About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and five children.
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“Although the mass contains great instruction for the faithful people, nevertheless, it has not seemed expedient to the Fathers, that it should be every where celebrated in the vulgar tongue. Wherefore, the ancient usage of each church, and the rite approved of by the holy Roman Church, the mother and mistress of all churches, being in each place retained; and, that the sheep of Christ may not suffer hunger, nor the little ones ask for bread, and there be none to break it unto them, the holy Synod charges pastors, and all who have the cure of souls, that they frequently, during the celebration of mass, expound either by themselves, or others, some portion of those things which are read at mass, and that, amongst the rest, they explain some mystery of this most holy sacrifice, especially on the Lord's days and festivals.”
— Council of Trent (17 September 1562)

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Warm ups
published 18 July 2015 by Veronica Brandt

snowball O, I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT SNOW. This topic has been germinating from before it started snowing. The chance to mention snow in Australia is only a side effect of the title. I’ll try not to mention snow again.

A few weeks ago I was looking at drama games to fill in a gap at our local homeschool co-operative. A little digging revealed a wealth of activities designed to encourage participants to work together, pay attention and even have fun along the way. A program would begin with a few warm up activities leading into skill building and scene-work. I fondly remember these games from school, although I was rather shy, they allowed everyone to have a turn.

On the weekend I used one of the warm ups when going over some music with a small group of children. We did a five count shake which I had seen from a local drama teacher. It really helped lift their spirits and set us up to lift their voices.

Andrew Motyka has written about the value of warm-ups. Like many pieces of good advice I have read, and nodded, and then shelved it away.

Now I am noticing that things like watching the conductor, singing together, blending, listening to each other – these are all learned skills and choir practice is the time when my singers will be learning these skills as well as the music.

Choosing warm ups is going to depend on the people in your choir as well as the space you have. A bunch of kids with a wide grassy area is very different from a group of adults in a small meeting room.

One thing I still like to start with is a prayer before choir practice. I’m not sure where it came from originally, but it serves as a call to put aside chatter and remember we are here in God’s service.