“That’s just creepy” became the catch phrases at all three of the Harmony College New Zealand workshops in Hamilton at St Paul’s Collegiate, in Wellington at El Rancho, Waikanae, and in Dunedin, at St Patrick’s where a total of 124 delegates attended.
Vocal Pedagogy specialist, Steve Scott, hails from Kansas, US and to paraphrase Matt Gifford at El Rancho, Waikanae, Steve is single-handedly leading a worldwide revolution on how we sing. Having demystified and clarified 5 key areas of efficient singing , namely vocal fold closure, refined neck alignment, minimal jaw movement, tongue relaxation and naturally lowered larynx, Steve gave us simple techniques to easily maintain a ‘less is more’ singing style. When he demonstrated speaking using the former barbershop style of singing (with exaggerated mouth shape, and overly raised soft palate with overly depressed tongue), that’s when it sounded creepy. Just like the Performance category, Steve is encouraging us to become more genuine in our approach to vocal production.
How lucky we are in New Zealand to have 3 International gold medal quartet singers who are dedicated to giving their time and energy to BHNZ. Matt, Wilz and Jeff make a formidable teaching team along with Charlotte and Jill, Dean of HCNZ and National Education Coordinator.
Evaluation forms revealed extremely positive feedback from every HCNZ. Those in the Harmony College stream commented on the Vocal Pedagogy classes:
- OMG! This was at the forefront of singing pedagogy. It will significantly change the way we sing as individuals and in groups.
- Absolutely outstanding - should be compulsory for all barbershopers!!
- Great to get a better understanding of the physiology of singing and a better appreciation of how important alignment is. He had a great way of simplifying things.
- Best and most practical expert I have heard to date
- Great to really understand how it all works - Has really helped me to improve!
- Best vocal training I think I've ever received.
Quartets who attended the Quartet College stream commented:
- Fantastic, major benefit, great to get different perspectives. Lots of things to apply.
- Coaches were very knowledgeable and amazing
- Incredibly valuable and filled with useful ‘take aways’
Directors from the Director’s College stream commented:
- Very supportive environment and loved the practical application
- Excellent and current teaching
- Good advice and was great to be able to practice new techniques
Our 6 new Coaching Candidates acquitted themselves extremely well at all 3 HCNZ workshops. Kisena Asi, Eddie Kim, Henrietta Hunkin-Tagaloa, Richard Harker, Michael Markham, and Will Foubister all stepped up to share their knowledge and experience with singers, quartets and the choruses and added great breadth to the teaching Faculty. These talented young people are the immediate future of our education leadership team.
Watch out for more information on the upcoming “Top Gun Quartet School”, information about how to engage one of the coaching candidates to coach your quartet of chorus, and information about next year’s HCNZ events held in a town near you!