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Women in Jazz & World Music

A Vocal Training Course Led by
Prof. Dee Spencer

Cost Per Student: $300
Full Scholarships Provided. Call 415-399-9554,
or email [email protected] for details



One Parent / Legal Guardian for EACH PARTICIPANT (paid or scholarship),
Must Also Fill-Out & Submit a Copy of the Waiver Form.

Date(s) & Time(s)
Wednesday May 31, 4:00pm
Saturday June 3, 10:00am
Wednesday June 7, 3:00pm
Saturday June 10, 10:00am
Wednesday June 14, 3:00pm
Saturday June 17, 10:00am
Wednesday June 21, 3:00pm
Saturday June 24, 10:00am
Wednesday June 28, 3:00pm

Graduating Concert:
Friday June 30, 7:00pm

RSVP for Concert

Each class is two hours in duration

Dance Mission Theater, Studio 4
3611 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Enrollment Questions?
Contact Course Coordinator,
Michelle Jacques
[email protected]

Women in Jazz & World Music is funded by:
California Arts Council Creative Youth Development grant


Course Details

Women in Jazz and World Music (WJWM) is a month long, twice weekly course for high school students ages 15 – 18 years who have an aptitude for singing and who want to develop better techniques and understanding to further their abilities as vocalists. The course is open to those with both professional aspirations and recreational interest.

WJWM will be led by Professor Dee Spencer from San Francisco State University along with a number of guest lecturers who are professional women singers.

The course includes:

  • An introduction to the physiological and psychological mechanics of singing.

  • Techniques of vocal instruction and comparative methods of developing vocal techniques and repertoire.

  • Exercises in musical improvisation.

  • Technical problems and performance practice of vocal repertoire.

  • Sharing historical context and background on jazz and various world music forms. The course focuses on the contributions of underrepresented women artists who have often been omitted from the historical narrative.

Course subjects will include Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. 

The nine sessions will explore the unique career trajectories and highlights of historical figures by imparting biographical information and hearing their first and subsequent recordings. Students will learn about the artists’ educational backgrounds and (where relevant) any significant social or political movements they belonged to, and the communities and artists who influenced them.

Students will also learn about the professional paths of guest artists through small group discussions about careers in music. They will also learn about the importance of establishing disciplined music practice and rehearsal routines.

For questions about the course and enrollment, contact Course Coordinator, Michelle Jacques [email protected]

Students are required to actively participate in each 2-hour class session. Following the culminating performance, they will receive final evaluative comments, a grade from Professor Spencer, and a certificate of completion. Grades are ranked on a scale of 1-5: outstanding; very good; good; fair; poor. Rankings are based on each student’s level of engagement with the material; musicianship (technical progress in solo and ensemble work); and on their own articulation of what they have learned during the course of the intensive. Their “voice” is heard from the beginning to the end of the intensive.

Cost of Participation
The cost of participating in the nine two-hour classes and culminating concert is $300 per student. Full scholarships are available for every student.

Course Leader Biography
Dee Spencer is a Professor of Jazz and Musical Theatre in the School of Theatre & Dance at San Francisco State University (SFSU). Dee received her B.S. from Florida A&M; M.M. at Washington University in St. Louis; and EdD, University of San Francisco.  Dee founded the Jazz Studies degree program in the School of Music at SFSU and served as director for five years. Dee founded the San Francisco Jazz Organization (SFJAZZ) education program. Her former students include recording artists/producers, Braxton Brothers, Beyonce’s music director, saxophonist Tia Fuller, and Lauren Hill’s music director, saxophonist Howard Wiley.

Selected Guest Lecturer Biographies

Michelle Jacques
For over 20 years Michelle has taught educational programs for the San Francisco Symphony's Adventures in Music, Cazadero Performing Arts Family Camp, education programs/workshops at Stern Grove, the Bay Area Discovery Museum, Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, CMEA Bay Section Conference Clinician, conductor for the Oakland Youth Chorus, lecturer at University of San Francisco on music standards in education K through 8 and choral director at the Oakland School for the Arts 6th through 12th grades.

Teresa Tam
Teresa has developed a wide range of techniques for different genres of music including classical, jazz, tango and contemporary. As an educator (private lessons for adults, school work with children), she believes it is important to convey to students that powerful music, regardless of genre, is done with intention.

Gisela Tangui
Gisela Tangui was born in the capital of the Dominican Republic, raised in Washington Heights, NYC and is rooted in the Bay Area. Gisela took interest in music at a young age studying classical violin throughout her adolescence. After earning a degree in Film at NYU, she moved to San Francisco. In 2002 she formed the first incarnation of the group that is now known for its eclectic and riveting performances, the Voodoo Cabaret.

Renée Lubin
Renée Lubin holds the record as the longest running performer in a musical revue and is noted by the San Francisco Chronicle as a city treasure for her 34 year run with Beach Blanket Babylon. Other leading performances include Dream Girls, Ain’t Misbehavin' and For Colored Girls. A San Francisco native Renée has performed with numerous theatrical companies including The Presidio Theatre, Theaterworks, SF Symphony, SF Gay Men’s Chorus, SF Giants, SF 49er’s, Oakland A’s and the San Jose Sharks. Renée is the former Vocal Jazz Coach at San Francisco State University and continues to coach privately and perform at various venues throughout the Bay Area. Renée is a proud recipient of the San Francisco Mayor’s Community Stalwart Award by the Human Rights Commission.

Kim Nalley
In looks, Kim Nalley exudes the aura of a diva from a by-gone era. Vocally, she has pipes to burn packing a 3 1/2 octave range that can go from operatic to gritty blues on a dime, projection that can whisper a ballad yet is capable of filling a room with no microphone, and the ability to scat blistering solos without ever losing the crowd's interest or the intense swing. She has been compared to all the greats, but in the end, it's Kim Nalley and no one else - an unforced instrument with clarity and jazzy musicality, effortlessly delivered, and a sense of humor to boot.

Lisa Graciano
Lisa Graciano is a graduate from the university of life. She teaches guitar and voice, with her specialty being the combination of singing songs to one’s own guitar accompaniment. Lisa herself is a singer, songwriter and guitar player with extensive experience in performing live. She spent her formative years in the alternative music scene in her hometown, Manila, before moving to Amsterdam where she played the European folk, jazz and blues music circuit. She now lives in Berkeley and leads the gamelan-infused band Purnamasari.

San Francisco International Arts Festival
Phone Number: 415-399-9554 | Email: [email protected]
1222 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109



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