Hone Skills From Home: Choral and Instrumental Classes Offered

ProMusica Arizona is offering weekly classes on choral singing techniques beginning Monday, Sept. 7, 7–9pm, and instrumental playing techniques beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8, from 7–9pm. Participants will receive professional instruction from Patti Graetz, artistic director/principal conductor, and Meghan Ruel, concertmaster.

Both the choral and instrumental classes will be offered online via private Facebook groups, and the sessions will be recorded so participants can go back to review them later. The choral class will also be open to in-person participation for a limited number of singers. State-mandated social distancing and other COVID-related precautions will be followed.

In-person classes will be held at Crosswinds Presbyterian Church in North Phoenix. The $45 registration fee covers all class sessions online or in-person.

Online content is new to ProMusica Arizona and other arts organizations this year as they respond to research indicating peoples’ desire to stay connected to arts and culture during the pandemic.

According to Graetz, “With restrictions on gathering for rehearsals and concerts, our members were telling us that they were missing the opportunity to sing and play their instruments. So, in order to take advantage of this unique time in our lives, we decided to offer practical classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings. By offering classes online, we are able to open them up to anyone interested in participating. In fact, we have musicians as far away as Australia who want to join in.”

The six-week choral class will feature instruction on vocal technique focusing on the actual mechanics of breath, body and voice; choral technique for singing pure vowels, matching vowels of other singers, intonation, diction and blend; music note reading and rhythm; and sight-singing and aural skills.

The four-week instrumental class will focus on strings, but the principal techniques will also apply to woodwind instruments. Instruction will begin with a session on scale technique followed by the second session on phrasing, dynamics and vibrato. The third session will teach participants how to prepare orchestra excerpts focusing on rhythm, intonation and articulation in preparation for a masterclass in the final session, which will feature performances and discussion of excerpts.

To register for the choral and instrumental techniques classes, go to pmaz.org or call 623.326.5172. Limited in-person registrations for the choral class will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Online participation will require a Facebook profile. Questions can be directed to Graetz at pgraetz@pmaz.org for the choral class and Ruel at meghan.ruel@gmail.com for the instrumental class.

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