Peter Van Derick

Rock is Here to Stay on Broadway David Finkie
BackStage, Sept 21, 2006
(In response to the question of whether or not rock singing can be produced with a healthy technique.)
It's an approach that a voice teacher like Peter Van Derick in New York City .... is not only prepared to take, but both regularly advocate. Van Derick—who teaches privately and sees students at Manhattan's musical-comedy preparatory CAP21 (Collaborative Arts Project) outlet—agrees with Agresta when he says, "Absolutely. You can sing rock in a healthy manner."
He elaborates by noting that "most students don't prepare correctly and do damage to their vocal cords and [other physiological] apparatus." He says, though, that many if not most singers "come to a teacher because they are physically hurting. Usually that's an indication something is wrong." To head off problems such as neck tension, or to correct them, Van Derick says, "all my students get legit classical training." He maintains that the vocal technique for traditional musical comedy and for rock musicals basically "should be the same. It's a matter of changing resonance." He also says, "Diction has a lot to do with it. Much of this involves a shallower vowel." The upshot, Van Derick declares, is that "once [students] understand what they're working for, they say, 'Oh, I can do this.' "

*Reprinted with permission.

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Peter Van Derick in the role of Thomas Garrett, A Woman Called Moses. Virginia Opera.

© Peter Van Derick
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