On Sunday evening, April 21st, we music theatre majors had one last master class that was an addition to our prescheduled MT Masters series. This master class was led by Soren Moller, Artistic and managing director of Fredericia Teater, in Denmark, who studied rock singing for 8 years, along with classical voice. He is an incredible rock singer himself, and taught some of the most helpful vocal techniques I've ever heard of. Soren flew in to Cleveland from Denmark just to conduct our master class.
He started off with a Power Point presentation based around the techniques he teaches. Soren carried on from there by introducing the three main principles of rock singing: support, necessary twang, and no tightening of the jaw or lips. He next went step by step through four vocal "modes" being neutral, curbing, overdrive, and edge. Each mode is a step up in volume and fair support than the last. He described "edge" as the vocal screaming we hear from artists like Steven Tyler. Hearing this, one would think he is literally ripping apart his vocal chords to make those sounds, but Soren explained that all those vocal "distortions" happen above the vocal chords, meaning it isn't damaging to the voice in the long run. He had all of us try some different effects with our voices, which resulted in it sounding like there were 60 dying elephants in the Conservatory, but hey, we tried.
Next each person that was selected to sing got up, gave what they had, and Soren then broke down the song to help us modify into a more rock sound. I sang "You Oughta Know" by Alanis Morisette. I asked Soren if he could assist me with the vocal breaks that Alanis is known for and help with vowel modification. He coached me for about 10 minutes, and by the time he was done it sounded like a completely different song, and definitely rocked harder. I had so much fun working with him and there was no pressure at all. He went through the same breakdown with all of the 9 MT's who sang, which made for some night and day transformations. Soren is a rock and roll genius, who hopefully will come back annually to help us Music Theatre nerds rock out!