Working Week for Vocal Process
Looking forward to our 12th online training Webinar tomorrow. We’ve already done three on Taking Chest Voice Higher, so this month it’s clarifying the confusion around “Head Voice”. We’re including a voice science moment to explain what really happens physically in different vocal registers, so I’m collecting quotes and creating visuals and diagrams. Must remember to update the timetable on the Vocal Process website.
Gillyanne comes in to mindmap all the exercises for finding 2 different types of head voice, then vanishes to her office to PhD (fast becoming a verb in our house). Her topic is how genre shapes the vocal behaviour of professional female singers (classical and non-classical), and she’s almost finished.
Webinar tonight and we’re like cats on hot bricks. We’re broadcasting to people from 14 countries so it’s live performance nerves. I’ve always loved doing radio interviews and this is like extended radio with visuals. Spend the day finalising the presentation, emailing our clients, confirming the registrations on the Webinar website and updating the online shopping cart. Strange to think I didn’t even touch a computer until I was 36.
Broadcast went well, good feedback. Gillyanne’s giving a Skype lesson to a star tenor client in Vietnam. I hear her moving from Lara Fabian pop style to E Lucevan Le Stelle. Meanwhile I’m moving between editing the video & audio footage for the Webinar Replay and mowing. His and hers lawnmowers and a new strimmer to play with too. I’m not a geek at all…
We head for London for our regular West End 1-1 coaching sessions. Upgrade to first class today so we can have a quiet Vocal Process planning meeting on the train. Expensive but useful. Talk through the next Singing and the Actor Training Retreat, and our first Skype masterclass to Barcelona. We’re assessing the Musical Theatre students at Set D’Accio college over the internet. We’ve worked with them all before in person in Spain and we’ve got copious notes on everyone, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. Still glad we moved out to the Welsh Borders, even with the travelling it’s a better way of life.
We’re seeing an Australian client together for intensive coaching, vocal technique and career advice before she flies back. We find her 12 songs that fit her voice type and physical casting, and reinvent some of her old repertoire for today’s theatre audiences. She’s thrilled.
Still in London. Real mix of repertoire, Richard Strauss, Carner & Gregor, Jason Robert Brown, Adam Guettel, nothing scares me these days. Doing one of my favourite things today; client brings recordings of 6 different contemporary singers and wants to know what they’re doing technically. We spend the lesson analysing their vocal setups and styles and applying them to client’s own voice to make them authentically hers.
Gillyanne’s client from Germany has arrived with the lead in the latest Frank Wildhorn musical to learn. Also brushing up on Elphaba in German (more difficult than the English version). She’s a lyrical singer with a high belt – her belt doesn’t start until C above middle C – and this role is rather low. Gillyanne’s been showing her some of the mixes that help make the middle notes sound stronger without losing control or pushing.
We’ve both noticed that people in the singing world are straining to find THE MIX (always said reverently in capital letters) and wonder if it’s someone’s marketing ploy, as there’s a lot more than just one mix. Back to Presteigne in time for the pop-up restaurant at the Carpet Warehouse – superb food from this month’s chef.
Catching up on YouTube videos. Wonder sometimes if the Internet is a good thing when I see the rubbish about singing and teaching. Gillyanne says I sound like Victor Meldrew. I don’t believe it.
Supposed to be a full day off but it never is. I’m packing the various Belting Explained DVD orders and Gillyanne’s PhDing for 2 hours. Lunch at the UK’s first Michelin starred pub down the road. Afternoon watching Gillyanne slaughtering the weeds in the garden. Help by pointing out the ones she’s missed.
Vocal Process, run by Jeremy Fisher and Gillyanne Kayes, marries voice science and performance techniques to create cutting edge training resources for singers and their teachers
This Working Week article first appeared in the Music Teacher magazine and is included here by kind permission of Rhinegold Publishing