Vocal Workshop – Asheville
March 18 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
I’m delighted to be offering this vocal workshop in Asheville. We’ll work from 1:00-3:30.
This afternoon workshop location is tbd, but a discount is offered for those who attend the workshop and the house concert that will follow Sunday evening.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations and location of the workshop.
Singing The Blues:
Blues Techniques for Non-Blues Singers
This workshop outlines specific phrasing and expressive techniques used by Blues singers and then drops them into a song you already sing.
The virtuosity and vocal power of iconic black singers is undeniable.
From Bessie Smith to Aretha Franklin, from Son House to Otis Redding, black singers have consistently delivered powerful, emotional performances. In performances of Spirituals, Gospel, Blues, Jazz, R & B, Soul music audiences seem to be literally drawn into the songs. Listeners become incapable of being passive music consumers. They respond emotionally, and sometimes bodily.
In addition to whatever raw talent they bring to the table, black singers are culturally encouraged and trained to use the phrasing and expressive techniques customarily used in speech when they sing.
“This is not ‘talent,’ but technique. And it can be learned.”
This singing workshop will begin by lining out familiar techniques we commonly use for communicating emotion in speech. That done, we’ll look for places to use them in songs. Simple.
But, there is some alchemy to this. To do it effectively, we need both singer and audience.
“The voice is the most personal and tender instrument we have. I will be coaching each singer and I will be personally responsible for the private, emotional comfort of each singer.”
In the spirit of play, we will rotate through singers one at a time. Participants will have the opportunity to sing a verse or two, and then at my suggestion, to try out small, specific changes in the delivery of a particular line. With the rest of the class as an audience, we will all get to feel how those small changes affect the emotional power of the song.
“We will all be free to respond as listeners to the impact of the song and to note the effect of slight changes in its delivery.
“As singers and listeners, we will strive to extend our willingness to play and experiment with phrasing, diction, and the raw materials of singing.”
Over the course of the workshop, both the singer and audience will develop an appreciation for the emotive power of specific techniques, as small changes in phrasing/delivery affect how we hear the song.
I have done this work with beginners, amateurs, and professional singers on both sides of the color line. The work we do together is impactful and durable. It continues to inspire new ways of thinking about singing and a song, and about what it is we are doing when we present a song to an audience.
Response to a prospective student:
“Thanks for your interest in the class. It is beyond fun and asks not for newer, more difficult singing chops, but new thinking about how language is received and how phrasing, volume, consonants, and the like trigger our emotions. I love teaching it.
“And I don’t think I have ever listened more deeply.
“I have been advising individual singers for years, coaching choirs in educational settings, and the like. It has been good to finally distill, codify, and explore offering this work more widely.”