(Published: July 01, 2013)
Join musical adventurer Bobby McFerrin and his team of inspiring teachers for a weeklong workshop in the improvisational singing technique called Circlesongs. Accessible to beginners and challenging for even the most advanced, the program invites singers and instrumentalists to embrace the freedom to play, sing, and invent their own music.
Bobby developed Circlesongs as a solo performer, when he needed other voices to help realize his musical ideas. He gave the audience parts to sing, and found himself spontaneously composing choral pieces. All over the world, he found that group singing not only made beautiful music but cultivated a deep sense of community and joy. He refined this vocal improvisation technique further during years of touring with his group Voicestra.
To create Circlesongs, Bobby layers melodies, harmonies, and rhythms, combining his conducting and improvising skills. He includes all musical imprints: tribal music, Bach, R&B, plainchant, Indian ragas, Balkan folksongs, doo wop, and more. Every song, every voice has a place in the circle.
This experiential workshop cultivates the traditional skills required for ensemble singing-blend, balance, tuning, and sensitivity. Circlesongs builds the fundamentals of musicianship, including harmony, counterpoint, intonation, and deep listening. Invaluable for all singers and musicians, the practice is especially meaningful for teachers and group facilitators.
Bobby will be joined expert improvisers Joey Blake, Judi Donaghy Vinar, Christiane Karam, Rhiannon, and David Worm. Their skills range widely and each brings unique experience, techniques, exercises, and perspective. Each module features a seminar rotation program during which students work with individual faculty in small groups.
The program is organized progressively into three modules. Participants are encouraged to come for the full 7-day program, or take one or more modules individually. Registration is by phone only; call 877.944.2002.
Circlesongs: 7-Day Inclusive
Course 4107-561/Tuition $1,600
Friday 7:00 p.m.-Friday 12:15 p.m.
This 7-day workshop, open to all levels, from beginners to professionals, includes all three modules. Past participants describe this full week course as a life changing journey.
Module I: Entering the Circle
Course 4102-562/Tuition $595
Friday at 7:00 p.m.-Sunday 12:15 p.m.
Enter the circle for an immersion in sound. This 2-day workshop offers an overview of perspectives on vocal music and improvisation. Module I is open to singers of all levels, from beginners to professionals.
August 25-28 Module II
Holding the Circle
Course 4203-563/Tuition $695
Sunday at 7:00 p.m.-Wednesday 12:15 p.m.
Deepen your practice and your skills and prepare to bring the workshop back into your everyday life in this 3-day course in leading Circlesongs. Ideal for a cappella and choral singers, conductors, and anyone interested in community building or spiritual practice. Module II is open to all levels with Module I or previous Circlesong workshop attendance.
August 28-30 Module III
Squaring the Circle
Course 4202-564/Tuition $595
Wednesday 7:00 p.m.-Friday 12:15 p.m.
Using Circlesongs to understand and teach basic musical concepts, this 2-day module is ideal for professional singers, music teachers, students, and anyone looking to develop their musicianship. Games and structured improvisations challenge participants to have some serious fun. Module III is open to all levels with Module I or previous Circlesong workshop attendance