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Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

Music and Performing Arts Professions Ensembles

Vocal Ensembles are a credited class that students register for.  Please refer to the course catalog for more information regarding registration for these courses.

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 Register

Vocalists and instrumentalists who pass the audition can join. Freshmen vocalists cannot audition for vocal performance ensembles.

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.
4. Please sing only 2 minutes of each song.

The songs should be from one of the contemporary genres (no musical theater or classical please). 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.

Auditions for Fall 2024 are open NOW. The Audition Deadline Is TBD. I will be accepting students on a rolling basis as the auditions come in so send your audition ASAP.

Band Audition

We’re looking for a bass player, 2 guitar players and a sax player to play with the class accompanist who is the piano player. We have a drummer.

Players will receive 1 ensemble credit and get experience playing different contemporary genres and communicating directly with singers.

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 a 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. 

Auditions for Fall 2024 are open NOW. If you are interested, please email Professor Pendarvis to set up an audition ASAP.

Course Information and Meeting Time

MPAVP-UE 1181.010
MPAVP-GE 2181.010

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. This means that instruction will be synchronous and asynchronous. Singers and instrumentalists are also required to perform at the sound check and final performance in the
Loewe Theater at the end of the semester on December 13, 2024.

You can take the class for 1 credit. There is no zero credit option anymore.

Performance and Concerts

The mandatory final performance (and sound check) date is December 13, 2024 at Frederick Loewe Theatre (Education Building, 35 West 4 Street).


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

Contact Information

Adjunct Professor: Janice Pendarvis 
Vocal Performance Admin: Scott Allen

*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."

Related Ensembles

Background Vocal Recording Techniques

This ensemble teaches the skills needed to excel at singing contemporary background vocals in small groups for recording.

Village Voices

Join Village Voices where Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer and Lauren Kinhan of New York Voices will equip and empower your voice to respond to the many grooves and genres explored in this exciting, advanced vocal ensemble. We will find and finesse your solo sound and vice versa within the group framework so you are a versatile and skilled musician for the many opportunities your future holds in store.