Vocal Process by Neil Roig
"Last December, the second year students of the BA Musical Theatre course at the IAB had the great opportunity to attend a two-day workshop on vocal technique and acting through song, by the voice experts Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher of ‘Vocal Process’.
Gillyanne is a writer, researcher, teacher and singing voice expert. She is widely known for her book ‘Singing and the Actor’, which is a recommended text in training institutions all over the world, including the IAB.
She is one of the world’s leading experts on singing for musical theatre. She trains teachers and performers all over the world and moves seamlessly in any genre.
Jeremy has worked as a Musical Director, pianist and vocal coach since 1988 in London’s West End and around the UK. He is also a music style and performance coach, writer and multimedia vocal trainer. Jeremy is considered an expert in audition technique and works with musical theatre performers, actors, classical singers and songwriters on repertoire, style and performance integration.
Together they form Vocal Process. They have gone on to teaching all over the world and had written several books promoting healthy and efficient voice use.
On the first day we had a lecture on the legit style of musical theatre. First we touched the subject from the theoretical side, analysing and debating what the style actually was, what were the vocal set-ups required and the stylistic features to achieve the sound.
Once we concluded with the lecture, we moved to some practical exercises. We were asked to sing a legit song from our repertoire that we had some troubles with, and they assessed us personally.
I sang ”I Like Him” from Man of La Mancha. The song has a top G at the end, which is a note that is right in my passagio, in other words my vocal bridge, and therefore I was encountering some trouble maintaining the style to hit the note. They did work on my posture and vowels and in less than ten minutes I was hitting that note without any effort.
During the second day we worked on acting through song. We followed the same structure of a lecture in which we debated on the subject first and then they worked with some people individually. We also looked at how verses are structured, how some words stand out and they need to be emphasised from an acting point of view.
They gave us very helpful tips for setting the mood of your song in an assessment/audition situation, and set some basic rules of audition etiquette such as setting the tempo for the accompanist or introducing yourself.
In general we were all very happy from all the knowledge that we gained with the lectures. Their approach to the material was practical and easy to understand. I now feel that I can put that knowledge into my songs and make them better.
We were also amazed with the progress that some of our classmates did with several corrections from Gillyanne and Jeremy.
We are all very thankful for these kind of opportunities that we have here at the IAB to learn from such world class experts on our field of studies."
By Neil Roig