Acting in Plays, Singing/Singing
so i'm gonna be honest.. i can't sing.. and my voice is rough..
but can a person do anything to have a "nice voice"
can you acquire that? or it is something you either have or you don't?
i know you teach people how to sing.. but do they need to already have a good easy on the ears voice? ..
Hi, Fouad --
Thank you for the question. The best way for me to answer it is to briefly describe my job and my concerns as a singing teacher / vocal coach. The terms are not necessarily interchangeable.
As a singing teacher, I must first determine your vocal category, i.e., tenor, baritone, bass, etc. Sometimes it’s obvious, but not always -- especially with very young singers. But once that happens, then the training begins. It’s about maximizing and strengthening your vocal range -- again, according to your category and no matter what kind of music you want to sing.
I trained as a baritone for a career in opera. That meant I had to acquire all the vocal and musical skills that every career-oriented operatic baritone must have in order to compete against every other operatic baritone wanting the same job or competing for the same scholarship or cash prize. It’s all very demanding and very precise. In many ways, it’s no different than being an instrumentalist in a professional orchestra. You have to first master your instrument, know the repertoire written for it, and then audition for the job or the position available at the time.
When I was a student, I was very fortunate to have worked with several outstanding teachers who had themselves sustained long-term professional singing careers and could recognize what I needed to add or to adjust in my overall singing technique.
By contrast, a professional vocal coach generally works with singers who are already trained and have been hired for a specific job. For example, a specific role in an opera or Broadway musical. The coach helps prepare the singer musically and dramatically according to the needs of the production and before they begin working with the Conductor.
Since I do both, much of my work is about preparing singers of all ages and types for all sorts of auditions. I’ve been doing that for over thirty years. Along the way, I have had many clients who do not have career ambitions, do not want to compete for anything, and seldom or never sing in public. For these folks, singing is the best therapy in the world. And they are comfortable doing it in front of me. But, it’s still about the vocal category. In other words, high tenors don’t sing the same roles as a baritone and basses will never own a marketable High C.
Your concerns may not be as complex as what I have just outlined.
For the witness, the audience -- a voice that is “easy on the ears” is better than one that’s not. Right?
Not everyone who wants to sing better is driven to pursue a career. But here are some points to consider in order to gradually improve the sound of your voice -- as in, the way you deliver a song -- from what it is right now:
1. You have to sing on pitch. Your tones must be in harmony with the instrumentalists who accompany you or with other singers who might surround you.
2. Your lyrics and message must be understood. If we’re wondering what you just said or can’t figure out what the song is about, then it doesn’t matter how pretty your voice might be.
3. Record yourself. Sing what you love. Don't be afraid to listen to your own voice. Recognize and describe the things you want or need to improve.
Having a pleasing voice is about all of the above and a whole lot more.
Like anything else, you have to be willing to work at it to make it better.
I work with singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Check out my website, FabulousFilmSong.com – http://www.fabulousfilmsongs.com/
I'm also a music critic for HuffingtonPost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-martinfield
When you get to San Francisco and want to make an appointment, contact me at: BroadwayBelters@yahoo.com. I am also available for sessions on Skype.
Below are links to my recent articles and interviews:
Program 3 at San Francisco Ballet – Heartaches by the number
A Conversation with Organist Paul Jacobs - This Week at Davies Hall
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg Introduces ‘Rita’ by Donizetti
GISELLE – Now at San Francisco Ballet through Sunday, February 2nd
Zuill Bailey Triumphs in New Recording of Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony and Sonata
Launching the Dicterow-DeMaine-Biegel Piano Trio: Old School Genius in the 21st Century
SY SMITH – Just the Thought of You
JEANETTE MacDONALD and The Great American Songbook, Pt. 1 — Close encounters with “Dinah” and “Some of These Days”
Mezzo-Soprano Sasha Cooke: Unmasked at SF Symphony's Masquerade Ball
New on CD: ‘As Long As There Are Songs’, by Stephanie Blythe
A Conversation with Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band
A Conversation with Lucas Meachem - San Francisco Opera’s Barber of Seville
Composer Jake Runestad’s ‘Dreams of the Fallen’ - A Veteran’s Day Happening at the National WWII Museum
Joshua Gersen conducts the San Francisco Symphony in screenings of Hitchcock Classics, 10/30--11/2
Organist Todd Wilson plays ‘The Lodger’ (1927) at Davies Symphony Hall, Halloween Night
GREG FEDDERLY – A Comprimario Tenor Extraordinaire
Olivier Latry – Organist at Notre Dame de Paris, at Davies Hall, 10/12
A Conversation with Soprano Alexandra Silber – This week at Feinstein’s, 10/11-12
SF Jazz Center Goes Baroque - A Conversation with Countertenor David Daniels
Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne—A Daring World Premiere at San Francisco Opera
San Francisco Opera Opens 2013 Season with Boito’s “Mephistopheles”
Introducing Cheyenne Jackson and Alexandra Silber as San Francisco Symphony’s Tony & Maria in “West Side Story”
THE GERSHWINS AND ME – A Conversation with Michael Feinstein
A Conversation with Ted Neeley, Hollywood’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
Lawrence Brownlee—On ‘Carmina Burana’, with the SFSymphony—Tuesday, July 30th
On “The Joyless Street” at the Silent Film Festival—An Interview with Matti Bye
Nathan Gunn Is ‘Yeshua’ in San Francisco Opera’s “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene”
Natalie Dessay on ‘Becoming Traviata’—French Soprano bids ‘Adieu’ to opera stage
‘A Grand Romance’—A Spectacular CD from pianist Jeffrey Biegel
Philippe Sly Debuts In 'Cosi fan tutte' at San Francisco Opera
Nicole Henry redefines the '70s with her latest CD, 'So Good, So Right'