Singer advises ‘listen louder than you sing’

Sarah Novicoff

A member of the college jazz group Pacific Standard Time taught the Jazz Singers class Dec. 11 about vocal techniques.

Rachel St. Marseille, a senior at the Bob Hope Conservatory at California State University Long Beach, began her lesson with vocal exercises for both the Jazz Singers and the Treble Tones. She offered such advice as “listen louder than you sing” and “when you can hear the chords, the audience can hear the chords too.”

After warming up, the Jazz Singers practiced their song “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” once without corrections and a second time as St. Marseille interrupted to teach the class about techniques.

She taught the class to sing unified vowels with an open mouthed smile and to emphasize beats two and four in a jazz song.

“As a group, we know more about singing classically, so jazz singing, particularly in a choir, is strange territory for the new members like me,” Jazz Singers member Greg Lehroff ’14 said. “She gave us some great pointers on how to improve our technique and I think the group as a whole really benefited from the experience.”

St. Marseille then transitioned to teaching Treble Tones, a new all female a cappella group, on their song “Let it Snow.”

She encouraged students to add buoyancy by emphasizing certain notes over others and by cutting off the end of a song with a “guillotine cut-off.”

“[Her visit was] definitely enjoyable,” Treble Tones member Jackie Ridgley ’14 said. “She taught helpful techniques on how to improve vowels and pulse, and I feel like our group was getting much more out of the song afterwards.”

St. Marseille ended the lesson with advice about singing in general.

“It might be tedious, but it will all pay off,” St. Marseille said. “If you practice perfection, it will be perfect.”