Voice Lessons at Wolf City Voice

Singing:

The activity of making musical sounds with the voice, usually a tune with words. From the Cambridge Dictionary.

Teaching people to sing: 

Organizing and molding the natural talent born within all of us to produce beautiful and powerful sounds. Usually a tune with words. From Me.

Private Voice Lessons

Traditional private voice lessons with a twist.   Voice lessons with Wolf City Voice are intense and personalized.  Expect to work hard. Also expect to get advanced training adapted to your unique self.  My goal for each of my students is for them to find the voice that makes them special.  Besides developing a rigorous technique practice, each song you sing will be put through acting exercises to ensure you are believable in your singing.  Along with phrasing and score analysis each song you sing will be believable, each moment magic and your ability to stand out will shine through.

 

I work with each performer on building a brand-specific audition book as well as songs for cabarets, concerts and competitions.  We also work on career planning and organization.  From here you will go out into the singing world like a Pro.  The twist is you can take any lesson online over the internet with me. It’s easier than it sounds.  We work through Facetime, Zoom or Skype.  I am also available in person in Los Angeles, CA.

Singing Competitions

Many of the students of Wolf City Voice compete for positions on competition voice shows such as The Voice or American Idol.  For the last few years my students have been approached by these shows to compete. They’ve placed well into the pre-recording sessions. Competition voice shows are difficult. They are time consuming and demanding.

 

Each show has different requirements and pressures placed on the singer and their team. If you have a desire to compete in these shows you are going to need a team. And that team starts with a voice coach. Someone to help you navigate vocally, emotionally and intellectually the never ending stream of instructions and pressures that come with the competitions.

Musical Theatre Self Tape Coaching

Let’s face it its new. Its intimidating. Its possibly the best thing ever! What its not is something to approach lightly. To put together a singing self tape you need appropriate material, a knowledge of how sound records, a self tape studio, accompaniment, songs that fit the current requirements of stage and screen, an understanding of how energy changes for each genre and you need to know how to sing. 

 

In coaching for self tapes I coach everything but the actual camera element. So, we build it, we perfect it and then we find a place to record it.  I’ve recorded several in my studio.

Why are lessons so expensive?

Wolf City Voice prices are in the middle of the price range for voice students. One-on-one lessons require a great deal of know-how on the teachers part, preparation and strategy and emotional availability.  When you pay for lessons you are paying for my 40 years of professional experience plus my 28 years of teaching experience.

 

You are also paving a path for your own success. Why would you short change yourself? But more importantly I set my prices based on what I can afford to charge you and still run the studio.

How long will this take?

I teach voice to meet the need of the individual so the answer to this is; it depends. Many of my students have been with me my entire teaching career. Most professional singers stay with a voice teacher their entire career as the requirements for professional singing require a great deal of maintenance. However; let’s get down to brass tacks.

Learning the technique (you already have music training): About 2 months

Learning the technique (you’ve never had music training): Approximately 6 months to a year

Ready to audition for a professional show?

               Pro-level: What I teach is immediately usable

               Still in school: about 3-6 months

               Beginner: 6 months to a year

               Singer with pitch issues: at least a year

If you put in the work you will succeed. What that success looks like is impossible to predict.  I have an exceptionally high booking rate in the studio. Most of my students book shows on a regular basis. Each of them has had a different journey since each of them came to me with different issues.

Pitch issues

“Tone deaf” I have worked with a number of students who were told they are tone deaf so let’s break down what tone deaf actually means. The term “tone deaf” means you cannot reproduce what you can’t hear correctly. You are deaf to the tone itself. Tone deafness, true tone deafness has to do with ear canal damage and it’s pretty rare.

What isn’t rare is coordinative response issues. So the brain is a beautifully complex place. In order to do an activity like singing your brain has to send multiple signals to various responses in rapid succession. Sounds complicated right? It is.

 

For some people their brains for whatever reason don’t fire the correct series of signals to sing correctly.  This is the bulk of people who think they are tone deaf becuase it turns out that this issue is really common. It’s also possible to train the brain to respond correctly. I have students who have trained to overcome this issue. It is not easy. It is emotionally exhausting but if you ask them they will tell you it was totally worth it.

Acting, acting, acting

No matter what style you sing acting is a part of it. You must be believable in the story telling of the song. A big part of my studio is working on acting for the song. My background is in drama teaching and I have a wealth of acting expertise and exercises to get you to let go and tell the story.

 

Even if you are not singing in musical theatre. Pop, Jazz, Rock, Country and every other genre requires a certain amount of truthfulness in the delivery. Otherwise the song doesn’t reach it’s audience.

But I want to sound like...

Insert voice teacher sighing dramatically right here because this is a heartbreaking request. Yes, there are going to be times when you are asked to sound more like a specific singer. It happens. But that’s a bridge to be crossed at the moment it’s asked. Ask yourself do you really want that to be your career?  Sounding just like someone else instead of finding how you sound best? I train my students to find their own unique instrument. To be pioneers in the industry and not just follow in the tracks of other singers. We’re a little rebellious around here.

Questions

What is legit singing?

This is a term used primarily in musical theatre to describe classical voice placement. It is used mostly in older shows but occasionally in new shows as well. 

This is also the best, and I mean absolute best place to begin training. The legit or “bel canto” technique is the starting point for all singing. It teaches you breathing, voice placement, mouth shape and that important brain coordination.  I like to think of this as home base. 

What is belting?

This is a term used primarily in musical theatre to describe a more forward placement that is brighter, more piercing and more yell like. It is taking the elements of your chest voice into your high voice and sustaining the tone.  You can think of Ethel Merman or Idina Menzel as belters. It is used through all eras of musical theatre in various styles.

What is mixing?

This term is commonly used in musical theatre to describe the middle of the range where you transition from low belt to high voice. It is used a lot in current contemporary musical theatre. I like to refer to mixing as a microphone technique that is basically what you’d use in old Jazz standards and pop music. It does not stress the voice but is a nice, well balanced middle of the voice placement where you sing stories.

 

So think of mix as a piece of most contemporary musical theatre songs. Musical theatre songs are driven so although there area  few that are stricktly mix, most of them use mix somewhere in the song to get you from one part of the voice to another.  Think of mix as a piece of your vocal acting arc.

What do you teach?

I teach all of the above singing styles as well as rock and pop.

Which of these is used in Rock and Roll?

Rock is an interesting music beast. We all have preconceptions about what it is. Here’s how I define it: it’s a style of music. You will use much of the above voices in your singing of it. You’ll use a lot of mix.  You will use the vocal stretch and placement of legit. You might use some of the belt voice in the lower to middle music.  Many rock and roll singers study classically based singing. They need it for the strength required to sing Rock and Roll.

Do I need to study classical technique if I want to sing Rock?

I would. You need to be strong to sing rock and roll at least vocally. That being said, yes there are rock singers who are softer but those concerts are long and you’ll want that strength to pull you through the rigors involved.

I sing musical theatre. Do I really need a rock song?

Yes, yes and yes.  Look at the last season on Broadway. Look at the current regional theatre audition requirements of two contrasting rock songs. Its happened we’ve gone rock and roll in the musical theatre industry.  Be ready have at least 6 rock songs in various styles and story telling ideas.

How does musical theatre change from stage to screen?

This is one of the most exciting things happening in our art form right now. Musicals have made their way into serial television. But how do we sing for tv? Its all about energy and style.  Like rock in musical theatre TV singing for stories is still developing. You should take an on-camera acting class. You want to watch and ask questions. 

 

Energy wise you still need high energy but you need to aim it at camera work. My suggestion is to use your self tapes to practice this form. Try things out. What does an old school musical theatre piece look like on film?  What does rock look like? Watch your movement. Don’t wiggle or sway but still be free with your body.

There are multiple styles of musical theatre and there are multiple options for TV to go when it comes to style of singing. So have a range of songs you feel work on film and film them. Then as I said before keep your eyes open and your ear to the ground. Changes come fast.

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