On May 4, 2012, Barone will reassemble the original quartet and recreate
the “Cool Blue Halo” album in its entirety, along with very special guests
and added songs, at City Winery nearly 25 years to the day of the release
of the original album. This performance will be recorded and filmed for CD
and DVD release due out Fall of 2012 in conjunction with the re-release of
the original album. This material will be available in a variety of
combination packages, many including additional premiums as detailed here:
In the meanwhile, Barone is teaching the STAGE PRESENCE AND THE ART OF
PERFORMANCE course at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU –
part of the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree — the only one of its kind in
I’m hoping you might consider doing a story on Mr. Barone in his unusual
role as college professor!
This class is a highly interactive workshop in which students develop
their performance skills in a setting that combines real-time application
with analysis of references drawn from the pantheon of popular music.
Through a series of overlapping discussions, live presentations by
students, and evaluative critiques of their work by the instructor and
guest professionals, students learn to find their own potential place in
the rich tradition of live music performance. Evaluations will cover
showmanship and technical skills, visual presentation, and all aspects
that affect the overall stage persona of the performing artist.
Students aspiring to careers as performers will take from this course a
deeper sense of self, poise, and a readiness to perform effectively and
will have a far better grasp of what makes a “star,” and how to develop
and magnify those characteristics. They will practice first-hand the art
of communicating with and establishing a relationship with their creative
team as well as their audience, and taking those skills to a higher level.
For students focusing on production,
management, and other roles on ʻthe other side of the glass,ʼ
this course will help in the development of a solid methodology for
guiding the artists they may ultimately work with in their professional
With instructorʼs guidance, students in the class will be expected to
book and perform a minimum of two live gigs at outside venues, and create
a minimum of four performance videos, looking toward increased page views.
Students will sign up for two, one-hour, one-on-one tutoring sessions with
Private Session Advisors to help hone their skills.
1. To improve, through exploration of the creative process, real-time
exercises, and observation, studentsʼ techniques for creating
successful live and videotaped performances that enhance, reinforce, and
bring to life their recorded music
2. To introduce students to the long legacy of superior live performances
in popular music through analysis and discussion
3. To encourage students to develop their own personal, idiosyncratic
style through performance exercises and professional guidance, to learn to
collaborate effectively, and to improve their listening and ensemble
and learn to collaborate effectively
4. To help students learn to set up, promote, and perform live shows
5. To develop the aspiring performer-entrepreneurʼs focus on craft,
discipline and self-motivation, while helping them devise a methodology to
successfully critique their own work and that of others.
• FRONTMAN: Surviving the Rock Star Myth – by Richard Barone. Available at
the NYU Bookstore.
• One of the selected autobiographies posted on the Recommended Reading
List on Blackboard list is required.
• As assigned: Performance Workshop Channel – YouTube.com/performanceworkshop
• Michael Jackson’s This Is It (2010, dir. Kenny Ortega) – available at
Bobst Library. Must watch the DVD version because it contains extras.
Strongly recommended for purchase. Available at discount DVD store on
Broadway at West 12th Street
• Pete Seeger: The Power Of Song – DVD Available at Bobst Library
• Other recommended & required reading and viewing will be posted on
Blackboard as PDFs
1. Attendance is mandatory, and a sign-in sheet will be used. Three or
more unexcused absences will result in failure. Classes cannot be missed
unless students clear a religious holiday IN ADVANCE or have a VERIFIABLE
family emergency. A doctorʼs note must be provided for any absence
2. Use of electronic communication devices, unless requested by the
instructor for in-class research, will be restricted.
3. Conversations will be limited to class discussions.
4. Students are responsible for work missed while absent from, or late to,
class. Makeup work will be given for excused absences only.
5. Please have assigned materials read, viewed, and/or prepared before
class. Students are required to spend no less than 10 ʻoutsideʼ
hours per week reading, viewing, creating materials and videos,
performing, and completing other assigned work during this course.
PARTICIPATION – 5%
• Students will be graded on their engagement in the class dialogue and
contribution of constructive peer review. Students will be evaluated on
readiness to participate in performances, discussion and analysis of the
outside and in-class reading/viewing assignments, and all aspects of class
FINAL PERFORMANCE – 35%
• Each student will present a final performance of a 20-30 minute
structured show, repertoire developed from material covered in class or
outside, and location TBA. Students will be graded on all aspects of
performance as well as promotional considerations, and evaluations will
take improvement and
development of persona and stagecraft into account.
• In preparation for this final performance, students are required to
perform a minimum of two “shows” in outside venues (to be determined)
during the course of the semester. Students will receive counseling and
instruction on how to identify and book these performances from instructor
as well as advisors.
These two outside performances are grade as “pass/fail” and will be
factored in to “Final Performance” grade.
WEEKLY PERFORMANCES – 40%
• In-class performances for weeks 2-9 (8 sessions @ 5% each) will be
graded for improvement of skills and all aspects of performance as covered
in this course, and averaged.
• Vocal mic, keyboard, guitar amp provided in class.
YOUTUBE VIDEO PERFORMANCES – 10%
• Students will be required to film and upload a minimum of FOUR YouTube
performances throughout the course. Students will be evaluated and
critiqued on development, self-awareness, and promotional savvy with
regard to increased view count. Video performance, quality, effectiveness,
and all aspects of professionalism also factor into grading criteria These
evaluations will be averaged.
ATTENDING PRIVATE TUTORIAL SESSIONS – 5%
• Students are required to sign up for two, one-hour, one-on-one sessions
with Private Session Advisors: Darryl Tookes, Kenn Hicks, and Billy
Porter. Their expertise, each in a unique field, is a major resource
to this class, and attendance to these sessions is mandatory. FYI, bios of
the advisors will be posted on Blackboard, and private sessions can be
scheduled during the first week of class. Graded as pass/fail.
Missing a private session that you have signed up for will be considered
unprofessionalism and constitutes a failure for this section.
PERFORMANCE JOURNAL – 5%
• Personal Progress Evaluation: Students will be expected to maintain a
weekly journal evaluating personal growth, strengths, and weaknesses.
Students should chronicle, in a highly specific and detailed way including
titles of songs worked on, direction given, etc., their own feelings
regarding their progress, while noting reaction of their peers and
instructor, along with goals for further development,
and should average three to five dated pages per entry.
• You may also choose to do entries on required or recommended reading or
• A 5-page journal entry essay on one of the autobiographies on the
recommended reading list is required. Essay is due by Week 10
• Journals should be brought to each class and will be collected at the
midterm, final, and at any time during semester
Week 1 – Jan 27: Introduction to Course and Introducing Yourself
Todayʼs performance: Students introduce themselves by
singing/performing a song of their choice
Week 2 – Feb 3: Rehearsal
Discussion: Every performer needs to rehearse in a structured way.
Weʼll discuss how you can get the most out of the rehearsal process.
To have read: Chapters 1-2 of FRONTMAN
To have viewed: Pete Seeger: The Power Of Song DVD
Todayʼs performance: Peter Seeger is one of the great folk and pop
music icons whose songs have been
performed by an endless array of singers in different styles. Your
assignment is to pick a Pete Seeger song
of your choice to perform in class on this day, in any style or arrangement.
Week 3 – Feb 10: Alter Egos
Discussion: Some of the most provocative artists of our time, like David
Bowie and Lady Gaga, have skillfully adopted a stage persona. Weʼll
discuss what it means to create an “Alter Ego” in performance.
To have read: Chapters 3-4 of FRONTMAN
To have researched: The songs of Laura Nyro on Spotify, and her bio on
Todayʼs performance: Laura Nyro first made a name for herself in the
late 1960s with her sophisticated songwriting. Pick a Laura Nyro song to
prepare and perform during class. Can be completely re-arranged in any
style, suited to your style and repertoire. Accompany yourself, bring
someone in, bring in a track (cued mix) or do it a cappella.
Week 4 – Feb 17: Showmanship
Discussion: What is a Frontman?
To have researched: The careers and music of Little Richard, Screaming Jay
Hawkins, Tiny Tim, Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, David Bowie, Elton John,
Lady Gaga, Grace Jones, Klaus Nomi
To have viewed: Ziggy Stardust: The Motion Picture by D.A. Pennebaker
To have read: Rolling Stone Jan 21, 2012 cover story on David Bowie; “Lana
Del Rey: The strange story of the star who rewrote her past” – The
Guardian (U.K.) (on Blackboard)
Todayʼs performance: Choose an alter ego character to use in class
performance. Your assignment is to perform a designated current top-40 hit
or assigned ʻstandardʼ in your alter ego character and
appearance. All students will perform the same song, chosen by the
Week 5 – Feb. 24: Choreography: Every Move Matters
Discussion: The most memorable performers, like Tina Turner and Michael
Jackson, are masters of commanding space on any stage.
To have viewed: This Is It – Michael Jackson DVD – including all special
To have read: “Donʼt Stop ʻTil You Get Enough: Presence,
Spectacle And Good Feeling In Michael Jacksonʼs This Is It” by Jason
King, Chapters 5-7 of FRONTMAN
Todayʼs performance: Students will be expected to re-visit their
“alter ego” songs, incorporating instructorʼs notes from the previous
class toward a higher level of showmanship. Students will also receive
peer evaluations from the class on their performance.
Week 6 – March 2: Collaboration and the band dynamic
Discussion: Every performer needs to be a skillful collaborator,
especially if they are working in a band or group situation. What
constitutes successful collaboration? To have read: Chapters 8-10 of
To have researched: Motown history, on sites and materials to be posted on
Todayʼs performance: Your assignment is to pick a Motown song from
the 1960s-1980s to perform in class, focusing especially on showmanship
and movement/choreography. Be creative in your song choice, and consider a
Motown song that is off the beaten path.
WEEK 7 – March 9: Signature Songs
Discussion: What are signature songs?
To have read: Chapters 11-12 of FRONTMAN
To have researched: “classic” Duos, Trios, and Quartets (Examples: Simon &
Garfunkel; Destinyʼs Child; Boys II Men).
To have prepared: During week 6, students were put into groups assigned by
instructor: duos, trios and quartets. For this weekʼs class, pick a
compelling group name for your ensemble and perform one of their signature
songs to perform in your own groupʼs style. Please note: outside
rehearsal studio time will likely be required; you can book rehearsal
rooms at the Kimmel Center.
During Spring Break: Students are urged to keep their artistic momentum
through Break, to write and look for songs, ideas, etc, during this period
as it can be a particularly creative time.
Assignment: Start thinking about show for Final, and find or write a
signature song to perform at the next class, as per professorʼs
WEEK 8 – March 23: Developing Your Image
Discussion: Who are you and what do you have to say? These are the
fundamental questions every performer must answer. Weʼll discuss the
process of developing an personalized image, including using your personal
geography to your benefit.
Todayʼs performance: Students perform their signature songs. Students
should feel free to collaborate with others in the class in their
creation, arrangement, and performance of their signature song.
WEEK 9 – April 6: Broadcasting Your Image
Discussion: There is great value in knowing your audience, and learning
how to reach them effectively. Weʼll discuss strategies for doing so.
To have created: Develop and produce a video of your signature song with
signature sound and look (Note: This video will count as one of the four
required). When student is satisfied with the result, they are to post
video to their channel. Videos will be viewed in class for peer evaluation.
To have prepared: Write or find a “regional” song (as discussed last week)
based on your hometown or a section of New York City that reflects the
sound and feel of that city or location.
Todayʼs performance: “Regional” songs
WEEK 10 – April 13: Developing a Show
Discussion: What makes a great show? Weʼll talk about how to write an
effective show plan, including set list, light and sound cues.
To have viewed: James Brown (on the T.A.M.I. Show) followed by The Rolling
Stones on the T.A.M.I. show, Michael Jackson performing “Billie Jean” on
the Motown 25th Anniversary, as well as preselected Motown, Frank Sinatra,
and other videos on YouTube. (check Performance Workshop channel)
Performance: Research and choose a song from the year 1972 (a particularly
unique year in pop music history) to adapt and perform in your own
arrangement for the next class, using elements of showmanship,
choreography, collaboration with other students, and emphasizing your
signature sound and look.
Assignment: Begin writing a show plan for “final” performance, set list,
light cues, stage diagram, to turn in to instructor next week. Begin
designing poster and other advertising, print and web. Create Facebook
event page, etc. and use YouTube video(s) to promote show. Create as much
buzz as possible. You will turn in hard copies or links to all artwork
created in promotion of this performance for evaluation at time of final.
Week 11 – April 20: Taking The Stage
Todayʼs performance: Continue working on final performances. Each
student will be expected to do a dry run of a 20-30 minute set. The other
members of the class will function the audience, and offer structured and
constructive critiques and comments.
Week 12 – April 27: Taking the Stage Part 2
Todayʼs performance: Continue working on final performances. Each
student will be expected to do an additional dry run of a 20-30 minute
set, incorporating critiques from the previous week. The other members of
the class will be the audience, and offer opinion and comments on others.
Week 13 – May 4: Putting It All Together
Todayʼs performance: Working on segues, beginning, middle and end of
performance. Each student goes through their entire show plan without
doing complete songs. Instructor will use set list, light cues, etc., as
provided by student to help them with the flow of their performance.
Week 14 – Final
Students will give a final performance in venues and dates TBA. Private
session advisors Kenn Hicks, Billy Porter, Darryl Tookes, and others will
be on hand to provide feedback