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Event Spotlight: Group Vocal Master Class with Debby Boland Watt

30 Apr Posted by in Blog | Comments
Event Spotlight: Group Vocal Master Class with Debby Boland Watt
 

As the Seattle Times wrote about her in an article in 2014, “Debby Watt can harmonize with a dryer”. We are lucky to be able to offer our members a workshop with vocalist extraordinaire, Debby Boland Watt. Singing and teaching others to find their voice is her entire life mission.

“I love every sound. It can be dogs, it can be birds, it can be just your hands — and we start with that, we build from that,” said Watt, who leads monthly jam sessions at Dusty Strings, and a type of improvisational singing in which Watt provides vocal structures and participants follow before breaking into harmonies and improvised riffs. It’s a model of making music that defies traditional judgments like “good” or “bad”. Instead, every voice is considered a natural extension of the self. Even Watt considers herself less of a singer or vocalist and more of a “resonant being.”

Debby began experimenting with folk, spiritual, blues, jazz and free jazz before discovering circle singing. This style of vocal training was Founded by Bobby McFerrin with the creation of his improvisational Voicestra in 1986. The form is just beginning to become popular in the Northwest. Watt has made it her mission to bring the musical form to the public, and has personally studied under McFerrin.

“In the U.S. we have people that we assign as singers and we put on our headphones and listen to the professionals,” she said. “We don’t have a culture that supports people getting together under a tree and making our dinners and taking care of our babies and singing our stories. It connects people to people on a really dirt, ground level.”

At a recent jam session at Dusty Strings Music Store and School in Fremont, about 20 people contributed to what can only be described as harmonic cacophony. Watt gave different groups in the room parts to sing and improvised on top before ceding the spotlight to someone else. At some points the music became more rhythmic; other times it swelled and flowed. The resonance of different voices coming together buoyed moods, soothed anxieties and turned a group of strangers into a spontaneous community.

The upcoming workshop will be a guided group singing class, created with singer-songwriters in mind. Part exploration and part master class, it emphasizes ease and happiness as you learn what’s needed to produce your best possible sound. Confidently connect with your voice through structural and tonal exercises and ear training, and by learning about the physical components of singing. In the second half of class, play through songs you’re working on and receive a gentle critique from Debby on vocal performance with constructive ideas of what to work on next. Whether you sing for enjoyment or have a particular goal in mind, learn to create harmonies, and enhance your vocal tone when performing your original music.

The event is scheduled for Sunday, May 21, 2017, 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM, at the Phinney Neighborhood Center – Room 35. 6532 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle, WA

Mark your calendars and do come out for this wonderful vocal learning opportunity.

For more information and to RSVP, see the event on Meetup

 

About the Author
Audrey Goodman

Audrey Goodman has taught music to kids since 1985. She is experienced as a private piano teacher, innovative classroom music educator, musical theater and children’s choir director. She is a published songwriter, (Mother Mode Music ASCAP) and also Founder of ‘Seattle Kid’s Music Magic’, a clearinghouse on information for teaching children music in innovative and effective ways.
In addition to all that, Audrey sits on the board of Songwriters in Seattle, sharing her expertise to help guide the organization to ever greater accomplishments.

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