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Dr. Darden Purcell is a jazz vocalist and the Director of Jazz Studies at George Mason University. Joe McMurray and Aaron Sefchick have a wonderful time talking with Darden about her musical journey, her duties as a “Director of Jazz Studies,” how to transition to singing jazz music, and specifics on vocal technique and practice.
Part 2 of 2 is packed with useful information and tips regarding vocal technique and practice (applicable to all styles of music!). Darden tells the guys about vocal habits such as speaking and singing on vocal fry, scooping into pitches, and falling off at the ends of words. There is a discussion about the short careers of some singers resulting from poor vocal health. Darden talks about how certain food and beverages affect your singing voice, and she emphasizes the importance of sleep leading up to a performance. It is important to understand that your vocal range changes depending on the time of day and how far into a performance you are. This is incredibly useful when choosing the keys of your songs and planning your setlist.
Darden tells Joe and Aaron about her favorite gigs, ranging from performances with symphonies to jazz gigs with great audiences.
Finally, Darden gives a ton if information regarding vocal practice. She stresses the importance of singing with the piano and a metronome, critically analyzing the music you are singing, and keeping a practice log. She addresses proper breathing for singing, singing long tones, singing with lip trills, and a couple other exercises to master pitch control.
Find out more about Darden at http://www.dardenpurcell.com/. Find out more about George Mason’s music programs at https://music.gmu.edu/.
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