Tag: high mix

Dave at Arena Stage: Vocal Versatility

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Based on the Kevin Kline movie of the same name, this new musical is having its premiere at Arena Stage in Washington, DC this summer! The contemporary musical theatre score has notes of pop, classical, and jazz. The singing in this show ranges from soulful chest voice to pop falsetto and musical theatre high mix to operatic ‘Queen of the Night’ notes in the highly comedic and memorable National Anthem scene. I’m very familiar with Tom Kitt’s shows (I think I’ve seen almost everything he’s written) and could hear his voice throughout Dave.

Things to practice when building your versatility as a vocalist:

  1. Warm-up your whole instrument: top to bottom, head to mix to chest, and going between the different registers. Yodeling on vowels or words and Mary Saunders Barton’s Yahoo calls can be helpful. For men, work on having quick access to your falsetto (without a breath) and then seamlessly switching to a falsetto mix. For women (and men too!), focus on creating chest and mix sound that is light and effortless. I talk about this in my studio all the time; a lot of young singers associate belt with a heavy, strong, pounded out sound and that is the exact opposite of what I actually want.
  2. Find a great art song! Even if you have zero interest in classical music, learning a classical art song can further develop your technique for musical theatre.
  3. Listen! A part of practice in my studio is listening to other performers. This can help with hearing different sounds, understanding specific vocal stylings that are associated with the individual singer, and expanding your repertoire knowledge.
  4. Switch up your song choices. Sing that classical art song and then immediately after sing a soulful pop song and then after that a Disney song. Can you switch between these different genres quickly and easily OR does it take you a few minutes to get into the next style?

Dave is playing at Arena Stage through August 19th. Click here for tickets!

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Blogging at the beach! I saw Dave on Friday evening and immediately left for my vacation in Wildwood, NJ on Saturday morning.
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School of Rock: Rock Your Voice!

On Friday, November 4th, I saw the opening night performance and the youth production regional premiere of School of Rock at West Potomac High School. I had several students in the production that I coached for their auditions, which consisted of singing from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s score. We worked on extending our range into a balanced effortless high mix, eliminating vibrato, releasing notes (without cracking or pulling back or falling off), and switching between registers seamlessly.

Four things I learned from watching this production:
A. The role of Dewey is exhausting. The sheer amount of energy required for this role is astounding.

B. Singing strong and high (in both mix rock and legit) is difficult to master. I knew this one already, but seeing this show definitely reiterated it.

C. Becoming more than a triple threat and being able to also play an instrument is a huge component of this show for multiple characters! Doing this at the high school level is another awesome opportunity to hone skills that will benefit young performers in the professional theatre world.

D. The ensemble in School of Rock is great and there were some memorable moments within the ensemble! Kudos to Director Clark for utilizing the ensemble in interesting and notable ways.

Here is a video examining two short sections of musical theatre rock vocals and how to execute them!