PRIVATE TRAINING and COACHING
PERFORMANCE / PRESENTATION / ACTING
Expand Your Power of Communication - Physical & Visual Performance & body Language - Gain confidence in your presentation - powerful interpretation of dialogue / lyrics, dynamic staging / Acting techniques are applied to singing and speaking.
-----TECHNIQUES for Singing & Speaking
A simple step-by-step approach teaches you techniques in breath control, support, focusing the vocal cords, vibrato - how to control it, use it or eliminate it and how to use the four natural resonances. You also learn how to eliminate the register break for smooth and easy singing throughout the vocal range.
-----STYLE and PERSONAL STYLE
Become an expressive artist in any style - Rock, R&B, Country, Jazz, Blues, Pop, Gospel, Broadway or classical. Learn effective phrasing and pronunciation. Learn creative improvisation - Explore the 'licks' & Blues influence. Improvisational freedom leads you to finding and perfecting your own personal style.
The Vocal Power Method is taught by Howard Austin. Used by singers and teachers world-wide, the Vocal Power Method is a unique, effective approach to vocal technique, developed by Howard Austin and Elisabeth Howard whose combined backgrounds include B.S. and M.S. degrees in voice from the Juilliard School and years of teaching and performing experience in New York and Los Angeles.
Born To Sing:
Talking with Howard Austin, creator of the Vocal Power Method
What inspired you to call your vocal course Born To Sing?
Well, let’s start with, “What inspired me to sing?” It was listening to some great voices and being thrilled and moved by them. The title, Born To Sing, is based on my belief that we are each born with this amazing and versatile instrument. From the beginning, we learn to use it to express our intentions and feelings through sounds and then words, and the voice becomes a powerful transmitter of emotion. So, if we can learn to apply that to the singing voice, the singing voice becomes a transmitter of emotion. We’re born with the instrument and the passion. Technique to tune the instrument – Personal Style - frees and feeds the passion. My Born To SingMaster Course features the Vocal Power Method and covers these two elements that a singer needs: Technique and Style training. The third element, physical presentation – movement, body language, staging, mic. technique – requires one-on-one, personal coaching. Teaching songwriting is also one-on-one. So, you are born to sing and if you nurture it who knows what could happen…
What are some of the features of your Vocal Power Method?
Well, in person or through my Born To Sing course, I cover technical control and artistic style. For Vocal Technique, it’s a simple step-by-step approach to breath control, breath support, pitch accuracy, clarity and projection, vibrato, volume dynamics and natural resonances for tone coloring. And there’s Register-Blending to eliminate the ‘break’. That gives you smooth singing throughout the vocal range. There are several exercises for each of those vocals skills. Now, for Personal Style, I focus on bringing out your expressive artist in any style – Rock, R&B, Country, Jazz, Blues, Pop, Gospel, Broadway or classical – or your own style. In all old or contemporary popular styles, there’s a huge space for creativity. Here, we would use methods like creative improvisation. Exercises in the Blues mode provide a vocal playground that opens up your creative power. Improvisational freedom leads to discovering and perfecting your own personal style. I teach my singers how to progress on their own and how to keep the voice healthy.
How important is personal style and how do you help singers find it?
Personal style is extremely important for the solo recording / performing artist (not classical, not choral). MyBorn To Sing Master Course devotes a fair portion of the program to personal style development. As I mentioned earlier, exploring the Blues scale and designing ‘licks’ builds improvisational freedom, which leads to personal style. There are exercises to accelerate that process. Let’s say you bring in a song that you want to add to your set – we might work it several different ways till it feels right and maybe detail it with some tasty melodic ‘licks’ … and maybe even take some liberties with the lyrics. As for ensemble singing (choral, group), that requires close adherence to the musical notation, lyrics and the conductor’s directions, no personal style is needed or desired. For solo opera and classical singers, personal style is a bit more important but subtle and subservient to the conductor’s directions.
What is the single most important trait a performance singer needs to develop?
Top of the list is connecting with your audience. Your voice has to reach out and grab the attention and the heart. So, depending on the style and the feel of the song, your goal might be to get them on their feet, dancing – or provoke tears or even anger or longing. In a word, that performance trait is ‘charisma’. It comes naturally to some, but it can also be nurtured and developed. Technical control is a foundation, a way of making your vocal instrument become a musical extension and expansion of your expressive speaking voice. And, of course, there’s your live presentation. I teach ‘Staging’ techniques for designing specific movement or choreography, or just non-specific guidelines for staging any performance. So, will you grab their attention and their hearts? Will they come back? Will they bring their friends?
What are the most common challenges faced by your students and how do you help them overcome it?
The challenges vary with each singer, and with the initial level of skill and experience. At any level, confidence will increase with trust. When you can count on your voice to perform as you’ve rehearsed, that’s confidence! Getting to love your own voice and love singing – that is true joy. For my professional singers, it is sometimes a bit of technical work to smooth out some imperfection – maybe working on staging and body language for a new song. With less experienced students, it might be as basic as perfecting pitch accuracy, holding notes and increasing the vocal range. Also, finding appropriate songs to match your singing level and songs that make you reach for the next level. At every level on the way to perfection, there are new skills and deepening maturity to acquire.
"Most of all, the skill I'm developing through the Born to Sing approach, is adding years and versatility to my career, which otherwise might have been limited. I believe Born to Sing is a key to health, versatility, longevity and excellence in singing."
"Born to Sing is the definitive vocal studies package...I highly recommend it."
"I find your Born to Sing lessons very useful in both my voice classes and my world music class, to demonstrate the art of vocal embellishment in popular music." Henrietta Carter, Chair, Performing Arts, Golden West College "Your Vocal Harmony Course is great! It's fun and encouraging too. For the first time we have something other than just a book for the kids. Having both male and female voice to listen to and match makes all the difference ... and filling in the missing notes of intervals and chords andgetting immediate feedback is just what we need. Thanks."
"In my search for “solutions” I have read books, listened to tapes, and taken some singing lessons. Your ability to apply your extensive knowledge directly to my speaking problem was refreshing and VERY helpful. You care about teaching. You enjoy teaching. It makes the lesson more enjoyable; a valuable experience. I have worked with several speech pathologists and singing instructors. Your ability to identify my speaking problems and find solutions easily exceeded that of most of the people with whom I have worked, including speech pathologists."
I studied with many great teachers in New York