We had two great sessions with Struan (ex-director of music at the Royal Shakespeare Company) at the Sainsbury Centre today. We were planning and plotting the movement for the spaces at the Sainsbury Centre for The Observatory in May. This is Struan’s photo of choir members coming up the ramp.
Coming up the ramp (Photo – Struan Leslie_
Sounding good from the off. Here’s Yusuf and Jamie playing Chant #souvenir
With all this new music for Ideas of Flight and only one possible window to rehearse with Trio Zéphyr, there was nothing for it other than to make a whistlestop trip across to see them for a rehearsal where they live in south-eastern France. The only way we could make it work with choir rehearsals was by flying into Montpellier and returning from Marseille all made slightly stressful with strikes by French airport security and SNCF. Well, we made it in the end and arrived back in Norwich from Stansted at 7.28 ready for our 7.30pm choir practice. It was all worth it though: the rehearsal was good and of course, spring in that part of the world is a good two weeks further forward than here.
(L-R) Marion, Sian, Delphine and Claire
Salasc near(ish) Montpellier where Delphine Chomel from Trio Zéphyr lives
With all the music there is to learn, we thought it would be a good idea to itemise a few methods for learning off by heart. Some of them are really obvious but I hope it will be useful if you’re not used to doing this kind of thing. Of course, everyone learns at different speeds in different ways. a combination of approaches can help. Some people will probably have learned their parts already. Anyway, for those who haven’t, here are some pointers:
- Take your time – cramming the information doesn’t work as it all becomes a jumble. Being methodical definitely helps.
- Break things into manageable sections – e.g. an eight-bar sequence.
- Write the words down.
- Listen on repeat – not necessarily with full attention: in the car or in the kitchen is good.
- Sing along as much as possible.
- Look over the piece whenever you have some free time.
- Read the poem through as it helps to know what the piece is about.
- Use a combination of the mixes and the ‘enhanced’ parts.
- Some people learn music best when asleep (headphones advised for this…)
- Try to memorise one line at a time, starting with the first. Cover it up and try to repeat it, move to the next etc
- Try to learn the ‘shape’, the ‘form’ of the song.
Good luck and if anyone has other effective tips for helping to learn by heart then please reply to this post.
“We believe that the great end of civil society is happiness”
Demos of this have been recorded and are now online here. Composer Orlando Gough has made this setting. We were wondering if this extraordinary, egalitarian document has been set to music before (?) You can read more about the background to this text which agitates for parliamentary reform by following this link: