Welcome to a new year and my new book! Jazz Singing: A Guide to Pedagogy and Performance (Rowman & Littlefield 2022) was written as a culmination of my years of pursuing a dual career as a touring musician and a professor of voice and jazz. Still teaching and singing, I continue to love learning (and will apply those future gleanings toward my second edition of this book). JS has several target audiences: working singers, teachers of singing, instrumentalists who teach singers, student singers, choir directors, and jazz aficionados. The book may be used to fill in gaps in one’s education related to voice science; microphone technique; teaching jazz to classical singers; helping classical voice teachers navigate jazz style when singing and/or teaching; mixing to create authentic jazz, music theatre, CCM, opera, or classical styles; crossover singing; and finding one’s own natural, healthy voice. The book amounts to 90,000 words dedicated to singing well and teaching others how to do it with a jazz sensibility. Illustrations and images contribute visual aids to the written text (I am particularly proud of my freehand sketch of the anatomy of the ear!). My Mix Continuum, which I have used since the mid 1990s in lessons and singing classes, teaches singers to balance resonance and tone color options for maximum efficiency, vocal comfort, and authenticity in any given style. There are scores of exercises peppered throughout the book that will give singers and teachers new ideas for exploring concepts in a jazz context.
One facet that sets this volume apart from all the rest is the descriptive segments (featured in several chapters) that illustrate techniques and approaches used by the greatest jazz singers of the past century, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Mel Tormé, Peggy Lee, Nat Cole, Tony Bennett, and others. Readers are encouraged to listen to the artist described to hear a specific stylistic choice or technique for themselves. Several different sub-genres of jazz and various jazz styles are discussed, and several types of vocal improvisation are explored. There is also a chapter on the use of Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a means for growing musicianship in both the voice studio and the vocal jazz ensemble rehearsal. Topics of mindfulness, expression, stage presence, phrasing, and stage etiquette round out this comprehensive volume in just under three hundred pages.
I am overjoyed that this labor of love has finally been completed and is being introduced to the world! Readers are encouraged to ask me questions or invite me to teach a workshop in their region so that I may work with your students and elucidate any concepts that may invite demonstration. If you like what you read, I warmly encourage you to leave a favorable review on Goodreads and Amazon so that other seekers may also find this book. It took a village to prepare this singer to write it, and now I’m grateful for the honor of sharing what I have learned. Happy reading! ☺