Page 64 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
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                                17. The Lord is my light
Track 17
The text of ‘The Lord is my light’ is based on Psalm 27.This jazz-infused setting by John Bell is catchy and memorable.
The song is based on the additive rhythm: dotted crotchet, dotted crotchet, crotchet. If you subdivide it into quavers you can count it: 1 2 3, 1 2 3, 1 2. Ask your singers to clap the rhythm while counting this pattern.You could also ask them to make up an action in time to the rhythm to help externalize it.
The melody in the refrain contains lots of repeated notes (e.g. three As in bars 1 and 3). It can be surprisingly difficult to keep repeated notes in tune when you change vowel sounds.To prepare for this you could ask your singers to sing these (or other) exercises that contain different vowel sounds:
In the first exercise the quavers should be sung staccato.They need to be well-supported with a relaxed rather than tight throat.
Exercise 2 should be sung legato with no break in the sound between the notes. Sing it slowly enough for singers to be able to check that the pitch of each repeated note does not change.
Teaching the song
Teach the refrain first. Even at this early stage you should encourage your choir to end their phrases together. They will need to take care to place the ‘t’ of ‘light’ together in bars 6 and 14 and the ‘d’ of ‘afraid’ in bar 19.
The last four bars of each verse should be sung in one breath (e.g.‘when my enemies smell the scent of vict’ry they shall stumble and fall’).Try to crescendo through this last phrase so it builds towards the chorus.
Using the voice well
When singing descending scales, as happens in the verse of this song, the pitch often goes flat. It may help for the conductor to make an upwards gesture as the pitch descends – or for the singers to do this themselves as they sing. An upturned palm travelling upwards should help them maintain their breath support to the end of the phrase and keep the sound bright.Alternatively,ask singers to mime lifting a heavy box from waist to chest height as they sing this phrase: this will encourage them to engage their support mechanism.
 1.      ah eh ee aw oo
 
mee meh mah maw moo mee meh mah maw moo
     etc. ah eh ee aw oo
 etc. 
mee meh mah maw moo mee meh mah maw moo

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