Episode 103: Singin' in the Rain
Josh Groban teaches the Greenies all about singing as they plan a birthday surprise for Ms. Julie.
Featured Art: Singing
Music is infectious. There’s a reason singing in the shower holds a place as a popular trope in modern society – sometimes we can’t help but sing along.
But beneath the joy of humming along to a casual pop song are teaching tools that can help any singer both improve their sound, increase their range, and protect their voice! Josh Groban comes on to help teach The Greenies about their vocal instrument and aid them with a birthday song for Ms. Julie.
Unfortunately, a single episode doesn’t have time for full-blown vocal coaching. Josh focuses on fundamentals of singing, like simple scales and basic vocabulary. In addition to what ‘harmony’ and ‘a capella’ are, the Greenies learn about duets, trios, quartets, major keys, minor keys, and more. The main goal for the episode is to demonstrate harmony in action, as the Greenies put together a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.”
Vocal teaching isn’t a part of most school curriculums. But interested children can join a choir, try their hand at musical theater, or even just seek out a vocal coach. And it doesn’t have to be expensive - there are many free resources online!
Possessing one of the most outstanding and instantly recognizable voices in music, singer, songwriter, and actor Josh Groban has entertained fans across the globe with his multi-platinum albums and DVDs (over 30 million sold worldwide), electrifying live performances, and comedic film and television appearances. The 35-year-old Los Angeles native is the only artist who has had two albums appear on the Top 20 Best-Selling Albums list of the past decade, according to Billboard. He has appeared in the feature films Crazy, Stupid, Love, Coffee Town, and Muppets Most Wanted, as well as on NBC’s The Office, FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and CBS’ The Crazy Ones.
Groban has released seven studio albums, his 2001 self-titled 5x-platinum debut, 2003’s 6x-platinum Closer, 2006’s double-platinum Awake, 2007’s 6x platinum Grammy-nominated Noel, 2010’s gold-certified Illuminations, and 2013’s gold-certified All That Echoes, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, giving Groban his first No. 1 debut and third chart-topper. The album and its intimate “In The Round” tour earned Groban some of his best reviews to date. Groban earned Grammy Award nominations for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album for his 2015 album Stages, a collection of some of the greatest songs from musical theater, and 2016’s Stages Live, which featured performances recorded at the historic Los Angeles Theater for his all-new PBS special Josh Groban: Stages Live. Over the summer, he embarked on an extensive North American tour to support Stages, entitled “Josh Groban: On Stage.” Also in 2016, Groban made his Broadway debut starring in the new musical Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812, which opened to glowing reviews.
An active arts education philanthropist and advocate, Groban is a member of Americans for the Arts Artists Committee and Groban’s Find Your Light Foundation helps enrich the lives of young people through arts, education, and cultural awareness.
Warm Up Game: Vocal Warm Up
Our voice is an instrument, so it makes sense that doing lots of singing requires warming it up first.
Our vocal warm-up starts with warming up our mouths. Try rolling your R’s, like a cat purring. Next, wrap your tongue around this classic tongue twister:
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
Try saying that 10 times fast. Tricky, right? Next come the scales:
Singers often practice by running through the first five notes of the major scale, starting with C. Try this on a piano by placing your right thumb on C, then playing the next four ascending notes. Now sing along! You should go up the scale and back down again, singing 9 notes total.
Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me Me
C, D, E, F, G, F, E, D, C
Ms. Julie arrives and finishes the warmup by blowing a big raspberry. Try it yourself: just place your lips together and blow!