Day 1: Welcome & What to Expect - Why perform?

From: 14-Day Performance Course With Camille
by Camille van Niekerk

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welcome to your 2-week performance course! The exercises and songs we use in this course should be comfortable for altos, mezzos and sopranos. If you normally sing in the bass, baritone or tenor range, I recommend following Abram’s course instead. We cover much of the same material, and you’ll have an easier time following along with him. 

This course is beginner-friendly, but does assume that you’re matching pitch and easily accessing your chest voice and head voice function. You’ll get the most out of the course once you’ve completed my level 1 beginner course. There’s really no benefit to rushing your vocal development, so if you need to spend more time building your foundation, do that first and come back to this course when you feel ready!

Because we perform songs, not vocal exercises, this course will use plenty of song examples. My hope is that you also have a song or two you’re working on, and that you can use this course to help you prep those songs for performance, too. Any “song work” section can be repeated for homework with your song of choice. 

Let’s kick off with a quick general warmup. I encourage you to download and use this warmup before you watch a new lesson each day!

Quick warmup

Exercise 1: Hiss pulse x3, Hee x3, SOVT 151

Exercise 2: Full-range SOVT 1358531

Exercise 3: Chest voice Hey, that’s mine 1-51

Exercise 4: Chest to head AH-oo-yeah 18-531

Exercise 5: Mix (you choose syllable) 13531

This course is split into two parts, one week each. The first week will cover all of the important steps to prepare a great performance, including mindset and dealing with nerves, song choice, stylization, and developing stage presence. In the second week, we’ll consider different performance settings like auditions, weddings, and recording. We’ll apply what we learn in week 1 to each of those settings in week 2. We’ll wrap up this course with a dress rehearsal, performance day, and debrief. I’ll always provide a song example and accompaniment, but I encourage you to work on a song of your choosing, and follow those same steps for homework. 

We’ll use some well-known songs like “Auld lang syne”, “Amazing grace” and “The parting glass”, as well as an original by my fellow 30 day singer instructor Abram, called “I’ll always change”. I’ll play and sing it now so you can get familiar with the melody. I’ve chosen a key that should be comfortable for most of you, but if it feels a little bit too low, or you want to challenge yourself to sing higher, I’ll also include the track in a higher key. 

[A C#m7 F#m D] x 4
All the colors turn to gray
The clouds pass by they never stay the same
Will you love me for a while
See right through my foolish styles
Hold me close and feel my rain

D F#m E A
D F#m E
And I won’t fall apart
Won’t have a broken heart
I’ll never feel the same                           
Yeah I know I’ll always

[A C#m7 F#m D] x3
Ending: A
I’ll always change,  Oh   
I’ll always change
Yeah I’ll always change


Instructor: Camille van Niekerk

Camille van Niekerk is a singer, writer and vocal instructor in Southern California. Camille began studying voice and performing in musicals at age seven. In 2010, Camille began working towards her BA in Music Education at Azusa Pacific University. She then earned her teaching credential from San Diego State University and taught classroom choral and instrumental music. Shortly after moving to LA county, Camille began her private vocal studio, providing vocal coaching, ear training, and recording for students of all ages. She is constantly refining her skills and methods for greater versatility and effectiveness. When she is not teaching, Camille enjoys singing with the L.A. Choral Lab and Ensoma Creative. She lives in San Diego with her husband and loves going to the beach, practicing yoga, reading, and cooking.