How Do I Prepare for the Vocal Jazz Workshop?

The Detroit Vocal Jazz Workshop is about helping you with essentials to become a solo jazz vocalist. We will help you reach your goals but we ask you to meet us half-way by preparing with the following:


Plan on singing two songs of contrasting styles


The tunes should be either standards or jazz-standards. A 'standard' is a basic song that originally came from a musical or movie, is now sung by jazz vocalists. Examples of standards are Fly Me to the Moon and The Way You Look Tonight. A jazz-standard is a song written by a jazz musician or composer. Misty and The Girl From Ipanema are examples of jazz-standards. There are thousands of standards.


Because we are equipped with a traditional jazz rhythm section, we ask that you choose a traditional standard and not a crossover tune. A crossover tune is one that has origins in another style, often pop, R&B, or another genre. Even though crossover tunes are sung by jazz musicians, and we are making no value judgement on them, we might not have the personnel and instruments to perform them with the authenticity they deserve. If Ella, Sarah, or Billie sung it, it's probably right for this weeklong experience. If you need counseling on tune questions, please feel free to contact us!


When we state 'contrasting styles', we mean songs that might have different tempos, different styles, or different time signatures. Styles that are often included in jazz are: Swing, Latin based grooves like Bossa Novas, Afro-Cuban, and Samba styles, and Rock or Funk styles. This is very much a generalization, but at least something to start with. 


Please try to provide an initial key signature for your songs


Key changes can be worked out during the week, but please try to have a key for your two songs that work with your voice.



Please bring a lead sheet of your songs


Lead sheets are the frames of your songs. They usually simply contain the melody, chords, indicate tempo and style, and lyrics. Most lead sheets are one or two pages and do not contain intros, outros or other arranged or accompanied elements. You can purchase lead sheets from many online services like Musicnotes, can be found in books, or even for free. The advantage of Musicnotes is the size of their catalog and ability to offer lead sheets in your key. Lead sheets are usually a few dollars. Below is an example of a lead sheet: