We all know Bigmouth is different to a normal choir. Instead of covering choral classics, we’re constantly looking for new pop and rock songs to add to our repertoire, but where does “pop” come from? Pop is a nebulous thing to define, and it went through several stages before becoming pop music we would recognise today. Continue reading “The Origin of Pop”
We’ve spent some time before talking about the history of singing. We know it’s been a part of human history since before humans were even recognisable as such, but what about recording? When was the first recording of a human singing?
Recording technology hasn’t been around all that long. Though some people have hypothesised a kind of archaeoacoustics, reading waves of sound etched into clay pots as they spun, though this idea has fallen out of favour. Continue reading “The earliest recordings”
The voice of every individual is as unique as one’s fingerprint. While your Alexa might not be able to tell the difference between two people, the human ear is certainly capable of pointing out differences in voices. So what creates these differences and what do the differences mean for our singing?
Firstly, the biggest factor in shaping your voice is your training. A good singing teacher can near enough get anything from a singer with time, dedication and persistence. There’s very little that will stop most people being able to hit a certain note, though there are outliers and some biological limitations that should be seen as gifts rather than limits. Obviously, if someone has a naturally low voice, there’s not much point learning to sing solely high notes, especially when good bass voices are hard to find. Continue reading “Why do people have different vocal ranges?”
A lot of people thinking singing happens entirely in the throat and mouth, but those in the know recognise singing is a full body activity. Good posture is a vital component in setting up a great singing voice. Without it, it’s like trying to play a guitar with a crooked neck or a piano with the keys stuck down – it just doesn’t work. Continue reading “The Joy of Posture”
Perfect pitch is one of the most enviable talents a musician can possess. It is the ability to identify and recreate a note, though it comes in two forms.
The first is absolute pitch, the ability to recreate notes without using a reference point. Someone with absolute pitch would be able to identify the note produced by everyday sounds such as a car alarm or could recreate a piece of music perfectly. It’s is believed to be a very rare occurrence with estimates suggesting that 1 in every 10,000 people possess the trait.
The second is relative pitch, which is the ability to work out the relation between two notes by using a reference note. For example, someone could play a reference note, like middle C, and then play a second sound which the listener could identify based on the reference note, i.e. “two octaves above middle C”. Unlike absolute pitch, relative pitch is a fairly common skill amongst music students, as it is the same skill we use to sing melodies by ear. Continue reading “What is perfect pitch?”
Probably the biggest hurdle to overcome in singing is the creeping feeling that you’re secretly the worst singer in history; that you might be …TONE DEAF!
When people say “tone deaf” they refer to the supposed phenomena that one cannot tell the difference between two notes. It’s the kind of thing thrown around in casual conversation to dismiss oneself as a singer. In fact, it’s so common a phrase that many people falsely believe they are tone deaf and thus, beyond all hope as a singer. Continue reading “Are you actually “tone deaf”?”
We’ve had our first proper bit of autumn rain now, which means the summer sun is soon to be a memory. Once the sun goes, most peoples moods go with it. The sun gives us much needed energy, and we’re at our most sociable during the long summer days – at the beach, seeing friends – and this also gives us that extra pep.
With Autumn and Winter now looming, most people expect to feel a little less than their regular selves. More nights in alone, less new experiences, fewer people. Sounds bleak, doesn’t it? But all hope is not lost! Fortunately, there is a way to bump your mood up, maintain that positive human contact, and keep you smiling until the sun comes back. Continue reading “Keep the Summer going!”
Now the Summer break is drawing to an end, we have a brand new year of Bigmouth to look forward to. This means it’s time to dust off those rusty pipes and get singing again!
While we’d love to think everybody has remained diligent in their personal practice of singing, we know the allure of the sun and sand too well and we know that for many of us, Summer just isn’t the time to sing. Continue reading “Getting back into the swing of things”
What a year it’s been! Every year with Bigmouth is a great year, new faces and new songs make all the difference, and it’s truly something special to see familiar faces with us, returning each year to lend their voices to the choir.
In many ways, it’s sad to be breaking up for the summer holidays. The end of year concert is always a high point, and it makes you want to just keep going but, as some of you may have noticed, we’re now well into summer, and rest is needed.
So what final notes can we talk about before we spend the next couple of months on the beach?
1. Keep practicing!
You’re singing voice is like a muscle, and keeping it honed is important. By now, you should have an understanding of how to warm your voice and keep it working.
It’s easy to fall out of the habit, without Emily to lead you, but you’ve spent a year learning about your voice, and it’s a shame to let things slide while you’re away.
2. Keep drinking water!
I know, I know, we always say this, but by now, you’ve probably come to understand the many benefits hydration has for a singer. We’ve probably mentioned drinking water in half of our blog posts, so if ever there’s only one lesson that land with you, we hope it’s this.
As we’re guessing many of you will be spending your summer holidays in the sun, catching a tan or visiting the pub for a nice, relaxing pint in the garden, drinking water becomes even more important.
3. Keep your ears open!
Bigmouth is a wonderful platform for appreciating new music but it’d be impossible to cover every single song worth covering.
As you walk about, keep your ears peeled for new music, even if it’s not the kind you would normally listen to. Try to apply what you’ve learned to appreciate what the singer is doing.
Some of you may even remember an older article of ours where we talked about the benefits of listening to music recorded in other languages (it helps the brain multitask), or perhaps you’ve become fascinated by one of extended vocal techniques we’ve discussed and you’re hoping to catch them out in the wild.
4. Follow our fearless leader!
Emily, our choirmaster extraordinaire, also has a busy career as an artist. While the resat of us are taking the time to relax, Emily is no doubt cooking up something new and exciting.
Regular readers will remember she won a British Composer Award for her work at Folkestone Triennial, while others might have seen her installation at Ramsgate Harbour’s Sailor’s Church as part of Ramsgate Festival of Sound.
Whatever else she has planned, it’s bound to be exciting and we can’t wait.
And so, we come to the end of another year of Bigmouth Chorus, but never fear, we will be back in the new term, which starts September 10th. Until then keep singing, and we look forward to seeing all our friends again, as well as new faces and voices.
There’s a lot of things to love about learning to sing in a choir. Of course, there’s the sense of community. Obviously, you learn to sing, and sure, you get time with a teacher who can offer constant feedback and support but one thing we don’t talk about enough is the setting of goals.
Goals are super important when learning any new talent. It’s a clear way of measuring progress but what do you consider a goal? For some, it’s nailing a certain song but for a lot of people, it’s performing live. Most of us who want to sing want to share that gift with others, but it’s probably a bit too much to travel around singing at individual people.
Fortunately, there is another way. As part of the yearly cycle of Bigmouth Chorus and en Choir, we get the opportunity to show off what we’ve learned at an annual concert. It’s a massive deal, a full-house of friends, family and public eager to hear the well-honed instrument the choir has become.
This year, Bigmouth Chorus and en Choir take the stage at a pair of gigs, offering mutual support to each other, with a catalogue of songs including Guns ‘N’ Roses, The Bangles, U2, Queen and Simon & Garfunkel.
Catch Bigmouth, with en Choir, on Friday 19th June at Queens Road Baptist Church in Broadstairs.
Then make your way to Whitstable on Saturday 20th June, St Alphege Church (opposite Whitstable Playhouse) for en Choir, with Bigmouth.
Tickets are £8/£6 with children under 12 admitted free! Tickets are available in advance from We Got Tickets, from Three Graces gift shop (The Broadway, Broadstairs) and on the door, subject to availability.