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Looking for serious vocal critique...


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All:

 

This is a crappy cellphone video of yet another 16-year-old high school kid doing a musical theater piece in a regional competition - just the stuff most adult musicians roll our eyes at. That said, it's a VERY difficult piece (Girl in 14G), and she got both a perfect score and the most effusive judge's reaction I've ever seen in one of these events. That's nice to know, but not helpful at all from a coaching perspective.

 

Here's the reason for posting: She wants to use this piece as an audition number for colleges, including Berklee, Juilliard and St Olaf. Thus, I'd like to get some legitimate critique on things she can work on to improve - and I'm betting that a few of the regulars here will see things that I've missed. Also, if you think she's kidding herself pursuing music as a career, say it - it would be better to pull her back before spending lots of cash and years of her life if she just doesn't have what it takes.

 

 

Thanks in advance!

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I have to say, first, I hope she is going to do a new video because the piano totally overwhelms in this one. The piece is pretty challenging, and honestly, no, she is not up to the challenge here. Her dynamic control is lacking, her sustain is strained, and when she is going for the long 'step through' parts, she goes flat. I realize this audition piece is 'musical comedy', but her voice seems to lean more to the comedy than to the musical.

Regional summer stock, she would wow them, but Juilliard or Berklee? Sorry, no...which is not to say with some more serious training it would not improve, but based on what I just heard, no.

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Thanks for the input. I sat down with her this evening and had a serious conversation about what she needs to do if she is serious about moving forward. She not only took the criticism to heart, she welcomed it. She's pretty circumspect for her age, and realizes that she has to stop thinking like the big fish in a little pond, and start treating the serious pros as the target and competition. She knows that it ain't easy, even if she doesn't yet knw what that really means.

 

The sad part is that the only comment she got from the judges in that competition was to be more active and move more during her pieces....facepalm.gif Given the other singers I heard on Saturday, I guess I can understand. I just feel that the "judges" who tell these kids that they are "perfect" when it is clearly not the case are doing the kids a disservice. Just because you are the best among a couple of hundred high school kids does not mean that you don't need honest criticism and feedback in order to improve.

 

Again, thanks for the input - it is much appreciated.

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Nice voice, already showing control that for some takes years to master under good orientation.

 

My advice: instead of worrying about these institutions, seek private lessons. If she is into musicals, find out who are the people that prepare the performers (the people who are already professionals, not wanna bes) for the shows where she want to sing at. High level singing is very, very demanding and she has potential to do it. But to have a carreer she will need to wow people at auditions for the roles, and later on stage, pieces of paper of whatever institution won´t matter.

 

There is potential, that´s for sure.

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The sad part is that the only comment she got from the judges in that competition was to be more active and move more during her pieces....

 

Just my thoughts. I have no experience of what is a benchmark performance for a 16-year-old applying for a top college.

 

Movement is mainly what came to my mind. I don't think it is so much the AMOUNT of movement, though. I would have thought that she is in the right ball park with that. But she has to show FAR more physical presence and projection of SPIRIT -- be BOLDER in her movements, without destroying the downbeat, "fed up" nature of the piece, or being over-theatrical. Pretty difficult. The QUALITY of the movement is every bit as difficult as the vocals. I would take the judges VERY, VERY seriously on that. It jumped out at me, too. I think it could be a deal breaker. She could greatly improve her performance in this area -- best dividends, here, I think.

 

A less major thing I noticed was some weakness in the lower range. But it looks like something that would strengthen with time.

 

I may be wrong, but I doubt she would be criticized harshly for not nailing such a difficult piece, and she doesn't come across as if she is hiding behind the complexity or using it as an excuse.

 

Those are the two issues regarding potential, which stood out for me. And I think it is POTENTIAL that colleges would be looking for in a 16-year-old. What they don't want are symptoms of things that are unlikely to get fixed: e.g psychological showstoppers, like an overly self-conscious character trait. This is why I think her movement has to be a lot more convincing.

 

And, as New2 indicated, they would be looking for somebody with enthusiasm, who will stick the course. Looks to me like she has that. All the best for her.

 

A few choreography classes needed, perhaps.

Edited by kickingtone
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I am glad you two had that chat but one thing I forgot to mention is; dose she have the ability to learn at a reasonable speed?

 

 

She only worked that song for three weeks, and that was concurrent with playing a lead role in a musical theater production and working the other two pieces she was competing with. She did have one coaching session with a pro teacher, but otherwise worked it up on her own.

 

That's not fast by pro standards, but for a high school student....?

Edited by SteinbergerHack
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