Showing posts from April, 2008

King's Singers trip

As it's not very long until we go on the trip, I thought I'd find a video of this world-class group to get you in the mood. Below is a recent performance of Blackbird:

The group will also be joined by past members for the concert to celebrate their 40th Anniversary. For more details, go to their website by clicking here. It promises to be an excellent evening!

UBS Virtual Maestro

For those of you who enjoyed the Virtual Conductor in the Haus der Musik in Vienna, the UBS Virtual Maestro might be right up your street.This new invention has been touring the concert halls in America, giving audiences an opportunity to conduct their own version of famous pieces, such as Barber's Adagio for Strings and Rossini's William Tell Overture. The set-up is a 42-inch plasma TV screen and a large speaker, both hooked up to a Nintendo Wii running special Virtual Maestro software. The player uses the wireless Wii remote as if it were a baton, and guides the orchestra's tempo. A European tour is planned this autumn and perhaps one day, you might end up conducting the Verbier Festival Orchestra from the comfort of your own home!
Click here for more details.

Fats Waller: Ain't Misbehavin'

After the shocking discovery that many of you do not know this wonderful song and have not heard of Thomas "Fats" Waller, I thought I'd put up a video of the legend himself, performing it in 1943. The drummer is Zutty Singleton, trumpet Benny Carter and the bassist is Slam Stewart.
For those of you in the AS group, this falls into the period of jazz which you are studying, and you can make comparisons between this and your other extracts.
An interesting fact is that Ain't Misbehavin' is also the name of a 1970s musical revue by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., using Fats Waller's music with lyrics by various writers. The revue is a tribute to black musicians of the 1920s and 1930s who were part of the Harlem Renaissance, an era of growing creativity, cultural awareness and ethnic pride.
Click here to find out more about the Harlem Renaissance and here to read about Ain't Misbehavin', the musical revue.

Boys play the trumpet and girls play the flute....

Study has shown, unsurprisingly, that there is a gender split when it comes to a child's choice of instrument. The study shows that stereotypes are prevalent in music classes, with the "smaller, higher-pitched instruments" and singing lessons being overwhelmingly favoured by girls, while boys, although reluctant to learn any instrument, tend towards electric guitars, drum kits and music technology classes. There are, of course, a significant number of boys and girls learning "unstereotypical" instruments, so what should we do, if anything, about this issue? Or is it really an issue?

It was reported in today's Guardian that academics at the University of London Institute of Education suggest that schools should consider single-sex bands to make pupils play different instruments. In an ideal world this might work, but I'm sure that we wouldn't be the only school who would struggle to form single-sex instrumental ensembles. That is, of course, if we fe…

BBC Proms 2008

The BBC Proms is arguably the greatest music festival in the world, providing the public with daily concerts from July through to September. It attracts world-class soloists, orchestras and conductors, performing a huge variety of music, catering for all tastes. Despite this, it has recently been on the receiving end of some negative press: last month, Margaret Hodge (culture minister) said that the Proms "attract too narrow a section of society", yet today on Radio 4'sPMprogramme, it was reported that this year's Proms programme could be interpreted as an attempt to "dumb down".

This year's season includes a Dr Who Prom (click here for more details), which will be presented by Doctor Who actress Freema Agyeman and will include the show's famous theme tune, as well as other compositions related to time and space, including Holst's The Planets (Jupiter) and Wagner's Die Walkure (the Ride of the Valkyries). This has already sparked criticism bu…

Company Cast 2008

Thank you very much for coming to audition. You were all excellent and amused us greatly! Congratulations to the following students:

Bobby: William Pate

Sarah: Beth Templeton
Harry: James Moorton

Susan: Emily Packham
Peter: Joe Medforth

Jenny: Erica Thompson
David: Liam Desborough

Amy: Nev Stojkov
Paul: Ben Williams

Joanne: Jane Langley
Larry: Sam Norwood

Martha: Charlotte Blake
Kathy: Becca McMillin
April: Sara McNeillis

There will be a brief meeting this Friday lunchtime in 60/61 to sort out rehearsal times. Please bring your diaries/personal organisers/blackberries/whatever…

Thanks,Miss Shepherd, Miss Doan, Phil and Izzie.

Hollywood Bhangra & Bhangra Instruction

After some thorough revision over the Easter holidays, I am sure that all Year 11s are familiar with the key features of Bhangra, but have you seen this? Can you identify the features of traditional Bhangra in this modern version? Which dance moves are traditional and which ones are more modern? I think you'll agree the style has moved on, even since UK Bhangra of the 1980s...

Below you can see Bhangra Troup, Izzat da Punjab, performing for Ravi's new instructional Bhangra DVD: