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Voice Studio News & Fun
August 3, 2020 | Issue #22 | Newsletter Archive
Voice Study: Tech Resources for Singers
The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing about an amazing burst of creativity and growth in the area of technology that benefits us as singers. We'll see a lot more of this in the future, but even now, while we can't sing with others, there are a lot of resources to help us continue to sing and progress in our voice study. Here are my current favorites - if you have others, let me know!

These resources are free:
  • Vocal exercise videos
  • Solfege exercise videos
  • Physical warm-up videos
  • Search for other voice-study videos on YouTube
  • Use your phone camera to make videos of yourself singing
  • Use Zoom to easily record videos of yourself singing - I can show you how!
  • Create a YouTube channel to post and share videos - I'm going to ask more of you to do this starting in the fall, to help us with your voice lessons
  • Apps like Acapella, and platforms like Instagram can provide outlets for sharing your music and connecting with others
  • IMSPL Free Sheet Music Library: published music that is now in the public domain can be downloaded here for free

These options have a cost:
  • Tonal Energy Tuner app: it has a tuner for checking and finding pitches, a metronome for keeping a steady beat, and lots more
  • Appcompanist app: it has over 5,000 classical and musical theatre piano accompaniments
  • find and purchase sheet music for just about any song
  • Send Ben Walley a PDF of your sheet music and he will make you a digital backtrack for $10
  • Get an inexpensive USB microphone to improve the sound going into your computer - any that works for your budget will do. If you want to spend a little more, you can get headphones and audio interface equipment.
  • If you have audio software on your computer (GarageBand on Macs), you can use it to create an audio file of yourself singing to a backtrack, and you can add other tracks so you can create a duet or trio with yourself or others.

There is so much new technology coming out every day, so these are just the basics. You shouldn't have to put your singing on hold just because of the limitations on singing with other people right now. You can keep practicing and improving and when we can sing together again, you'll be glad you kept going. Auditions, competitions, concerts, shows, recitals will all come back, and you'll be ready when they do!
Jazz Standard Favorites
La Vie en Rose (translated "life in pink") is the signature song of popular French singer Édith Piaf, written in 1945. The song became very popular in the US in 1950 with no fewer than seven different versions reaching the Billboard charts. These were by Tony Martin, Paul Weston, Bing Crosby, Ralph Flanagan, Victor Young, Dean Martin, and Louis Armstrong. A version in 1977 by Grace Jones was also a successful international hit.

"La Vie en Rose" was the song that made Piaf internationally famous, with its lyrics expressing the joy of finding true love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult period of World War II.

Here are some great versions of this beautiful song:

Name That Tune
Have fun sight-reading these folk tunes! Do you recognize them?
You've Got Rhythm!
Here are some exercises for rhythm practice - grab your metronome and go for it!
Composer Spotlight: Louise Bertin
Louise Bertin ( 1805-1877) was a French composer and poet, who was encouraged by her family to pursue music and premiered her first opera, "Guy Mannering," in a private family performance in 1825 at the age of 20. Her greatest claim to fame was her collaboration with Victor Hugo (the author of Les Miserables) on the operatic version of his book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The opera, entitled "La Esméralda," featured Hugo’s libretto and Bertin’s music, and she bears the distinction of being the only composer to have directly collaborated with Hugo on an opera. Read the full article at Wikipedia.

Unfortunately, due to the historic lack of attention to female composers, she is not as well-known as many of her male contemporaries. You can read more about this in an interesting scholarly article.

  • Or if you prefer, listen to the entire opera, in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.

For any of my classical singers working on French, her last name is not pronounced "BER-tin" like we English-speakers might think, but more like "bear-TAH(n)" with the accent on the second syllable, and extra nasal resonance.