Jazz singing lessons falls partly under technique and partly under coaching. Ellie offers a vocal jazz program that incudes both plus a lot of supplemental material for “Semester Students”.
Jazz singing is generally, although certainly not always, a bit more “airy” and less “viocey” than, say muscal theatre or pop belting styles tend to be. Of course pop can be breathy, for sure, it can also be big bod and and super belty. Although jazz vocal sounds will vary with the artist in question, contemporary jazz tends to favour not quite as belty and hard core a sound. Are you the artist to change that? Maybe – and if you want we can work on that!
So aside from the technique required for such sounds, jazz also features a very stylized delivery. The accents within a measure of jazz are much different from the accents in a bar of any other type of music. I think pretty much period. Many people might know that in a swing feel, you accent the upbeat of a pair of eighth notes (dunno what an eighth note is? Don’t sweat it – we gotcha covered). And many people know you also never clap/snap/WhatHaveYou on 1 & 3 in a bar, but on 2 & 4. In swing feel, there is a micro-swing and macro-swing and co-ordinating the two will result in the start of a true jazz swing feel.
Many jazz vocalist and jazz singing students are really upset that they cannot scat. Scat singing is definitely a part of the legacy of jazz singing, but it is super intimidating for many singers, especially those who may have studied classcial music – good as it is for your technique. The first thing that is intimidating is the syllables of scatting. I have a few baseline syllables that I give people that they can stake out as their hoe turf and come back to when they get freaked out. Thes syllables are given because they accentuate and help to learn the swing feel, in addition to getting a scatting sensibility established. Once you get these syllables down and aren’t freaked out by them, we’ll progres into some exercises that get you immprovising. Scatting is almost a rite of passage with singers who enter jazz. To be honest, many jazz singer scat not at all and still sell records. But I know it’s important to people and – even though scatting is used in very small amounts, peppered throughout the sets of most jazz singers, being able to scat for a section or form of a song is something you can incorporate into your set. Some isteners report getting scat fatigue but I think nobody gets tired of hearing Ella scat, so we all find our aristic place using more or less scatting, as it forms our artistic vision for our jazz singing.
The “Semester” jazz program features video supplements – many of the same supplements that the non-jazz singing study courses get because of course we need technique. But there are also videos that supplement the jazz singing program specifically. Some of these topics include:
How to sit in with a band (How do you get up there and – in under 7 seconds – tell a band exactly how you want the song played?)
Musicianship skills – how to start to be able to transpose songs into your “key”, write “charts”, know basic piano/music reading stuff to be able to function in an instrumetnalist’s world. Having an instrumentalist trasnpose your charts is ike $20 a pop for a simple chart. Doing it yourself? Priceless! 😀
Field trips to see jazz and to sit in will take places at least once a month for semester jazz voice class students.