I teach singers of all styles of music; however the way I approach training classical singers is unique to all other styles. I have a special program which I have developed for the demands required of singers of classical music.
The GBVS Classical Singing Program is one of the most intensive, complete, thorough and systematic programs for training classical singers currently available anywhere. I have developed this training over a 20 year period, and have been achieving consistently exemplary results with all my classical singers.
The minimum commitment in the Program is six months; however, best results are obtained by students who train in the Program for 4 to 6 years.
Students in the Program take a one-hour lesson with me every week.
What the Program Includes
The basis of ALL my singing lessons is vocal balance.
I use the IVA system exclusively in my studio to train voices of all styles of music, including classical. You will use the IVA exercises and tools you learn for the rest of your singing career.
The IVA singing method is the very best technique for preparing and maintaining your voice to withstand the challenges of singing all levels of classical repertoire, as well as the technically challenging classical vocalise and scale work you will be required to sing during your training in the Program.
You will learn to:
- Balance the different registers in your voice,
- Support your singing voice using the traditional method of appoggio,
- Build vocal power at all dynamics,
- Develop the so-called “singer’s formant” which enables you (over time) to be heard over an orchestra with no vocal strain,
- Develop the ideal posture for singing
- …and much more.
Music Theory, Sight Singing and Ear Training
You will train your ear and your sight reading skills by using the solfege system (Do-Re-Mi…). You will also be drilled using progressively challenging exercises that will ensure that your ability to read music (pitches and rhythms) is at the necessary level for a serious professional musician.
In your early lessons, your voice will not be developed enough to sing throughout your entire hour-long lessons, but we will put all our time to good use by training you to read music and understand basic music theory. You will occasionally be given written homework and will be expected to have it completed and brought to your next lesson.
Scales and Arpeggi
I use Marchesi Opus 31 for training in scales and arpeggi. It takes approximately 4 to 6 years for the average student to master the majority of the scales in this book. Every serious musician must work on scales and arpeggi each day, this includes singing musicians. These are not vocal “warm ups,” they are serious drills which apply your technique to the actual building blocks of music.
I work mainly with the Concone Opus 9, and the Panofka Opus 85 and Opus 81 books. These etudes for the voice are at once challenging and beautiful. The Concone and Panofka vocalises train you very diligently and thoroughly in all aspects of classical singing. You will learn to master articulation, onsets, dynamics, ornamentations, legato lines, coloratura, and much more.
These important musical gems help you learn to sing tastefully, artistically, virtuosically and musically. Once these beautiful and challenging melodies are “in” your voice, you will be fully prepared to sing any piece of music that is required of you throughout your career. You will sing these vocalises for the rest of your life, and will probably find that you never get bored of singing them. Maria Callas called these etudes the “Singer’s Bible.”
The scales and etudes we sing in this program require a strong and balanced voice. We use the specialized exercises of the IVA singing technique to build balance the voice, and apply that technique to these scales, arpeggi and vocalises to educate us musically and challenge us technically.
For even more information on how I use vocalise literature, you can read my article on vocalises.
Italian Songs and Arias
Our primary focus in repertoire for the first several years of your training will be Italian songs and arias of the 17th and 18th centuries. We primarily sing antique Italian songs and arias (the Parisotti as well as John Glenn Paton editions), and also the Vaccai Lessons in Italian Singing. This music was composed by important composers of their time, who were also leading vocal researchers and teachers. Theses pieces have always been meant to be sung with a very balanced technique and a purity of tone. The ancient Italian repertoire is indispensable in training a singer, and should be the artistic basis for all serious classical vocal training.
Once a certain level of advancement has occurred (usually by the second or third year of the Program) we begin to introduce song literature in additional languages (including Spanish, Latin, English, French and German). We also begin to sing music from musical periods spanning the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionist, Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries.
Usually by the 3rd or 4th year we will be ready to begin to introduce standard operatic and oratorio literature into to your training. It is at this point that we also have you begin working your repertoire with some fine opera coaches. This enables you to begin to flourish as an artist. You will mine all the various nuances of performance, language, acting and musicianship that only an expert coach can give you. I communicate regularly with your coaches so as to avoid the pitfalls in technique that many unprepared singers fall into when they begin coaching for the first time in their singing career.
Who Should Enroll In This Program?
Young Singers Preparing for College
The Program is ideal for Middle School and High School students who aspire to apply to a well respected university or conservatory as a vocal performance major. Students preparing for college are encouraged to begin this training program as early as possible. Intensive classical training with me over the span of several years will greatly increase your chances of being accepted into the finest of institutions.
In addition, through this training, you may increase your chances of qualifying for merit-based scholarships. Most importantly, a thorough training prior to college will protect your voice through your rigorous, rewarding and technically challenging vocal years in college.
Classical Singers Who Are Currently Performing
Many classical singers have huge gaps in their training that should be mended in order to avoid vocal problems later in their careers. Taking a break from performing for months (let alone a year) to retrain your voice can seem like taking a huge step backward; yet, true technical progress is difficult at best while a singer is trying to maintain a professional performance schedule. I have had great success with singers who have taken some time off from performing to train with me intensively. When they begin to perform again, they always demonstrate a significantly healthier, stronger and flexible instrument, and a highly enhanced musical skill set.
Non-classical singers often wish to receive the benefits that can only be achieved with a disciplined and thorough classical training. If you are not interested in singing classical music professionally, you may not need training at quite the “olympic” level that the true classicists do; yet, if you desire the ability to have a truly legitimate sound you will find that this goal can be best achieved through training in this Program. Classical training is especially beneficial for musical theater artists who tend to go after the more legit roles.
Persons Interested in Self-Improvement
There are a great number of people who are not interested in a professional singing career, yet find that training their voice classically gives them greater joy than any other activity. Many of these types of students become accomplished artists en par with some of the finest singers in the world. I have found that the people who sing purely for the love of the art-form itself will frequently be among the best singers on my roster. If you have always wanted to sing classically, this may be just the Program you have been looking for.
Fees For the GBVS Classical Singing Training Program
I offer significantly reduced pricing for the GVBS Classical Singing Program over my regular rates, since this this training is quite rigorous, requires a long-term commitment and is reserved for only the most serious of students.
The fee for this program is $400 per month, and is paid as monthly auto payments using either a credit card or PayPal.
Only hourly lessons are taught in the Program. Thirty-minute lessons are not available.
If you need to cancel a lesson for any reason, it must be done within 24 hours of your lesson.
Students enrolled in this program must make up canceled lessons within 8 weeks of cancellation, or the lesson is forfeited. Lessons cancelled with less than 24 hours notice are automatically forfeited.
If you are going on vacation or need to have more than one week off consecutively for any reason, arrangements may be made with me in advance, and more lenient make up allowances can be made.
If I am out of town, or in the rare event that I need to cancel a lesson for any unforeseen circumstance, make up lessons will of course be offered.
Are you ready?
If you are ready, or have a son or daughter who is ready to take this important step to begin a legitimate, traditional, thorough and professional training in classical singing, then contact me to set up your first lesson.
Note: This program may not be used to log IVA teacher training hours.