The pop singing student must surely be confused!
Stand a certain way, breathe a certain way, practise this, that and the other exercise. However, freely available videos on the net, show countless successful pop singers doing nothing of the sort, so what’s going on?
A Participatory Masterclass
to be held at your university, college, school, venue. Aimed at pop singers and also musical theatre and classical singers who wish to develop pop styles.
Drawing on 28 years at The BRIT School and experience writing and teaching degree and BTEC qualifications across London’s top, pop educational institutions - along with extensive and continuing performing experience, This masterclass aims to bring clarity and understanding regarding pop singing techniques, in a practical and experiential way - by ‘pop’ I mean pop, r’n'b, soul, jazz, rock, gospel and most non-specialised popular genres.
Pop singing styles are diverse, individual and unregulated, so It’s plain that no one method, model or school of singing technique can accommodate all, but does this mean that we should reject ‘historical’ techniques entirely? Replacing them with what? I hope to work with your students to share my understanding of why certain techniques might be useful and others not. When they have this knowledge, they can decide which exercises and techniques work for them. It seems to me a technique or exercise, needs to be useful to the singer and their style or... it's baggage!
The masterclass is practical and interactive - not merely demonstrative. It involves the students and they are encouraged to try out, and question techniques in order to verify for themselves.
Groups of moderate size can be accommodated and all will be involved in trying some of the techniques. Out of that group, a small number will have been pre-selected for individual attention and later, performance.
What We Will Cover
How does pop singing differ from classical, opera and musical
A look at some famous pop singers and see if we can figure out what they're doing
Can we learn by copying these singers and will any ‘exercises’ help us – copying is a most powerful tool but needs to be exploited with understanding!
Are any traditional exercises of any use and if so which and why?
Breathing! What’s the truth of it?
Working with the intelligence that is your body
The Holy Grail of Highs! Everybody wants to sing high, let’s explore.
The elusive blend/mix voice, so popular in pop.
Ad-libs, riffing & running, improvisation and scat.
Microphone technique, essential for pop singers - make the mic work for you no against you.
Finally, it’s about making music, so let’s make some with the selected singers
Questions and (hopefully) answers. I don’t know everything and I can be wrong but ...
I have an increasing number of videos in my YouTube playlists, detailing breathing and alignment, general technique, specialist techniques, microphones and microphone technique etc. that are freely available, so practice and understanding can continue long after the masterclass.
Singing Teacher at The BRIT School since it opened in ‘91
Devised The Sing Thing 1 exercise CD with pop beats
Devised The Sing Thing 2 exercise CD with jazzier beats
Professor of Jazz Voice, Trinity College of Music - 5 years
Co-wrote Popular Music Vocals Singing Grades for LCM
Vocal coach on BBC TV’s The Voice, Series 1 Tour
Singing Teacher at ELAM (East London Arts & Music)
I envisage a two and one half hour masterclass (with a half hour break to liaise with the selected three singers).