Hey there! This is Lysie Jordan, MTCA Song Coach, here to help you with your Song Repertoire and Song Performance. One of the questions I most often get asked is…
“How is my Song Coach different from my Vocal Tech Coach?”
And it’s a very good question! Oftentimes students come to MTCA with a home voice teacher, but rarely do they have two separate coaches who both work on songs, but approach it from these very different angles! Allow me to explain…
Your song rep and performance coach is going to help find material that meets your voice and spirit in the best way possible. They’re going to cut the pieces, so that they’re the appropriate length for college auditions, but still tell a story. And then they’re going to dive into that story with you and do the very important work of getting you connected to the scene and your unique point of view. (You know that the college song audition is also an ACTING audition, right?!) We’re musical theater actors; our number one goal is to tell a story.
And here’s the thing: lots of people can sing, so YOU want to be one of the artists who’s dropped into the story they’re telling and doing so in a clear, specific, and ideally, musical way!
Your vocal tech coach, on the other hand, is going to teach you how to sing the piece with the most vocal ease and know-how. They’re going to be dealing with your musical instrument in a more technical way – as one of our vocal tech coaches, Mackenzie Bykowski puts it: “We’ll help you learn how your voice works on an anatomical and physiological level. We help you develop the ability for your voice to stretch so that you have the flexibility to perform the vocal tasks in the way you would like. And we also always emphasize the importance of developing a more released production of sound so that the clarity of that storytelling work translates by way of ease in the voice.”
In other words, they’re going to be dealing with your vocal anatomy and the science behind healthy singing.
They’re going to teach you how to warm up your voice as well as the technique you need to ace that money note. Cool, right?
Why does MTCA structure things this way? Well, first of all, it plays to the strengths and passions of your carefully selected MTCA coaches! Your vocal tech teacher is someone who has trained extensively in vocal pedagogy*. While each of our vocal tech teachers have different journeys, you’ll see they got degrees in music or pedagogy. They’ve spent extensive time working in music education, at top vocal centers with singers who have experienced vocal injuries, and of course, they are fabulous singers and artists themselves!
[*Pedagogy is the study of teaching! Meaning seasoned experience with how to help singers develop based on their individual needs rather than just teaching from a textbook.]
Your Song Rep and Performance coach is a musical theater actor and educator. We are a group of professional singers and actors who happen to have the same deep passion for teaching and musical theater repertoire. We know literally THOUSANDS of songs, and we’re constantly nerding out, sharing rep amongst ourselves, and trying to find material that lifts up and excites each and every student.
When you meet your song coach, they’ll want to know a lot about you. And that’s because they’re going to open up a world of material that will not only match your voice, but how you want to represent yourself in the audition room.
Your song coach went to school for musical theater/acting, which is why you’ll see BFA or MFA after their names. We are passionate about storytelling and acting theory and will treat you like you’re a first-year college musical theater student. We want to start growing your acting/artistic skill set from the moment we meet you, and we’ll keep adding to it as you go through your audition year. We’ll teach you how to walk into that audition (live or virtual), how to speak to an accompanist… all of the auditions dos and don’ts. And we also happen to be experts at this process, college auditions. So you’re not going to be getting basic audition info, but rather tips that are meant for this incredible, complicated, thrilling, stressful, wonderful college audition process!
You should also know that MTCA did not invent this structure; it’s how most BFA programs work as well! Once in theater school, you can expect to have a private voice teacher who will work on vocal technique. Oftentimes that person is affiliated with the music school (or most definitely went to music school themselves). You can also expect to have a song performance teacher who works on acting a song. This usually happens in a musical theater scene study class and will be taught by an acting teacher.
The added bonus of MTCA Song Rep and Performance is that we do this one-on-one and provide detailed repertoire exploration.
I hope you’ll find this in college, but it is actually more rare than you’d think and usually happens in more of a masterclass setting.
The magic really starts happening when your vocal tech work AND song performance come together seamlessly. I’m guessing you’ve been thrilled by a musical theater actor simultaneously serving up stunning vocals and vivid storytelling. (I’m guessing so because it’s usually what makes people fall in love with musical theater in the first place.) So let’s dive into the nitty gritty! Let’s explore how they were working that magic, and start spreading it around with our own work. Your coaching team is waiting to show you how…
About the Author
Lysie is a founding member of the team, having coached her own college auditions with founder Ellen Lettrich and later becoming a song coach. She graduated Magna cum laude and with Distinction from Ithaca College where she earned a BFA in Musical Theatre. Elysia opened the First National Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock, understudying Principal Rosalie Mullins. Lysie has performed at 54 Below, Playwrights Horizons, Manhattan Theatre Club’s Creative Center, and in the Lincoln Center’s Songbook Series. Regional credits include The Ogunquit Playhouse, North Shore Music Theatre, Feinstein’s At the Nikko, and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. She’s also enjoyed singing cherished scores with her hometown symphony, The Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. Lysie has loved teaching ever since she was a TA at Ithaca College, and has continued with this passion ever since. She is a faculty member at SOCAPA (the School of Cinema and Performing Arts), where she created the Musical Theatre Acting Curriculum. She has been a Song Rep and Performance Coach with MTCA for over a decade and cherishes the opportunity to mentor young artists, introduce them to the musical theatre she loves, and help them to shine their own unique light.