Jazz singing lessons falls partly under technique and partly under coaching. Ellie offers a vocal jazz program that incudes both plus a lot of supplemental material for “Semester Students”.
The Semester Studies jazz singing lessons program (upto 17 sessions starting January through May and completing before 22 May) is an intense vocal training and jazz styling program. Because each singer comes in with their own starting skills and needs (some singers come in with lots of technique but need to apply it to jazz, some others are great at scatting and styling but need technique, and some others have not yet built technicalskills in singing or in jazz styling), jazz students are given technique according to their needs – even advanced singers – and stylistic techniques accordingly, as well. These kinds of skills incude:
1) Basic Breathing through Advanced Breathing
2) Breath Support (something we all are told we are learning as we train but very often singers end up now really knowing what this means – we’ll get that going!) – beginning through advanced
3) Breath Rationing – how to hold notes out for longer
4) Texture of the voice – how to make something sound sultry versus belty, etc
5) High note techniques
6) How to pronounce words to make it easier to sing
7) Creating the richest sound possible versus creating a more ordinary sound
8) How small adjustments in your posture can change your sound
9) How to control your voice so it doesn’t wobble (this can also hekp with your breath support and holding notes out for longer. Also there is a difference between vibrato and wobble. Vibrato is a good sign, but wobble is not such a good sign)
1) The difference between singing classical and singing jazz (and between other genres you are coming from or used to and jazz)
2) What gives jazz that “jazz” sound as opposed to music that kinda sounds “jazzy” but not really “OMG that’s JAZZ!”
3) Scatting an improvisng (there are a lot of ways to improvise and scatting is just one of them, but it can be intimidating to people when they start with it).
4) The link between scatting syllables and jazz feel and how you can use them to train your jazz feel
5) Bossa nova and Brazillion jazz
6) Phrasing (Phrasing in jazz is really extreme sometimes and makes the difference when you are singing a standard everyne has already heard a million times. Phrasing can help make it your own)
7) How to get up on a bandstand and tell a band (in under 10 seconds) exactly how you want the song played.
8) What kinds of stuff and skills do you need to have to be professional
9) And the ever-popular much, much more!
Semester Studies also includes some free video coursework to build musicianship so you can start toward doing things like figuring songs out on your own, writing sheet music for the songs you want to do, and putting together your professional materials. Once a month, all Semester Studies people have access to our online “Career Days” meetings where we discuss how to promote yourself, marketing, getting gigs, and other business skills. I know business sounds super boring, but if your business is singing, it is slightly LESS boring! 😀
And, of course, in the sessions, we will be working on jazz songs or making non-jazz songs into jazz songs. And we’ll be doing our monthly forays into the city to hear great jazz singers and eventually to sit in with a live jazz band in NYC,
Here’s some general information about jazz singing to give you a feel for my teaching and mentoring program:
Jazz singing is generally, although certainly not always, a bit more “airy” and less “voicey” than, say, muscal theatre or pop belting styles tend to be. Of course pop can be breathy, for sure, it can also be big bodied and and super belty. Although jazz vocal sounds will vary with the artist in question, contemporary jazz tends to favour not quite as belty and hard core a sound. Are you the artist to change that? Maybe – and if you want we can work on that!
So aside from the technique required for such sounds, jazz also features a very stylized delivery. The accents within a measure of jazz are much different from the accents in a bar of any other type of music. I think pretty much period. Many people might know that in a swing feel, you accent the upbeat of a pair of eighth notes (dunno what an eighth note is? Don’t sweat it – we gotcha covered). And many people know you also never clap/snap/WhatHaveYou on 1 & 3 in a bar, but on 2 & 4. In swing feel, there is a micro-swing and macro-swing and co-ordinating the two will result in the start of a true jazz swing feel.
Many jazz vocalist and jazz singing students are really upset that they cannot scat. Scat singing is definitely a part of the legacy of jazz singing, but it is super intimidating for many singers, especially those who may have studied classcial music – good as it is for your technique. The first thing that is intimidating is the syllables of scatting. I have a few baseline syllables that I give people that they can stake out as their hoe turf and come back to when they get freaked out. Thes syllables are given because they accentuate and help to learn the swing feel, in addition to getting a scatting sensibility established. Once you get these syllables down and aren’t freaked out by them, we’ll progres into some exercises that get you immprovising. Scatting is almost a rite of passage with singers who enter jazz. To be honest, many jazz singer scat not at all and still sell records. But I know it’s important to people and – even though scatting is used in very small amounts, peppered throughout the sets of most jazz singers, being able to scat for a section or form of a song is something you can incorporate into your set. Some isteners report getting scat fatigue but I think nobody gets tired of hearing Ella scat, so we all find our aristic place using more or less scatting, as it forms our artistic vision for our jazz singing.
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