Marty Heresniak, B.M., M.M

voice teacher

79 Hudson Heights
Ithaca, NY 14850-5803

voxnaturalis@alumni.ithaca.edu

607-272-2892

member

National Association of Teachers of Singing

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VOCAL STYLE AND
PERFORMANCE PRACTICE
IN JAZZ AND SWING


FULL DAY WORKSHOP FOR CLASSICAL SINGERS
AND CLASSICAL SINGING TEACHERS

I present this workshop with my long-time collaborator, jazz guitarist and educator Christopher Woitach. It is a concentrated presentation of a twelve-hour curriculum we originally formulated in 1994. The program is especially geared towards teaching classically trained singers and singing teachers.

If you are looking for coaching for jazz singers, this is the wrong session.
Please check out our Master Class offerings.

The program is meant to teach performance style and approaches to the repertory, not vocal technique. Participants may, however, realize that aspects of their singing technique will improve as they discover the freedom of jazz styles.

When I found out I could make mistakes
I knew I was on to something.

-- Coleman Hawkins

Individual aspects of performance style are addressed in five segments. Just as appropriate performance of Purcell differs from stylistically correct Puccini, so, too, Gershwin and Ellington differ from Wagner or Mozart. Discussion and demonstrations of each aspect - using different jazz and swing standard songs - will employ performances by workshop participants chosen for each section. Repertory chosen from 26 American Songs -No Arias.

INTRODUCTIONS

A general overview of how adopting a jazz performance style need not impact vocal technique and may, indeed, improve it.

TIME

Treatment of the underlying pulse in jazz can be almost Chopinesque: rushing ahead, lagging behind, meeting at the bar. Selected participants will explore keeping the beat and deliberately not keeping it. Song samplings will delve into getting the entire ensemble to play with time versus a true "tempo rubato" in which soloist and back-up perform in "different" times.

RHYTHM

In some musical styles, written rhythms are approximate representations of the performance rhythm. While a classical singer may know to double-dot baroque rhythms, a jazz singer knows when to "rag" and when to "swing". Participants will investigate the possibilities. Then there is syncopation, with and without the punch, and a discussion of consonants in regard to rhythmic style.

PITCH

Mozart's recitatives are always sung with a few appoggiaturas at the cadences - not written in, but necessary to the style. In jazz and swing, notes are substituted as well, with passing tones, skips, octave leaps, chord outlines, and modified or "blue" notes. Sometimes the melody may be completely rewritten on the spur of an inspired moment. With understanding of the basic concepts of pitch alteration, participants will explore improvisatory possibilities.

EARS

In the jazz idiom, a performer's interpretation of a tune can change with a different band or with a new audience. An intensely important aspect of live jazz performance is the musicians' abilities to listen, process, and react in performance.

Being in sync with the band is possible only if the singer understands basic practices, song forms, and the standard variations possible in a performance. Segment will enlighten participants to forms, cuts and jumps, extensions, and how to know who will take a solo when.

SYNTHESIS

We end with a Studio Jam -- and that's just what it sounds like: the participants come together to jam with jazz musicians and learn to free their vocal production by freeing their creative musicianship.

What is the most important thing about singing?
Words, words, words, and again, the words....

-- Nat King Cole

TYPICAL SCHEDULE

9:00

INTRODUCTIONS

9:15

TIME

10:15

break

10:30

RHYTHM

11:30

lunch

1:00

PITCH

2:00

break

2:15

EARS

3:45

break

4:00

SYNTHESIS

5:30

end

Workshop Fees

$1200+T/H [2 hour morning, 4 hour afternoon]

Travel and Housing Charges:

I am based in Ithaca, New York; Christopher Woitach in Portland, Oregon. We will meet in your location by whatever means of travel you provide.