Martin Van Treuren: The Story of the Song

Doug GoldringCommunity, Training

About five years ago I was approached about teaching a Musical Theatre class for The Barrow Group’s adult students. An acting class for singers and actors. It had been a while since TBG had such a class. They thought I would be a good candidate based on my years of professional experience working in the musical theatre.

I wasn’t so sure. I had never taken a class like this. I was sort of thrown into the working world and learned on the job. The great teachers I had along the way were my fellow actors, directors, choreographers, and of course vocal coaches and singing teachers.

I had to ask myself, “How do I go about teaching something that I have done for so long and frankly took for granted?” That was the question.

I have been at The Barrow Group for 25 years and have been teaching acting here for quite a while. I am keenly aware of the supportive community we are lucky to have, and I knew I had support to take on this challenge.

So I did, and boy am I glad I did. I LOVE this class.

Every week is joyous. I am so often inspired by the growth of the students as they use the Barrow Group Tools to facilitate telling the story of the song. We do song analysis, not unlike script analysis, and focus on context. The only difference is we include all the music; the introduction, the accompaniment, the melody, as well as the lyrics as textural material to be examined.

We ask the questions; Who am I singing to? Am I alone on stage, and what does that mean? What changes during the course of the song? Where am I? and, What is the moment before that gives us the impetus to sing?

And then we SING!

This class has always had students of various ages and experiences. What pleases me most is that they have always seemed to revel in the joys of discovery for themselves as well as for their fellow students.

It’s been a hell of a lot of fun and promises to continue that way.

I look forward to this class every week.

– Martin

Martin’s next Professional Musical Theatre I: Acting for Singers class starts 4/1!

Other upcoming classes with Martin include Beginner Acting Class II: Getting Specific starting 4/6 and Beginner Acting Class I: The Basics starting 4/19.

Check out TBG’s full schedule of classes, including Youth classes, camps, and intensives!