Vocalist, Vocal Coach, Entertainer

Learning Everything in A Song: Vocal Coaching

Ali Washington, Katie Gearty, Connie Olson, Mary Louise Knutson, Andy LaCasse, Greg Schutte, Mike Cramer

Ali Washington, Katie Gearty, Connie Olson, Mary Louise Knutson, Andy LaCasse, Greg Schutte, Mike Cramer

While performing and recording are huge parts of my life, being a vocal coach is one of the most rewarding.  I love every minute of it!

I coach students on an individual basis. I have no set study plan. Voices are not the same, the same is true of expression.

We all have different anatomies that create vocal sounds that are unique to us, our very own voice. So, we can truthfully never sound like anyone else. As our experiences form and shape us in life our communication in delivering a song will also be like no one else. My students pick songs that they like to sing, not songs that I want them to sing, unless they are age inappropriate. We have fun discovering what each song means and why they picked that certain song. I use a karaoke machine so they can use their own CD’s. My machine pitch transposes and “ghosts” out the original vocal track.  So, there is no need to buy karaoke CD’s, they sing with the CD that they are used to singing with, if we need to find a key that works with the individual voice we can, then we begin!

I believe every song we choose to learn has a lesson in it, whether it be pitch, diction, emotion, phrasing, breath control, tone, range, time signature, style, appropriate use of vibrato and then, of course, the meaning of the lyrics and how to deliver them. We learn how to sing softly and strongly. We learn “licks”, which are embellishments on the melody, what ever the style of the song is: Gospel, Soul, R&B, Latin, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Pop or Country..all these styles have their own defining “licks”.  Once the song is worked on the reward is what ever they have been seeking to learn they now know it or have been introduced to it.

Stage presence is very important in a singer’s career. I am proud to say that my students walk out on stage with very little stress and with a confidence I see many others don’t have. Why? because first of all we read the song like a story and then understand the meaning of the song, there is confidence in that. Then we sing the song over and over again until the student has reached a state of relaxation because singing with very little tension will release the true essence of the song. Along with all the other lessons that I mentioned before. This naturalness is very important to stage presence.

I found that when I was a student some of the vocal methods were fun, challenging and rewarding; while others were just confusing and boring,  to the teacher as well as to me.  I choose to teach the fun, challenging and rewarding!  I choose to connect with an audience rather than alienate them.

My intention in coaching my students is to help the individual get in touch with their inner voice or purpose. Singing is a delicate balance of so many variables and to get them to be true expression is a wonderment and a miracle.

The common trait that exists in so many of the great singers like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Doris Day, Bing Crosby, Karen Carpenter, Stevie Wonder and so many others are believability and honesty along with strength and conviction.
Also, knowing what era these performers came from and who influenced them is a historical and respectful knowledge. This is another concept that is imparted..respect for those who came before us.

The depth of understanding that we learn from this process can benefit us in all areas of life, whether it be in school, on stage, in relationships or in the workplace.

I offer one hour coaching sessions in South Minneapolis and my calendar is filling up!

Contact me to get your coaching scheduled!

2 Comments

  1. Janie Says:

    Connie -

    We’re all so lucky to have you in our lives!

    You enrich your students not only with great vocal coaching, but by being such a wonderful soul. Any experienced singer can teach breath, and pitch and projection, but you also teach invaluable life lessons like self confidence, intuition, listening, body language, etc.—the kind of lessons that will enrich them in every part of their lives.

    Brava!
    Janie

  2. Connie Olson Says:

    All my Best to my students!
    Rebecca Fogel
    Freyja Hafner
    Sally Leder
    Alix Noonan
    Anna Wright



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