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background vocal technique

Background Vocal Recording Techniques

Music and Performing Arts Professions Ensembles

The ability to sing excellent background vocals at a recording session is one of the hallmarks of a truly professional singer.

The Background Vocal Recording Techniques Ensemble teaches the skills needed to excel at singing contemporary background vocals in small groups for recording. The course focuses on BGV’s in a recording setting. We will use a portable recording set-up similar to what many people use in their home studios. Starting with a discussion about vocal blending, we’ll move on to work on a basic understanding of recording mics, mic technique, vocal technique, and more. Groups of three will record background parts focusing on all aspects of genre-appropriate blending.

Who Can Join

Vocalists who pass the audition can join.

Audition Information

The vocal audition will be on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm in the Education Building, 35 West 4th Street, room 770.
Email: for a time slot to audition.

What to Prepare for the Audition:

  1. Prepare one uptempo/fast song. By uptempo/fast, we mean a dance tempo but not necessarily a dance song. Examples are: "Heartbreaker" (Pat Benatar), "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (Whitney Houston), "Firework" (Katy Perry). Bring a lead sheet for the piano accompanist.
  2. Prepare a ballad or medium tempo song. Bring a lead sheet for the piano accompanist.
  3. Prepare a song of your choice and sing it a cappella.

Write, then print out the answers to the following 5 questions. Bring the printout of the answers to the audition:

  • What is your voice type? (soprano, mezzo, alto, tenor, baritone, or bass)
  • What is your email address and your N number?
  • What is your previous singing experience?
  • What interests you about this ensemble and what do you hope to learn from this class?
  • What is your previous experience singing harmony and/or background vocals? (for BVRTE)
Rehearsal/Class Information

The class meets on Wednesdays from 4:55 pm to 6:35 pm in the Education Building, room 778. Singers are required to attend all classes and to practice with their classmates outside of class. There is no final performance. There is a midterm assessment and a final exam. The final exam takes place during finals week (which is after classes end).


The class is taught by veteran singer Janice Pendarvis.

Contact Information

Instructor: Janice Pendarvis (
Vocal Performance Admin: Scott Allen (

MPAVP-UE 1181.011
MPAVP-GE 2181.011