Thursday, 2 August 2012

Let's get practising...

Greetings from ACCM, as we are half way through our WAMing journey! This week has been another busy one as we have had some interesting news, held auditions with the students (more to follow..), attempted to effectively summarise two musical periods, given the students another test, and took a trip to Cochin, where we met up with Chloe and Niamh! :)

Towards the end of last week, the chief executive of ACCM (Abraham) held a (surprise) meeting to announce that the students are going to be filmed for a television broadcast on one of Kerala’s TV channels! He told them the requirements: that they would need to prepare 2 hours worth of college-standard music between them for the broadcast, in approximately 1-2 weeks time (!!). He also asked us to prepare a piece or two for this…so we’ve all been feeling a little bit under pressure!

We organised an audition for our students and asked them to come to us with any ideas or for their repertoire advice. However, the sign-up sheet was left empty and none of the students approached us... After discussing with them what their concerns are, it has become apparent that they are lacking in confidence and repertoire, and will need more time to prepare for the broadcast. Still, we persuaded them to at least put down one item each…

So, audition day came along, and we had more items than expected! We are glad to see the students getting more comfortable in performing in front of the class and have advised them on presenting themselves and performing to an audience. The audition programme consisted of the following:

  • Solo guitar – Spanish Waltz and Romance (Thangboi)
  • Solo voice with guitar accompaniment – Priyanka’s Hindi song ‘Din Aur Raat’ (Day or Night) (Priyanka and Steve)
  • Vocal duet – Franck’s Panis Angelicus (Thangboi and Beni)
  • Solo voice with rap (!) and guitar accompaniment – Priyanka’s More than Enough (Priyanka and Steve)
  • Solo voice with piano accompaniment – Priyanka’s Hindi Song ‘Jabse Tune Meri Rum Ko Chua’ (The time that you touch my soul) (Priyanka and Steve)
  • Solo Piano – Pachelbel’s Canon in D (Thangboi)
  • Solo voice with guitar accompaniment – Hindi song ‘Mujhe Yeshu ka pyar mila hei’ (I have got the love of God) (Steve)
  • Vocal duet with guitar accompaniment – No other Friend (Thangboi and Beni)

We enjoyed listening to all the pieces, despite the few mistakes and nerves that came across. We were impressed to see how much potential the students have, and could see that the singing in particular was heartfelt and confident. The few issues that we noticed were lack of communication between performers, failure to establish a connection with the audience (although when we received the odd smiles, this was very heart-warming), and small technical errors concerning tuning, timing and clarity (which were mainly to do with lack of practice and confidence).

It is a shame that our students are all beginners on the piano, and that they didn’t feel advanced enough to audition on this instrument. However, we are keen to help the students with their current repertoire, and were impressed by the creativity and maturity that they displayed (, though we were also annoyed by how shy they have been about their talents!) With Priyanka’s compositions, although she has not been able to notate any of her songs down, they are all well-structured with effective setting of lyrics, which she also wrote herself. Her cousin, Steve, is a keen rapper and incorporated some energetic, well-timed rapping in to her composition, a Christian song, ‘More than Enough’:

And here's a lovely duet 'No other Friend' (another Christian song), arranged and sung by Thangboi and Beni:

Further to working on the pieces they played in the auditions, we have also tried to motivate the students to perform something as a group of 4.  They are quite clearly split into 2 groups (of 2), each having their own contrasting interests and ideas; but we have brainstormed a few Christian songs/hymns that they might be interested in working on, including the traditional hymn Behold the Lamb, which we mentioned in our last blog. As for us, we have both started practising some repertoire for the broadcast, whenever we get any spare time – it’s proving quite difficult to cover everything, with all this practical work as well as the academic syllabi, in such a short period of time..

Also this week, we’ve tried our best to summarize the Classical and Romantic periods in our history lessons, which has proven quite a lot to digest for the students (and quite a lot for us to prepare!).  As per usual, each student presented their selected composer(s) and works from the periods, though again it is hard for them to do much research because of the lack of text books and web-resources...

We’ve also had a few listening sessions to improve awareness of musical styles and genres, and the students were particularly amazed by the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart’s Magic Flute, which we managed to watch on youtube.

At the weekend, we were grateful for another break to visit Cochin (for just a 10p train journey each!).  The weather was beautiful so we spent a good amount of time enjoying the sea and sunshine on the beach in Fort Kochi.  We were glad to meet up with fellow WAMers Chloe and Niamh and share our experiences over the most non-Indian lunch we’ve had so far, which included cake! :9

We’re off to Trivandrum tomorrow for a jam-packed weekend at CDMS…

Bye for now!

Amy & Constance

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