Thursday, August 16, 2012

Polynesian Choir and Ukulele Band: Intro

Hello parents and singers!

If you are familiar with my choir classes, you may be wondering about a songbook. I have lots of songs in mind, but I do not have a book ready. I am just not sure, until I see the kids in front of me, what we'll need in the books in terms of lyrics, chord notation, uke fingerings, etc. I am also not sure what level of difficulty we can tackle until I have a final roster and get a measure of everyone's interest level in the first couple of weeks. So, the songbook may be coming, or we may just wing it. 

IF YOU ARE SINGING: Welcome. We'll be learning some pop songs about Hawaii, some popular Hawaiian songs, some songs from the musical South Pacific, some folk songs from South Sea islands, and even some island chants.We'll be doing a bit of music theory -- recognizing minor/major chords, intervals, understanding and controlling pitch and volume and tempo, and other stuff. Some of the songs are FUNNY. Some are sad. Some are love songs. This is definitely a type of music that most people never really explore, so prepare to have your musical horizon expanded! 

IF YOU ARE ALSO PLAYING UKULELE: Welcome to you too. :) I've had some questions about what ukulele you need to participate. Any regular old ukulele is fine. The cheapest, silliest one is A-OK, in any color. :) The standard size ukulele is a soprano. The brand most people buy as a starter instrument is a Makala or a Lanikai. Here's the one I bought for my daughter a few Christmases ago: 

If you have a tenor or baritone uke and you know how to play it already and want to bring it, go for it. Our instruction will be on the soprano uke with standard D6 tuning. If you don't know how to tune your ukulele, please come a bit early to class so Benny can handle all that before class begins and still have lots of time to sing and play. If you want to bring a folding music stand, this would be great! It'll be much easier to read the chords and lyrics while holding a ukulele if you have a music stand in front of you. Note: We will not be using the ukuleles for all the songs. Please prepare your child for the fact that she/he will be putting the instrument down and just singing sometimes. :) We will not be going FAST on the uke instruction. We'll try learning one chord per week. So, on our first song, when we only know the one chord, we'll work on playing only when that chord comes around. 

PRACTICE: I do expect children to memorize some songs. I've always had, in choir, a few songs that were based on poetry -- in Celtic choir we learned some Yeats, and in Appalachian choir we learned some Stephen Foster. This semester I am very much hoping that we can learn at least one traditional Hawaiian chant. This will be challenging because I'm neither Hawaiian nor traditional, but we're going to try it with a soundtrack. I'm going to have some YouTube videos and some iTunes downloads to listen to each week -- optional of course but I think helpful! I'll leave you with this one:

No comments:

Post a Comment