As I am now based in Zimbabwe, if anyone is interested in sending me an mp3 clip to listen to and analyse any vocal problems, or confirmation of your voice category, please email me at email@example.com. There will be a fee for this analysis - details of which will be given upon contact.
My two Categories of training:
(a) “Pop/Musical (and what I call “Spot-Weld” or “Quick Fix”) and (b) Strictly Classical
(a) “Light” - for singers who are already performing in the pop idiom and who dont want the nitty gritty of building up a voice whereby it begins to sound "trained", but want to stay “natural” yet improved, there are lots of exercises you can do and vocal tips to help you sing without strain. Since lessons are on a one-to-one we can discuss what you are looking for, what your vocal problems are, and take it from there.
(b) Strictly Classical - (Baroque, Opera, Operetta, Lieder, Art Songs)
- When you make an appointment with me I will ask questions about your musical background and what you hope to get out of lessons, (i.e. what are your goals?)
- I'll take you through a short test to ascertain where you are at as far as your pitch and musical awareness is concerned.
- I will ask you to sing a song to see what your voice is like and hear your style of singing and sense of interpretation
- We will go through some scales to see if there are any problem areas in your voice as well as to establish your range and voice category, if you are in the early stages of training.
- If you are a beginner, I will cover the basics of vocal structure and breathing techniques. This will mean vocalising on your part, to help illustrate how tone is created by understanding the vocal structure.
- We can discuss what repertoire to work on but I insist on scales, scales, scales! Work books I like to work with are Vaccai (Italian and German) and Marchesi's Vocal Method. After training with me, depending on your practise and committment , in six to eight months you should be able to understand how to sing the following:
- Sustained notes
- Chromatic Slur
- Diatonic Slur
- Exercises on 3,4,6,8 notes of various combinations to train for flexibility and accuracy of pitch
- Minor scales
- Repeated notes
- Messa di Voce (swelled tones)
- Vocal ornaments (mordents, trills, acciacaturas, appogiaturas etc)
- Vocalises incorporating all of the above
However, to sing these scales with ease and freedom takes many years of persistance. There is no shortcut to beautiful singing. It takes dedication and effort. To free the voice you have to respect it and its mechanism and that means you do not abuse it by singing songs you are not ready for, or songs which are out of your vocal category. Its far better to sing less songs beautifully then to sing many songs which are in danger of showing vocal insecurities.
I dont like to give student songs until they can do some of these basic scales. Depending on the style you wish to focus on I hope that you will study art songs in Italian and German, (French songs - great, but its not a language I can teach you to sing in so if you know French you will have a distinct advantage over me!)
Performing: I'm not keen on beginners performing until they have some vocal security. I enjoy preparing students for exams or eisteddfods. Once you have learned 6 songs in different styles and can sing them with some technical freedom, you could be ready to perform them and I will be organising concerts from time to time.
Obviously there can be a cross-over of styles here where the pop singer wants to attempt ballads and visa versa. If your voice is flexible and you "have it upstairs" there is no reason why you should not have a wide variety of styles of songs.