Page 95 - Voice for Life Songbook 1
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                                23. God the singer
Track 23
The Old Testament prophet Zephaniah refers to God singing over his people.This piece, with words by Peter Davison, encourages us to unite together and join in the Lord’s song.
Make sure your singers know how to count the rests in the introduction.When musicians have more than one bar of rests to count they usually count the beats in this pattern:
1 2 3 4, 2 2 3 4, 3 2 3 4, 4 2 3 4 etc.
In this piece the singers will need to count up to 8 2 3 and then enter on the fourth beat of the bar. Practise it once or twice with either you or everyone counting aloud, then ask your singers to count it in their heads (without tapping a foot, nodding their heads or counting on their fingers!). You might like to try this exercise with some other pieces as well, to check that everyone has understood the principles and is able to apply them to other songs.
Teaching the song
Try singing the first verse of this song on an open-mouthed hum (ng) making each phrase as smooth as possible.Try the same exercise again on an ‘ah’ sound. Once all the notes are correct and the singers have a sense of the shape of each phrase, add the text.
Verse two is similar to the first verse but has a few notable differences. Can your singers identify what these are? Try sightreading this verse: remember to watch out for repeated notes. Everyone assumes that staying on the same note is easy but singers often don’t notice when to stick on the same pitch while they are sightreading!
There is an optional descant for the third verse. Go through the descant by itself before attempting to put it together with the melody. However, bear in mind that as each phrase of the descant starts in unison with the melody this will help those on the descant find the first notes of each phrase.
Using the voice well
Watch out for the diphthongs on ‘voice’ and ‘rejoice’ in the third verse.The singers should elongate the first vowel sound (aw) and then change to the second (ee) just before the consonant. If the whole choir try to make the same vowel sounds, the overall sound will be blended and together.
Musical skills and understanding
The metronome mark puts the tempo at 120 crotchets a minute. By looking at the second hand on a clock or watch, can you tap the pulse at this rate? Can you conduct four at the same speed? (It will help to keep the movements small and compact.)
This song starts in B flat major but changes key before the last verse.What key does it change to in bar 55?
The descant part starts in bar 54. In a number of places the descant is in unison with the melody part. Can you identify where this occurs?

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