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Breaking the Bias: Challenging Gender Stereotypes in Trad Song

by Jennie Higgins...

Whose Auld Lang Syne is it Anyway

Whilst it is accepted that “Auld Lang Syne” is attributed to Robert Burns and is recognised far and wide, you...

The Treehouse Festival

This week’s guest blogger for our theme of Traditional Skills is Colin Hynson. He helps to organise the Treehouse Festival...

'Hark, Hark’ – A Paradigm of the Sheffield Carol Tradition

Ian Russell...

Street Cries as Musicological Phenomena By Liz Sheppard

Liz holds an MA in Traditional Music of the British Isles from the University of Sheffield. Her dissertation focused on...

Online singing - Covid Sings

Covid sings is an online singaround that currently takes place on the first Tuesday of each month. Hosted by Fay...

Singing through the dark times

Like most people, the current pandemic has tilted the world I have been living in and given an opportunity for...

Teaching folk music online

When the Covid pandemic hit, I think many music teachers were wary of what was coming a few weeks before...

Online Singing – The Soundpost Singing Days

The Soundpost Singing Weekends have become legendary in the folk world as a source of inspiration, knowledge, friendships and confidence...

COVID SINGS 1st June

The latest online Covid Sings session is on Tuesday 1st June 2021 and is live streamed to the Soundpost Facebook...

TST Website - What would you like to see?

We have lots of things planned for the Trad Song Tuesday website including blogs, special features, interviews and more, but...

TST Very Special Guest - KARINE POLWART

We are so excited that Karine Polwart https://twitter.com/IAMKP has agreed to be our very special TradSongTues guest on Tuesday 18th...

Meet the Team

Once Fay had the brilliant idea to echo the @FolkloreThurs group with a weekly Twitter event exploring folk songs she...

May Day

May Day is a day to celebrate. Across the world there are many different celebrations held on this day; pagan...

Singing through the dark times

Like most people, the current pandemic has tilted the world I have been living in and given an opportunity for reassessment of what it means to be a performer of songs.

While I have not sung as much in the last year as I would normally, the recent online Soundpost singing weekend gave me an opportunity to spend a full day in the company of my own voice, and with others of a similar mind.

For me, there are lots of reasons to be involved in music, the main one of which is the enjoyment of all aspects of singing. Whether it is listening to others, learning new songs or sharing these experiences with others it all is part of the community of song. I have, however, a love hate relationship with performing. It does take a lot of confidence to sing unaccompanied to a room full of people, and the toughest part of it is the actual act of standing up (or sitting!) in a crowd and taking that first breath before singing. While I am beginning to realise these butterflies will always be part of performing, the fact that I am singing in my own living room gives me the comfort to relax more as I become more accustomed to the media.

Likewise, the act of singing is important to help define ourselves and our identities. I think this can still be achieved online especially as I can detach other considerations from my performance in an online setting (such as confidence, appearance, stage presence, etc.). While this detachment can be of benefit, it also can produce negative consequences also, such as a lack of confidence when I do eventually return to singing in front of others. I should hope that this will disappear after the first song back, and the natural rhythm returns.

The ability to join from anywhere in the world has also been an amazing benefit of the technology. For many of the workshops and singing sessions I have attended over the last year or so, I would have not been physically able to make it. This not only allowed me to perform, but also hear new songs that I may not have been aware of without the technology. One of the downsides of the technology is the obvious dependence on having good technology and connection. On one occasion I had to log in multiple times to listen in to a session, while sometimes there can be a ‘cut’ in the feed resulting in a few lost lines of a song. This can be critical when dealing with folk song where there is a story being told. I might never find out if they all lived happily ever after (this generally does not happen in folk music - but we can live in hope!).

Another benefit of in person singing is the feedback from an audience – while there is a certain element of this online it doesn’t replace the immediate reaction of a crowd to a song. I have also found I get a little lazy and will keep a copy of the words to a song to hand when I perform online, which is a habit I would like to get out of. Another point that was well made at the SoundPost singing weekend was the loss of the ability to join in a sing song with someone or to even harmonise another singer. One of the greatest feelings in the world is when a singer is joined in by the crowd to amplify the voices within the group. How it will be amazing to have that feeling again!

Lastly, I have found the organiser of such events to have a good handle on the technology. The current pandemic has created opportunities for those prepared and has allowed others to develop skills to meet the need for a shared experience such as singing. I would also be one of those that likes some notice before singing a song. I know there are some who prefer to sing 'off the hoof' as it were, but I have generally found that online singing groups give the notice to people to prepare themselves. Which type would you prefer? Do you like to have some notice before being asked to sing?

I have looked at my own thoughts on the subject, but are there any positives or negatives that you have found? Will there be a long term use for online singing gatherings? Or have you started singing during the pandemic and how have you found it?

Eugene