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A vocal coach, also known as a voice coach (though this term often applies to those working with speech and communication rather than singing) is a music teacher, usually a piano accompanist, who helps singers prepare for a performance, often also helping them to improve their singing technique and take care of and develop their voice, but is not the same as a singing teacher (also called a "voice teacher"). Vocal coaches may give private music lessons or group workshops or masterclasses to singers. They may also coach singers who are rehearsing on stage, or who are singing during a recording session. Vocal coaches are used in both Classical music and in popular music styles such as rock and gospel. While some vocal coaches provide a range of instruction on singing techniques, others specialize in areas such as breathing techniques or diction and pronunciation.
Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, rhythm, and a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a singer or vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung with or without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is often done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, jazz, blues, gazal and popular music styles such as pop, rock, electronic dance music and filmi.
A voice teacher or singing teacher is a musical instructor who assists adults and children in the development of their abilities in singing.
Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820, this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period. The major time divisions of Western art music are as follows:
A vocal coach is sometimes responsible for writing and producing vocal arrangements for four-part harmony for backup vocalists or helping to develop counter melodies for a secondary vocalist. Some vocal coaches may also advise singers or bands on lyric-writing for a music production. Some critics allege that in some cases where popular music recordings credit a singer for work as a vocal coach during a recording, this may be a subtle way of acknowledging a ghostwriting role, in which the coach writes lyrics for a singer-songwriter or rapper.
The term "four-part harmony" refers to music written for four voices or for some other musical medium—four musical instruments or a single keyboard instrument, for example—where the various musical parts can give a different note for each chord of the music.
In the 2000s, the increasing use of recording software which contains vocal processing algorithms and digital pitch correction devices is replacing some of the roles of the vocal coach. In the 1970s, if a producer wanted to record a single with a popular sports star with few vocal skills, the celebrity would need weeks of vocal coaching to learn their song and improve their tone and diction. In the 2000s, the vocals are often processed through pitch correction software instead, and rhythm can be corrected with Pro Tools. This enables 2000s-era producers and audio engineers to in order to make an untrained performer's singing sound closer to that of a trained vocalist.
The training and education of vocal coaches vary widely. Many vocal coaches are former or current professional singers. Some vocal coaches have extensive formal training, such as a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Music, a Conservatory diploma, or degrees in related areas such as foreign languages or diplomas in human kinetics, posture techniques, or breathing methods. On the other hand, some vocal coaches may have little formal training, and so they rely on their extensive experience as a performer. For example, a native German language speaker who moves to the US may begin providing German diction coaching to amateur vocal students, and over several decades, this vocal coach may develop a broad range of on-the-job experience in coaching German-language singing styles such as lieder and Wagnerian opera.
Vocal coaches may also come to their profession through other routes, such as related musical professions or from other fields. Some vocal coaches, for example, are rehearsal pianists with decades of experience accompanying singers, or former or current choral, music theater, or symphony conductors. More rarely, vocal coaches may come to the profession from a non-musical route. For example, a specialist in Alexander Technique, yoga, or medical aspects of the throat and vocal cords may begin to specialize in coaching and training singers.
The Alexander Technique, named after its creator Frederick Matthias Alexander, is an educational process that was created to retrain habitual patterns of movement and posture. Alexander believed that poor habits in posture and movement damaged spatial self-awareness as well as health, and that movement efficiency could support overall physical well-being. He saw the technique as a mental training technique as well.
Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The term "yoga" in the Western world often denotes a modern form of Hatha yoga, consisting largely of the postures called asanas.
The vocal coaching field is competitive, especially at the highest professional levels. Salaries vary greatly, as do the conditions of work. While a small number of top vocal coaches can command very high hourly or daily rates, most vocal coaches, like most other music and arts professionals, tend to have salaries which are below the average for other professions which require a similar amount of education and experience, such as economists or bank managers. The work conditions vary widely, from part-time or occasional freelance work for individual singers, opera companies, or record companies, to full-time contracts or multi-year jobs for universities (coaching vocal performance students and students in opera courses) or music theater companies.
While vocal coaches use many different techniques to teach singing, they will usually instruct students in one or more of the following methods:
A barbershop quartet is a group of four singers who sing music in the barbershop genre of singing, which uses four-part harmony without accompaniment by any instruments such as piano, a style called a cappella. It consists of a lead, the vocal part which generally carries the tune/melody; a bass, the part which provides the bass line to the melody; a tenor, the part which harmonizes above the lead; and a baritone, the part that completes the chord with the note not being sung by the lead, bass, or tenor singers. The baritone can sing either above or below the lead singer.
A recording studio is a specialized facility for sound recording, mixing, and audio production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words, and other sounds. They range in size from a small in-home project studio large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties.
A microphone, colloquially nicknamed mic or mike, is a transducer that converts sound into an electrical signal.
Within the community of voice teachers, there has been some debate about the terms "vocal coach" and "voice teacher".
While many believe the terms are synonymous, some professionals in the music community hold that the terms have slightly different meanings.
The terms "voice teacher" and "singing teacher" are most often used to refer to a teacher that has been educated and instructs vocal pedagogy, while a vocal coach may not possess the same education level.
In universities, for example, it would be rare to have a professor of voice refer to themselves as a vocal coach, even though they may teach private lessons.
Additionally, the term "voice teacher" or "singing teacher" normally refers to an instructor whose main role is developing the singing voice. The term "vocal coach", on the other hand, may be appropriated by someone who works on stage performance, vocal style or a host of other subjects that are related to voice, but not necessarily teach singing.
Karaoke is a form of interactive entertainment or video game developed in Japan in which an amateur singer sings along with recorded music using a microphone. The music is usually an instrumental version of a well-known popular song. Lyrics are usually displayed on a video screen, along with a moving symbol, changing color, or music video images, to guide the singer. In several Asian countries such as China, Cambodia or the Philippines, a karaoke box is called a KTV. The global karaoke market has been estimated to be worth nearly $10 billion.
Music lessons are a type of formal instruction in playing a musical instrument or singing. Typically, a student taking music lessons meets a music teacher for one-on-one training sessions ranging from 30 minutes to one hour in length over a period of weeks or years. For vocal lessons, teachers show students how to sit or stand and breathe, and how to position the head, chest, and mouth for good vocal tone. For instrument lessons, teachers show students how to sit or stand with the instrument, how to hold the instrument, and how to manipulate the fingers and other body parts to produce tones and sounds from the instrument. Music teachers also assign technical exercises, musical pieces, and other activities to help the students improve their musical skills. While most music lessons are one-on-one (private), some teachers also teach groups of two to four students, and, for very basic instruction, some instruments are taught in large group lessons, such as piano and acoustic guitar. Since the widespread availability of high speed. low latency Internet, private lessons can also take place through live video chat using webcams, microphones and videotelephony online.
Multitrack recording (MTR)—also known as multitracking, double tracking, or tracking—is a method of sound recording developed in 1955 that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources or of sound sources recorded at different times to create a cohesive whole. Multitracking became possible in the mid-1950s when the idea of simultaneously recording different audio channels to separate discrete "tracks" on the same reel-to-reel tape was developed. A "track" was simply a different channel recorded to its own discrete area on the tape whereby their relative sequence of recorded events would be preserved, and playback would be simultaneous or synchronized.
Accompaniment is the musical part which provides the rhythmic and/or harmonic support for the melody or main themes of a song or instrumental piece. There are many different styles and types of accompaniment in different genres and styles of music. In homophonic music, the main accompaniment approach used in popular music, a clear vocal melody is supported by subordinate chords. In popular music and traditional music, the accompaniment parts typically provide the "beat" for the music and outline the chord progression of the song or instrumental piece.
Vocal range is the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can phonate. Its most common application is within the context of singing, where it is used as a defining characteristic for classifying singing voices into groups known as voice types. It is also a topic of study within linguistics, phonetics, and speech and language pathology, particularly in relation to the study of tonal languages and certain types of vocal disorders, although it has little practical application in terms of speech.
Lip sync is a technical term for matching a speaking or singing person's lip movements with prerecorded sung or spoken vocals that listeners hear, either through the sound reinforcement system in a live performance or via television, computer, cinema speakers, or generally anything with audio output in other cases. The term can refer to any of a number of different techniques and processes, in the context of live performances and audiovisual recordings.
Overdubbing is a technique used in audio recording, whereby a musical passage is recorded two or more times. This practice can be found with singers, as well as with instruments, or ensembles/orchestras.
Pitch correction is an electronic effects unit or audio software that changes the intonation of an audio signal so that all pitches will be notes from the equally tempered system. Pitch correction devices do this without affecting other aspects of its sound. Pitch correction first detects the pitch of an audio signal, then calculates the desired change and modifies the audio signal accordingly. The widest use of pitch corrector devices is in Western popular music on vocal lines.
Vocal jazz or jazz singing is an instrumental approach to the voice, where the singer can match the instruments in their stylistic approach to the lyrics, improvised or otherwise, or through scat singing; that is, the use of non-morphemic syllables to imitate the sound of instruments.
A vocal warm-up is a series of exercises meant to prepare the voice for singing, acting, or other use.
Vocal pedagogy is the study of the art and science of voice instruction. It is used in the teaching of singing and assists in defining what singing is, how singing works, and how proper singing technique is accomplished.
Vincenzo Antonio Manno was an American tenor opera singer and voice teacher. He was of Italian descent.
This is a list of jazz and popular music terms that are likely to be encountered in printed popular music songbooks, fake books and vocal scores, big band scores, jazz, and rock concert reviews, and album liner notes. This glossary includes terms for musical instruments, playing or singing techniques, amplifiers, effects units, sound reinforcement equipment, and recording gear and techniques which are widely used in jazz and popular music. Most of the terms are in English, but in some cases, terms from other languages are encountered.
John Douglas was an American conductor, voice teacher, vocal coach, and accompanist.
Spill is the occurrence in sound recording and live sound mixing whereby sound is picked up by a microphone from a source other than that which is intended. Spill is usually seen as a problem, and various steps are taken to avoid it or reduce it. In some styles of music, such as orchestral music, jazz, and blues, it is more likely to be accepted or even seen as desirable.
Complete Vocal Institute is an educational institution, located at Kultorvet in Copenhagen. The Institute was opened in 2005 and uses a teaching method called Complete Vocal Technique, which was developed by singer and voice researcher Cathrine Sadolin. CVI educates professionals and semi-professional singers and teachers and there are ongoing about 250 singers (2012) associated with the longer courses.
Beverley Peck Johnson was an American voice teacher, soprano, and pianist who taught on the faculties of several institutions, including the Juilliard School. Her pupils included several prominent opera singers, actors, and entertainers, including sopranos Renée Fleming, Renata Tebaldi, Anna Moffo, tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, and actors Madeline Kahn, Kevin Kline, and Constance Towers among others. Music critic Anthony Tommasini wrote that "Johnson was particularly valued by students for a keen ability to find individual solutions to their problems."