Acting in Plays, Singing/Vocal range

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Question
Hello, Mr Martinfield I am a musical theatre lover and want to pursue a career in it! I was wondering  how can you truly tell if your a tenor or baritone? Because i have A naturally high voice, But have been classified as a baritone but i have a very huge range And my regular voice is naturally high like i said. Please If you could help me out with this please id be very greatful!

Answer
Hi, Elijah --

Thank you for the question.

Just as with some medical issues -- my best advice is for you to get a second opinion from a professional educator.

I trained for ten years in Bel Canto as a lyric baritone. I learned and performed an impressive amount of the literature written for lyric baritones, including operatic roles and a wide range of concert material. But when I had a private coaching session with someone from one of the major operatic training programs I wanted to get into, everything changed. I walked in as a baritone and left as a tenor.

That coach changed my entire life. He proved to me in that one hour that -- although I have a wide range that includes an extension into baritone territory -- my authentic and, hence, “marketable” range as a professional opera singer would be as a tenor. Not only that, but a certain kind of tenor who would sing certain roles in a variety of works from various eras of music. More importantly -- once I was re-trained -- I could compete more successfully against other singers with vocal qualities similar to mine, especially for those major cash prizes, training programs, performance opportunities, etc.

I’ve been through what you are going through.
What made the difference in my future was the right coach -- a gentleman who had himself sustained a professional career as a Classical tenor -- who took me up to my first fully-voiced High B-flat. What really proved it to me, was that I was able to recreate that High B-flat the following day on my own. Though I was shocked, I kissed my baritone range good-bye.

No matter what genre of music you dream about singing or how clever you may be artistically, you only have one voice. That voice must be trained according to its natural qualities and tested through specific repertoire written for it -- along with the realities of performance situations and venues in mind.

Check out my most recent interviews on HuffingtonPost.com. The following are with two young singers -- a countertenor and a bass-baritone -- both currently appearing at San Francisco Opera in a magnificent production of Handel’s “Partenope”:

Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo – A Stunning Debut in ‘Partenope’ at San Francisco Opera
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/countertenor-anthony-roth_b_60444

A Conversation with Bass-Baritone Philippe Sly
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield/a-conversation-with-bassb_b_59947

I see that you are in Indiana. Go to this site:
http://www.careersinmusic.com/music-schools-indiana.aspx

Find out as much information as you can about the schools and who the voice teachers are. It’s not unusual for resident professors to consult with non-students and to give private lessons. You might also want to consider contacting the Music Director of a major vocal ensemble or choir in your immediate area. State your concern and ask for an appointment. It may turn out to be the wisest investment of your time and money that you will ever make. It was for me.

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield
Broadwaybelters@yahoo.com  

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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