APPLIED INSTRUCTION – VOICE
The Sleek Music School
INSTRUCTORS: Helma Maina
Asst. Instructors: Paccy Bwoy
In this class (and beyond), students will develop their:
1. Vocal Technique: The focus will be on consistently producing a free and resonant tone coordinated with deep full breaths, legato phrasing and clear enunciation.
2. Musicianship: Students will be able to identify specific artistic and technical goals and efficiently address these in their practicing. Students will especially polish their critical listening skills, self-discipline, and ability to concentrate.
3. Artistry: Through a flexible creative process and thoughtful study of their scores, students will arrive at an interpretation that has integrity and vibrancy.
4. Confidence in Performance: Students will apply their discoveries and gain onstage poise through singing in Masterclasses, Studio Recitals and for a Jury or Final Lesson Performance. Students will choose between performing in front of a live audience or produce 6 videos displaying their performance at a live audience platform.
. Android phone and ear phones. Accessibility to You tube for music lessons online.
. Pencil, rubber manuscript book, exercise book, and required text books.
. Digital voice recorder (available at any digital shop in Nairobi)
. Compact mirror for practice
Please have these available at each lesson and for practicing.
Before scheduling your lesson time at the beginning of the quarter, make arrangements with an accompanist who is available to attend in that time slot beginning of class. You are welcome to bring your pianist earlier; in fact, I encourage you to set up weekly rehearsal times as soon as possible. One of the best things about being a singer is getting to collaborate with pianists or any other instrumentalist you trust. It is a critical part of the interpretive rehearsal process and a privilege. The longer you have together, the more connected and natural your performances will be. It is obvious at juries when this collaboration has been thrown together just before the performance. Therefore giving this aspect of your preparation the serious attention it deserves will substantially affect your grade.
• Check with me to see whether a student pianist from the Accompanying Studio will be coming to your weekly lessons. You will get to go to their accompanying lesson in return and also sing for the accompanying masterclass. Please talk to this person about setting up another half hour rehearsal time each week and coming to your masterclass when you will be singing.
• If you have not been assigned a student pianist for your sessions, you will need to arrange to work with one of the excellent staff accompanists by filling out a request form or call the instructor to see availability.
• If you would prefer to have more time with an experienced accompanist and are prepared to pay for their time, please talk to me and I can refer you to some terrific people.
ASSIGNMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS
My overarching goal for lessons is to strike a balance between encouraging you to excel by setting high expectations and creating a positive environment in the class where you feel free to be creative and let your voice out.
Since our classes run only once a week, we shall have other lessons online and In case we are involved in the production programmes then much more will be expected of us. Each student is required to perform or participate in anyway advised so that we get familiar with production.
I will expect you to treat your lessons as performances. I would like you to develop your ability to critically listen to and evaluate what you are doing vocally (you are the only one who can control that, after all) and so I will ask you to record each lesson and take notes in your practice journal. Hearing yourself from this perspective can give you alot of important insight.
Bringing Scores to Lessons. (Classical/Opera singers)
1. Translate first. Write the English equivalent word-for-word on the score, including any expressive markings or unfamiliar music symbols.
2. Then obtain copies for me and for your accompanist of this translated version. This will enable all of us to discuss the text and musical setting on the same level. (3 translated copies total.)
3. All the copies must be double-sided and three-hole punched, including yours.
4. Keep your copy in the repertoire section of your binder.
Untranslated copies, single-sided copies, or those which are illegible or missing any part of the score, will be returned to you. Lessons are for addressing technical and interpretive issues. You are expected to learn on your own all pitches, rhythms, entrances, rests etc. and be comfortable enough with the score to concentrate on what
your voice is doing by the time you bring it to me. We will not dedicate any part of your lesson to learning notes; if songs are unprepared, I will ask you to spend that time in the practice room or we will work on something else.
CONTEMPORARY MUSIC SINGERS
Weekly assignments must be handed in on time
Find a place to perform your music (karaoke gigs or Live music performances)
You are welcome to invite instructor to supervise performances. This will score you more marks. Every performance will earn you marks, if done within class or outside class.
You must have at least two hours daily spared to practice your pieces. Do not come to class to practice. Master your words ahead of class.
Be proactive. Find a band that can play for you or if you are an instrumentalist, use this skill.
Since I only see you one day out of seven, you might say that practicing is the most important part of this class. You need to develop your practice process and strategies just as much as you do technical and interpretive facility with your voice. I will therefore ask you to include a couple of sections in your binder designed to help us communicate
about these skills:
I will expect you to use the exercises that we use in lessons to warm yourself up before practicing, ideally each morning, before class or choir session. I have written down some of the standard ones in the “Technique Book” document, but have left space for more, as well as notes about purpose and range guidelines. I will sometimes ask you to demonstrate the way you are using these during your lessons so that we can talk them over. (I will give you this document at your first lesson.)
You will find a lot of ideas in the “Practice Journal” instructions for this class. Your section of the journal should include a list of goals from your lesson, as well as notes on strategies, repertoire, performances, or questions for me.
Each week should also include a section for a brief Listening Journal, which is now a voice department-wide requirement. See the “Singers Listening List” on the studio webpage for ideas, and take advantage of technologys such as NAXOS and YouTube. It is so important to do this in order to develop your tonal concept and ability to distinguish vocal qualities. (This document will also be given to you at the first lesson)
I cannot stress strongly enough that you must be consistent, whenever you sing, in paying attention to what you are doing. We have a fantastic choral programs running in various places in Nairobi that you could join to have extra experience or join Afrizo band sessions as a bonus practice session IF you are really concentrating on breathing athletically, using a coordinated onset, and singing with the free and resonant sound that we all want to hear and which our excellent directors will expect of you as much as I do. Even if you are just singing in the shower or in the car, do not allow yourself to unwittingly practice old habits or awkward vocal production. Think about your use of your speaking voice as well. The saying is “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” (Vince Lombardi)
A vital skill for singers to build is the ability to manage their arc of preparation so that songs are ready on time. So much in this business depends on your being known as a reliable and competent colleague; directors don’t re-hire singers who give them worries.
I haave set up several points in the quarter for you to rehearse this process. For exams, the instructors will discuss with you as per the time table, songs are due as complete, memorized and vivid performances according to your level of applied voice.
Keep a copy of materials given in class and also in the repertoire section of your binder.
You will receive extra credit for singing in projects outside class, attending class on time, going for extra practice sessions outside class, working with professional teams outside class, working and supporting each other as background vocals, participating in professional gigs, karaokes, etc. Ensure that each time you do a gig or participate in one, send a video to the instructor.
You must participate actively in class and give constructive feedback to the other members.
You re also allowed to visit a recording studio and before the end of this class ensure you have a studio project started. This will be considered as a class project.
We will videotape your performance your lesson during the week.
Masterclass is mandatory and you must account for any absences with me.
Masterclass requires students to sing at least three times per quarter. The First Year Masterclass has slightly different requirements in Fall Quarter which are found on its syllabus.
Masterclass information is posted regularly on the studio bulletin board.
JURY PERFORMANCE/ CLASS PERFORMANCE
• Concert Review. Please see me to suggest a vocal concert and for format and content requirements.
• Off Campus Performance. Many retirement homes, Karaokes, “I can sing” event as back up, Professional gigs, street performaces, flash mobs, or other venues in the area would welcome a visit.
• Journal Issue or Book Report. Again, we can set this one up together if you are interested.
. Reflection papers. At least 10. From assignments given in class or every musical experience that is breathtaking that you learn from or from shows you attend. This is another wa to earn extra marks
I expect you to complete the coursework with fairness and honesty. For NPAS definition of plagiarism, as well as policies and links to further information, see www.google.com I would like to encourage you to take advantage of the various online detectors for your writing before submitting Program Notes
Make sure to cite your sources and use quotation marks if you refer to the words and ideas of another. A great resource for help with this the library or any resource center.
Punctuality, reliability and considerateness are essential for musicians and yours will be reflected in your lesson grade. Singers with great reputations are the ones who get the calls about gigs!
• Lessons will begin promptly. Please arrive a little early in order to get your practice journal out, scores opened and ready, and any note-taking or recording materials handy. Knock on the door and come in when it is five minutes before your lesson time.
• Songs and Assignments are due on time. Any missed date on this syllabus will cause your grade to decline at the rate of two points per day it is late.
• Make Up Policy: If you are ill, you MUST notify me AND your accompanist before your lesson to cancel it. For the lesson to be made up, I will also need written documentation from the Doctor or physician visited, or a medical professional.
If you need to miss a lesson for any other reason we will need to discuss it at least a week in advance in order to consider making up the lesson. Exception: lessons which fall on a holiday do not need to be made up.
• Treat your accompanist well. Respect him or her as a colleague now and for the future, and set yourself up as a person who has their music together and who values collaborators’ time. Missing the deadline to begin bringing this person to your lessons will result in a 50 point grade deduction.
• All students in are expected to attend the voice events at NPAS professional courtesy. (Solo voice recitals, workshops, guest masterclasses, etc.) Extra credit is available for performance
The Sleek reservse the right to adjust your grade positively or negatively based on any of the above.
INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS
We enjoy teaching, and always happy to talk about singing. If you have questions or just want to explore an idea, please stop make an earlier commitment 10 minutes before each class, or send us an email.
The Sleek Music School is also available on Whatsapp application or facebook inbox whichever time. Drop a note and we shall attend to you.
ALL THE BEST IN YOUR LESSONS.