Meeting Jennifer John, former co-founder of award-winning music company Sense of Sound and well known vocal coach from ITV’s The Voice, was inspiration itself. But getting the opportunity to learn from a true master of her craft was priceless.
Jennifer does offer private tuition but for someone like me, who has dabbled in the past with bands, (sadly with no record deal beckoning) I just wanted the opportunity to sing again and I’m hoping that this new, short course with a small group of people, will help me to find my voice again.
Meeting in BBC’s Radio Merseyside Performance Space felt exciting too and I arrived early to find someone was already waiting. Yasmin, a student at LIPA and a somewhat unsuspecting performer. She told me that, although she has always enjoyed singing, Yasmin was actually planning to study law and/or psychology at A Level.
After being encouraged to sing for her Nan’s birthday, she was then asked to perform at several other events, from weddings to funerals, and it was at that point she thought she should probably take her singing more seriously. So coming from an all-girl convent school, Yasmin auditioned for her place at LIPA and then entered what must have felt like ‘Fame School.’ She described the move to me as a bit of culture shock but is loving the experience so far.
The rest of the singers arrived, and I’m relieved to find there is a mix of ages, men and women in our group. After we introduced ourselves, Jennifer put us to work, standing in a circle and going through a number of exercises to develop our breathing, diction and vocal control.
Over the course of the session, what I really liked was that having completed several exercises together, we established our own personal weaknesses. But the way that Jennifer handled that moment, left us feeling empowered to resolve those weaknesses, rather than feeling isolated by them.
At the very end we had an opportunity to go over the exercises again, this time with the chance to make some notes, so that we can work on improving before next week. Plus, for next week we also need to bring a verse and chorus to work on – this is going to take some thought! Any suggestions?