Students’ voices and confidence soared at an a cappella workshop with Pitch Perfect vocal producer Deke Sharon.
Thirteen teachers and 45 students took part in one of two workshops held at Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club on 20 September.
The event allowed students to test their vocal boundaries in a supportive space. Along with vocal technique, Mr Sharon spoke to students about stance, eye contact and willingness to take risks with their performances.
It was a great vocal experience for our students and teachers.
He has shared the stage with performers including Ray Charles and The Temptations. He was also an on-site music director and vocal producer for the Pitch Perfect films, which starred Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson.
“It doesn’t have to be complex to sound great,” he said. “It’s about taking a little bit of a risk and realising what you can create when you do that.
“You’re surrounded by music, you listen to it. You know this language and are fluent whether you realise it or not. You may not be able to write music, but you can make music.”
The workshops were also a professional development opportunity for teachers at Sydney Catholic schools.
Sydney Catholic Schools Performing Arts (CaSPA) education officer Nancy Cincotta said students and teachers were now looking at ways to integrate what they had learnt from Deke into the classroom.
“It was a great vocal experience for our students and teachers, exploring the different ways that you could use your voice,’’ she said.
Music teacher at St Brigid’s Catholic Primary Marrickville, Valerie Hull, said Mr Sharon was an inspiration.
“To have someone who is such a brilliant practitioner and charismatic teacher present was excellent,” she said.
“There’s a real precision to being able to interpret a song at different levels so every single person and student, no matter what level they are at, is feeling confident and can join in.
“I’ve learnt things that I can take directly back to my classroom and I can’t wait to do that.”
What the students said:
“I found the history Deke gave of a cappella insightful. It helped me to form an idea of the a cappella genre as a whole, and to realise there are so many things you can do with your voice. It opened that door to experiment and try new things vocally.” – Isabelle Porcia, Year 11, Mount St Joseph Milperra
“The workshop gave us new experiences for our vocal ranges. Through doing the different instrument sounds it can help us, in a way, to tell a different story.” – Dimitra Kamionka, Year 11, Mount St Joseph Milperra
“Vocal is not just about singing the lyrics. I learnt that you can make any sound through vocal.” – Hyeon Lee, Year 9, De La Salle Catholic College Ashfield
“It’s interesting to learn how to use your voice in different ways to produce sound. We’ve learnt different techniques, and how to use them in an a cappella situation. It’s been really fun.” – Ailini Veukiso, Year 11, Mary Mackillop Catholic College Wakeley