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Jazz diva putting on a masterclass

Wannabe singers can hit the high notes with a lesson from one of New Zealand’s top voice coaches at this month’s JazzFest.

The day before Caitlin Smith performs at the Skyline Sunday Brunch, the Auckland-based star hosts a three-hour masterclass at Queenstown’s Performing Arts Centre – on October 24.

As well as being one of the county’s best known jazz and session singers, Smith has a list of students that reads like a Who’s Who of the NZ showbiz scene.

She passes on vocal tips to many well-known names such as Anika Moa, The Datsuns – and the cast of Shortland Street.

“I see myself as the underwire bra of the NZ music industry,” Smith has said. “I’m the one behind the scenes, singing jingles, helping with the background vocals and voice coaching.”

And she reckons that anyone can benefit from her techniques – not just the professionals.

“What everyone needs to do is think of absolutely what they want to sound like, what is the ideal sound they want to get from their voice.

“That’s something I do as a goal-setting exercise when I start teaching anybody, regardless of whether they are already established.”

JazzFest organisers are delighted to have landed Smith.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for budding local singers of any age,” says festival trustee Nicola Lindsay.

A number of other musical workshops and forums are being held at the Performing Arts Centre on the same day – featuring everything from percussion and improvisation to saxophone techniques.

The Caitlin Smith Masterclass in contemporary vocals runs from 1.30pm-4.30pm on October 24. Cost: $40