Acting in Plays, Singing/How can I sing this?

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Question
I'm playing Doody in Grease and one song "Those Magic Changes" is really giving me trouble. I am just not able to hit those high notes and I was wondering if you could help. Are there any vocal exercises I can do to reach the higher notes? Or is there even a way to alter the music? Thank you.

Answer
Hi, Patrick –

Thank you for the question.

The character of Doody in GREASE is a great Pop Tenor role. He spends a lot of time floating in and around High F and High A – and during the most passionate phrases in the song. In many ways, it's a young tenor's dream role. Whatever you sang for your audition, your musical director knows you can handle this range.

So, by "high notes", I'm assuming you mean the falsetto (or countertenor) portions of the song. Those vocal lines extend to E. The very best thing to do to strengthen and secure those notes is to practice a series of scales ranging from the F above it (that is, 1/2-step) to the F an octave below in your falsetto. Start with two sets of three 3-tone scales. Do the first set on the vowel sound of ee. Take a breath and repeat the scales on the vowel sound of oo. Then do variations on them, i.e, ascend on ee and descend on oo, then vice versa. Then go up a half-step to F# and repeat the pattern. Gradually (as in, day after day) work your way up to D-flat, the third above being F. Go higher if you can. Then do the same thing coming back down until you are at the F again. Then do a series of 5-tone scales—the same stretch of notes up and back—with the same vowel patterns.

Don't practice "Those Magic Changes" on a cold voice!

You must do a serious warm-up before learning and rehearsing this number or you run the risk of hurting yourself. My clients know how to get their voice performance-ready through a complex series of scales that cover at least the expected stretch of notes of their specific range. For example, the 2-octaves of a standard tenor—C3 to C5. All my tenors can sing above and below that.

Warm-up every day before you go to rehearsal. Inform the family or household you are going to be practicing your scales between now and the final curtain. In the meantime, check out the Original Cast recording of JERSEY BOYS. Anyone who succeeds as "Doody" in GREASE can sing the role of "Frankie Valli".

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm also an entertainment critic for HuffingtonPost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield and Classical music reviewer for Examiner.com – http://www.examiner.com/user/4557381/articles. Let me know when you're ready to come to San Francisco for some vocal coaching.

Check out my web site: http://FabulousFilmSongs.com

See my interview with popular TV host, David Perry, on "Ten Percent":
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKeeTYTYMAI

Below are links to my articles and youtubes on the San Francisco Bay Area entertainment and cultural scene:

Nonsemble 6 presents Schoenberg's 'Pierrot Lunaire' – in corsets
http://www.examiner.com/article/nonsemble-6-presents-schoenberg-s-pierrot-lunair

'Onegin' – A Must-See at San Francisco Ballet, Final Performances 3/26—28
http://www.examiner.com/review/onegin-a-must-see-at-san-francisco-ballet-final-p

David Klein and Nick Wooley of 'Billygoat' play at Switchboard Music Festival
http://www.examiner.com/article/david-klein-and-nick-wooley-of-billygoat-at-swit

Tenor Noah Stewart Debuts with Berkeley Symphony in World Premiere of New Work by Steven Stucky
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/noah-stewart_b_2899344.html

Marnie Breckenridege, A Modern Soprano for Contemporary Opera
http://www.examiner.com/article/marnie-breckenridge-a-modern-soprano-for-contemp

A Profile of Choreographer John Neumeier and his "Nijinsky"
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/profile-choreographer-john-neumei

Peggy Cummins Honored at San Francisco's Noir City Film Festival
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/noir-city-film-festival_b_2569333

In Conversation with Peter Gallagher – Coming to the Venetian Room
http://www.examiner.com/article/in-conversation-with-peter-gallagher-coming-sund

Melody Moore steps into Tosca — Opening Night at San Francisco Opera
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/tosca-san-francisco-opera_b_21965

Patricia Racette – A Definitive 'Tosca' at San Francisco Opera
http://www.examiner.com/review/patricia-racette-a-definitive-tosca-at-san-franci

'Moby-Dick' opens at San Francisco Opera: A Conversation with Composer Jake Heggie
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/moby-dick-san-francisco-opera_b_1

'Drama Queens' – A Conversation with Mezzo-Soprano Joyce DiDonato
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/drama-queens-a-conversation_b_214

Vasily Petrenko, BRIT Male Artist of the Year, Conducts SF Symphony, 10/5–6
http://www.examiner.com/node/53741556

Marco Vratogna Is Sensational as Rigoletto at San Francisco Opera
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/marco-vratogna-is-sensati_b_19070

A conversation with Joshua Bell, featured guest artist at opening of SF Symphony, 9/19
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/a-conversation-with-joshu_b_18824

Jazz vocalist Nicole Henry makes San Francisco debut
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/jazz-vocalist-nicole-henr_b_18536

Norma Shearer and Joan Crawford duke it out at The Castro Theatre's 90th Anniversary
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/norma-shearer-and-joan-cr_b_17750

The Wizard of Oz Meets the San Francisco Symphony
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/wizard-of-oz-san-fran-symphony_b_

The "It" Girl, Clara Bow, A Featured Star at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, July 12–15
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/the-it-girl-clara-bow-a-f_b_16613

Jun Kaneko's 'Magic Flute' Is Stunningly Visual
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/magic-flute-jun-kaneko_b_1633445.

Samuel Ramey is Leo the Great in San Francisco Opera's 'Attila'
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/samuel-ramey-attila_b_1586131.htm

'Victor Herbert, Collected Songs' – A Great CD
http://www.examiner.com/review/victor-herbert-collected-songs-a-great-cd-for-mem

Tom Judson Is Making It Big In San Francisco
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/tom-judson-cabaret_b_1498594.html

A Look at Gennadi Nedvigin, Principal Dancer with San Francisco Ballet
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/gennadi-nedvigi-ballet_b_1427319.

Organist Christopher Houlihan Makes A Powerful Debut at Davies Symphony Hall
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/christopher-houlihan_b_1398351.ht

RICHARD WINSOR – An Interview With the Star of 'Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake in 3D'
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/richard-winsor-swan-lake_b_135148

DEANNA DURBIN – The Leading Lady of NOIR CITY, Wednesday at The Castro Theatre
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=166623

KRISTIN CLAYTON– A Conversation with "The Diva" of Teatro ZinZanni
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=166029

DIANE BAKER – Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=32007

CAMERON CARPENTER – An Interview with Seán Martinfield
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=24462

AT LAST! – ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY – An Interview with Seán Martinfield
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=27122

MARNIE BRECKENRIDGE – An Interview with “La Princesse” of Philip Glass’ Orphée
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=109326

A Conversation with Elza van den Heever
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=99268

CUBAN BALLET – An Interview with Octavio Roca
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=86049

A Look At "Giselle" with Ballerina Lorena Feijóo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33-a6Oa-0j4

ZUILL BAILEY – A Conversation
http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=58241

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

Acting in Plays, Singing

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Sean Martinfield

Expertise

I am a professional vocal coach in San Francisco. I have published over 3300 responses related to vocal training - particularly as it relates to Musical Theatre, Pop/Standard, and Opera. I have 30 years of experience as a personal trainer to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years and know what it means to live the life of a musician. I can determine your voice category, i.e., Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Alto Belter, etc., and how to broaden and strengthen your range. Need an audition song for a Broadway Musical? I can assist you with your song selections and help you build an audition portfolio that demonstrates your vocal category and meets the requirements specified in the audition notice. I have created a vocal methodology, "The Belter`s Method". It will enable those in Cabaret and Musical Theatre to practice more efficiently because it focuses on the vocal demands of professional performers and will keep you performance-ready. If what you want is a better voice and more control over your career moves and choices, contact me at: BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com I am also a music and cultural critic for HuffingtonPost.com and Examiner.com. I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.

Experience

As a vocal coach, I work primarily with singers and actors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. My students range from absolute beginners to working professionals, from kids to senior citizens. The vast majority of my clients come to me through recommendation. I know how to identify any singer's vocal category, i.e., soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, etc. I know how to muscle-up every singer's vocal range and to expand it beyond conventional definitions. I have developed a vocal methodology for those who want to know how to belt, THE BELTER'S METHOD. There are a number of major components to my work as a vocal coach. The first is to identify the client's vocal category and to strengthen and maximize the vocal range accordingly. Then it's about teaching a reliable vocal workout that will enable the client to gain better control of their musicianship. That includes scale work to expand the vocal range and to improve placement, breath control, and diction. Then we work on material for the audition portfolio, the immediate job or assignment, a recording session, etc. My task to is to better equip singers and actors who are hoping to or relying upon their performance skills and vocal endurance to maintain a career in the Performing Arts. My clients regularly appear in cabarets and musical productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have worked in New York and gone on National Tours. For more information, Contact me at: Broadwaybelters@yahoo.com

Publications
HuffingtonPost.com Examiner.com FabulousFilmSongs.com SanFranciscoSentinel.com

Education/Credentials
San Francisco State University – BA in Theatre Arts; graduate work in Theatre, Philosophy, and Comparative Reiligion. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley – Graduate work in Ethics

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