Elisabeth Geel - Canto Moderno
Canto Moderno is the Italian term for "Contemporary Singing," as opposed to Canto Lirico (classical singing). After many years of teaching Canto Moderno in Italy, I am so used to this term that I can't think of a better one to describe pop, rock, folk, jazz, and r&b vocal technique.
For many years I traveled the world as a live performer at luxury hotels and resorts (Italy, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Dubai) and never really unpacked my suitcase. I lived in anonymous hotel rooms for months on end, far away from family and friends, and although I felt fortunate to make a living doing what I loved most, it wasn't always easy to maintain a certain standard of vocal quality. At some venues I performed six nights a week playing four sets of 45 minutes, but a human being is not a jukebox, so I found myself having to overcome many difficulties, like hoarseness, frustration, lack of motivation, singing with upper respiratory problems, and mental and physical exhaustion.
The greatest challenge presented to me was when I was asked to sing without amplification, mariachi style (very popular in some European venues in the nineties), while keeping the volume somewhat (but not too much!) above the buzz of the "whispering" crowd. At first I was reluctant to accept the gig, but it turned out to be the ultimate vocal training for me: I learned how to take advantage of the room's acoustics without straining my voice, and I learned how to capture people's attention so that they would stop "whispering." These challenges have taught me almost everything there is to learn about healthy singing and about performing in front of a live audience.
As a singer (and teacher) I am self-taught: I devoured all the available documentation on the subject of singing, relaxation, Buddhist and Taoist philosophy, and put my knowledge into practice while being on the road. When I began teaching, I realized how valuable these experiences were. No book on vocal technique could have taught me what I know today, and I am excited to see, every time again, how my empirical knowledge and expertise can help others to discover their potential and passion for singing.
I have taught my personal method of vocal awareness for over 10 years in private and at Italian music schools, primarily at the Thelonious School of Music(Vicenza) and the Accademia Musicale di Schio (Schio, Vicenza).
For a complete bio, please visit elisabethgeel.com/bio
When we sing, we experience that almost ethereal joy of being one with the universe, and when we sing for an audience we are magically connecting with other people through music. For the duration of a song we seem to transcend our mundane existence, and we feel perfectly “in tune” with ourselves and the world. That is, if we master the “technique” of natural singing…
We are all born with the capacity of singing naturally. As children we were able to emit an infinite array of sounds, but over the course of our lives we lose most of that spontaneity. My teaching method, which originates from my personal experience as a live performer, aims to bring that pure voice back to the surface by stimulating “natural singing.” It is partially inspired by Wu Wei, the Taoist concept of non-doing, and focuses on relaxation, vocal awareness, and self-confidence of the singer.
Although I have an individualized instruction program for every student, I put an emphasis on vocal exercises (vocalizes), because in my opinion the physical aspect of singing can be compared to athletics. The training of a figure skater involves repetitive exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles, and the training of a singer is not much different when working seriously towards an objective. Through these vocal exercises the student will develop a physically strong and healthy vocal apparatus, and through relaxation exercises (and lots of talking!) we will work towards a condition that will allow the student to freely express his or her deepest emotions.
An equally important part of my program is dedicated to developing beauty of tone, style, and phrasing, which are obtained through ear-training (listening to other vocalists and analyzing their style) and interpreting songs unknown to the student directly from sheet music.
The student and I work on a song repertoire together. In the beginning I may provide mandatory songs, but students are free to choose the repertoire if they want to. I can provide audio files and sheet music of both songs and exercises. Once the student has acquired skill and self-confidence, I will create the opportunity to perform in front of an audience, and throughout the course I will constantly monitor the student's progress by recording his or her voice in my recording studio.
Besides Canto Moderno classes, I also teach Songwriting and Italian Pronunciation for Singers. Please contact me for information.
Toni, music school director Accademia Musicale Schio and musician:
"Our school was lucky enough to have her as a voice teacher for many years. She started out with a handful of students when the school just opened its doors, but when she left for the States we had to hire 4 voice teachers to handle the overwhelming request. The students loved her, and still love her! All the best to you, and thanks, Liz.”
"Elisabeth is an inspiring person who manages to make everybody passionate about music and art. At the time she involved her students in all her creative projects (Paffymania!!!) and I personally had the greatest time, to a point where we became real close friends. Love!!! Ale.”
"Elisabeth made me rediscover the joy of singing. She is an amazing singer and performing artist – rather than just a teacher who never sees a stage – so she teaches from experience. After she left I continued with another teacher, but I can't help but miss her fresh and original approach.”
"I enjoyed voice lessons with Elisabeth because she taught me how to relax and work my way through all that insecurity that prevented me from letting myself go. At our first lesson she told me, "Some students suddenly break out in tears..." I laughed, but then one day it happened to me! She is more than a teacher, she's a psychologist! Thanks Liz…"
"Elisabeth! xxxx!!! Bella, brava, unforgettable!!!
"Within a year my voice changed from decent to a real singing voice, and I was already over 40 when I first came to her classes. She made me "scream and shout with criteria" – as she put it –, and not only did she "free" my voice, she freed my whole body and spirit . I'll have to she "free" my voice, she freed my whole body and spirit . I'll have to come to Tucson to experience that again! Great Betty..."
Alessia, student and lead singer of the Gothic Rock Band Lachaise.
"Elisabeth made me do a ton of vocalizes, and I thought OMG! They turned out to be the only right thing to do to strengthen my voice. I wanted to develop a Gothic soprano voice, so we focused on a repertoire of songs that contained difficult head-register lines. Today I still practice doing her vocalizes, especially before a gig. Priceless! Thanks Liz!!!”
Laura, student, lead singer of the band Reddish Balcony, Italy.
"When I first started my classes with Elisabeth I was very insecure about my voice. It lacked control and power, mostly because I was awfully tense, which was very evident when I performed live. She taught me how to relax with the help of specific exercises, and I gained self-confidence as a result of her super pep-talks and incredible patience. Grazie Maestra!”
Andres, student, now singer, actor and director in Milan, Italy.
"Professoresa Elisabeth, with lots of love, thank you for everything, forever!”
Classes are held once a week at my studio.
Duration of one lesson: 60 minutes, 45 minutes, or 30 minutes.
Day and time depending on availability of both client and teacher.
Rate: $1.00 a minute. Minimum 30 minutes.
Before starting classes I invite an interested client to come to my studio to evaluate his or her technical level and discuss the teaching program. This evaluation session is free of charge, and the client has no obligation to subscribe to classes.
At the end of this session the client may decide to subscribe to a minimum of 4 lessons.
An agreement, containing the terms and conditions, will be signed by both parties.
Syllabus Canto Moderno (Contemporary Singing)
by Elisabeth Geel.
All lessons consist of: music theory, vocalizes, song interpretation, sight singing, ear training.
1.The Concept of Voice: What is the voice? What is YOUR Voice?
Discovering your own voice through experimenting with the array of sounds the human voice is
capable of producing.
2. The Physical Voice: How is it produced? Basic vocal anatomy, resonance, vocal hygiene,
proper use, abuse, breath control, relaxation, mirror check.
3. Balanced Tone: Onset and release exercises, vocalizes (exercises on vocals and
consonants), awareness of range and registers, unifying the registers, intonation.
4. Song interpretation: Mandatory songs and songs of the student’s choice.
5. Music Theory: Musical notation, intervals, scales, key.
6. Sight Singing.
7. Ear Training: Learn to listen to music with the ear of a music critic.
1.Song interpretation: the songs will be technically more challenging. Various genres will be
explored, from pop to jazz.
2. Intermediate Tone: Pitch Bend, Dynamics, Vocal Quality, Vibrato.
3. Range Extension.
4. Sight Singing: Learn how to sing a new song by reading it from sheet music.
5. Performance Technique: Posture on stage, microphone technique, interaction with the
audience. Mirror Check.
6. How to Set up a Small PA-system.
7. Intermediate Vocalizes: rhythm, vocal agility, improvisation.
1.Continuation of previous courses at a higher technical level and pace.
2. Song interpretation: Songs by great Pop, R&B, and Jazz vocalists, like Whitney Houston,
Aretha Franklin, Celine Dion, Ella Fitzgerald, or any other internationally renowned vocalists.
3. Expression, Basics of Jazz Improvisation (Scat), Style, Presentation.
4. Advanced Performance Technique and Introduction to Audio and Audio Gear: Learn how to
interact with sound technicians and fellow musicians.
5. Stress Management, Stage Fright, Back-Stage Warm-up Exercises, Gig Organization.
6. The Music Business: How and where can I promote myself as a singer?
7. Basic Songwriting.
8. Recording: What happens at the Recording Studio? Recording technique for session
At the completion of all three courses, advanced students will be invited to perform live in front
of a live audience.
For any questions, please contact me!