Jazz Singing Lessons in San Francisco
I offer jazz coaching and lessons in jazz singing in San Francisco when I am there in person and also via Skype online while I am out shaking my moey maker in scenic NYC. OK, we all know NYC isn’t scenic but it IS the center of the US Jazz Universe and so there I am much of the year!)
Jazz is a really special art form and one I have been performing since 2000. It is always a real pleasure to get to work with singers in jazz both on vocal technique and on styling a tune to make it “read” as jazz which is hard for a lot of people – especially if they are new to jazz.
Although I am a jazz singer, many of my students are not. But I consider it somewhat of a mission statement for jazz musicians, including singers, to be the old school musicians that the ret of the community can come to for lessons. I don’t only take jazz students, but my jazz students are really special because of our connection through this music. I’ve had clients headline international jazz festivals, play really important venues, cut cd’s, and more. Jazz is a very small piece of the US music market but it’s a place I call home and I’m super excited to work with you on jazz.
If you’d like to do a serious program, I have a “Semester” program which runs up to 12 one-on-one lessons per “semester” (which start around the same time as college semesters start) and include video aumentation on certain things that are important for jazz singers specifically. The one-on-one sessions can be in person or through online video chat such as Skype or Facetime. Examples of the augmentation video topics are scatting, how to write your own charts even if you are new to music, how to communicate with a band to get them to play the tune just like you want it wwhen you have 7 seconds to do so at a jazz jam, etc. As voice students, Semester jazz students will also have access to videos made for my general singing students which cover additional singing techniques available to Semester students to make their paid one-on-one sessions more productive. But we also have very specialized jazz instruction videos.
You should probably set up an initial session just to make sure you’re a good fit for the jazz series. Check out the page Scheduling & Finanacing above for pricing and to set up a first session. Because I am not in SF most of the year, the Semester series in jazz singing in SF is done online this year. Howeverm there is a big recital at the end of the year in NYC and that is sometimes fun for people to come out and do if you wanna.
Here’s some more background info on my jazz program:
Singing Jazz is much different than singing other types of genres. Often, I get new clients, for example, who have had a bazilliion years of classical voice but a haivng a really hard tie getting a song to “read” as jazz. Singer-songwriters and pop singers often also attempt jazz but have a hard time getting a jazz feel to the music. It can be frustrating.
For those of your used to singing other genres (styles) as well as for people new to singing who want to go into jazz, there are a coule of elements to keep in mind that we will want to look at covering in singing lessons.
First, jazz generally is considered to be swing or latin. There are some other feels but most “straight ahead” jazz is one of these two types of feel (aka: groove). As an example, in swing feel, there is an accent on the upbeat of two eighth notes. Also, the is an accent on the 2nd and 4th beat of 4/4 time. Together these willl result in a more jazz-like feel, when compared to other kinds of singing.
Also, some style of singing such as pop belting, musical theatre belting, etc, have a less airy sound than does contemporary jazz. Not all jazz artists have a more breathy sound, but the genre is currently dominated by a sort of breathy sound when you compare it to the sounds of pop and theatre belting where less air is used. Each artist would conceptualize thei sound a bit differently and maybe you are wanting to do jazz with a less breathy sund than most jazz is done today. To which I say “You do YOU!” And I will be excited to help you! But many people are trying to market themselves soundly in the genre of straight ahead jazz and that is mostly where the genre is now, for better or worse.
Improvisation is another element of jazz. There are a few tyes of imprvisation. The one that is most famous in the jazz idiom is “scatting”. Scatting is singing nonsense sylables over vocal improvisation. It is both a rite of passage for a jazz singer, in the minds of many people, and also intensely intimidating for many beginners or those making the transition into jazz from other genres. I have a method of teahing beginning scatting by giving you a few standard scatting syllables that you can return to when you get freaked out, but that you can add to when you feel comfortable. This method also helps with swing feel because the syllables I use creatt a swing feel so I like to teach them right away to help both get a comfort level with jazz and to develop the swing feel which is really important in jazz – and which most beginning or even intermediate singers kinda don’t do so well.
Not all jazz singing improvisation is scatting, though, and I’m a big fan of improvisation that occurs on the lyrics of a song. There are a few rules for when to improvise but at a certain point in a tune, it’s cool to improvise the melody line using the words.
All this can sound intimidting for beginners and those making the transition to jazz from other styles. But there are some basica exercises I use to get you going in jazz and it ends up beign super fun. And remember that you don’t have to scat sing like Ella to be considered a jazz singer or to get a gig singing and start your professional life.
If you’d like to try a first lesson, check out some of the programs I offer under Scheduing & Financing. Jazz is a beautiful form and it is alway super fun and wonderful to be able to share that with people.