Alum

April Hall

Position
Assistant Professor
Affiliated Departments
Faculty Bio E-Mail

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April Hall is the consummate jazz vocalist, combining her deep roots in gospel and blues with a soulfulness and jazz sophistication that shines through in every swinging performance. Her voice, described as “glorious” by the Boston Globe, is an instrument of richness and versatility, capable of ranging from the purest whisper to the most powerful delivery. Hall’s performances are always centered on bringing every song to life through emotional interpretation, playful phrasing, and rock-solid rhythm. As Jazz Times Magazine says, “The exquisite, soulful vocals of April Hall deliver every lyric with emotion and conviction.”

Hall graduated from Berklee College of Music, where she received the prestigious Louis Armstrong Performance Award. She has done projects for Atlantic Records under the direction of Arif Mardin; for Chaka Khan, Melissa Manchester, and Bette Midler; and has performed with Rosemary Clooney, Al Jarreau, Billy Joel, Helen Cornelius, and Dinah Shore. Hall performs and records with New England’s finest musicians, including Tim Ray, Gray Sargent, Les Harris Jr., Tom Hall, and Joe Barbato, among many others. She was executive producer for ImprovLive 365, a daily web series dedicated to exploring creativity and improvisation, and co-produced the Brandeis University Improv Festival, featuring Milford Graves. An award-winning songwriter, she's a member of the voice faculty at Berklee College of Music, where she also teaches ear training, the jazz and R&B ensembles, and music theory for vocalists.

Career Highlights
  • Leader of her jazz group, the April Hall Quintet, who recorded three internationally recognized CDs: Room for Two, Fun out of Life, and Something Like That
  • Room for Two named to the Top 50 Jazz Records by Jazz Times Magazine
  • Artistic director and curator for the Brandeis Improv Festival
  • Producer for ImprovLive 365, an improvisational web series
  • Background work with Bette Middler, Chaka Kahn, Melissa Manchester, and Al Jarreau under the direction of Arif Mardin at Atlantic Records, as well as with Helen Cornelius, Rosemary Clooney, and Dinah Shore
  • Featured on over 20 recordings
  • Lead vocalist and front person for Boston's nine-piece classic R&B band Soul Kitchen
  • Featured in Jazz Times Magazine, All About Jazz, the Boston Globe, Cadence Magazine, and The Village Voice, among many others
  • Featured on Boston's Women in Music series, on The Coffeehouse, WGBH’s Eric in the Evening and the nationally syndicated Jazz After Hours with PRI's Jim Wilke
Awards
  • Winner of American Songwriting Magazine's lyric contest
  • Winner of Song Lounge Magazine's songwriting competition
  • Recipient of the Louis Armstrong Performance Award, Berklee College of Music
  • Recipient of the United States Choral Award, Soprano
Education
  • B.M., Berklee College of Music, performing arts
In Their Own Words

"My vocal coaching is centered on bringing every song and student to life by exploring emotional interpretation, phrasing, breath mechanics, and developing a solid vocal technique. My teaching style is rooted in vocal and breath mechanics, and using those mechanics to inform vocal phonation choices like style, resonance, and pressure. Practicing safe and progressive vocal techniques will allow the student to obtain real technical and artistic growth. I believe that every vocalist can benefit from an ongoing, safe, and consistent vocalise practice."

"My approach is simple: teach each vocalist how to care for their own voice and how to feel what is going on with that voice both physically and mechanically, creating vocal awareness. Once they have consistent vocal awareness, we can then develop 'tools' to help them navigate their voice and to understand how to control, manipulate, and enhance their voice through proven vocal techniques."

"The end goal is to give each singer more tools in the vocal toolbox so that they have more artistic choices, regardless of genre. I coach students in many genres including pop, jazz, Broadway, country, and R&B, but even though vocal techniques may vary slightly from genre to genre, that core technique is the same. Good vocal technique is good vocal technique. Great vocal technique equals unlimited vocal choices."

"I'm sharing information with my students that will shorten their search for vocal solutions. The benefit of studying with a performing teacher is that you are the gaining information that only performers can tell you, experiences that only a performing teacher can share with you, so that you don’t have to waste time with trial and error. Simply put, it's faster, it's authentic, and it's immediately applicable. This information includes microphone instruction and teaching continual vocal adaptability to venue, stage, and ensemble, as well as teaching the vocalist how to self-analyze their voice on that day for that particular performance. Each performance is unique, and knowing how to approach that performance and to adapt for that moment is paramount to any vocalist's consistency."

"Once the basic mechanics of vocal practice have been learned and have become a physical and mental habit, the performing vocalist should be performing. Vocal practice is made solid by performance, and performance grants the body and mind the repetition of technique. You need both. The growth of the voice is intrinsically linked to the singers ability to implement those techniques as often and early as possible. A healthy vocal practice is one that is a planned cycle of study and performance."

"Through my 20+ years of teaching, I have developed my own brand of vocal coaching, combining my knowledge and experience with both vocal technique and live performance into a scaleable, safe, vocal practice, personalized for each individual students vocal goals."

"I have a passion for helping vocalists achieve the type of fluidity with their instrument that every singer desires. I believe it's important for all artists to pass along what they know and what they've learned to the next generation. It's imperative that this collective knowledge is shared, and I believe sharing with professionals and students alike is important, that the arts are important, that vocalists are important."