Matt Edwards

Associate Professor of Voice, Shenandoah Conservatory Artistic Director of the CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute

Mix it up Monday: Let’s do the pony!

CCM Bannder no dates

richard_optIf you teach musical theatre performers you have no doubt encountered the question “how do I dance and sing?” Musical theatre performers have no choice but to learn how to kick, twirl, and leap while belting out the money notes. It is no easy feat and it is often made more difficult because it is not addressed in voice lessons. There is a time and place to have the student stand still and pay attention to posture/alignment. However, if we don’t get them moving in the lesson, it is likely that they will have no idea how to translate their stationary singing technique to situations where they have to sing and dance. You may be thinking “I’m not a dancer, I don’t know how to have them dance in the studio!” Well I had that thought to, then I remembered Sweatin’ to the Oldies with Richard Simmons from middle school gym class.There’s only one move that I remember – the pony. Why I remember this, I have no idea.  What’s the pony you may ask. Well, it is a dance that was made popular by Chubby Checker in his 1961 hit song “Pony Time.”

The pony is an easy move that the student can do in place while vocalizing in 4/4 time. First get the student ponying and have them pay attention to their breath. Next have them pony while sustaining a single pitch. Talk to them about what is happening in their body. How does their ribcage react to physical movement? How does their abdominal wall react? Coach them as needed and then move to a simple five note pattern. When your student gets bored with the pony, just watch the video below and learn from Richard. There is plenty of material here to keep you sweatin’ to the vocalise for weeks to come. Enjoy! ~Matt


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This entry was posted on November 14, 2016 by in Misc. Thoughts.

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