Advertisements

VOCAL MASTER CLASS: TOP 11 AMERICAN IDOL 5 FINALISTS: CELEBRATING THE FIFTIES WITH BARRY MANILOW


BY: ROSANNE SIMUNOVIC

Good day or evening Idol fans. Hope you all had a great week. It’s still pretty cold up here at the North Pole – all the more reason to cuddle up and enjoy another Idol week with our Top 11.

This week, we celebrated and showcased the great catalogue of songs from the 50’s with a special focus on the overwhelming success of top selling CD, Songs From the Fifties.Barry Manilow’s Greatest Hits Of The Fifties CD. I have to say that I was more than thoroughly impressed with Barry Manilow’s coaching methods when working with these young singers. He is truly a natural and demands and expects the best from the singers and the instrumentalists. These singers blossomed under Barry’s guidance and he has given them a wealth of performing knowledge that they will carry with them for the rest of their professional lives.

To quickly access individual singers, simply click on the singer’s link below and, voila, with the touch of a click, you will be forwarded to your favorite singer’s link! Enjoy and please let me know what you think!

Or come and visit my page (a work in progress) on MySpace.Com.

Ace Young, Bucky Covington, Chris Daughtry,

Elliot Yamin, Katharine McPhee Kellie Pickler,

Kevin Covais, Lisa Tucker , Mandisa,

Paris Bennett, Taylor Hicks

Ace Young    “In The Still Of The Night” originally performed by The Five Satins

Strengths: Ace – I love this song and it perfectly suited your voice. I have heard this jazzy version on a previous occasion, actually sung by an exceptional Canadian a cappella group called The Essentials. Having said that, you more than did justice to the solo version of this song. Your voice sounded more resonant this week; it had a significant presence that was conspicuously absent during last week’s showcase. The slower pace of the song, coupled with the expertise you gained from being coached by the phenomenal Barry Manilow, really assisted you in achieving a more confident and secure vocal performance.

Throughout this number, you maintained that ever important sustaining element on the pure vowels and, as a result, we were able to enjoy the natural beauty of your vocal timbre. Gone was the breathy singing from last week’s showcase. Slower song selections always assist a singer to secure all the important technical elements necessary to achieve a confident and secure vocal sound. Additionally, I was admiring your control and concentration throughout the number, allowing the communicative elements of this song to really ring true. This is so important, you know. When a singer truly concentrates on the meaning of the lyrics and internalizes the overall emotion of a song, then, miraculously, the voice develops a new energy and focus.

Your phrasing throughout this song was very good – very musical. I love that the song had a forward momentum, a sense of flow throughout this performance. This is very important, as it assists you with the breathing element, allowing you to manage your air more efficiently and musically.

And that beautifully sustained falsetto (head tone) note at the end of your performance was stellar. However, I noticed in the recap clip, filmed during the rehearsal, that you actually carried the final phrase in one breath and this was even more impressive. However, even though you changed the breathing pattern during the live performance, you did so in a professional and unobtrusive manner, emphasizing your high level of preparation for this week’s performance. Additionally, I felt that your natural ability to sing effortlessly throughout your head tone range was transferred to the lower part of your range, resulting in a more resonant vocal presence throughout this song.

Again you conveyed a wonderful charisma during your Top 11 performance this week. You were a vulnerable and genuine presence on the stage this week. Excellent work Ace! Bravo!

Critique: Ace – as I said last week, continue to make certain that
the head tone element is incorporated into every area of your vocal range. It adds a bright, pure, pitch perfect quality to a singer’s voice and allows the voice to maintain a seamless quality throughout all the vocal registers. The slower pace of this song allowed you to do this. Now make certain that you implement this ingredient when you sing your faster paced songs

Also, be very careful with the nasty diphthongs- those words that have more than one vowel in the syllabic content. You must make certain that you are sustaining your voice on one pure vowel; this allows you to achieve a pure, pitch centered quality to your voice throughout your vocal range.

This song has many pitfalls in this respect because of the diphthong in the word “night”. When pronounced slowly, it pronounced as n –ah –eye-eet. Singers learn – sooner than later – to sustain their vocal sound on the first vowel in a diphthong, in this case the “ah” vowel. It is akin to the British way of pronouncing words and makes such a huge difference in your vocal timbre.

Additionally, make certain that you maintain a circular mouth position on all your vowels, especially through the diphthong encountered in the words “night” and “tight”. Filter out the pure sound and you will maintain a ringing presence to your vocal sound that will project more efficiently to your audience.

Great work this week, Ace. You really earned that coveted final spot in the Top 11 showcase. Bravo!
Back to Top

Bucky Covington     “Oh Boy! ” originally performed by Buddy Holly

Strengths: Bucky – I loved watching the great Barry Manilow coach you through this great song selection! His arranging skills really gave this song more vocal punch and vitality. Additionally, his expertise in evaluating your vocal skills allowed you to achieve a higher level of performance this week.

I loved the percussive opening at the beginning of this number. It was an ongoing and necessary musical characteristic throughout this song and really enhanced the overall showcase this week. The percussion energized you, Bucky, and encouraged you to have fun on the Idol stage.

You have a very unique quality to your voice, even though the raspy timbre does worry me in the long run. However, your pitch, despite the raspy quality, is very good – sort of similar to what we hear when Rod Stewart sings. This was evident when you navigated the key change with ease and effortlessness. It indicates that you have an excellent ear when it comes to hearing your melodic lines with pitch perfect clarity.

Additionally, your energy and enthusiasm on the stage this week was quite infectious. That microphone juggling was the bomb; it’s all in the performance and perform you did! You strike me as being a very earnest and sincere singer, who has respect for his audience and his peers. This translates so beautifully across the television screen. You have a wonderful and embracing demeanor that naturally endears you to the audience. Congratulations in an improved performance this week, Bucky!

Critique: Bucky, as I said last week, your lack of technique really concerns me. Without knowing your background, I have to wonder: “Are you or were you a smoker?” “When did this raspy quality introduce itself to your career as a singer?”

That being said, many singers have had exemplary careers with raspy voices, such as the aforementioned Rod Stewart and Kenny Rogers. It does add a distinctive timbre to a performer’s voice; however, you want to make certain that all the technical elements are in place.

You need to truly work on slow and sustained melodic songs that allow you to really access your diaphragmatic breathing muscles in a consistent and secure manner. Additionally, you must make certain that your voice is resonating in your vocal masque (your face), on the pure vowel. This will allow you to relax any tension in your throat that is presently inhibiting your vocal cords from vibrating naturally and freely.

I would love to hear you sing a ballad, Bucky. Not only would it allow you to increase the level of your technical security, but also it would add a varied dimension to your vocal performances. That being said, the improvement this week, albeit with another up-tempo song, was fantastic. Your performance had a professional feel that was conspicuously absent last week, so I applaud you and Barry Manilow for taking your artistry to another level. Bravo!

Back to Top

Chris Daughtry     “I Walk The Line” originally written and performed by Johnny Cash

Strengths: Chris –as my daughter said, this was a very cool number – in a dark sort of way. Her comment made me stop and laugh, but, in all sincerity, this was an inspired arrangement. Who was the genius then – you or Barry? It seems that I have heard this arrangement before, but, for the life of me, I cannot zero in on the performer who originated this arrangement. So, if any readers can enlighten me I would be very grateful. It just goes to show that even the simplest of songs can be arranged to sound complex and interesting. This particular arrangement spoke to who you are as a performer and an artist. It was truly brilliant.

Once again, you added a distinctive rock energy to this country number and your voice had a great muscular quality in the mid to upper register. Your timbre in this part of your vocal range is fantastic – rich and resonant. I just love it. You seem to be really adhering your vocal sound to those pure vowels and this important technique will further develop and shape your vocal talent in the coming weeks.

Additionally you were a very believable presence on the stage and just a joy to watch. You have a very accommodating personality that naturally endears you to the audience. I felt that the communicative aspects of your performance this week were more believable! It seemed that the arrangement challenged you to deliver more dimension and depth in your performance. Sometimes, that’s all it takes – that and a little Manilow magic, huh? Excellent work, Chris.

Critique: Well, this week you reduced the tempo of your song selection and this allowed you to work at sustaining your voice in a more consistent manner. Generally, the technique improved as the song progressed. However, you ran into problems in the opening refrain of this number – where you were struggling to project and tune your lower register voice. Your lack of technique and implementation of pure head tone quality in this area of your voice resulted in a poorly tuned and shaky beginning.

Always remember, Chris, that your lower register needs to be anchored with the diaphragmatic breath support that is so obviously present in your upper register. When you do not follow this rule, then the voice becomes inaudible and poorly tuned and has a throaty quality that unfavorably distinguishes it from your mid and upper range. Every singer must try to achieve an even vocal quality from top to bottom. Dig into that lower voice – from the diaphragm – and resonate this area of your voice in the lower half of your vocal masque. You will notice a huge difference, but it does take practice until you get it just right.

Additionally, try to remember not to raise your head when moving into your upper range. Not only does this cause extra strain and tension in your upper body, but also it disconnects you from maintaining proper eye contact with your television and live audiences. Visualize yourself going down the stairs, not up, when you ascend in range and access your back muscles and buttocks to secure all of the breathing muscles associated with the correct diaphragmatic support.

Bravo Chris! A very memorable performance.
Back to Top

Elliot Yamin     ” Teach Me Tonight” originally performed by Al Jarreau

Strengths: Elliot–last week I spoke of freeing up your body language so as to better communicate the lyrical content of your music. Therefore, I was happy to see that Barry Manilow worked studiously with you to improve on this very important aspect of song performance. This week I enjoyed Elliot the performer, not just Elliot the vocalist. It was miles above last week’s showcase, so you must feel very proud that your hard work and discipline paid off in spades.

You had a wonderfully free style when you sang this song and you truly strived to bring some personality and style to this great number. This song, like many of the songs from this era of music, relies on the interconnected delivery of the music and lyrics. So, kudos on taking such a giant leap forward in this aspect of vocal performance

Additionally, I have great respect for your ability to maintain a circular mouth position throughout your song, allowing a cohesive and sustained approach to the pure vowels. This is what augments the natural beauty in your voice, as this bel canto technique filters out the extraneous vibrations and allows for the production of a ringing and pitch centered vocal sound.

Excellent improvement this week, Elliott!

Critique: Elliot – last weekI cautioned you to avoid raising your head when you sing, especially as you moved into the upper register of your voice. This technical flaw not only challenged the proper technical approach, but also diminished valuable eye contact with your television and lives audience. This proved to be problematic once again this week, so make certain that you are working in front of a mirror to eliminate this vocally counter-productive habit

Also, when you vocalized your melismas (riffs, runs), you encountered some technical deficiencies and, therefore, your melismas suffered from a lack of technical control. Your pitch wavered and, at times, the notes within the runs were vocalized in a rushed and hurried manner. Even though you are singing pop music, you must practice these runs as a classical artist would practice his or her classical scales – making sure that each and every note is being produced through consistent diaphragmatic support. Without this technical basis, this vocal element will lose control and no singer should depend on the natural voice to manipulate this very tricky element of vocal performance. It’s like walking a tight wire, without the net – very risky.

Finally, as I said in the Strengths portion of this critique, your communicative skills really improved this week. However, because you were working on your performing skills – and this is a plus, by the way – I felt that your voice suffered slightly. This is what happens when you are juggling the two elements of vocal performance. You appeared to be singing a bit out of your comfort zone, but that’s okay. At some point, the two will mesh perfectly and you will be a more polished singer in the end. So keep at it Elliot. You have a remarkable vocal gift that will only improve with time and effort! Bravo!
Back to Top

Katharine McPhee     “Come Rain Or Come Shine”

Strengths:
Katharine –there are not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe how outstanding your performance was this week. First of all, you were a radiant presence on that stage, exuding a natural and genuine star quality. Stylistically, you absolutely scored a Perfect 10. You added just enough stage movement to involve your audience without detracting from the difficult but beautiful vocal line of this melody.

I loved how you opened – your back to the audience, followed by a slow turn to your audience and then continuing in this vein, conveying a sultry and sexy demeanor that complimented the emotional intent of this song. You thankfully added a variety of nuances and, in doing so, took this song to the highest level possible. The segue into the more passionate and up-tempo portion of this song was maneuvered skillfully and smoothly- like a seasoned professional. You integrated great stage skills – from the rhythmically sophisticated walking from one end of the stage to the other, to your ever so refined arm gestures.

Oh, and by the way, you have the perfect singer’s posture. You carried your rib cage very high and nicely expanded and this allowed you to access your diaphragmatic muscles easily and consistently. Additionally, your exemplary posture emphasized a very confident and star like demeanor on that Idol stage. Additionally, I appreciated your inclusion of a few melodic variations on the original melody – just enough to emphasize your inherent creativity and musicality.

This was a polished performance from start to finish and the voice was beautifully radiant and resonant throughout. As Simon said: A star was born this week and her name is Katharine. Kudos and Brava!

Critique: Katharine – last week I cautioned you to be ever so careful that you do not carry your chest voice in large quantities into your upper “head tone” range. This was not problematic in this week’s performance as you generally blended the head and chest voice just beautifully. However, a couple of times, you were walking a bit of a fine line, so just make certain that you consciously eliminate any area of tension in your neck muscles. Always make certain that the voice is produced – especially in your dynamically louder passages – through the use of the proper diaphragmatic breath support. And keep that mouth round and shape those vowels in a circular fashion, relaxing the jaw.

However, these are fine points – albeit important points. Overall this was, for me, the performance of the evening.
Back to Top

Kellie Pickler     “Walking After Midnight” originally performed by Patsy Cline

Strengths: Kellie – now this was a super song selection for you. And, like Patsy Cline, you have a naturally bright and ringing vocal timbre that complimented the lyrical message in this song. Through Mr. Manilow’s coaching, you conveyed a sultry, smoking presence on stage and I was happy to see you utilizing not just the main stage but also the secondary stage in the audience. Good call. You have confidence and bravado and spunk and I like that.

Your voice gained a renewed sense of energy and presence through this song selection and you were producing the vocal sound in a technically more efficient manner. That ringing purity remained a constant this week, unlike last week’s performance. It just goes to show that song selection can accentuate a higher degree of confidence and charisma in a singer’s performance, so good for you in making certain that the song selection was suitable to your unique talent.

Even though this is a country song, your sustained vowels were actually quite pure and focused. Sometimes, in this style of music, you can fall into the trap of messy diphthongs, which eliminate the transparency of the natural voice. Your southern accent – that ubiquitous ahdrawl – may actually accentuate this important technique. I always tell my singers to retain a little bit of the ah vowel when enunciating every vowel. It adds a rich and consistently even vocal timbre when you sing. Whatever the reason, your voice sounded vibrant and rich throughout the performance. There was not a tentative bone in your body. You went out on stage and “gave her”! Good for you. Brava!

Critique: So many problems from last week’s performance went up in smoke. Although this was not the most challenging song of the evening, you stayed within your comfort zone and allowed you vocal abilities to shine in a way that was familiar to you. Good for you.

Now you have to learn to sing a ballad with the same kind of intensity that you bring to your up-tempo songs. This is where you will bring your technique to a whole other level and really challenge the capabilities of your vocal range. Presently, you have a one- dimensional sound to your voice and I am not hearing enough nuance in your dynamic range. It will take a great deal of practice, for sure, but is necessary if you want to grow as an artist. Good luck Kellie.!
Back to Top

Kevin Covais     “When I Fall In Love”

Strengths: Kevin- everything that was wrong in last week’s performance was ever so right this week. I mentioned that you needed to relax the classical approach when singing in the pop genre and this element is never more important than in the meaningful interpretation of music from the 50’s

Therefore, I was very happy to see that Barry coached you in this direction and, I tell you, it paid off in spades. This week you were feeling the lyrics, not just singing a string of words. Big difference! You relaxed the classical approach and yet made sure that the technical elements were still enhancing your vocal sound. This is how you apply the classical technique to the pop style of singing. I also noticed that you relaxed the consonants, as I indicated in the critique section last week and the result was a more appropriate approach in conveying the clarity of the text. When you feel the words, they become naturally coherent to your audience. It’s as simple as that.

I loved you stage technique as well – from the opening sequence where you were seated on the stage to the relaxed standing position, with your hand in your pocket. The latter is a wonderful technique to assist a singer in relaxation and to convey a confident yet tranquil stage demeanor.

Also, you navigated the key change with pitch perfect clarity, a result of good support combined with pure vowel placement in your vocal masque. Your eyes were more open and expressive this week and you utilized the bending of the knees to assist you with your upper range – again all nifty little technical tricks to encourage the proper diaphragmatic support and vocal projection. Additionally, the nasal tone wasn’t as conspicuous this week, probably due in part to the more relaxed approach to your singing style.

This was a heart rending and sincere performance Kevin. Bravo on a job well done.

Critique: Kevin, I have so very little to critique this week, as so many of your problems from the previous week disappeared. However, now we need to see you transfer all the important stylistic elements in the interpretation of this ballad to the successful performance of an up tempo number.

You need to take all of this new found knowledge and really work at developing the stage skills necessary to perform an up beat number – communication, audience participation, pacing(very important) and dynamic range. Let’s hope you stay on the same track in your future performances. Best of luck, Kevin
Back to Top

Lisa Tucker:     “Why Do Fools Fall In Love ”

Strengths: Lisa – I said last week you were a little spitfire and I’ll say it again! You have such determination when you perform. Four key changes in one song? You go girl. I thought you managed these key changes brilliantly and brought a wealth of technical experience to this performance

I particularly appreciated your sustaining ability on the pure vowel in the word “I”. As you sang your scale passages, you stayed clearly focused on the “Ah” vowel in this diphthong and, as a result, your pitch was generally perfectly centered and your voice properly focused and supported throughout the scale passages.

I loved your playful stage gestures; they were natural and communicative and complimented the playful and jovial nature of this song. You have a believable stage charisma, Lisa, which will carry you very far in the music world.

Congratulations on a wonderful performance!

Critique: Well, we ran into some problems in this number, mainly due to the challenging and energetic nature of this song. This song requires so much energy and so much concentration that if the nerves become an issue then important vocal elements are compromised.

As I said above, you generally negotiated the scale passages extremely well. However, you ran into difficulty along the way, particularly when you moved through the key changes. You, thankfully, have a solid technical basis that allows you to avoid serious vocal pitfalls. So never abandoned the security of a really good voice teacher. Your voice is still developing and will only become more mature and sophisticated with time.

However, you carried too much chest voice into your upper register and, as a result, you ran into some pitch problems along the way. When there is an absence of head tone, then the sound tends to become strained and reedy, resulting in a less than pure vocal timbre. Consequently, the pitch is not centered. I have to say, however, that you stayed pretty true to your circular mouth position and I applaud you for this. Just remember to relax the chest voice in your upper register.

As I have emphasized to so many singers, make certain that you always practice your up-tempo songs at a snail’s pace so that you can isolate the areas in the song that are problematic and then correct them. There is nothing like slow, methodical practice – it affords the singer a sense of control over every aspect of his or her song and, additionally, it is thoroughly relaxing. I like to call it vocal yoga!

Hope this helps Lisa. You have so much talent. This is only the beginning! Brava!<br.
Back to Top

Mandisa:     “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” originally performed by Dinah Washington

Strengths: Mandisa –this was an absolutely brilliant showcase this week. From the sultry opening to the passionately dynamic ending, this performance was first class all the way, baby! You had a very hot look tonight – a great compliment to your sizzling performance.

The nuances you employed throughout this song were exceptional. I loved the soft sultry beginning, one that exposed the beautiful head tone quality in your voice. I am always a happy camper when I hear a singer expose this ringing element in his or her voice, as it is such an important component to integrate through every part of a singer’s vocal register. I also loved your “come hither” look at the beginning of this song. You looked radiant and relaxed and in total control of your vocal projection.

Then, the slow, passionate buildup! This is what I mean when I implore other singers to explore the importance of adding dynamic contrast in their song performances. Mandisa, you took Barry Manilow’s advice and catapulted this song to another level. In the middle section of this song, your vocal sound became more intense, more passionate, contrasting beautifully with the subtle opening strains.

Additionally, the more relaxed opening, followed by a progressive build in dynamic levels allowed you to beautifully pace this song. As a result, you never lost technical control of the music, because you didn’t mentallyrush the vocal and dynamic process. This is such an important attribute in the success of a singer’s performance – you have to ease into the song, even if it is an up-tempo number. If this rule is not followed, the song tends to “run away” from the singer, like a car without brakes.

Additionally, your voice sounded more resonant in the lower part of your range and this was not the case last week. It appeared that you were really anchoring your vocal sound with proper diaphragmatic breath support and we were thankfully left with a beautiful seamless sound from top to bottom.

This was a stellar performance, Mandisa, and the applause and cheers from the live audience were indicative of your successful showcase this week. Brava and Kudos!

Critique: Mandisa- this was indeed an impressive performance and I can barely find anything to critique. However, I would like to caution you, as I do with so many of the other singers, to make certain that you do not carry too much chest voice into your upper range. There were a couple of spots in this week’s performance that I felt that you were overdoing the chest voice in your higher range, especially in the execution of your melismas.

When you sing this quick, scale like passages, you need to employ more head tone, making certain that the diaphragmatic muscles are supporting each and every note in the scale. Not doing so will result in a tense and poorly pitched vocal sound. The head tone adds a pitch-centered security to your voice, a ringing brilliance that cannot be achieved solely with chest voice. Practice these melismas slowly, allowing your muscles to fully support each and every note on the pure vowel. You will gain an additional sense of security knowing that your rib cage muscles are controlling the total projection of your vocal sound.

However, I congratulate you on a fantastic showcase Mandisa and I look forward to hearing you sing next week!
Back to Top

Paris Bennett:     “Fever” originally performed by Peggy Lee

Strengths: Paris – this was indeed a different take from Peggy Lee’s cool version of the same song. However, there have been so many covers of this song over the years and I have to say I prefer the hot, nuanced approach you adopted in this week’s performance. It has a more creative spark that is so necessary in this repetitive but great jazz classic.

You as well embraced a nice, easygoing, sultry beginning to this number and this approach was absolutely correct. You want to have a slow and measured build into the more passionate verses later on in this number. The difficulty with this number lies in the simplicity of the melodic line; the singer has to really study the lyrics and insulate the emotional soul of the number. By doing so, the singer can then communicate the storyline more effectively. I feel you studied the song very well, Paris and truly brought the audience along for a feverish ride.

Your voice sounded radiant this week, Paris. There was a smooth and seamless vocal timbre throughout your range; you navigated the movement into your upper range with pitch perfect clarity and allowed the head tone element to dictate the ringing beauty in this area of your vocal range. Technically I felt that all the important elements were well placed: your diction was clear, the diaphragmatic support was well accessed, your phrasing extremely musical and you utilized the stage with a sense of style that complimented the dynamic mood of your lyrics.

Additionally, you are a rhythmically secure performer and, as a result, your stage gestures had a naturally musical flow. You made it look so easy and, yet, I know you worked hard to create a relaxed, yet intense, performance. As well, I especially loved the melodic variations that you incorporated into this number, once again, adding a variety to the repetitive melody from verse to verse

.

Congratulations, Paris on another fabulous showcase. Brava!

Critique: Paris – the only thing that concerns me this week is your song selection. As I previously said, you performed the song very well indeed; however, even with all the performing and technical elements in place, I just felt that the performance lacked the “believability factor”. Some songs work better when performed by an older singer and this is one of those songs. You are still so young and possess a youthful and fresh personality; therefore you need to incorporate age appropriate songs into your repertoire that reflect these characteristics.

This is not to say that you have to sing Disney songs; however, songs similar to Lisa Tucker’s or Kevin Covais’ song selections would have been more suited to your youthful style of performance. Therefore make certain that you choose your songs wisely over the coming weeks – songs that reflect your distinctive and unique personality. Good luck next week Paris!

Back to Top

Taylor Hicks:     “Not Fade Away ” originally performed by Buddy Holly

Strengths: Taylor –Barry Manilow hit the nail right on the head when he called you a whisky tenor! It truly describes the distinct tenor quality of your voice. In fact, I found a great definition of a whisky tenor on the internet in an article about Rod Stewart. In the article, it defines this rare tenor voice as a unique combination of manly toughness with aching emotional pain and sexuality. Woah – that is pretty heady stuff and it applies to our Taylor? Who knew all these deep emotions were hidden underneath all the fun and enthusiasm that so exemplifies Taylor Hicks.

At any rate, I digress. Taylor, as always, you entertained to the max this week. It was so clear that you respected and agreed with Barry Manilow’s creed that it is integral that a singer master the art of performance to really succeed in this business. You sang with passion and infectious enthusiasm and, although the song was not the most challenging of the evening, it spoke to who you are as an artist and performer. You had the audience eating out of the palm of your hand. Bravo!

You have the most innovative and novel stage moves I have ever seen on any stage. I would be curious to know if you implement them “on the fly” during a live performance or if you rehearse them prior to the live show. Something tells me that a switch turns on full force when you hit the stage – an almost unstoppable musical force takes hold of your body and you cannot help but share it all with the audience. Whatever it is, I love it, so never change.

Also, your voice actually had more clarity and focus this week. For instance, I noticed that you were sustaining the pure “eh” vowel in the word “fade”, avoiding the ugly diphthong that can muddy up a vocal sound. Good for you. You are starting to get the right, bel canto idea and how you can apply it to your particular style of singing.

Yes, Taylor, This was another great performance. Congratulations!

Critique: Taylor – I am concerned that we are seeing only one side to your vocal talent. As I said last week, you must begin to vary the song selections from week to week. We have yet to hear you sing a ballad and, therefore, we have not yet discovered the artistic depth of your whisky tenor soul. A slower, more poignant song selection would allow you to display another dimension to your artistry and, as well, challenge your vocal abilities.

Presently, your voice suffers from a lack of technical security and a slower ballad would allow you to showcase your vocal talent and encourage you to sing with the proper technique. Presently, the sustaining element in your vocal production is very limited and, when you sing up-tempo numbers, this problem is further accentuated because of the faster pace.

Additionally, even though you are a great dancer, you must remember that the vocal and choreographic elements have to be perfectly balanced. The late Sammy Davis Jr. had this down to a fine art – when he sang and danced on stage, both disciplines were performed to perfection. His voice was a viable presence while his feet were flying around the stage. He is a great role model for you, Taylor. In fact Sammy Davis performed a great song from “Sweet Charity” called “The Rhythmn Of Life” – you should research it. It would be the perfect song for you. It screams Taylor Hicks!

Hope all this helps. Look forward to seeing you next week!
Back to Top

Rosanne Simunovic is the Voice Instructor and Conductor for the Timmins Youth Singers. If you have any further questions our comments, please at e-mail her. If you want to hear how she applies her technical methods to a variety of musical styles music, have a listen to one of her double disc CDs, Scenes from a Dream, a live compilation featuring outstanding performances between 1984-2000 with the Timmins Youth Singers and renowned classical, Broadway, and pop artists. Enjoy!

Advertisements

About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: