When a group of people come together to share their voices in harmony, something magical is created that uplifts and connects each person to something far greater and more wondrous than could happen with just one voice. My love of singing is really a love of encouraging people to sing together to create this magic…something that raises the spirits, brings a smile to ones heart and a instils a sense of inner happiness and nourishment.
My approach to Acappella singing is one of positivity and inclusivity, and my focus is with the experience and enjoyment of singing together. I teach songs by ear and so there is no need to be able to read music, to participate. My singing work is underpinned by my Alexander technique knowledge and also my experience with Ta Ke Ti Na , a method of learning poly-rhythms through the body.
I work with rhythm, harmony, clapping, stepping and moving whilst singing, as a means of helping to loosen old inhibitions about ‘being good enough’ or ‘having to get it right’. And in order to discover a meaningful ‘end product’, I encourage a playful exploration of the process of learning to sing: focussing on ways of tuning in to each others voices, of listening, blending, opening and trusting
I choose to work with material that is inherently uplifting or heart-opening: songs from the tradition of Gospels and Spirituals, South African freedom songs, Taize chants, Bhajans, Native American Indian chants, and songs from Israel, Eastern Europe.. Songs that in some way create a nourishing, positive or empowering energy whilst being sung.
I offer the following singing events:
These are run on a termly basis. The first two weeks of each term are open as ‘taster sessions’ for people wishing to sample this work before committing to the term. On the last week of each term, the choir informally performs the songs they have been working with, followed by refreshments and an opportunity for ‘audience and all’ to learn and sing a few songs together. A selection of songs from differing traditions is taught each term.
Taize chants and Sacred Songs
These are usually run by candlelight. During these workshops, I teach songs from the Taize monastery, where song is used as a form of prayer, and other, similarly heart-opening songs of a sacred nature. These are either rounds, chants or in 2-6 part harmony.
Bhajans and devotional songs from India
Beautiful, centering, heart-opening songs usually sung in call and response, and accompanied by a Shruti box (Indian droning instrument). Each song is repeatedly sung over a period of many minutes, during which time a song magically takes on an energy and power of its own.
Songs with spirit-raising harmonies and toe-tapping rhythms, usually sung in Zulu or Xsoza, in four-part harmony. Many of the songs come from South or West Africa, and are infectiously uplifting!
Native American Indian Chants
Songs that honour the elements, the four directions, animals and nature. Songs that connect us to the earth. Songs mainly sung as chants and accompanied by a drum, creating a powerful, earthy energy whilst sung repeatedly as a group.
An opportunity for children to learn songs from around the world in an exciting and empowering way, working simultaneously with movement, clapping, stepping and also exploring basic elements of music and singing such as pitch, rhythm, timing, harmony in the form of musical games and lots of fun.
Hear us sing!
Here are a few examples of the sorts of songs that you can expect to learn and sing in a HeartSong workshop or choir.
Watch us sing
Here is a HeartSong choir singing an African song
Watch us learn a song
Here are a few snap shots of a song being taught in a HeartSong workshop, held in a church.
Starting with the base part…
Adding some harmonies…
Singing the parts together…