Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oh, women.

I have been terrible at updating lately, but don't think that I have nothing brewing in my head, since I have a lot of future topics churning in my subconscious :)

A few weeks back my regular conductor, Heather, was off adjudicating a festival and we had a substitute conductor, the lovely Brendan, for 2 rehearsals. Many warm thanks to him since it definitely isn't easy for a conductor to come in and start rehearsing music they're unfamiliar with. The most entertaining thing, however, is the fact that within a women's choir, we forget how much female talk occurs during rehearsal. This was extremely apparent with a male conductor was in the room. The first instance came about when a chorister announced that she, too, would be unable to tour to Italy with the rest of the choir in July. The reason? Her baby was due that summer. Brendan looked slightly shocked in an amused way and simply remarked there were things extremely unique to a women's choir. The fate of sudden pregnancy being one of them.

This racks up Belle Canto's tally to two currently pregnant women, one new mom, oh yes, and me that aren't going on the tour.

In choir, whenever somebody has something they want to announce, in the back of our minds we wonder if it will be another pregnancy declaration. It doesn't help that we have a large track record of children who have gestated during our choral season. Good thing our old uniforms had some stretch to them. However, we have yet to find out how our new uniforms cover pregnant bellies. We will know soon enough. The ever-expanding child network associated to the choir now is quite remarkable. I mean all of this in the most jovial way since pregnancy (expected and unexpected) is kind of a running joke within the choir now.

Another extremely funny comment that came up in choir last week was when a low-singing alto lamented the fact that she had to sing a high G in one of the madrigals. Since madrigals are often pieces which depict the censored details of frolicking of young lovers in the springtime, we all cracked up laughing when she simply stated that orgasm or not, she can't hit a high G.


At any rate, I thought I would share those small tidbits with you so you can get a taste of the women's choir world. Another plus is that whenever you're sick on tour, you have numerous attentive motherly figures nursing you back to health. It's comforting to be surrounded by that many loving and hilarious souls!

Wish you were in a women's choir, don't you?


Until next time, take care!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Calling All Cantilon Alumni

Calling All Cantilon Alumni!

It's the 10th year anniversary of Cantilon Choirs and the office is hosting an gala evening to celebrate. Whether or not you will be singing in the alumni choir (the office is handling the invites for this) you can still attend the Cantilon Gala to reunite with your fellow choristers and choir families! It will be a lovely evening with food, friends and music! Details are in the photo above but in case you can't see it:

When: Saturday, May 1, 2010
Where: Grand Salon, Pavillion Lacerte, Campus Saint-Jean, 8406-91 St, Edmonton AB
Reception 6pm, Dinner 7pm
Tickets: $75 (780-732-1262 or admin@cantilonchoirs.ca)
RSVP by April 23, 2010 or sooner if you can!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Motivation to Sing

In class today we were discussing an article which brought up the topic of "Reinforcement or Motivation." Of course, it was in relation to what extent we, as Speech-language clinicians, should reinforce good behaviour in our child clients or whether we should let intrinsic motivation guide their behavior. We defined reinforcement as anything external to the child, such as giving stickers, and motivation being the child's own reasons for learning.

In one study there was a group of children were told that they would be given a prize when they finished a drawing activity, there was another group of kids that didn't know they would get a reward until the end of the activity, and one group who received no prize at all. The study showed that the children initially told that they would receive a prize for their drawing were drawing less in the classroom afterwards and that drawing became an instrumental means to receive an award. Overall, these types of studies have shown that "rewards have a significant negative effect on intrinsic motivation."

I got to thinking about this and its application to my experiences with choral music and I feel that my intrinsic motivation to sing is really what drives my passion. I always find that whenever I am offered money to sing... my relationship with the music changes. It no longer is a passion for me since performing the music is just another job. Of course, I would be lying to say I didn't enjoy the fact that I get paid for gigs occasionally; however, I can't honestly say that my most musically fulfilling experiences occurred when I was paid to sing. I understand that performing is part of an artists' livelihood, but do we ever reach a point where we are just doing another job and we're not being musically satisfied anymore? I know many musicians are possibly reading this and I would love to get their input on this matter.

Therefore, dear readers, what are your thoughts? Does internal motivation guide your happiness or do you feel like monetary reinforcement plays a role in shaping your happiness response as well? It doesn't even have to be choral or music related since I find this is a topic applicable to all areas. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!