Although many performers can sing "by ear", that is, without having any formal training, professional performers need to have a working command of the tools which other musicians use to communicate during the process of creating a top-level performance. If a singer can't read music or doesn't know the terminology, time is lost having to explain. In the professional world, time is money, and if you don't know "your stuff", you won't get very far.
It is highly recommended that students with no previous musical experience enroll in a theory class prior to starting vocal music instruction.
BEGINNING MUSIC THEORY
This class provides the basic skills you need to be able to learn fairly simple songs. The main focus includes identifying pitches on a keyboard, recognizing musical notation and understanding rhythm patterns. Major and minor scale formulas will be introduced, and learning how key signatures are utilized will be covered.
Many singers have not been taught how to sing "in-tune" -- meaning, within the scale of a song -- changing keys from one phrase to the next. Others simply have never been taught to match pitches exactly. Ear-training studies will develop a tonal center within the singer, performing intervals and harmonic identifications will strengthen pitch accuracy and intonation. Recognition of intervals and singing in tune is a learnable skill, but you can’t learn it alone!
To further assist performers in learning music quickly and accurately, NOVAA's Keyboarding Skills course develops the ability to format different types of chords and play from fake books (the music industry's abbreviated songbooks). Other abilities, such as playing a bass line improvisation, will improve a singer's ability to sing in tune and understand the style of myriad compositions.
This course will familiarize singer-actors with vocabulary commonly found in the study of vocal music. Parameters of music, including dynamics, timbre, pitch, duration and more will be introduced, and a brief overview of the development of music in Western society puts various styles of music into a perspective that will assist the student in future performance development.