Workshop/DVD

Workshops in Vocal Technique for Choirs

With a Master’s in vocal pedagogy and a doctorate in choral conducting, there is nothing Laurier Fagnan enjoys more than helping choirs to achieve their full vocal potential. He has offered hundreds of workshops to choirs of all levels from school groups to philharmonic choruses and award-winning chamber choirs in Canada and Europe. He thoroughly enjoys helping each ensemble discover its potential for truly beautiful, healthy, in-tune, balanced and colourful vocal tone. Too often as we seek a homogeneous tone from our ensembles, wanting no voice to individually penetrate the group’s sound, the meritorious goal of ‘blend’ can become confused with ‘bland’ and ensembles are denied much of the colour and power that the music so rightly deserves. While it may be true that no voices stick out with this approach, it is also true that few voices are allowed to fully contribute their inherent potential. As Coffin so aptly states, “there is no reason to have a Stradivarius sound like a cigar-box violin so that both will sound the same.” It is Fagnan’s desire to awaken the vocal Stradivarius within each chorister in an ensemble so that all can contribute in a compelling and gratifying manner without compromising any of the standards of great choral (as opposed to solo) singing.

The vocal principles of the bel canto method of singing form the core of the pedagogical material to be covered during workshops. Special attention is paid to the inseparable and interdependent pillars of breath control, focused core vibration and chiaroscuro resonance balancing to bring about vocal tone that is energetic but not effortful, colourful but not heavy, clear but not strident, and capable of a full palate of dynamic and timbral nuances to ensure moving, multi-layered musical interpretations. See the pdf document below on bel canto principles for more detailed information.

Workshops can last anywhere from 1 hour to a full weekend depending on how much detail is desired and how much repertoire is to be studied.

For further information or to book Laurier Fagnan for a workshop, conference or for guest conducting, please contact him at lfagnan@ualberta.ca.

Transform Your Choir's Sound: Exceptional Choral Singing with Bel Canto Vocal Principles

This new instructional DVD has been in preparation for several years and should hit the market during the summer of 2012. It aims to be the most complete tool available which focuses on improving the quality of choral singing. It will highlight the time-proven principles of the bel canto method of singing which have consistently helped vocal artists to excel for (centuries) and apply these principles of breath control, focused core vibration and chiaroscuro resonance in an appropriate and effective manner for choral singing. It will help to dispel many of the unfortunate myths and miscommunications that have troubled vocal pedagogy for years and help both conductors and choristers (as well as solo singers) to focus on the truly crucial elements of vocal production, technique and esthetics that will enable all to perform at a higher vocal level, one where beauty and energy replace strain and effort, where ‘blend’ does is not synonymous with ‘bland’ and where conductor, chorister and audience can together rediscover the inherent power of choral singing.

Although the DVD will be essentially pedagogical in nature, it will also feature a bevy of acoustical substantiation with the latest technology in 3-D real-time analyses to quantify the ‘before-and-after’ differences. These will confirm that important aspects such as intonation, a fuller harmonic spectrum, sustained legato phrases and blend are generally improved after the principles are applied. Viewers will witness choirs applying these principles for the first time and will immediately hear and see the impact they have on choral singing and receive instruction into the application to their singing as well as pedagogical tips for the conductor.

This project has been made possible through a major grant from Western Economic Diversification as well as through funding from Campus Saint-Jean and Alberta Foundation for the Arts. We are also grateful to the Analysis/Synthesis department at Ircam in Paris, notably Xavier Rodet and Nicolas Obin, to whom we owe an ongoing debt for much of the acoustical analysis work for this and other projects. Below is an example of the type of acoustical analysis that will be featured on the DVD.

To be put on the list to receive the DVD once it is released, please send an email to Lfagnan@ualberta.ca.