LESSONS AND COACHING
I'm sometimes asked about the differences between "teaching voice" and "vocal coaching." In a voice "lesson," a portion of the lesson time is dedicated to improving vocal technique and improving and maintaining overall vocal health. Time is then devoted to the application of that work to the song material (actual song work). Within the latter framework of time, primacy is also given to song presentation and interpretation.
A vocal "coaching" is a type of session where the majority of the time is spent giving attention to the interpretation and "playing" of the material for presentation purposes (auditions, for example). Time in a coaching is spent learning new songs, finding the inner-life and outer-life (physical body elements) of the song(s), and addressing strategies for audition success. Time may also be devoted to the technical elements of singing the song.
If you aren't sure what kind of session you need, use the following guidelines:
Voice LESSON: Emphasis is placed on the technical elements of singing. Generally 1/2 hour is devoted to vocal exercises for vocal growth and stamina and the remaining time devoted to song work. This type of session is highly recommended for those who have not studied technical singing in the past or who have had limited technical singing experience (3-5 years of training).
Vocal COACHING: This type of session is a vocal and performance and/or audition "coaching." Emphasis is given to song selection for you as an individual and unique performer and overall performance and interpretation of song material (for example what the notes are, how to phrase, how to "act" the song, how to mark the music, what to say to the accompanist, what to do with the body when singing, etc.)
I'm also often asked about my philosophies and "methods" regarding teaching the craft of theatre singing overall and in contrast with the "beauty" of the "classical" aesthetic. My feeling is that the extent to which the "product" (the vocal performance) should be about "beautiful" or even "powerful" will vary from character to character, dramatic situation, show to show, and even composer to composer but the extent to which your "product" should be about communicating a story, the "want" (which is not to suggest that it at times is free of technical facility) should unfailingly never be compromised. In other words, while technique is never an aspect of singing and performance that is neglected I give (at least) equal weight to the story being told through the vehicle of song.
With regard to my "approach" and "method" of teaching voice, I subscribe to the idea that effective teaching principles in the area of vocal pedagogy appear to be a blend and balance of (in no particular order) the "science" of singing, philosophy, and opinions about the aesthetics of singing and performance coupled with applicable exercises in order to acquire the "know-how" to produce said aesthetics, as well as historical accuracies and contexts.
In short, every individual is different and individual needs vary. Whatever your situation, level of technical skill, or know-how we can tailor a studio strategy to make the most of your experience here.
- Guiding the performer from "page to stage" with fluidity and expedience
- A thorough understanding of casting directors and creative personnel expectations of what you need to show them (and with which material) in order for you to be placed in the "YES" pile, and the habits of actors that often make them silently wince
- Practical advice about marketing yourself, finding an agent, auditions, and career strategy
My Methods and Areas of Specialization as a Voice Teacher:
- Breath support, air management, endurance of breath
- Providing a succinct understanding of the rib cage, tongue, jaw, spine, head, torso, larynx, pharynx, and muscle groups of the abdomen and upper body as they apply to healthy and liberated singing
- Providing understanding and application of resonance to sound (high, frontal mask, the heavier chest, torso)
- Understanding, nurturing, strengthening, and expanding of the "Belt" or "Chest" voice Overall expansion of range and creating optimum clarity of pitch
- Overall flexibility, durability, and command of the Voice
- Finding and developing your "Core" voice
- The "Bleding" of the "Chest" and the "Head" registers
- The understanding of each vocal register and the potential and possible limitations of each
- Fostering an understanding of the Passagio
- Liberating vocal fatigue and stress
- Teaching and understanding the traits and styling of singing "Contemporary" musical theatre and the application of these to your instrument while doing so in a natural and healthy manner
- Developing a personalized regimen for singers that addresses and corrects undesirable and/or unhealthy vocal habits (which come in many forms)
- Developing a personalized regimen for the singer that expands range and helps to "focus" the sound properly for maximum control and elasticity
My Areas of Specialization as a Vocal Coach and Benefits of Coaching
- Finding new material of diverse styles and tailoring that material to you individually Investing new presentational and technical perspectives into your current material
- The comprehensive understanding of "Song is Scene" Guiding the performer out of the "Neutral" state and the relationship of body movement and song
- Fostering the "inner life" of the song as it relates to text and voice
- Finding logical and fluid cuts of songs and placing them in the proper keys (and marking it for the pianist correctly)