Hi! I’m Ntombi Ngubane and I’m one of the vocal teachers at Global House of Music. One of my biggest passions as a teacher is to see great results in both theory and practical lessons. I’ve been singing jazz and classical music since high school and took lessons from a very young age. I focus on every element of your lessons and your progress to ensure that you get the best quality lessons and that you take care of your vocals.
Singing in general takes hard work and dedication and with jazz in particular, your vocal range, interpretation, and improvisation need to be worked on the most. Being able to improvise over several chords requires a lot of listening and practicing. Being able to jump from low notes to high notes places a big demand on your breathing and ability to control your tone.
The first thing I do with all my students, no matter what type of music they sing, is to uncover their vocal range using a number of exercises and skills I’ve picked up over the years. Once I have a good understanding of their vocal range, it’s much easier finding music that is well suited to their voice type. It’s always good to have students present me with music they prefer to sing, but sometimes that music may not be the right fit. The fun part is finding that fit!
Once we’ve found music that the student relates to and is suitable, I approach learning the music with a strong theoretical, technical, and practical approach. It’s always good to understand a bit of music theory, a bit of bodily technique and a bit of practical application in order to best perform any piece of music! The fun then begins!
As much as I’d love to dedicate the entire hour of our lesson to just singing, there are some important things that I cover in every lesson. Breathing exercises, posture training, warm ups (which are also designed to expand the vocal range), rhythm training, sight singing training, and THEN, we sing! I like to dedicate just a few minutes (about 5 minutes) per training exercise. I structure this in such a way that it’s easy enough for the student to know how to do these on his or her own, everyday, without a teacher being there. This is very necessary because such technical exercises need to be done everyday
When we start to sing, I like to break the song apart in a few pieces (think LEGO), and tackle what is required of the voice in terms of melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, etc. in each piece. Once the student has grasped this, we move onto the next piece.
Singing requires you to learn how to read and write notes. No music lessons should be taught any other way.