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Singing In Style

An Introduction to Jazz Vocals

Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Al Jarreau…these are only a few of the great jazz vocalists of the 20th century. These amazing artists interpreted classic songs with their unique style and spin. They could improvise, sing syncopated rhythms, and use sounds and syllables other than speech to create thrilling and complex music. Join UMS artist facilitator and professional vocalist Cole Ward as he introduces us to the world of jazz singing. Warm up your voice and get ready to sing!

To learn more about the history of jazz and the trailblazing jazz vocalists that continue to influence generations of singers, explore the accompanying slides and worksheets.

Recommended Ages

Grades 3-6 (Ages 8-11)

Accompanying Presentation

View on Google Slides or download as a PDF

PDF Worksheets

Interviewing Jazz Legends
Jazz Around the World
Singing Your Own Tune
Words to Sing About

About the Artist

Cole Ward is a vocalist and educator from midtown Detroit, who is deeply rooted in Detroit’s musical culture and was raised in a musical family. He has been trained by his father, Keir Ward (keyboardist and vocalist), since he was three years old, and has been influenced through exposure to various musical genres and styles, including Gospel, Jazz, R&B, Soul, and Classical. Cole developed a deeper passion for jazz music in high school at the Detroit School of Arts, drawing inspiration from people like Ella Fitzgerald, Al Jarreau, Take 6, and the Manhattan Transfer.

Cole has served as the minister of music at Nativity of Our Lord Parish on Detroit’s East side since 2016, and has also served as the front man for The Bugs Beddow Band since 2018. He also started his own band BluJade in 2021. Cole now attends Wayne State University as a music major.

Thank You to Our Supporters

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital

The 2022/23 Season of Performance Playground is supported by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.