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MUS 173, 57641 - Jazz Vocal Ensemble - Julie Lawson

Course:Jazz Vocal Ensemble
Professor:Julie Lawson
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Hi everyone,

My name is Julie Lawson and I am the vocal jazz instructor at College of the Canyons.  Most of you are either returning students or new students coming from our local Santa Clarita schools so most of you know who I am already.  After finishing two very successful semesters teaching through Distance Education (online), I now know that anything is possible.  In many ways, the online experience afforded us much more time to explore and experiment with different aspects of vocal jazz, not just rehearsing the typical SATB arrangement, although we did that as well.  

Let's find time for critical listening and experiment with a Match the Artist tune.  Perhaps learn a vocal jazz transcription (scat solo).  We can incorporate some of these into our final concert which will be Friday evening, December 3, 2021.



Course Description

The jazz singer will learn and develop good vocal technique.  For example, how to breathe effectively for the phrase.  What should the onset sound like, what about the release?  How is the release handled?  How to utilize the soft palate to create many different sounds; light and airy, dark and hollow, brassy and speech-like or nasal.  The soft palate placement creates all kinds of timbre variations for the singer.  It is your bag of tricks.  We will learn about musical phrasing, text stress, dynamics, mic technique, improvisatory skills like scatting and recomposition, articulations, ornaments, how to listen to your rhythm section and become a collaborator with them.  

What to Expect in this Course

You will be assigned sections from each tune to learn for the following week.  I will ask you to record yourself and send me the recording for critiquing purposes.  I will expect you to come in prepared for each rehearsal; it's impossible to create music as an ensemble unless everyone learns their parts and comes to class feeling confident.  

Types of Assessments

I will always be assessing:

1. Intonation

2. Blend

3. Melodic and rhythmic precision

4. Dynamic range

5. Your ability to make quick adjustments and follow my lead

Textbook Information

There is no formal textbook for the class.  I believe there is an additional $20 materials fee that you pay when you enroll.  That covers the cost of all the music which I will provide for you.

Other Relevant Course Information

Your success depends on your commitment. 

Be willing to take risks.  You'll have more fun that way and learn more quickly.  Let's support eachother and make the fall semester an opportunity for musical growth.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

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  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

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Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

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You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

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Last updated: 08/01/2021 Sub#: 303