Singing/Vocal Workshop

FIRST WORKSHOP–Saturday 10 April from 9-11a.m.
in the Great Room.
To register, see the obnoxious green box at the bottom.

I’d like to start a free occasional singing workshop for members of Homeschool Glee Club, Skits Workshop, and Freedom Choir. I don’t know how often it might meet, but it seems smart to start with one session, and then just go from there. Perhaps it turns into a once-a-month thing. Or eventually, maybe it gets enough participation that it runs weekly, and people just come when they can. I do, however, see some distinction to be made at some point, regarding what level a singer is starting at—as I would definitely approach a class of novice singers differently from one for those who’ve been singing for a while.

Anyway, we’ll figure that out. But the first session, I’d like to schedule for Saturday, 10 April 2021 from 9-11 a.m at the Great Room.

It’s a workshop, where everybody participates in various exercises, including that you’ll have to sing some song for the class so that I can coach you—and everybody else. For example, the hard line that you’re not able to sing smoothly, we may have the whole class try so that it’s a practical experience for everybody. Each singer may spend as much as 5 minutes up front. For some, this is a deal breaker, as they’d find this terrifying. The alternatives, however, seem to be these:

  1. Just don’t ever learn to sing well. Or,
  2. Pay $45 an hour for private voice lessons. Or,
  3. Gradually figure out on your own over the next few years what a good teacher could teach you over the next few weeks.

I’ve run such sessions before, and find that they’re very effective and successful for most students (not all, mind you, but most)—-but that the public in general will NOT sign up for such a class unless they already know a bunch of the others in the class. (Such as that they’re all members of the same church, wanting to improve their singing with a view toward being involved in the music ministry.) Well, that’s a bit more what this one’s about; it’s for people who are already in Glee Club or Freedom Choir (though you could bring other friends if you wanted)–so a lot of you know each other and are already singing together.

Yes, it’s scarier to be the one up front, but let me remind you of the third verse to my song, I’m Gonna Be All Right:

I hate to feel embarrassed;
I don’t like that ugly feeling;
But it’s gone in a minute
And I’m gonna be all right!

Interestingly, it’s that emotional aspect—the inner psychological battle—that seems to be the number one obstacle that most voice students face. If they can’t overcome it at least or private lessons with a vocal coach, there’s very little chance of them ever learning the skills. And besides that, how in the world are you going to perform for an audience when you can’t perform for a sympathetic coach or classmates?

And on that note, let me tell you what I’ve witnessed historically with this class. The first two sessions, everybody is scared to death. After that, lots of bonding happens as people share the nervous experience together, and by the end of a (10-week) semester, most are able to get up and sing in front of the class without the emotions ever being much of an issue. They might report feeling nervous–and have the jitters in the abdominal muscles—but they can get through it just fine, and are grateful that they decided to go through with it.

Now, to be perfectly clear, I’m not suggesting that we start a weekly class for 10 weeks, but just a “try it once and see” event.

We’ll work on things like these:

  • Breathing exercises.
  • Vowels
  • Breathing exercises.
  • How to sing big leaps, such as “A—mer-i-ca, A—mer-i-ca, God shed his grace….”
  • How to add more notes to the top of your range.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • How to have a consistent tone throughout your vocal range.
  • How to sing with a rich tone, as opposed to a whispery tone.
  • How to avoid muscle tension in the voice.
  • Ping/Snarl/Mask
  • Singing in different styles.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Word painting
  • Word stress
  • Word Emphasis
  • Melodic line
  • Sing & See software—for analysis of pitch and resonance
  • Breathing exercises.
  • How to sing out loud.
  • And if there’s any time left, we’ll work on breathing.

I trust you perceive the pattern here. The breathing is so important that once I had (finally) grasped it with my own best teacher, I knew I could perform my repertoire well if only I could manage to breathe in performance as well as I had learned to do in her studio. So I said to her right before I went out for a mini-recital: “Well, let me go out here and breathe for these people!” And I did!

To register your interest in this, or any future session, join the Remind.com class (under We, Montana! Homeschool Group): @singingwor

And please be a pal and write me back a one-liner in the Remind thread that alerted you to come check out this page. And by the way, when you reply with emojis at Remind, I’ll never see them—but if you will use your words, then I get them every time. Thank you very much!