Friday, August 8, 2014

Stage One - Vocal Technique

Lisa Carrier demonstrates proper vocal technique to
Stage One Students
 We are wrapping up the first week of Stage One here at Signature Theatre this summer and with the close of the first half of the workshop comes one more master class. Our final master class focused on proper vocal technique and presentation and was led by the incomparable Lisa Carrier Baker.
Jacob gets a few pointers from Lisa on his
prepared 16 bars.

An acclaimed vocal teacher and performer, Lisa spent three seasons as Artist in Residence with the Fletcher Opera Institute at North Carolina School of the Arts. From 2009 to 2011, Lisa served as both Director of Education at the Musical Theatre Center (now Adventure Theatre MTC) and continues as Director of Ensembles. She has performed on several national tours including La Boheme (Musetta) and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Anne). Other performance credits include: Ohio Light Opera: Christopher Columbus (Gretel – American Premiere); Lyric Theatre: Follies (Young Sally), Singin’ in the Rain (Zelda Zanders), Dames at Sea (Mona). Some of her Washington DC credits include: Kennedy Center: TThe Emperor’s New Clothes (Reyalto), several Page to Stage Festivals; American Century Theatre: Dear World (Nina); Washington Savoyards: The Mikado (Yum Yum); Toby’s Dinner Theatre: The Sound of Music (Mother Abbess); Ganymede Arts: Falsetto’s (Trina.) 

Lisa explains how to captivate an audience
and act a song.
Lisa is an adjunct professor of voice at American University and Montgomery College. Her students can be heard on Broadway stages, national tours, and are local Helen Hayes award winners and nominees. 

During her master class, Lisa observed several students cuttings of audition songs. After observing each short performances, Lisa offered up advice and exercises to help each individual student. The advice ranged from different physical exercises to directing the students' sound to visualization and association to helping find purpose and connection to the songs. 

One of the main points that Lisa helped get across to the students was finding relatability and connection to a song. A person might be singing about the biggest and saddest moment of their life in the context of the show, and that is all very well and good but not everyone has had that same giant, sad moment in their life. For instance, in Show Boat, the song "Make Believe" is about falling in love and admitting one's feelings for another person. Not everyone has had colossal conflicting feelings like this before. So, perhaps instead of using the image and idea of admitting love for another person use something you do love. Does the performer love pizza and peanut butter? Then sing about admitting your love for pizza and peanut butter. Keep the lyrics but alter your connection to the feelings expressed in the song.

Bryan sings a cut of "Santa Fe" from Newsies after receiving
a bit of direction from Lisa.
On Twitter? Follow Stage One at #SigStageOne


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