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Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

Music and Performing Arts Professions Ensembles

Do you love singing lead and want to learn more about what to do onstage when performing contemporary genres as the lead vocalist? Are you an instrumentalist who loves playing contemporary genres and wants to learn more about playing in a band where a singer is the lead instrument?

The Contemporary Vocal Ensemble teaches singers* the skills needed to excel at performing lead vocals in different contemporary genres, e.g. pop, R&B, rock, hip-hop, country, reggae, etc. Each week, we will work on making each singer a more professional, confident, relaxed, and compelling lead vocalist by working on how to choose a song; choosing a key; genre-appropriate stylization; movement; storytelling and the acting part of singing; microphone technique; stage fright; and interfacing with musicians, sound engineers, crew, and more.

The Contemporary Vocal Ensemble teaches instrumentalists how to work in an ensemble setting with different lead singers in various contemporary genres. Instrumentalists and singers learn how to effectively communicate with each other, how to really listen to each other when performing, genre appropriate stylization, movement on stage, and more. Each week we work on making each instrumentalist a more professional, confident, relaxed, and compelling performer who works well with others.

Who Can Join

Vocalists and instrumentalists who pass the audition can join. Freshmen are not able to audition for vocal performance ensembles. You must have a way to record multitrack audio at home on a computer and record yourself on video. The class will be in person, but we may also record some of our work.

Audition Information

First, please fill out this Vocal Audition form. Then, prepare one audition video. All auditioning will be done with a video that you make and share with me on Google Drive. The Google Drive link is on the audition form. You should sing all three songs in one take.

  1. One uptempo, really fast song. By uptempo/really fast, we mean a dance tempo (150 BPM) but not necessarily a dance song. Examples are: "Heartbreaker" (Pat Benatar), "Runaway Baby" (Bruno Mars), "Firework" (Katy Perry).
  2. One ballad or medium tempo song.
  3. One song of your choice (in a different tempo from the first two) to be sung a cappella.

The songs should be from one of the contemporary genres. You can use karaoke tracks to sing to. Make sure you are singing in a key that suits you by downloading the karaoke and changing the key if necessary.

Try to eliminate some of the time between songs by having them cued up and ready to go on your computer, phone, or whatever you are playing them from. It’s a better look if you are not fumbling searching for the next song between takes.

The AUDITION DEADLINE is Wednesday, August 24, 2022.

Band Audition

For the band audition, I will send you some stems, a commercially prepared lead sheet and a link to the original recording. The audition is to record your instrument with the other stems that I send you and find a pocket/feel that makes the combination of instruments (that now includes you) sound like you were all in a room playing at the same time. Keep in mind that the track is for a vocalist to sing on and not an instrumental. Guitarists, use your pedal board if you have one, even if you just play some bars by yourself after the audition song. Please email me at janice.pendarvis@nyu.edu for immediate details.

We’re looking for a bass player, 2 guitar players, and a drummer for a five-piece rhythm section to accompany the lead singers in this class. The class accompanist is a piano player.

Players will receive 0-1 ensemble credits and get experience playing different contemporary genres.

In this class, players need to sight-read, transpose and play chart/lead sheet in a different key than it is written in, listen to reference track and quickly figure out what to play live (w/ or w/o chart), and find a groove and have fun! Not expecting perfect players; looking for players who are willing to grow. Additionally, we’re looking for players who will have patience with the learning process that the singers will go through.

We’ll also do a little bit of the recording work we did during the pandemic. You’ll need to be able to record with others, one instrument at a time, sharing files with the other players, to create a sound that feels like you were all in the same room recording. You need to be able to record video of yourself for the video we will make.

The deadline to submit audition materials is Wednesday, August 24, 2022.

Class Information

The class meets on Fridays from 4:35 pm to 6:35 pm in the Provincetown Playhouse. Singers and instrumentalists are required to attend all classes, do assignments and practice outside of class, and to work on the recording/video outside of class. This means that instruction will be mostly synchronous but partly asynchronous. Singers and instrumentalists are also required to perform at the sound check and final performance in the Loewe Theater on December 9, 2022.

Performances and Concerts

December 9, 2022 at 8 pm - Frederick Loewe Theatre (Education Building, 35 West 4 Street).

You can take the class for 0-1 credits.

Instructor

Veteran singer Janice Pendarvis teaches this class. See video clips from one of her interviews.

Contact Information

Adjunct Professor: Janice Pendarvis (janice.pendarvis@nyu.edu)
Vocal Performance Admin: Scott Allen (sa74@nyu.edu)

MPAVP-UE 1181.010
MPAVP-GE 2181.010

*Singers: This is a non-traditional ensemble. You will not be singing with the other singers. You will be working one at a time on lead vocal performance skills in a band with student musicians.

Performance Sample

Students in NYU Steinhardt's Vocal Performance program remotely sing "Marry You," "Unchain My Heart," "Anyone," and "Forget You."

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