Recent Review – Die Fledermaus, Strauss

Christopher Anderson-West, Tenor

Die Fledermaus Artwork 2009

I am wrapping up my role as Alfredo in Strauss’s Die Fledermaus for two different companies this past month: first was Celestial Opera’s production in Pasadena and most recently Repertory Opera Company’s production this past Wednesday. I will have one more performance on Saturday, Nov. 14th to close out the run and move into my favorite time of year … the holidays!

Here is an excerpt from the review for Repertory Opera Company’s production:

“Playing …Alfredo, was tall, blond, handsome Christopher Anderson-West. We watched Rosalinde melt into his arms, and heard his strong tenor sing serenades of all the popular tenor arias and then some.” – Singerpreneur

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Technique Tips for Singing – Placing the Voice “In The Mask” and advice on Widening the Jaw

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio in Laguna Niguel.

This week in our Musical Theater Workshop I introduced a few vocal exercises that had the express purpose of “placing” the voice optimally for volume WITHOUT strain. I used the example from the movie Jurassic Park, where a scientist blew into the resonating chamber of a Velociraptor skull, to illustrate that the best way to amplify one’s voice is to place the voice “in the mask”, or into the resonating chamber of our facial cavity.

Voice Lessons Ladera Ranch

At one point one of the students wondered aloud about “just opening your mouth wider” to get sound out. This is something I would like to address in this post. There is a time for widening the mouth/jaw, however it should be in proportion to the notes the singer is singing. If you are trying to sing the highest note you possibly can sing, yes … you need to have your jaw widened (while still maintaining vocal placement “in the mask”). However, when you are in your lower or middle range opening your mouth widely will actually result in tension. This type of technique results in pushing from the abdominal muscles and can actually do damage to your vocal cords. If you want to understand more about how to place your voice “in the mask” or how and when to widen your jaw while singing, I would be happy to demonstrate and assist you in understanding. Give me a call and we can arrange a lesson! (949) 613-0143

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“A popular misconception among voice teachers is to get their students to open their mouths when they sing.  I suppose this is to get more sound out, but in actuality it hurts the voice and has little to do with projection.  In fact, Lamperti, one of the greatest teachers of Bel Canto said, “…the less you open your mouth, the less you disturb your line of sound…”  It is a huge mistake to open your mouth widely when you sing.  Remember that sound does not travel by “throwing” breath out of your mouth.  It travels by sound waves.   If your voice traveled on breath, that would mean if you were yelling at someone at the end of the block, breath would fly out of your mouth, down to the end of the street, and land in that person’s ear.  Ridiculous!”

– shared from Brianvollmer.com

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Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers for students in the Southern Orange County area (Irvine, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Talega and San Clemente).

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy. 

 

Musical Theater Workshop!

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio in Laguna Niguel.

For the next four Saturdays, at Raise The Barre dance studio, we will be conducting a Musical Theater Workshop! There will be multiple elements involved in terms of faculty and my element, of course, will be the vocal aspect of Musical Theater.

For my portion of the Workshop, we are primarily going to focus on HOW to learn a new song from sheet music … and we will be learning the song “Seasons Of Love”, from Rent. Many people can learn songs from simply listening to another artist’s performance and then copying it. This is helpful to get a tune into your ear … but you should not base your entire knowledge of a song on what some other singer has done. If you want to be able to “make something your own” you need to be able to learn the song as the composer wrote it … and THEN you can add your own personal embellishments from that base.

If you are singing what somebody else has already done? Then it’s already stale in terms of how it will be received. That doesn’t even mean that you have to drastically alter the song … what you change could simply be the emotional feel of the song, or any number of things.

To do ANY of those potential individual expressions you need to know the song as it was written … and that is what will be focusing on.

Tomorrow, starting at 1:00 pm, we will be focusing on rhythm for the first class. For any song, the very first thing you should do is break down the rhythm of how the song is written and how the words fit into that structure … WITHOUT the music. Then, after you have master the rhythm and diction … add the music into it and FEEL how much more confident you are for having done it that way.

Come on down and take part in our Summer Musical Theater Workshop … if you can’t make all four, come in for what you CAN to see what you can learn! 🙂

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers for students in the Southern Orange County area (Irvine, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Talega and San Clemente).

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

A modern example of quality vocal technique: P!nk

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio in Laguna Niguel.

As promised, here is an example of a modern (non-operatic) singer who I feel has excellent vocal technique: P!nk.

Not only is this one of my favorite dramatic performances of all time, but you can also watch as she sings and notice some of the very things we have been working on in our singing classes.

* Her vocal placement is excellent. For someone who has a breathy, almost raspy, sound she can still be easily heard … you can see “the snarl” or “smile” in her cheeks as she places her voice in “the mask” so that her voice carries.

* In order to pull off such a naked performance vocally she HAS to have her voice supported in an “on the breath” technique that keeps her sound free of tension. If she (or anyone else) tried to “belt” this song it would sound pushed and strained … and it wouldn’t sound good at all for this particular song. Belting has it’s place, sometimes, but this song is not one of them.

See if there are any other lessons from our classes that you can notice as you watch. If you haven’t taken lessons with me, or been in our class, then feel free to chime in anyway … and perhaps you’d like to come and see what you can learn about having an easy,”on the breath” vocal technique. If so, give me a call: (949) 613-0143.

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers for students in the Southern Orange County area (Irvine, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Talega and San Clemente).

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

About Christopher Anderson-West

CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON-WEST

Teaching the love of singing with a classical, stress-free technique.

Teaching the love of singing with a classical, stress-free technique.

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States. His favorite roles performed to date have been Canio in “I Pagliacci”, The Duke in “Rigoletto”, Ferrando in “Cosi Fan Tutte” and Rodolfo in “La Boheme”. Most recently Christopher had the opening-night tenor lead for an American premiere of “The Snow Maiden”, by Rimsky-Korsakov, put on by Lowell House Opera at Harvard University, in Boston.

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As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

The primary focus of bel canto singing is to have the voice supported “on the breath” and tension free. Projection/Volume is then produced by placing the voice correctly “in the mask“, which acts as a natural amplifier. This is especially important with children, whose vocal chords are more fragile as they grow and change. Techniques that employ pushing or tension/stress to produce volume can be harmful to an adult’s voice, much less a child’s voice.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

Christopher Anderson-West

About Christopher Anderson-West.

via About Christopher Anderson-West.