Is It Truly Pop, or Is It Musical Theater? // Laura Donohue

This is a blog about listening.  Specifically, this is a blog about listening very closely to vocal sounds and styles in musical theater and other commercial styles of singing.  But first I want to tell you a story about opera. There was a moment, early in my undergrad studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, that I remember very clearly.  It was a … Continue reading Is It Truly Pop, or Is It Musical Theater? // Laura Donohue

A Commercial for Commercial – What’s the Objective? // Wendy Jones

A cursory glance at any reputable website or book on the history of American popular music and one can almost taste the creamy goodness of America’s music. From the mostly religious music of native Americans, to the folk music of immigrants from England, Spain, and France, to musical traditions and polyrhythms brought to American shores by enslaved Africans that laid the foundation for American popular … Continue reading A Commercial for Commercial – What’s the Objective? // Wendy Jones

Communication Skills For Vocal Performance Power // Judy Rodman

When I began teaching voice 22 years ago, I noticed that each student that came to me had their own individual package of strengths and weaknesses, some totally opposite others. After a few years, I noticed that breath issues, tight throat issues and communication issues are synergistic. Correcting flaws in one could correct the others. The health of the voice is determined by healthy physiological … Continue reading Communication Skills For Vocal Performance Power // Judy Rodman

Teaching CCM Styles, Finding Your Voice, and Appropriating Styles…and Yourself // Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin

Dr. Trineice (creator of Soul Ingredients® and author of So You Want to Sing Gospel) shares some fantastic wisdom with us about the ways academia can helpfully structure programs for singers of CCM genres, how she found her own voice and helps others find theirs, and ways we can be mindful of potential appropriation. Transcript: Jessica Baldwin:Hey everybody. I am Jess Baldwin, and this is … Continue reading Teaching CCM Styles, Finding Your Voice, and Appropriating Styles…and Yourself // Dr. Trineice Robinson-Martin

Pay Attention to the “Tions” // Robert Edwin

From the rank beginner to the elite professional, there are certain things that all singers must do when they sing, no matter what their style, age, ethnicity, gender, talent, or training level. Singers are bound by the laws of nature: physics, biomechanics, acoustics, and several other “ics” come into play when we sing.  What are these must-do things? They have many different names and include … Continue reading Pay Attention to the “Tions” // Robert Edwin

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Discovery of an Important Scale // Kim Chandler

I’ve had an insatiable curiosity for quite some time to know which scales (or modes) that songwriters of hit songs intuitively use to create their vocal melodies; the main interest being how this knowledge applies to the vocal exercise patterns we use in training singers. Clearly, at the present time, there’s a strong bias towards major-based patterns in vocal exercises, but a “soap box” area … Continue reading Hidden in Plain Sight: The Discovery of an Important Scale // Kim Chandler

What Matters When Teaching is What Remains After Lessons // Mark Baxter

There’s never been a shortage of advice when it comes to helping singers improve.  However, the most obvious question has never been definitively answered: What matters most?  How is it that there are miles of books and research papers and yet no unified answer?  At first, the search for an answer just leads to more questions.  Does our curiosity set us on a path up … Continue reading What Matters When Teaching is What Remains After Lessons // Mark Baxter

Elizabeth Benson’s findings in her new book about CCM Voice Teachers: “Consensus is not a path to legitimacy.”

Elizabeth Ann Benson has recently published her book Training Contemporary Commercial Singers, in which she shares her findings from interviewing 26 voice teachers who work with CCM, popular music, jazz, and musical theatre singers. She is trained in Somatic Voicework™ the LoVetri Method, Lisa Popeil’s Voiceworks® method, and Estill Voice Training™, among others. She is a 2016 graduate of the Intern Program of the National … Continue reading Elizabeth Benson’s findings in her new book about CCM Voice Teachers: “Consensus is not a path to legitimacy.”

Songwriting: Some Ideas on How to Start and Why We Don’t // Kat Reinhert

Songwriting seems to be a buzzword these days – and with good reason. It’s a way to access diverse musical creativities, gain musical skills, and probably more importantly, help the writer work through challenging emotional thoughts and feelings in a cathartic and holistic way. But songwriting, at least in my experience, also brings up issues of fear. Especially in musicians – and yes – I … Continue reading Songwriting: Some Ideas on How to Start and Why We Don’t // Kat Reinhert

Teaching Empathy through Singing // Kelly Hoppenjans

“In these unprecedented times,” as every commercial unironically intones these days, big things are happening. Historical, world-changing events are occurring that would be difficult to comprehend, if we weren’t living through them. I’d never say I was grateful for a deadly global pandemic, but like many people, I’m trying to make meaning of these events for myself, and to appreciate the time this situation has … Continue reading Teaching Empathy through Singing // Kelly Hoppenjans