composer Competition. But I am far from being done with in-depth. I have plans to participate in another choral competition and submit to calls for scores. As well, I plan to write a piece for a side project that combines music and math in an album. And finally to continue analyzing pieces and write music for the sake of writing music and for myself.
Though one aspect of my project is complete, my studies in choral music are far from complete.