How do VoiceArt Certificates of Singing differ from those offered by formal institutions?
They are carried out entirely by video submission and can be presented as soon as the singer has the requisite number of songs ready for their level.
They are all own choice with the proviso of including a classical song, a contemporary song and a piece from Music Theatre. After that the singer can complete their program of pieces with any songs which make for an entertaining performance. (There are exceptions to this proviso in the Performer certificate levels).
The idea of multiple song learning and repertoire research, are at the heart of VoiceArt Certificates of Singing, so the levels progressively add songs, encouraging the singer to extend their parameters and their ability to maintain focus and flow from genre to genre, vocally and dramatically.
Singers may not repeat a song in any later program. (Except if there is a song from a song cycle which may be repeated in that context at the Concert Level). If a singer takes every Progressive they will have learnt nearly 40 songs by the time they reach the Advanced Level!
In the early Progressive Levels it is acceptable for singers to use backing tracks in their video performance, but by the Intermediate level, singers are encouraged to work with a live accompanist as they gather the confidence to make their songs their own. Of course, backing tracks are an option for any level in the time of Covid!
Singers are encouraged to use vocal qualities which are appropriate to the songs chosen. Whether belting or singing classically, they should aim for safe, clear tone across the full range of their voice.
Singer/songwriters from the Intermediate Level onwards, are welcome to include their own compositions and accompany themselves as they normally would. Just be mindful of keeping your performance flowing when you transition to and from playing and singing your song and be aware of the effect on the balance of the audio. Make sure that your singing is clearly heard. Kate is a composer too and will be pleased to adjudicate from this standpoint.
Each song is adjudicated with a descriptive category and remarks that are clear, kind, encouraging and constructive. Kate is an Estill Master Trainer so this will have bearing on her specific vocal commentary. Then there are three categories which are marked numerically - Vocal Command, Musical Security & Stylistic Nuance, Communication and Entertainment Value.
Singers will be required to present program notes. It is hoped that they will not only enjoy gathering interesting information, including wiki references, translations, links and images and reflect upon their learning journey with their songs; but also that their performance will be enhanced through online exploration. Program notes attract a numerical mark.
In the early levels there is a “work in progress” category, which gives the singer the opportunity to re-submit one song (at extra cost) that may have impacted on a disappointing overall score. This option ceases at Intermediate level.
Singers completing the Progressive Levels with an Advanced Level program and the ensuing Associate and Concert and Cabaret Performer levels, have the option of recording their performance with a live audience in attendance. If this option is taken up, be aware of camera position in terms of lighting and clarity of the audio and the additional noise a live audience might make.
Singers do not have to progress through the levels. Some may choose to opt for a formal exam outside the VoiceArt Certificate program and return to take a higher level. And singers can also jump a level if they feel they have made significant progress to be confident with songs of greater complexity and more of them.
There are no prerequisites for the Performer levels, but singers are advised that they are aimed at very experienced performers. Proficient singers returning to singing after focus on family or career, are advised to undertake the Advanced Certificate, before tackling the Performer levels.
There are no age requirements at any stage. Mature students who have come to singing late, can take the lower levels by choosing material which is simple vocally and musically, but may require depths of emotional understanding and experience.
Performance Skills Class (Zoom) Singers of any age, working towards their VoiceArt Certificate of Singing are welcome to book in to one of Kate’s monthly Monday night (6.30-7.30) PSCZoom sessions, for some encouraging and constructive feedback and their teachers can come for free.
Understand that it will be the performance you do in your video which will be assessed, regardless of a better rendition at PSCZoom.