Westminster Conducting Institute Day 4

Once again, a full day. Choral warmup with storytelling, rounds and lots of movement.  Can’t wait to try it all out on the troops at home…..

A first: JHV does yoga.  I certainly benefitted from the stretches and breathing, and found that I still have a lot of flexibility for an old guy.  I will say that I felt a general sense of well-being following the session.  More yoga with chakras tomorrow…

Morning Conducting Class – Lots of singing for me, no conducting until the afternoon.

Movement and ear training – Making up vocal compositions with salad tongs, paint rollers, big plastic scissors and a toy rake, then applying the sounds to “The Fall of Babylon” by Darius Milhaud.  Let your imagination soar……but seriously, the tehniques used would work wonders for teaching children to read musical notation. Some of the younger conductors were questioning the use of solfeg syllables.  I told the “The Eyes of All” story and set them straight.

Afternoon Conducting class – After much trepidation and preparation, successful conducting!  Positive comments all around. Big life lessons: 1. All of my groups will sing better if I prepare more.  2. If you sound bad, it’s probably my fault.

Evening lecture – Blake Henson, Composer in residence, shared some info about his composition process.  He just finished his Doctorate in composition at the age of 26, and has written a lot of great stuff, most of which is too big for us.  The one issue with attending these workshops is that the staff are all directing college level or city choruses, large groups, so there’s a lot of 8 part stuff.

 “All of you is in the breath.” – Jim Jordan

Tomorrow evening, an open sing of a shortened version of Mendelssohn’s “Elijah.”  I LOVE this town……

JHV

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