For vocalists, pitch, diction and other “technical” skills are constantly being fine tuned,
but at COCA this June, Michael Beatty will be stressing another quality to
young singers: the importance of acting in vocal performance.
“As a coach for clients that include young performing artists, pop rock/gospel singers
and Broadway performers, I can tell you how important it is to always ‘tell the story’
of the song with a great sense of truth and authenticity,” says Beatty.
Through two levels of summer intensives running June 5-9, Beatty, along with COCA’s Phil Woodmore, will work with vocalists ages 14-18 who are preparing for high school and college theatre admissions as well as professional auditions with “Acting the Song– The Singing Artist”. The goal of the intensive is to help students access the emotional life of the song and create a higher standard of musical expression.
“A singing artist is always an actor first. Producing one’s most beautiful sound and
moving an audience is done by connecting an acting technique to a singing technique. We teach students how breathing, tone production, diction, etc., can work in tandem with emotional energies [like] feelings, imagination, intellect, experiences from the past, etc. to create a more successful level of performance” says Beatty. “We’re interested in helping our students understand this notion so that they may
recognize their highest potential as singing artists.”
Voice Intensive I covers basic sight reading, diction, breathing and tone production,
lyric analysis, vocal expression and, of course, acting the song, utilizing songs that
represent a variety of musical theatre styles. Voice Intensive II builds on that
curriculum with more attention to advanced strategies.
Within both levels of the intensive, students will learn to:
- Connect a healthy vocal technique to the physical instrument that is their
- Intellectually and emotionally understand the stories they tell.
- Courageously step into the musical and emotional life of the song.
- Connect to the audience in a more powerful and meaningful way.
- Identify appropriate audition and performance repertoire that highlight each
student’s individuality, performance strengths, range, and unique “one of a
kind” star qualities.
- Integrate a Method Acting approach to vocal production in order to create a
deeper understanding of the character and the “life of the song.”
- Integrate relaxation and confidence building techniques as coping strategies for
audition and performance anxieties.
- Set higher standards of professional discipline, audition etiquette, career
direction, and intellectual curiosity.
Instruction is energetic and fun. Daily activities will include a physical and vocal
warm-up, movement improvisation, a variety of acting and musical theatre exercises,
group numbers and individual private instruction, as well as a moments for self
A focus on the methods of Constantin Stanislavski, Stella Adler, Julie Harris and Mary Setrakian will be used as a platform for discussion, application and inspiration.
Performance analysis will also include visual and audio examples of musical theatre
performance, history and appreciation.
Most importantly, both Woodmore and Beatty have designed the intensives to take
place within a “sanctuary studio” setting -providing students a creative environment
that supports and nurtures diversity, individuality and artistic freedom.
“Good singing technique is more than just the art of singing,” Beatty says. “It’s the
art of expressing the truth.”