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Read regularly about how we do things here at KTB Music.

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By KTB Music, Jun 6 2017 10:54AM

Recently, KTB Music was thrilled to have Chloe Curtis from Tarleton Academy for a week of work experience.

During her week Chloe took part in each working department at KTB Music, enabling her to have a real insight into how a music school and services work. Within her first hour she was thrown into the administration part of KTB Music, which including making orders and giving payment on the phone, photocopying, writing music out using Sibelius, and keeping record of singing lessons. She also helped us prepare for our weekly Youth Choir, Chamber Choir and Community Choir rehearsals, as well as taking part in all three sessions throughout the Monday evening. This included quite a lot of sight reading, as Chloe knew most of the songs, just not the harmony part! And that was just her first day.

On Tuesday Chloe observed piano, saxophone and guitar lessons before helping one of our teachers, Sam French load the van and set up for the KTB Concert Band rehearsal. Wednesday saw Chloe in the library working alongside our Library Administrator Alison Waring, collating and storing choir music before filing solo sheet music in alphabetical order. Wednesday evening took Chloe and Katy Bradley into Wigan, where Katy was playing in the band for Wigan Amateur Dramatics Society's production of My Fair Lady. Chloe was able to sit next to the musical director, giving her the best seat in the house!

On Thursday, our singing teacher Katy Bradley was able to give Chloe a singing lesson of her own, before observing different types of singing lessons, and learning about different styles of singing. In the evening, we introduced Chloe to the KTB Music clan during a concert, given by pupils of KTB Music. There were performances from students of all ages and abilities, including two solos sung by Chloe, before finishing with a duet between Chloe and Rachel Cooper, one of our other administration staff members, and a final piece performed by staff members.

Rachel and Chloe performing at the pupils concert.
Rachel and Chloe performing at the pupils concert.

Friday was a well-earned day off, before a day of administration and concert planning before a final evaluation session on the Saturday afternoon.

Chloe was always punctual, well presented and polite, giving our clients a great impression of KTB Music. We are pleased to say we have now taken Chloe on as our new Assistant Library Administrator where she will be fulfilling mostly Librarian duties, as well as plenty of other jobs! We have had a wonderful week with Chloe, and have enjoyed showing her every inch of KTB Music, and enjoyed her learning even more. She seemed hungrier for something new with each new day.

Chloe pictured with Katy and Sam
Chloe pictured with Katy and Sam

By KTB Music, Jan 24 2017 10:47AM

Do you know whereabouts in your body your voice is?

Do you know what your voice looks like?

If you gently lay your hand across the front of your neck below your chin, you are touching your larynx, which is home to your voice. Now, as you sing a low note and slowly slide upwards, you should feel movement and vibration underneath your hand. This movement is caused by your larynx which is tilting upwards as you sing higher. Inside your larynx are your vocal folds, suspended across your trachea and as you breathe out they can vibrate together to create a buzz. There’s a great way to see this for yourself by blowing a balloon up and pulling the opening tight while the air comes out to make it squeal. This is a very similar buzz to the one your vocal folds are making.

This buzz then resonates in two directions: down your trachea and upwards into what is known as your vocal tract. This is made up of your throat, mouth and nasal cavities. It is these things combined that make your voice unique and it is this that you must remember. Your voice is completely unique to your body – and everyone’s body is a different shape and size. So when anyone asks you who you sound like, your answer is you! As soon as you try and change your voice to sound like someone else, you may be tensing something which can often lead to habitual tension which in turn, further down the line, may lead to vocal problems. Imitation every now and again is absolutely fine, but not all the time.

By KTB Music, Sep 19 2016 01:12PM

The LVM choir is proving to be very popular. And for good reason. The concert on Friday evening at Hutton village hall was well attended, in a friendly, informal atmosphere. Apart from the cost of hiring the hall, all money taken was donated to a charity close to many people’s heart – namely Parkinson’s UK.

I can tell that these ladies enjoy singing – it reflects in the pleasant sound they produce, and the easy style in which they perform to the audience.

In a varied programme of songs, there was something to suit everyone. Modern(ish) in ‘One’ and ‘New’. Well known, like Danny Boy. Foot-tapping stuff from the musicals ‘Forty Second Street’, and ‘Hairspray’.

The three soloists modestly shied away from praise. But praise is given where it is due, and they were all hauntingly good! I can still hear ‘going up a yonder’ ringing in my head, it was beautifully performed by the whole choir.

I think my personal favourite of the evening was ‘Beyond the Sea’, a confident delightful arrangement delivered with a swing. But then, I could make the same comment regarding ‘Up on the Roof’ – Oh, and also the encore – ‘Splish Splash’.

Sigh! Can’t wait till the next annual concert – I wonder what they’ll be performing then?

This choir was formed when a group of ladies approached KTB Music and said they enjoyed singing, but didn’t want to perform or anything like that, they just wanted to sing together, maybe learn some two-part harmonies. I’m so glad that they decided to go public.

By KTB Music, Sep 16 2016 12:09PM

Wow, what a night. Upon entering Turpin Green Methodist Church Hall, we immediately felt we had stepped into middle-age England. Leyland Methodist Music & Drama group had thrown themselves head over heels into plague infected times, even the raffle tickets were themed (personally, I was rooting to win the box of Spam on the raffle). Everything, all evening was just brilliant.

Spam (tin of)
Spam (tin of)

It was very hot inside the hall, but no one seemed to mind because almost every line onstage drew laughter from the audience. Spamalot is outrageous and it was the confident and enthusiastic delivery of the cast that enabled the audience to relax in such a hot atmosphere.

Individual cast members and characters can’t be named, purely because everyone and everything was so fantastic. Harmonies and melodies were negotiated skilfully all round. The staging was perfect: two turrets on each side of the stage enabled easy access for surprising entries from the actors, and later the stage manager. The scenery was changed in such a slick, professional manner, you had to keep blinking to remind yourself you weren’t in a west end theatre. The cast moved from scene to scene with grace, and there was barely a moment for the audience to catch their breath.

To say my face is aching this morning from the laughter is an understatement – I had tears in my eyes from laughing when the final singalong of ‘Always Look On The Bright Side’ commenced. And sadly, tears remained and grew when the notice that the show was dedicated to John Sangster was displayed at the end.

Well done, Leyland Methodist Music & Drama Group. And thank you. Thank you for an evening of fun, laughter and singing.

By KTB Music, Sep 9 2016 01:01PM

The afternoon began with a short but pleasant duet from Olivia Cooper and Katy Bradley, both playing flute. This first duet was a dance called Menuett, (German for Minuet) written by Haydn-Barge, and was a popular French rustic dance adapted by the courts in the 17th Century. The dance itself is characteristically made up of small, dainty steps which is where it gained the name Menuett.

This was followed by Katy Bradley playing the four movements of Bach’s Partita in A minor which has become a popular piece in modern performance repertoire. Each movement represents a different style. The Allemande represents the German style, (the Allemande is a German dance by name) and the Corrente represents the Italian style. The Sarabande reveals a French style whereas the Bourrée Angloise gestures towards the English style.

Next it was Olivia Cooper’s turn, but this time she took to the piano where she moved ably through the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata in G (Op. 14 No. 2). Published in Vienna in 1799, the Sonata in G is dedicated to Baroness Josephine von Braun who was a fine pianist and music lover at a time when Beethoven was in great demand as both pianist and teacher. The mood of this piano sonata is upbeat and light-hearted; it has been described as “a glorious little comedy”.

Katy Bradley then played Comical Flute, one of Alan Bullard’s solo study pieces for flute. Bullard’s writing takes influence from an array of places: the complex harmonies and rhythms of jazz, the repeated figurations of minimalism, the shapely melodies of popular and folk-music: all of these have contributed to a musical style which is a unique blend of harmonic richness, rhythmic drive, imagination and sensitivity.

Following this was a stunning twist in the programme, in the form of the music from the film Titanic. Olivia Cooper performed Rose’s Theme beautifully, which is written for Kate Winslet’s character, Rose, whose fiery character is represented in the rousing shift to the minor key. This theme is also sung by Celine Dion in the main theme tune from the film Titanic, My Heart Will Go On.

Next there were two lighter pieces, again performed by Olivia Cooper on the flute and accompanied by Katy Bradley on the piano. The first, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, is a jazz standard that has been covered by many of the 20th and 21st Centuries top musicians and vocalists. It has been featured in many films over the years, but was originally written for the 1933 Broadway show, Roberta. The second, Keep Young And Beautiful, was a bouncy response to the sultry tones of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. Keep Young and Beautiful was one of Winston Churchill’s favourite songs; its cheeky pulse and dotted rhythms can pick you up on the bluest of days.

The recital was rounded off by a lively performance of the first duet from Johann Quantz’s Six Duets For Two Flutes. Taken from his Opus 2, Six Duets For Two Flutes is just one of the hundreds of compositions in Quantz’s catalogue. He was one of the first professional flautists in 18th Century Europe, and was also a prolific flute maker.

Overall, a grand afternoon was had by all, and the two performers succeeded in creating a lively, bouncy atmosphere or a mellow, thoughtful ambiance for our audience.

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