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Attack Attack & Strengthen the Back

A call to arms – or rather arm pits or even a Trumpet!


To hit those high notes, no matter your voice part, you need to engage your back muscles and use your upper body.  Do not rely on just vocal chords, which are thin and will be strained.


Think of holding a large orange under each armpit and when you want to hit that high note, squeeze those oranges and it will engage you back muscles. 


There is no need to rush out and buy oranges. To do this just takes some imagination. 

The more you do this your back will strengthen and it will get embedded in your muscle memory and you will eventually do it without thinking about it.


You might also hear Eamonn refer to this method as ‘opera arms’ as you’ll see opera singers using this technique to reach the high notes.


Having practised our opera arms in the warm up with Bella Signora, catchy little number!

And then we were back to Joshua which was is very good in places.


Areas to improve are emphasising the ‘ck’ sound at the end of ‘Jericho’. 

When coming to the verses, make them loud and frightening as if you are really attacking Jericho.

Then when returning to the chorus, make it terrifyingly quiet.

Attack, attack, but accurately!


As a contrast God Only Knows is challenging with it is unstructured interweaving sounds.

Just to clarify the music score: Ladies are Lady Tenors &Tenors and Gents are Basses.


On the tricky Ooh, ba ba ba, do do do section. Altos keep your Oohs round.  Sops, Tenors and Basses are permitted to slide at the end of their phrase.


Make ‘without you’ very clear with definite ‘t’ on without and don’t let sound like ‘without chew’


Sops be ready for the high note on ‘what’.  Squeeze those oranges and attack the note singing through ‘what’.


Keep the lines long and lyrical and don’t be tempted to make it a choppy sound like the underlying piano accompaniment.


Live at Knebworth England 1980

Paul McCartney has said he considers this the best song ever written ~ From one musical genius to another, says it all.

Then a well earned break while we got to know everyone as we were all labelled!


Unchained Melody. This is a clever little video. Robson and Jerome meet Brief Encounter with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnston. It follows a passionate extramarital relationship in England shortly before World War II. The protagonist is Laura, a married woman with children, whose conventional life becomes increasingly complicated after a chance meeting at a railway station with a married stranger whom she subsequently falls in love with.

 Another song to attack with the back and squeeze those oranges!


This song needs stamina.  The phrases are long lines across the bars. 

However, ‘touch’ and ‘much’ are very short.


When you get to the harmony on ‘mine’ in ‘…are you still mine’ let it shine through like glorious shaft of light!

This is followed by a gentle, ‘I need your love’ sung by the Sop 1s and the echoes by everyone else underneath should be like a whisper of backing singers.


Attack of the oranges

As the ‘lonely river flows to the sea, to the sea….’ give the music direction on its journey.

Sops, squeeze those oranges and engage the back muscles for those really high notes and attack.

They are just under at the moment, which is not a good sound!


On the last notes, basses can sing falsetto if they choose, which will add another dimension to the sound.


Next week we will look at Mad World and Let the Sunshine – more background information and facts on these songs will follow, so wait in anticipation for the next blog.






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