Vocal exercises are given at all levels.
Musical theatre students can work in either “legit” voice or in belting style (or both!).
- Beginners – the Vaccai (aka: Vaccaj) book graduating to Marchesi and – for the classical singers – 24 Italian Songs and Arias (of COURSE…). Alongside and after a few of the arias, students can start to sing other selections according to their tastes and skill level. Theatre students do not have to do opera work extensively and should start to select material that is of interest to them pretty much immediately. The idea is that we set some goals and work you toward them – the course materials are largely dependent on the individual goals of the singer. That said, it’s been my experience that most beginners have similar goals which often include “expanding my range”, “strengthening my voice”, “singing on key more”, “not straining”, “learning to sing high”, “learning to sing low”, “toughening up my vocal cords”, etc. These goals are mostly taken care of through just learning the basics of singing. For instance, trying to expand the range by singing super high and “toughening up” the vocal cords can damage the voice whereas learning to move with ease and breath well will naturally expand range, help keep you on pitch, and reduce strain significantly within a surprisingly short amount of time in most cases. However, sometimes a beginner has a goal like “sing a song at my own wedding” and we can use that as a focus point for the lessons learning the basics and working on the song.
- Secondary instruction for intermediate classical and musical theatre students includes preparing for auditions, guiding them through constructing a “book”, learning and working on songs for auditions which are chosen by the student according to their taste (and I can help with advising what songs of those might be better for an audition for certain kinds of roles). The student sets these goals and we work together to move them into the next phase of their life – the performer. Estimated homework load for private students is about the same for both classical and musical theatre – 30-45 minutes and up to several hours is OK as long as the voice is working well, healthy, and you are well. The minimum work-load would be about 15 minutes of practice a day (plus vocal exercises) and a fairly quick-moving student would probably practice an hour or more a day – it is up to the student and how fast they wish to meet their goals.
- Advanced work in classical and musical theatre is usually mainly coaching (interpretation) with some emphasis on technique. The student’s specific concerns are addressed head-on and may be set as the “goal”. Advanced students can determine the amount of time they spend on the homework but I recommend at least 60 minutes per day for improvement and up to several hours is also OK. If there is an injury or illness in play, we will set a maximum time for vocal usage that is safe for you.