|Turning ordinary singers into confident vocalists|
Guardian Lifestyles Editor
Published: Sep 06, 2012
Singing has always been Naila Jones’ passion, but she yearned to do voice lessons and began looking around for a teacher. She came across Chenaniah Vocal Coaching (CVC) that is facilitated by Alvin and Nadene Moss and knew that she would take vocal lessons from them.
“I know of [Nadene’s] singing. I had experienced her singing and think she’s an excellent singer who is also an anointed singer — and I prefer to be trained by someone I think is an anointed singer and an anointed gospel singer.”
Jones enrolled in CVC’s four-week vocal session, which promised to take vocalists on a journey to a richer sound, develop their confidence, stage presence, improve their harmony, pitch and tone quality, learn the art of vocal care and breath control. They also engaged in song writing. At the end of the program, Jones was one of 11 vocal students that participated in a recital showcasing their vocal ability.
After four weeks she says the $130 she paid was money well spent.
“I can sing longer notes; I’m able to sing on a note; I’m able to sing higher. I think I have more confidence with singing, and now I know the dos and don’ts of singing as far as what not to eat, and I’ve learned more about the vocal cords and what messes them up. I learned what singing is all about,” she said. “It was money well spent. I’d do it again.
CVC is a mentoring school for singers, people who feel they have been called to the area of singing. And it is named Chenaniah which means skilled, after Chenaniah, the most skilled singer in the Bible, according to Nadene.
“The person in the Bible whose name was Chenaniah was a Levite, and he was chosen as the lead singer over all the singers because he was skilled and that’s the reason why we gave the school that name because we realized that singers needed to be skilled, they needed to be experts to come before God,” she said.
“In studying the requirements to minister in God’s house, we found out that God wanted people who were excellent. He gave them that ability to do that specific work in the house of God, so Chenaniah was chosen as the lead singer over all the singers because he was skilled in that area. And we called the school Chenaniah because we wanted to develop singers to be skilled, confident singers — to move them from being ordinary singers to extraordinary vocalists.”
While both Alvin and Nadene are pastors, she said CVC is a faith-based coaching school as well as it isn’t. She said they do not deny anybody from being a part of the school that has been operating for two years.
“But because my husband is a pastor and I’m a minister, we see singing as more than just entertainment. We see it as ministry. We see it as a life assignment. It’s really geared towards Christians who see it as their life’s assignment to sing for God. But we don’t limit it to that. If you feel that your life’s assignment is to sing — whether it’s gospel, whether it’s secular — we mentor people to prepare them to be experts in this area of music.”
But simply because of whom the Mosses are, members of the gospel community flock to Chenaniah for vocal training.
Nadene has shared the platform with many gospel greats, including Kirk Franklin, Byron Cage, Sha Simpson, Judith McAllister, Beverly Crawford, William Murphy, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Hezekiah Walker, Yolanda Adams, Richard Smallwood and Kurt Carr.
While her husband, who studied at the Royal School of Music and The College of The Bahamas has worked with the Bahamas Brass Band, the Nassau Renaissance Singers, the Tabernacle Concert Choir and the South Florida Mass Choir. He also plays over 19 instruments.
We enjoy pulling the star quality out of our singers,” said Nadene. “A lot of them are not even aware of what they have. They’re not even aware of how good they are. In listening to singers over the years you can hear the potential, but a lot of our singers don’t have the confidence that they should have and so it’s an exciting journey to pull that out of them. To help singers to understand that they can be better than they think they are.”
She said they’ve found that a lot of singers are afraid to do on stage what they do in private because they don’t think they’re good enough. For her, she said it’s exciting to try to pull out of them what was always hidden. She said some people that come to her for vocal coaching know they can sing, but are simply afraid to display it.
“A lot of our singers that are shy don’t feel they’re good enough, probably because somebody, somewhere in their life made them feel not good enough,” she said.
Moss, who was born in New York was trained by her operatic mother. She started out as a classical singer, before she moved to the stage in a nightclub, and then began to sing gospel.
CVC offers structured lessons packed with concepts, techniques, theory and performances, covering various styles of singing for the beginner, intermediate and advanced singer. There are no age limits or academic prerequisites, but students are required to complete a vocal assessment prior to sessions — whether they are solo artists, psalmists, praise and worship teams, choirs or ensembles.
“We’re really passionate about our singers going beyond just being ordinary. It’s so very few of them who have reached beyond the four walls of Nassau … who have reached beyond the four walls of their church, and I’ve found out on our journey of the past two years that there are some excellent singers in this nation,” she said.
Jones received a beginner’s certificate at the end of her summer session and is now eligible to move on to the intermediate coaching level, after which she can take the advanced courses. Private classes are also available.