HSC Singersí Workshops


with Di Solomon


Workshop One

Term one ~ Week 6

(mid March ~ about 26 weeks to go)


Students to have a song prepared to perform in workshop one. They will need to organise their own backing track or bring music for me to play; they may contact me and discuss this prior to the lesson if necessary.  This gives me a good indication of where they are at, in terms of ability, performance skills, confidence, style of musicianship,


Students also bring a selection of songs (about five songs is appropriate, on CD is easiest) they are considering for HSC performance.  We will discuss and start to trial these songs.  We discuss the syllabus for their course and look at the marking criterion in terms of song selection.


We look at the studentís vocal range and style of music they prefer, and discuss how they will fit into the categories in the syllabus.


We do voice warm-ups and discuss various methods benefits.  I provide students with a workbook and vocal exercises CD.


We begin to discuss accompaniment options.


Workshop Two

Term two ~ Week two

( early May ~ about 15 weeks to go)


Students bring their short-list selection of songs they are considering for their HSC performance.  We will discuss and continue to trial these songs.  We make a semi-final repertoire plan, to be finalised at the next workshop.


We plan an HSC performance preparation schedule for the student, including an appropriate vocal exercises regime and plan rehearsals with accompanists.  Whatever the backing will be, we organise a practice tape that is as close as possible to what the HSC backing will be.


The student performs all the songs, and we discuss each songís merits, concerning~


*The best key

*The accompaniment options

*The appropriateness for the singerís current ability/range/style

*How they fit with the syllabus

*How they fit with the marking criterion


Workshop Three

Term two ~ Week eight

(Mid June ~ about 12 weeks to go)


Rehearsal on stage with full production ~ using the actual HSC accompanist/s if possible.  A rehearsal tape may be used if time or costs prohibit musicians being used at this stage. This performance is video taped for the student and teachers to evaluate.


This is a tech run for the student.  The student learns to configure the sound system correctly for their performance eg using the CD player, setting up other instruments and singers etc.  We trial different microphone settings, and discuss mic techniques and getting the best from amplification for that studentís performance. The student and I listen to the performance from the markers table position.


We finalise song selection at this point.  This is the chance to eliminate from the short-list and select the best songs for the Trials and the HSC.


Workshop Four

Term three ~ Week four

(First week of August  ~ about 5 weeks to go)


Rehearsal on stage with full production ~ with the full band, as per exam conditions.


Two markers, using actual HSC marking sheets

Two music industry markers, (one is me!) giving a professional assessment

No-one else allowed in the room

Student to control sound system and all tech equipment as per HSC

20 minute time allocation for each student (for the performance)

10 minutes time allocation for discussion with markers

A written assessment will be given


Trial Trial

(Second week of August  ~ about 4 weeks to go)


An evening performance with full production for families and friends.  All students to do their FULL programme with full production.


HSC Trial

(Third week of August  ~ about 3 weeks to go)



(early September ~ OK.. this is it!!)


General Information


Although I call the "workshops" they are private sessions with me and maybe a colleague. I feel that putting students in front of their peers to perform and critique is no fun and not helpful- too many agendas! They are really in competition with each other and aren't experienced in giving thoughtful helpful advice or a useful critique. At times I have a colleague look at the performance and give their unbiased opinion.


The dates for and spacing between workshops is open to discussion by teaching staff as it fits with classroom preparation, performances and movement through the syllabus.


The cost is the same as 7 private 30 minute lessons with me plus the cost of the book and CD. Other costs may be CDs we make and paying accompanists to attend rehearsals and performances.


If need be, I advise and help organise~


* Obtaining and or editing backing tracks

* Selecting and directing backing musicians and background vocalists.

* Obtaining correct lyrics and chord progressions for accompaniment

* Song selection (I make suggestions when students get stuck for ideas)

* Obtaining original recordings of songs

* Playing piano or guitar and sing harmony vocals for performance

* Anything else I can do!!