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“Think Like You Can Sing”–Natyam Arts Academy presents Kesha Lake in vocal workshop

March 2016
“Think Like You Can Sing”–Natyam Arts Academy presents Kesha Lake in vocal workshop

Kesha Lake listens as Nicole Pringle, Jourdan Randall, and Stephany Louidor lead the participants in singing exercises. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)

Over 55 eager singers gathered at a neighborhood clubhouse in Decatur to sing and learn as Natyam Arts Academy presented a vocal theory workshop titled “Think Like You Can Sing” on January 31, 2016. Kesha Lake, along with Nicole Pringle, Jourdan Randall, and Stephany Louidor presented a two-hour workshop covering topics such as frequency, pitch, timbre, ​solfege, and intervals and related these to Indian classical vocal music. All presenters are classically trained professional jazz or opera singers who are frequently seen performing around Atlanta. Participants varied in age from seven to fifty plus (pleasantly called “the taller people”). There was something for everyone to learn at this workshop.




(Left) Organizer Preeti Vinayak laughs as instructors break the ice with the Hokey Pokey. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)

Natyam Arts Director Preeti Vinayak introduced the artists, who then primed the younger students for the workshop by leading them in singing and dancing to the “Hokey Pokey” and learning what laughing has to do with singing. Very quickly, participants were introduced to Western music theory (vibrations: “Anything that moves can make music!”) and vocabulary (e.g. frequency and pitch).


Singers of all ages learn solfege, intervals, pitch, and more. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)

Indian singers in the audience were asked to sing Do Re Mi while the Western singers were challenged to sing Sa Re Ga Ma. Effortlessly, participants learned about matching pitch and singing intervals: a half step would sound like the opening of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” a whole step like “Happy Birthday,” a fifth like “Twinkle, Twinkle (Little Star),” and an octave like “Somewhere (over the Rainbow).” The interactive workshop included a lot of question/answer sequences and demonstrations.


(Left) Student participant shares in a singing exercise.
(Photo: Suzanne Sen)

Kesha Lake aptly played electric piano while singing and talking about timbre. Her team of singers each presented a small verse in varying timbres. Participants were asked to describe the timbre with vocabulary such as mellow, warm, shrill, dark, nasal, and abrasive. Perhaps the best take-home lesson of the workshop was that we don’t critique singers as “good” or “bad”: there are different singers; some may sound brassy and others divine.


Workshop leader Kesha Lake on electric piano. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)

In an exercise on harmony, the participants were divided into three groups, soprano, tenor, and bass, and then, led by the professional singers, they were taught to sing their parts for Marvin Gaye’s “You’re All I Need to Get By.” The clubhouse reverberated with voices in timbres that would have made Marvin Gaye happy! In a finale performance, Kesha Lake and her accompanists presented a moving Gospel number, “He Is Able” by Dietrick Haddon, that left the audience swaying and wanting to hear more.





(Left) Nicole, Stephanie, and Jourdan teach the kids to sing the vowels, in kid-friendly manner! (Photo: Suzanne Sen)




Workshop leader Kesha Lake. (Photo: Suzanne Sen)



Kesha Lake on keyboard surrounded by participants as they study half step and whole step intervals. (Photo: Sriram Chari) Preeti Vinayak with Jourdan Randall, Kesha Lake, Nicole Pringle, and Stephany Louidor. (Photo: Sriram Chari)


Preeti Vinayak presented the artists with flowers and gifts and thanked them for all their efforts in educating singers in Atlanta, and hoped that a Part Two of this workshop would take their education to the next level.


Participants with Kesha Lake at the vocal workshop. (Photo: Sriram Chari)

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