I’ve lead seminars, workshops and given private instruction on arranging, songwriting, beatboxing/vocal percussion, vocal technique, solo delivery, group presentation, production and instrument sounds everywhere from SoJam to Belgium. (And Singapore, Germany, Japan, the US, Australia, Austria... and a few other places.)
I can custom tailor seminars and workshops to the specific needs, interests and demographic of the attendees. I’ve worked with choral conductors, pop singers, high school singers, recreational vocalists, college music majors, fans, and everything in between.
Tell me who’s coming and I’ll make sure the presentation is engaging and informative for everyone involved. You have your choice of the topics below. I suggest that every event include a 1 hour Master class (or longer). Time and again it’s proven to be a perfect catalyst for discussion in a variety of workshop topics; it’s also proven to be extremely entertaining as well as informative.
1-3 hours in 1 hour segments
The most popular workshop format is the master class. All styles and levels of groups are welcome. In a master class, a group performs for all the attendees. Then, I get to work with the group in front of the other attendees. It’s a great learning opportunity for everyone involved, as the topics covered are universally relatable to groups and singers.
I can work with more than one group in a master class session, provided I have a minimum of 1/2 hour with each group.
1/2 to 2 hours each
I offer a wide variety of seminar topics that address the musical and non-musical aspects of a cappella. Feel free to choose a combination of any of these topics, and I’ll work with you to put them in a cohesive order, and choose the most appropriate length for each:
Contemporary A Cappella Arranging
Contemporary a cappella has been around for over a decade, resulting in a dynamic and rhythmic sound and style that differentiates it from barbershop, doo wop, close harmony, and other a cappella styles. Learn how to create top-notch contemporary a cappella arrangements that are fun to sing and that allow the song to translate in the most effective way possible.
Advanced A Cappella Arranging
There are few places in the world to study music arranging, and even fewer that offer any instruction on arranging a cappella. This seminar will offer ideas and discussion topics to further develop the skills of advanced a cappella arrangers.
This is an opportunity for arrangers of all levels to bring a copy of their arrangement to be sung by the seminar attendees and then discussed and critiqued in an open forum.
Singing a solo is more than just technique. It involves a deep understanding of the meaning of the song, an emotional commitment to expressing that meaning and receiving the support of your ensemble. Come ready to sing a solo that you sing with your group and we’ll take it to the next level.
Development of Style
What do you do now that you’re consistently good with the standards? Learn how to take your group’s unique strengths and interests and use them to create a style that’s all your own. We’ll address musical style as well as visual and performance style. Before you know it other groups will be singing your songs!
Gain some insights into the issues that sometimes make you crazy: teaching notes vs. using learning tracks, how many songs per rehearsal, attendance management, sectionals vs. group rehearsal, number of rehearsals (regular and before major gigs), how much warm-up time, what kinds of warm-ups, when do you allow mistakes to happen and when do you stop and fix them, rehearsal discipline (use of other leaders as “enforcers” for rehearsal discipline, and balancing fun and musicality.
A performance is about much more than just singing. How do you interact with the audience? What are you wearing? How do you move during songs? How’s your show paced? This seminar will address the aspects of performing on stage besides singing, and will increase both your and the audiences enjoyment of a concert.
Many people write music, but few do it with an understanding of the strengths and challenges of an a cappella group. Learn the fundamentals of songwriting, and learn how to craft a piece of music that will allow you to make the most of your voices.
singing voiceovers (timbre & placement)
The role of director is the most important and influential within a group. It combines elements of musician, leader, organizer, consensus builder and conductor. Learn techniques and tips that will help you maximize your rehearsal time and minimize friction between singers.
The loudmouth. The quiet one. The organizer. The flake. Using materials and techniques developed for the corporate world, learn how groups interact, and how your ensemble can understand each other, minimize friction, and work together in harmony to create harmony.
A Cappella Business and Management
We all wish we could just sing, have concerts fall in our laps and money show up in our bank account. This seminar will cover a wide range of topics that will help you streamline your business and focus on your craft, including legal structure of your group, leadership, division of responsibilities, benefits and problems having an agent and/or manager, etc.
Sometimes used as warmups, sometimes used to help build focus or musical precision, sometimes used to help build confidence in improvisation, this seminar teaches a number of different singing games that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Starting A Group
There’s no need to learn the hard way! From conceptualization through your first performance, we can tell you the best way to find members, run auditions, structure your group, build a quick repertoire, and start performing.
Vocal music isn’t all about arrangements and vocal parts; Most world cultures have a tradition of a cappella singing that relies on nothing but your ear and your voice. In this seminar you’ll learn the fundamentals of improvising pop songs, how to sing a “circle song,” and how to improvise a piece of music without any rules or boundaries.
Producing an Album
From pre-production to recording to mixing, to mastering and manufacturing, learn how to make a professional vocal music recording.
10 years ago, a cappella singing was mostly “bum” and “doo.” Now, people sound like drums, guitars, horns, and a myriad of other instruments. Learn how to use one or many voices to sound like instruments, and work them into your arrangements.
Beginning Vocal Percussion
One of the most notable elements of contemporary a cappella, vocal percussion has become an essential element in presenting a dynamic, current sound with nothing but voices. Learn the fundamentals of this skill, weaving together bass drum, snare and high hat to provide a compelling groove, and begin to explore some additional sounds like cymbals, shakers, and wood blocks.
Sound Check & Basic Tech
Too often a great a cappella group’s performance is hindered by imperfect amplification. Learn the basics of microphones, monitors, sound boards and EQ’s, and how to avoid the most common pitfalls and have a productive sound check, resulting in a great amplified performance.
Close Harmony Blend
As singers, we all want the best blend possible. But how? By looking at the 4 elements of sound (pitch, duration, loudness and timbre), discover how you can improve your group’s blend.
The International Collegiate A Cappella Competition. The Harmony Sweepstakes. It seems that one of the best ways to make a name for yourself in the a cappella community is to compete. Find out what many groups before you learned the hard way: how to put on a great performance during a competition.
Question and Answer
Often the last seminar of the day, this session is an open question and answer period that gives attendees an opportunity to raise issues and topics that are of interest to their group, or that tie together multiple concepts that were raised earlier in the day.