January and February aren't my favourite months..... that is hardly a startling revelation, it's probably true for many of us. I dealt with it by being very busy! Alison Scott and I decided to run a free 'sing every day' fortnight in January, which we called Morning Zing to continue the 'Zoom' reference we used for Zoup & Zing*. This turned into a twice-weekly session, 10.30am to 11am, during which we have been teaching songs from our back catalogue to a fabulous group of participants who have started to know each other and greet each other every time with a cheery wave! This would never have happened without the restrictions Covid has placed upon us all, and the technology - I have dragged myself kicking and screaming into the 21st Century at last.
Teaching a group online is much more rewarding than I ever imagined. In fact if you had suggested it a year ago the answer would have been NO WAY! I wouldn't have believed that you could get energy back from participants, trapped as they are in my computer! However, it is truly joyous, sharing singing with people (on mute) who can only sway, smile, throw their heads back and sing and laugh for half an hour. We are joined - wherever we are, in a common, concentrated activity. I think online teaching and workshop leading will always be part of my work, now.
I have a LOT (mostly positive) to say on the subject of teaching singing online, but that will be of interest to a fairly small group of people so I will save it for another time......
Masterclasses are another fabulous way to use Zoom. I have run more than 20 of these so far in the last month, and it has been a terrific way to bring people together from all over the country. If you are wondering what it actually entails, the idea is that each of three participants brings a song to share, receives approximately 20 minutes tuition from me and is able to observe the others. We have a chat and discuss whatever common themes arise..... I do little preparation for each class and am always fascinated by what comes up. We have delved into technical issues but also storytelling, what vibrato feels like, how technique spans all genres, and how impossible it is to sing Proclaimers' songs without doing the accent!
I am definitely going to run another set of masterclasses in May. In the meantime, the vocal cords need a rest and my poor head needs a break from the screen!
Stay safe everyone, and stay singing.
*next Zoup & Zing, 90 minute online workshop, is on 11am on Sunday 28 March and the theme is Country/Gospel. Book with Alison Scott firstname.lastname@example.org