Vocal Flight w/ Michael Smolens

Wednesdays, 8:30-9:45 pm, beginning March 7
$120.00 advance / $130.00 after February 27

If you're a vocalist, an improvisor, or someone who just loves to sing, yet you lack some confidence, you're going to want more than just one or two avenues to build your skills. How about four?

This class will enable you to sing with much more ease by bringing together two vital sources of VOCAL TECHNIQUE—
     1) North Indian raga-style
     2) Western European approaches

together with two different formats for VOCAL IMPROVISATION—
     3) solo
     4) group

You'll feel how each technique approach will strengthen your voice in different ways, just as each type of improvisation will give you a variety of ways to vocally 'play.' We'll work on some of these areas separately, and then combine them. You'll hear how catalytic the results will be when they interact, and you'll enjoy the confidence and freedom that you've been looking for. You'll also learn how to practice more creatively and effectively at home.

    * breathing + posture
    * mask + chest resonance
    * new scales + new vocal colors
    * syncopation + polyrhythms
    * instrument imitation + vocal percussion
    * 'scatting' + accompanying vocally
    * stories into songs + improvised lyrics
    * vocals + percussion instruments
    * solo electronic looping + group CircleSinging

    * minimum of 4 students is needed for this class.
    * required-2 different vocal accompaniment CDs by the instructor

Great VOCAL FLIGHT class today—both improv games were really fun, everybody was able to hang while being  in new territory, and your accompaniment was rich, varied, lively, supportive, and impeccable. Right On!
—Daniel Tuckman (vocalist/teacher/composer/harmonium guru)

Sad but true. After eight years of voice lessons I felt less confidence than when I started.  But my work with Michael was transformative! I remembered one particular piece of coaching he gave, it completely changed the quality of sound in my voice. I had never heard myself sound so good!
—Sonya Brewer (vocalist/songwriter)

VOCAL FLIGHT was great not only for my voice but also for expanding the 'musical space' in my mind. I especially appreciated learning new scales through the North Indian sargam, and feel that this is something I will take with me in any future musical endeavors I approach. A great fun class. I highly recommend it!
—Jovani (vocalist and frequently commissioned visual artist)

Vocal percussion, polyrhythms, pitch training and scales made VOCAL FLIGHT an organic and eclectically enjoyable learning experience...Michael couples years of musical experience and technical know-how with a fun, light-hearted approach to vocal improvisation.
—Ronald Aveling (vocalist/composer/recording artist)

It's hard to know where to begin when trying to describe Michael's musicianship—he does so many things, and does them all so well. In every area of his music, he has golden ears and precise attention to detail. This guy is the real deal: an artist, a master craftsman, and a spiritually disciplined, thoughtful listener-someone well worth getting to know...
—Mark Baum (vocalist/composer)

Michael Smolens has taught individuals and groups since 1974 and is adjunct faculty at Sonoma State and JFK Universities. He has been a vocal consultant for the A Capella Summit, College of Marin, City College of S.F., the award-winning "SoVoSo", Sue Walden's "Flash Family" Theater Company, and various festivals throughout the country. Michael has also performed and recorded with members of Bobby McFerrin's "Voicestra." He brings a unique combination of improvisational influences (jazz/theater/world musics) and technical approaches (Western/ North Indian) to create powerful, individualized results. As a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Michael leads five different project bands, including the ground-breaking vocal "Mirabai Ensemble." His compositions have been recorded by jazz legends Stefon Harris (vibes), Paul McCandless (reeds/winds), and Zakir Hussain (tabla).



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