In my 35 years of teaching vocal improvisation, I've never encountered a student who, with some basic training, was truly incapable of scat singing. When faced with the prospect of using their voice to improvise, many students express unfounded feelings of fear and intimidation. Overcoming this psychological barrier adds another dimension of challenge to teaching improvisation. With that in mind, here are some simple, non-intimidating vocal exercises that I use to teach novice improvisers.
Despite a tough economic climate and well-known music industry woes, Professor Jeff Dorenfeld of the Music Business/Management Department is upbeat about the future for musicians - especially in the field of live performance. While record sales have declined, receipts for major tours have soared.
As greater demands are placed upon today's vocalists and instrumentalists, physical injuries have become more prevalent. The ability to deliver a diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart to Bird to Aretha and the need for improvisational skills in various styles and ensemble settings often take precedence over a healthful, noninjurious technique. Indeed, many musicians may consider a slight ache or pain normal until it becomes unbearable or, worse, threatens to halt a career.
Since childhood, Guillermo Marin, a composer and pianist from Zaragoza, Spain, had dreamed of coming to Berklee, but he knew his family couldn't afford the tuition. Thanks to a scholarship for composers and songwriters from the Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE), studying at Berklee went from impossibility to opportunity.
Expansion and enhancement of facilities are the first of the three aims of the Giant Steps capital campaign. The successful campaign is currently three-quarters of the way toward meeting its $50 million goal, and of that figure, $20 million is earmarked for facilities improvements. The campaign's two additional goals include increasing scholarships and fostering innovative educational programs.