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Thread: Help with student pitch matching?

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    Question Help with student pitch matching?

    I am currently giving voice lessons as part of a vocal pedagogy class I am taking at my university. My voice lesson student can match pitch when I am singing along with him, but as soon as I drop out he loses the pitch. I've been doing simple vocalises and familiar folk songs to help him match (and stay matching) pitch. Is there anything else I can do to help him stay on pitch when it's just the piano accompanying him or just him singing by himself?

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    You should have him practice singing scales and broken chord patterns. That way, he'll develop a stronger aural and physical memory of the basic interval patterns, and a better sense of tonal orientation.

    Also, he needs to learn how to listen to himself and to evaluate whether he's going too sharp or too flat. Can he tell when his pitches are off? If not, then maybe he could record himself and try listening critically to his intonation.

    I hope that some of this helps! I'm primarily a piano teacher, but I do incorporate musicianship training into my lessons, including pitch matching, and I've had some good results with the above tips.

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    Senior Member Barelytenor's Avatar
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    I have taught a lot of voice students in my life and I have succeeded with many of them by getting them to "feel" the difference in height between high notes (head voice, roughly speaking) and lower notes (mixed voice to chest voice). It helps if they can read music to some degree to realize "Oh this note is supposed to be high in my body" or "this one is low." And I use a stringed instrument metaphor like a cello or double bass to show that the highest notes actually are above the physical instrument. This is a gross exaggeration of what can be a weeks- to monthslong process ... In student who are extremely pitch-challenged--one comes to mind, a Broadway hopeful who wanted to be a "triple threat" but could really only act and dance; when he sang, he was usually a fifth below the correct pitch--this method succeeded in getting him usually a tone or semitone away from the correct pitch. Good and bad news: he was closer to the cigar, but the resultant pitches were less consonant than ever. I unfortunately had to drop him afterward as he had a bad habit of not showing up.

    Kind regards,

    George

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