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Now is the time of year when many choirs, choral groups, and vocal ensembles are holding auditions. Follow these twelve practical tips for your next choir audition to ensure you are at your best. Read Top 12 Choir Audition Tips
Lime Lighter: Connecting the Musician with Low Vision to the Music and to the Music-Makers
Regina Smith, AT Specialist
Laurie Haynes, TVI
Hamilton County Department of Education
Participation in school music programs is often associated with improvement in academic areas. For the student who is visually impaired, music also forges opportunities for new relationships and connections. Playing an instrument within a group promotes socialization and integration, which can be a challenge for the only visually-impaired student among sighted peers.
The obstacle has been to find ways to deliver printed score access to a student who requires magnification to see that score. Photocopying and enlarging music sheets is labor-intensive and may require a page turn every 6 or 8 measures, which interrupts the fluency of the music. Because of the size of the enlarged sheets, the student is often prohibited from performing in typical chair format, causing feelings of isolation.
Recently, we discovered the Lime Lighter for our low-vision violinist. The digital score is magnified up to 10 times normal size and is displayed on any PC. Our student runs the software on the all-in-one touch screen PC from Dell, that is sold with the Lime Lighter software as the Leggiero model. The PC is only about 5 pounds and has a diagonal screen width of 18.4 inches. It can be easily moved from practice room to rehearsal space to stage, etc., and can run for a few hours on its internal, rechargeable battery.
The user scrolls the music manually or continuously, by means of a wireless set of pedals leaving the hands free to play the instrument. Our violinist particularly likes the ability to pause on a specific measure while the music teacher is reviewing in class. She also loves the feeling of playing music with her classmates without the focus being on her loss of vision. She can sit partner-style with the other violinists and perform without the interruption of turning pages constantly.
The Lime notation software is a complete music editing software, so scores can be both read and written in an environment that is friendly to the musician with low vision. Foreground and background colors can be inverted or muted to improve readability. Both words and music can be shown to vocal performers. The software displays music in what is called modified stave notation. There are options to selectively thicken various components of a score such as staff lines or stems, and to make notes, such as half-notes, bolder so they can be seen more clearly.
Lime Lighter has made a great positive difference for our young performer with low vision. If it might help you or someone you know, contact Dancing Dots to arrange for a trial.
Kolot Tikvah –Voices Raised WithPride
This article originally ran in Tribe Magazine, in Los Angeles and is placed here with permission. Please go to the link at the end to see photos of Kolot Tikvah.
Madison Silverman is an energetic 12-year-old with an effervescent smile, and, like most girls her age, she likes fashion, makeup and music.
What sets her apart isn’t her dyslexia, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; it’s what Madison is doing at the Kolot Tikvah (Voices of Hope) choir to help other kids who have their own challenges.
“Sometimes I can see that kids have a hard time, they need to have someone to sing words in their ear or help turn the page of the music. I have a sense, probably because of growing up with my twin brother, Reece, who is autistic, I know when someone needs help or when they need to be left alone,” she said of her peers in the choir for children, teens and adults with special needs. “I used to be very self-conscious and get bullied or called dumb because of my special needs, but being with the kids here I feel that everyone is so open and there’s so much love.”
Kolot Tikvah dates back to 2007, when Adrienne and Jerry Ross, members of Temple Aliyah of Woodland Hills, approached the Conservative congregation’s Chazzan Mike Stein.
“Their daughter, Brianna, loved to sing, but the congregational choir just wasn’t the right environment for her,” Stein said.
That’s when a light bulb went off and Stein designed a curriculum that could touch any child, no matter how he was able to participate. With an initial start-up grant from The Jewish Federation Valley Alliance, the singing group formed as a collaboration between Temple Aliyah and Valley Beth Shalom (VBS). The choir “? under the umbrella of OurSpace, which provides programs for individuals with special needs and their families? is open to members of any synagogue as well as unaffiliated Jews.
“For lots of these kids diagnosed with special needs, it’s sometimes hard for them to be part of what we normally think of as the Jewish experience, like USY [United Synagogue Youth] and Hebrew school, because they can’t function or manage in a typical situation. This has allowed them to have the Jewish music and Hebrew school “the Jewish experience” without being judged or made fun of and a place where they are accepted.” said Madison’s mother, Nancy Silverman.
At Kolot Tikvah’s helm is Stein, 62, who has been performing for many years, but not always in front of a Jewish congregation. A Grammy Award-winning artist in children’s music, he appeared on Broadway in the original cast of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” And, for 17 years, the New York native played the violin in the United States Navy Band. While in the service, he traveled the world and played in the White House for Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. On the weekends, he would work part time at various synagogues.
Stein, whose newest CD, released last year, is “There’s a Place That I Pray” started his second career at the age of 40, wanting to be the kind of involved clergy that he never had growing up.
“My cantor and rabbi came through a door onto the bimah, and after services they went back out the door and we never saw them again.”
Talk to the members of Kolot Tikvah and there’s little doubt he’s succeeding.
“He’s the best; he pulls out my inner child. I can’t describe it; he pulls out a feeling of happiness and being able to belong,” said Shaina Barnett, 23, the oldest member of the choir. “Chazzan embraces all my qualities! I look forward to it and never want to miss choir. For that one hour, I feel free from the problems outside this room.”
Kolot Tikvah consists of 10 members, ages 12 to 23 with a wide range of abilities. At each of their hour-long practices, which take place once a month at Temple Aliyah, Stein starts with warm-up exercises, brings in different instruments and talks about the songs so as to give them meaning in a Jewish and social context.
He said he is always learning from his students as to what works and what touches them. When he brought in the song “Circle Chant” by Linda Hirschhorn and talked about the words “Circle around for freedom, circle around for peace, for all of us imprisoned, circle for release”he wasn’t sure if they would be affected by it.
One 15-year-old choir member said that this was the dumbest song that she had ever heard because “I’m not in prison.” But Barnett responded differently: “I know what that song means because I feel imprisoned by my disabilities, sometimes, I get so depressed that I feel I am in prison and need to break out.”
The choir can be found performing occasionally at Temple Aliyah, VBS and other synagogues. It has also appeared at the Tu B’Shevat Nature Fest at the Shalom Institute and the Chanukah candle lighting ceremony at Los Angeles City Hall.
On April 12, Madison and brother Reece will become b’nai mitzvah at Temple Aliyah. Madison decided that because Kolot Tikvah is such an important part of her life, she wanted the choir to perform at the ceremony.
“It’s incredible to hear how the choir sings. We sing with our hearts,” she said. “I want to show the congregation how special it is to me, and to the other kids in the choir, that we get a chance to shine.”
KOLOT TIKVAH’S ANTHEM
Kolot tikvah, voices of hope
We can do most anything
When we raise our voice to sing.
In Hebrew that means
Voices of hope
The voice of our dreams!
We have joy and sorrow,
Laughter and tears.
We have faith that tomorrow
Our voices you’ll hear.
And that voice will reach deep,
Deep inside your heart,
As we open your eyes
To who we really are!
Chazzan Mike Stein
via ~ Tribe Magazine
Music Educators Marketplace(MEM) “the Community for Music Educators
442 N. Maple St., Trenton, IL 62293″?Ph: 800-430-3840 or 618-224-7102 “? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Music Educators’ Marketplace was created in 1998 as a cooperative venture of six music teachers in order to divide the costs and share the benefits of targeted nationwide advertising of their self-published music education teaching aids. Since then nearly fifty Marketers have marketed nearly 200 products through us, and MEM has gained a reputation for offering unique, quality products and personal service.
Music is one of the major topics of study to benefit from the digital age. Once upon a time, the Oxford University Ear Training program consisted of 8-10 vinyl albums, weighing over 15 pounds! Today, a complete ear training course fits on 3 or 4 CD-Roms! MEM offers many such digital products to online shoppers, as well as specials to its members.
The MEM store is constantly adding new, unique music teaching products to its inventory. A visit to the website will show a plethora of technique books, rhythm drill materials, flash cards for virtually every musical skill, musical alphabet blocks.
The software department includes a 3-part CD Ear Training program, 5 CD-based music games, including Alice in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (ala Alice in Wonderland); Mozart’s MagicFlute game; Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker game and others. MEM offers materials to develop motor skills and auditory skills, too.
On MEM’s website you will also find magnetic musical stave boards, sticky staff Post-its with staves printed on them, and many novel gift items for students and teachers, alike. Please visit the website today.
Now is the time of year when many choirs, choral groups, and vocal ensembles are holding auditions. Follow these twelve practical tips for your next choir audition to ensure you are at your best.