Acting in Plays, Singing/How to improve my voice?

Advertisement


Question
Hello, I enjoy the art of singing, of training your voice to have a fluidity to it, an expression. I would like to improve on my voice, I don't consider it horrid, but it also isn't spectacular. I don't want to do it for theater or any performance, just for personal knowledge and use. So, what I am asking is what are some forms of practice and drills one could use to gain greater control of their voice? Make it sound better, clearer? Thank You!

Answer
Hello, Alfonso –

Thank you for the question.

My answers and solutions are all based on my experiences as a professional singer and vocal coach. I started bel canto training when I was 18. As an acting major, my voice classes in the Theatre Arts Department were not giving me what I needed. I was getting hoarse during rehearsals -- in straight plays, presented in what was called The Little Theatre. A friend suggested a vocal coach, a careered opera singer. We clicked. Six months later I was in recital. I had found my voice.

I learned how to be heard in a large theatre, without a microphone, and with an orchestra. I learned how to exercise my vocal range through a series of complex scales. It's like vocal gymnastics. And it's fun. After doing it, I knew I was better equipped to rehearse the material I had been hired to sing and begin working on the stuff coming up. I continue to practice because I love my vocal workout.

My job as a professional vocal coach is to first identify your vocal category, i.e., tenor, baritone, etc. That’s where it all starts. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to be in front of an audience. Fine! It cuts down on the competition. But my experience is that when you know your vocal category -- and not every teacher has what it takes to correctly identify that for you—then you are more likely to get the results you want and need because you will be working to your best advantage.

“Sounding better” -- as in, with material that you would buy a ticket to hear You perform somewhere -- is the end result.

It’s all about owning a reliable Technique. My job is to show you how. Anytime you want to do a lesson on Skype, let me know.

In the meantime, check out my interview on HuffingtonPost.com with baritone Nathan Gunn. He’s currently at San Francisco Opera playing Yeshua (Jesus) in the world premiere of Mark Adamo’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”. We talked about his own experience in training with a careered singer:

Nathan Gunn Is ‘Yeshua’ in San Francisco Opera’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/nathan-gunn-on-becoming-y_b_34884

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Check out my web site: http://FabulousFilmSongs.com

I'm also an entertainment and cultural 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.

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:

Nathan Gunn Is ‘Yeshua’ in San Francisco Opera’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/nathan-gunn-on-becoming-y_b_34884

Natalie Dessay on ‘Becoming Traviata’—French Soprano bids ‘Adieu’ to opera stage
http://www.examiner.com/review/natalie-dessay-on-becoming-traviata-french-sopran

‘Tales of Hoffmann’ Fizzles at San Francisco Opera
http://www.examiner.com/review/tales-of-hoffmann-fizzles-at-san-francisco-opera?

‘A Grand Romance’—A Spectacular CD from pianist Jeffrey Biegel
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/a-grand-romancea-spectacular-cd_b

Philippe Sly Debuts In 'Cosi fan tutte' at San Francisco Opera
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/philippe-sly-debuts-in-co_b_33294

Nicole Henry redefines the '70s with her latest CD, 'So Good, So Right'
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/nicole-henry-redefines-the-70s_b_

THE GREAT GATSBY—F. Scott Fitzgerald Classic goes Three Dimensional
http://www.examiner.com/review/the-great-gatsby-f-scott-fitzgerald-classic-goes-

'FILLY BROWN' — An Extraordinary Film from Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos
http://www.examiner.com/review/filly-brown-an-extraordinary-film-from-youssef-de

TINSEL TARTS IN A HOT COMA—Extended through June 29th at The Hypnodrome
http://www.examiner.com/review/tinsel-tarts-a-hot-coma-extended-through-june-29t

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

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

'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

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

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_

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

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

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


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

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.