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Found 134 results

  1. I suck at titles so forgive the above. But in essences yes I have rhinitis & a deviated septum. But I'm not sure if those are the sole reason for my problems singing wise. My main issue is a sore throat when singing in chest voice. I think it's because I do not know how to activate the diaphragm beyond belting. I have many other problems (1. consistency (sometimes I sound good others bad & I'm singing the same song), 2. diaphragm breathing, 3. I hate my tone, 4. nasal drip creates cracked voice, 5. nasally blocked nose sound when singing, 6. squeaky voicing when transitioning to higher notes, 7. weak voice with no resonance) but let's keep it minimal for my first post & stick to getting rid of the sore throat that I get when singing in chest voice. I would like it to no longer be painful & as painless as when I sing in head voice if possible. I don't have soundcloud etc so I hope it's cool that my link is to my tumblr page with the same name (though I change my name a lot) you are free to listen to my other vocal posts & comment on that too. https://singing-with-a-deviated-septum.tumblr.com/post/165584890474 Have a lovely day. PS: And please be as honest as can be, because the sooner I clear my head of delusions the better it is overall.
  2. Closer to Mixed voice?

    Hi, so just recorded this clip (No rain)(sorry for the quality, im traveling right now) but I want to know if im using the right technique, and if this is any closer to a good mix voice. Of course, a lot of things to work on regarding the song, but I'd like to know if im on the right track and what should I improve or work on for those high notes. At the end of the clip I also did a small comparison between a very nasal tone and a cleaner tone. Im not sure if this nasal tone is the right way (+ diaphram compression) to get a good distortion for heavier songs? Finally i also attached another clip (Paradise city) which is basically me playing around with this nasal tone quality to see if i get a good result. Thank you very much! cant wait to be singing these songs live:D
  3. The Mystery behind Key Change

    For the pipe organ an open valve will trigger the sound of the pipe. The key of a song tells us which valves we can open safely to stay in harmony. Singers have a comfort zone All singers have a comfort zone, a range of notes that sound best and can be performed effortless. Despite of the ability to expand the vocal range through training, every singer has an individual physical quality which is responsible for the position of the comfort zone within the vocal spectrum. We may not consciously observe this, but the habit of speaking is already giving us a clue about this range. In classic musical education we classify this range by defining voice types, though this method is mostly a helpful convergence to reality. For the singer it is therefore essential to spend some effort on song choice, especially to ensure that a song lies within his or her vocal abilities. Of course that is not the only consideration during song choice, and if you are interested we invite you to read our article "Improve Your Song Choice" to find out more. Another possibility is to simply change the range of notes to be performed by changing the key of the song. The original key Every song was written in an original key. The key we know for any of these songs could be the one it was written in, or it could be the key used when the recording we know was produced. We still refer to it as original key. Original keys are usually relatively easy to access. They may be documented in sheet music, or available in databases, per example for DJ's that research harmonic mixing, among other sources. It also can be determined by examining the chords and notes of the song. It is to mention that a key can and oftentimes does change within a song. The key a song is regarded to be in is most often starting in the key and at one point returning to the same key before the end. Find out what exactly a key is, and how keys are transitioned in our article "Musical Keys and the Key Change". Here is an example. A song written or performed in a G Major key is based on the tonic note of G, and includes a system of notes defined by the major scale that is also based on the tonic note. The chord progressions used in the song will to a great extent lie within the scale, with the tonic chord being the foundation of those progressions. What happens between the use of G Major may be harmonic movement and/or modulation. Lead Vocals and original keys Here at Lead Vocals we consider our practice section as a tool to quickly review and learn the melody, timing, phrasing, and mood of a performance. In addition we think that the tool enables vocalists to study other artists by paying close attention to ingredients like dialect and pronunciation in language, the choice of placing words or phrases within rhythm and beats, any habits, and style and musical influences. Unlike other existing tools like per example some karaoke platforms we do not offer access to the same performance in multiple keys. But just recently we have introduced additional helpful information about many of the songs available here within the tagging system. At present we offer selection by tonic pitch, musical key, and scale information which can be helpful to explore new music. We think that from an educational point of view the choice of the tonic pitch is most interesting, because many melodies in songs may start or end with the tonic note. If a vocalist can deliver that note in a rich, strong, and compelling tonal quality that makes the audience want to hear more, then the song choice by tonic pitch may lead to the discovery of suitable songs for the singer. You may give this a try by selecting a song to practice by tonic pitch. Continue solving the mystery Find out why vocalists change the key of a song and how they approach the key change. In an attempt to solve the mystery behind the musical key we define what a key is, and explain the background of harmonic movement, chord progressions, and modulation. We also include the consideration of emotional characteristics for all keys based on the major and minor scale, that may play an additional role in the selection process for the vocalist. Further we're taking a brief look at common practice in recording sessions. Continue reading about this topic in our article "Musical Keys and the Key Change" at http://www.leadvocals.ca/background/musical-keys-and-the-key-change Additional Information Our Practice Section at Lead Vocals http://www.leadvocals.ca/practice Try to Sing Along at Lead Vocals http://www.leadvocals.ca/lyrics/songs What is Lead Vocals? Lead Vocals is a free of charge online resource for aspiring vocalists, who are learning the craft of singing and who practice their art by singing along to playback recordings and to other selected musical performances on video. All recordings are hand selected and the lyrics are spot on matching to the performance of the lead vocalist. The tool allows for quick access to practice specific parts within a song. We especially took care in avoiding clutter and disruptive advertising. Follow us on Social Media https://facebook.com/leadvocals.ca https://plus.google.com/+LeadvocalsCa https://www.linkedin.com/company/leadvocals https://www.twitter.com/leadvocalsca https://www.youtube.com/LeadvocalsCa
  4. An example for the use of music is its distribution to people through a sound system. If a singer, instrumentalist or a band wants to record, use, or perform music that is owned or controlled by somebody else, it is very likely that a license has to be obtained to do this on legal ground. Find out what kind of licenses control the use and recreation of music compositions, audio recordings, the use of music in public, the reproduction of sheet music, and the performance of theatrical productions. At Lead Vocals we also offer links and services to help you obtaining licenses for cover songs. The purpose of licensing The purpose of music licensing is to make sure that the people and companies involved in the creation process of music, like per example the composer, the record label, the performing artist, and the publisher will get paid for the work and effort they have put into a piece of music. Allowing somebody to use a piece of music either as a composition, or as a recording, can be understood like a trade between the creator and the licensee. Per example, if an artist is recording a cover song of another artist and is then distributing and selling that song on his or her own album release, he or she must ensure that the original composer of that song gets a share in form of a royalty. A royalty is a sum of money paid to the rights holder for each copy of a work sold, or for each public performance of a work. In common practice such royalties are most often calculated and collected in advance during the phase of producing the copies. Types of music licenses It is to mention that we in general distinguish between different kinds of uses for music, its recordings, and its production. Here is an overview with examples for the most common types of music licenses: In general a license is necessary when the task is done by someone, who did not create the work. The overview shows a common example, but is in no way a complete reference. If you are interested in reading deeper into the topic please continue reading our article at - http://www.leadvocals.ca/background/music-licensing Additional Information License a Cover Song http://www.leadvocals.ca/resources/license-a-cover-song Our Practice Section at Lead Vocals http://www.leadvocals.ca/practice Try to Sing Along at Lead Vocals http://www.leadvocals.ca/lyrics/songs What is Lead Vocals? Lead Vocals is a free of charge online resource for aspiring vocalists, who are learning the craft of singing and who practice their art by singing along to playback recordings and to other selected musical performances on video. All recordings are hand selected and the lyrics are spot on matching to the performance of the lead vocalist. The tool allows for quick access to practice specific parts within a song. We especially took care in avoiding clutter and disruptive advertising. Follow us on Social Media https://facebook.com/leadvocals.ca https://plus.google.com/+LeadvocalsCa https://www.linkedin.com/company/leadvocals https://www.twitter.com/leadvocalsca https://www.youtube.com/LeadvocalsCa
  5. Proper Breathing for Vocalists

    Proper Breathing for Vocalists Breath is the motor of our voice. Knowing how to breathe correctly and being able to control it is one of the most important skills a singer can have. A proper breathing technique will enable us to sound great and to improve the tone of our voice. Our ability to sustain notes will increase and we will master to sing longer phrases more effortless. Breathing is a natural process of our body and therefore a good breathing technique comes natural and unforced. Methods of Breathing The human body knows several different ways of breathing which are called costal or chest breathing, clavicular breathing, abdominal or belly breathing, and diapragmatic breathing. The latter two are to prefer when it comes to singing, though only the diapragmatic method allows for full breath with maximum control. The diaphragm by the way is a muscle system that is located in the abdominal region right under the lungs. It controls the air flow by contracting when we breathe in and relaxing when we breathe out. Breath Support As a singer you want to learn slowing down the relaxation of the diaphragm to gain extra volume used for sustaining notes and sing longer phrases. This is called "breath support" and can be achieved in two different ways, either by adding a bit of muscle force during exhalation and while using your voice, or through lowering the muscle force used during inhalation. While the first method allows for an increased volume the latter will result in less air pressure in the lungs which in turn will slow down the exhalation process to the extent that you can sing longer. The second method is popular through the "Italian School" of singing, also known as Appoggio, which includes resonance factors in form of phonation alongside the breath management. Exercises to improve breathing Understanding the theory behind how the body masters the task of breathing builds the base for the vocalist to improve upon his or her own breathing technique, however the singer also needs to build an understanding on an experimental level. For this reason it is well worth to experiment with a few exercises to gain an additional understanding. At Lead Vocals we have collected a number of exercises to get you started. Continue reading about the topic and these exercises at - http://www.leadvocals.ca/improve/breathing Additional Information Our Practice Section at Lead Vocals http://www.leadvocals.ca/practice Try to Sing Along at Lead Vocals http://www.leadvocals.ca/lyrics/songs What is Lead Vocals? Lead Vocals is a free of charge online resource for aspiring vocalists, who are learning the craft of singing and who practice their art by singing along to playback recordings and to other selected musical performances on video. All recordings are hand selected and the lyrics are spot on matching to the performance of the lead vocalist. The tool allows for quick access to practice specific parts within a song. We especially took care in avoiding clutter and disruptive advertising. Follow us on Social Media https://facebook.com/leadvocals.ca https://plus.google.com/+LeadvocalsCa https://www.linkedin.com/company/leadvocals https://www.twitter.com/leadvocalsca https://www.youtube.com/LeadvocalsCa
  6. Review My Led Zeppelin

    Hii... i'm posting this one link here... its a pretty untidy take at the song I am confused as to whether this hooty sound is head voice or what is supposedly called the 'reinforced falsetto' .. what i know is that its not meaty enough the way true resonant head voice is ... I've nowadays taken to exercising for a fuller head voice..But i wanted to know just what i've done here
  7. Just want to know if I should keep singing or give it up? (Singing) ----> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsbptdfKSFs
  8. Vocal Aerobics: Essentials for Today's Singers

    Vocal Aerobics: Essentials for Today's Singers with Julie Lyonn Lieberman Running Time and Format: 60-minute instructional DVD Distributed by: Hal Leonard Corporation (7777 W. Bluemound Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53213, 800-637-2852, http://www.halleonard.com /) to bookstores, music stores and schools through the world) Release Date: September 30, 2008 Description: World-renowned music educator, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, has created an instructional DVD for singers. Her practice system focuses on cognitive illumination and muscular facility. This system can help develop a vibrating palette that communicates spirit, emotion, and viewpoint all riding effortlessly on the breath. It is supported by science yet connected to individuality. By first guiding the exercises in silence, her intent is to prevent the tension and misuse that often occur when the main impetus for the creation of musical sound is fueled by a brew of yearning and fear mixed with a fixation on the end product. Topics covered include: Section I Introduction, Creating a Cathedral, Breath Anatomy Section II Aerobicizing the Tongue, Mobilizing the Lips Section III Balancing the non-dominant side of the mouth, Posture, The Power of Imagery, Warming Up and Warming Down, Vocal Health Ms. Lieberman trusts the innate intelligence of the client by making sure that they understand how and why each region of their vocal anatomy works the way it does. Through extensive experience teaching, she has developed ergonomically based exercises that are fulcrum triggers: they get the job done more efficiently and faster. Lieberman has discovered that when the lights are turned on and the equipment is illuminated, epiphanies abound and can continue to be generated by the singer, long after the teacher leaves the room. In-depth studies while writing her critically acclaimed book. You Are Your Instrument, followed by her three spin-off DVDs (The Vocalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, The Instrumentalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, and The Violin in Motion) place a unique spin on this body of work. Most voice teachers use exercises that are effective in the long run or they would be put out of business, but the older model for mentorship entailed I do and do as I say approach. It was a faith-based relationship; the student was expected to blindly follow the teacher's directions without specifics, context, or adequate rapport with the musculature required to do the job smoothly and consciously. The belief behind that style of work was that if you repeated each exercise enough times (often while inadvertently thinking about something else), that it would help you sing better. This is the long, slow train to success. Julie believes that it's time to replace unconscious repetition with less activity, more awareness, and targeted control. She will help you convert the butcher's knife into a laser beam! To Order: see JulieLyonn.com and click on Vocalist's Corner About the author Julie Lyonn Lieberman (JulieLyonn.com) has specialized in working with creative vocalists in her NYC music studio over the last 3 decades. Her students have included artists such as Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton, Grammy-nominated Putnam Murdock, Indie music award winner Kara Suzanne (best new folk-singer/songwriter album of the year), and critically acclaimed lyricist Julie Flanders, to name a few. Ms. Lieberman is an improvising violinist/singer, composer, recording artist, journalist, educator, and the author of nine books and six instructional DVDs. A dynamic, participatory workshop leader, her ability to stimulate participants to think and grow in new ways has earned respect for her work throughout the world. In addition to currently teaching improvisation at Juilliard, she has presented for organizations like Music Educators Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, the Juilliard MAP Program, Carnegie/Weill Hall/Juilliard's The Academy, National Young Audiences, and the Carnegie Hall LinkUp. Lieberman is a J. D'Addario Elite Clinician. Alfred Publishing publishes her scores.
  9. I am also a guitarist. So I found that going to the music room, and using the microphone is great. But a lot of the time, my guitar is sitting right next to me and is really convenient. So after doing the foundation building routine exercises, (And I can tell you because I record them) exactly 34 times, using the files from The Four Pillars Of Singing course. I have gotten to know them very well. This includes the melodic fifth sirens, which on a guitar is just a basic bar chord. So the top string of your bar chord is the first/start note, and the second string in your bar chord, is your 5th. I have found that it is quite helpful. As you get to practice your scales on the guitar (Or any other instrument I guess), and so therefore your understanding of where notes lay on the guitar, at the same time as training, and warming up your voice. So obviously you could apply this to an electric guitar, or any other instrument, and then still use amplification for your voice. It's early days for me, having only completed the "Foundation Building Routine" 34 times. But I will experiment more with this idea, as I progress further into "The Four Pillars Of Singing", and at this stage feel it will be helpful. If anyone has any advice, or thoughts regarding this idea. Please share.
  10. Vocal Aerobics: Essentials for Today's Singers with Julie Lyonn Lieberman Running Time and Format: 60-minute instructional DVD Distributed by: Hal Leonard Corporation (7777 W. Bluemound Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53213, 800-637-2852, http://www.halleonard.com /) to bookstores, music stores and schools through the world) Release Date: September 30, 2008 Description: World-renowned music educator, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, has created an instructional DVD for singers. Her practice system focuses on cognitive illumination and muscular facility. This system can help develop a vibrating palette that communicates spirit, emotion, and viewpoint all riding effortlessly on the breath. It is supported by science yet connected to individuality. By first guiding the exercises in silence, her intent is to prevent the tension and misuse that often occur when the main impetus for the creation of musical sound is fueled by a brew of yearning and fear mixed with a fixation on the end product. Topics covered include: Section I Introduction, Creating a Cathedral, Breath Anatomy Section II Aerobicizing the Tongue, Mobilizing the Lips Section III Balancing the non-dominant side of the mouth, Posture, The Power of Imagery, Warming Up and Warming Down, Vocal Health Ms. Lieberman trusts the innate intelligence of the client by making sure that they understand how and why each region of their vocal anatomy works the way it does. Through extensive experience teaching, she has developed ergonomically based exercises that are fulcrum triggers: they get the job done more efficiently and faster. Lieberman has discovered that when the lights are turned on and the equipment is illuminated, epiphanies abound and can continue to be generated by the singer, long after the teacher leaves the room. In-depth studies while writing her critically acclaimed book. You Are Your Instrument, followed by her three spin-off DVDs (The Vocalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, The Instrumentalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, and The Violin in Motion) place a unique spin on this body of work. Most voice teachers use exercises that are effective in the long run or they would be put out of business, but the older model for mentorship entailed I do and do as I say approach. It was a faith-based relationship; the student was expected to blindly follow the teacher's directions without specifics, context, or adequate rapport with the musculature required to do the job smoothly and consciously. The belief behind that style of work was that if you repeated each exercise enough times (often while inadvertently thinking about something else), that it would help you sing better. This is the long, slow train to success. Julie believes that it's time to replace unconscious repetition with less activity, more awareness, and targeted control. She will help you convert the butcher's knife into a laser beam! To Order: see JulieLyonn.com and click on Vocalist's Corner About the author Julie Lyonn Lieberman (JulieLyonn.com) has specialized in working with creative vocalists in her NYC music studio over the last 3 decades. Her students have included artists such as Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton, Grammy-nominated Putnam Murdock, Indie music award winner Kara Suzanne (best new folk-singer/songwriter album of the year), and critically acclaimed lyricist Julie Flanders, to name a few. Ms. Lieberman is an improvising violinist/singer, composer, recording artist, journalist, educator, and the author of nine books and six instructional DVDs. A dynamic, participatory workshop leader, her ability to stimulate participants to think and grow in new ways has earned respect for her work throughout the world. In addition to currently teaching improvisation at Juilliard, she has presented for organizations like Music Educators Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, the Juilliard MAP Program, Carnegie/Weill Hall/Juilliard's The Academy, National Young Audiences, and the Carnegie Hall LinkUp. Lieberman is a J. D'Addario Elite Clinician. Alfred Publishing publishes her scores. View full articles
  11. How to Belt - Some How-To and Science

    If we define belting in the most general terms possible, let's entertain the notion that it's a vocal sound which derives from talking or yelling. Belting is most often linked to musical theater singing but has been used to describe loud singing in commercial styles such as rock and gospel. Following is a brief description of the essentials of the mechanism of belting voice production, particularly as compared to classical singing. Head: aligned with body but with jaw parallel to ground (head tilted down in classical) Jaw: firmer masseter (chewing) muscle which protrudes jaw slightly forward Hyoid bone: pulls forward Thyroid Cartilage: slides forward (tilts down in front for classical) Larynx Height: higher position (approx. 1 1/2 cervical vertebrae higher) Vocal Fold Vibration Pattern: clapping, square-edge, no zippering, particularly at higher volumes VF closure speed, speed quotient: faster VF closure ratio, closed quotient: longer, closed minimum of 50% of time Increased sub-glottal pressure - upper belly must firm OUT, lower belly IN, to correctly pressurize vocal folds T-A muscle (vocalis): more contracted Frequencies: even range of frequencies up to 15k Subjective sensations: extreme breath holding prior and during the singing smack & sticky, the feeling of folds high speed of closure and long closed phase intense support (5 rules: chest stays up, side/back ribs stay out, upper belly magic spot firms out, lower belly gradually goes in, waist goes out) sound shooting through mouth or chin or upper neck or lower neck or nose Modern belting ideas: 1) Timbre (nasal and/or ringy) and volume should be character-based choices 2) Can be loud, medium or soft (rarely), but cannot be breathy 3) Musical Theater belting can be delineated into at least 5 belting sub-styles: Heavy Belt, Nasal Belt, Brassy Belt (nasal/ringy, mostly nasal, i.e. Ethel Merman), Ringy Belt (nasal/ringy, mostly ringy i.e. Kristin Chenoweth), and Speech-Like Belt (broad spectrum of resonance i.e. Idina Menzel) Teaching Approaches: Calls (Come, Daddy!), Nasals (e.g. nyaa), Lean Exercises, Pressure Sounds (bee staccato) c 2008 - Lisa Popeil's Voiceworks® Method - www.popeil.com lisa@popeil.com - 818-906-7229 - Sherman Oaks, CA Don't miss the Total Singer Workshop LA - February 14-16, 2009
  12. If we define belting in the most general terms possible, let's entertain the notion that it's a vocal sound which derives from talking or yelling. Belting is most often linked to musical theater singing but has been used to describe loud singing in commercial styles such as rock and gospel. Following is a brief description of the essentials of the mechanism of belting voice production, particularly as compared to classical singing. Head: aligned with body but with jaw parallel to ground (head tilted down in classical) Jaw: firmer masseter (chewing) muscle which protrudes jaw slightly forward Hyoid bone: pulls forward Thyroid Cartilage: slides forward (tilts down in front for classical) Larynx Height: higher position (approx. 1 1/2 cervical vertebrae higher) Vocal Fold Vibration Pattern: clapping, square-edge, no zippering, particularly at higher volumes VF closure speed, speed quotient: faster VF closure ratio, closed quotient: longer, closed minimum of 50% of time Increased sub-glottal pressure - upper belly must firm OUT, lower belly IN, to correctly pressurize vocal folds T-A muscle (vocalis): more contracted Frequencies: even range of frequencies up to 15k Subjective sensations: extreme breath holding prior and during the singing smack & sticky, the feeling of folds high speed of closure and long closed phase intense support (5 rules: chest stays up, side/back ribs stay out, upper belly magic spot firms out, lower belly gradually goes in, waist goes out) sound shooting through mouth or chin or upper neck or lower neck or nose Modern belting ideas: 1) Timbre (nasal and/or ringy) and volume should be character-based choices 2) Can be loud, medium or soft (rarely), but cannot be breathy 3) Musical Theater belting can be delineated into at least 5 belting sub-styles: Heavy Belt, Nasal Belt, Brassy Belt (nasal/ringy, mostly nasal, i.e. Ethel Merman), Ringy Belt (nasal/ringy, mostly ringy i.e. Kristin Chenoweth), and Speech-Like Belt (broad spectrum of resonance i.e. Idina Menzel) Teaching Approaches: Calls (Come, Daddy!), Nasals (e.g. nyaa), Lean Exercises, Pressure Sounds (bee staccato) c 2008 - Lisa Popeil's Voiceworks® Method - www.popeil.com lisa@popeil.com - 818-906-7229 - Sherman Oaks, CA Don't miss the Total Singer Workshop LA - February 14-16, 2009 View full articles
  13. Who needs Vocal Hygiene?

    So, where do we start? Every good voice coach will tell you that before any drills or techniques should be considered you must make sure you know how to behave with your voice mechanism. First, let's not do it any worse then, let's try to make it better. Who needs Vocal Hygiene? EVERYONE does! Listen to a full radio show : http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-156371
  14. ArticlesWho needs Vocal Hygiene?

    So, where do we start? Every good voice coach will tell you that before any drills or techniques should be considered you must make sure you know how to behave with your voice mechanism. First, let's not do it any worse then, let's try to make it better. Who needs Vocal Hygiene? EVERYONE does! Listen to a full radio show : http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-156371 View full articles
  15. How do we develop a strong voice that is resonant and can sustain a long phrase or note? As in every part of voice training, as you strengthen one point of technique you are helping others also. It is also true that as you are concentrating on one fine point of technique such as releasing the jaw as you inhale, then another point of technique falters. Such a dilemma! This blog post is concerned with developing the strength to sustain a phrase or pitch. Think of yourself as an athlete. Your body must be in the best condition possible. For singers that means well hydrated, well rested and properly aligned with a straight, stretched spine. (that's a whole other blog post) The ability to sustain a phrase or hold out Ah! in Poor Johnny One Note for 16 beats has to do with several factors. 1. An inhale that opens the airways and engages the abdominal muscles. 2. Using that breath efficiently. This comes with practice. 3. Generously releasing the breath and not holding or conserving at all! Big no-no: The act of parsing out breath a little at a time only creates tension and the breath you do have to use gets stale. That's why you feel you need to take another breath, not because you need more air! 4. A steady, consistent release of the breath. In the exercise below, you will see how you are using the air as well as learn how to use it efficiently. 5. The exit route for breath and sound must remain as open as possible. That requires muscular strength. 6. You must be saying something to someone! Can't just sing Ah until the 16 beats are up without a clear thought process about why you are still singing that Ah The Ah has to mean something to keep your mind and body actively involved in saying it! You might be thinking Ah, when I see my love tonight, Aaahhhh! Here's an exercise to help build the muscular strength to keep the body open on exhale. It strengthens abdominal/diaphragmatic coordination and response. This exercise will show you right away the inconsistencies in your breath and sound release. Done right, it will help you explore how you are currently thinking about releasing sound or if you are holding it! That’s a big build up for this little exercise, but it really is that useful. You know that annoying sound when a gnat gets in your ear and just keeps buzzing and buzzzzing and bzzzzzzzzz? Well, you are going to make the gnat sound. bzzzzzzzzzzzz. You will sustain the zzzzz forever. Well, maybe not forever, but for as long as you can moving the pitch around. Don't concentrate on pitch, but on the zzzzz. A few rules: Get a simple opening inhale jaw released, lazy. Make sure you begin the sound up above the hard palate. Yes, above the hard palate, high in the head. As you continue annoying your family and neighbors with the sound, do your best to continue releasing the sound from above the hard palate. Make the sound absolutely consistent. When you experience gaps in the bzzz, that means the breath is stopping then starting again. The sound may not want to continue this is usually due to the lack of muscular strength. Just keep doing it and the strength will build. When you are comfortable with just making the gnat sound try matching it to musical pitch. Play a pitch and bzzz on that pitch. No singing allowed, just be a bug. Then bzzz on the pitch and slide it down a 5th and then an 8va all the while keeping the sound steady and consistent still be a bug! Try it and let me know how it goes! View full articles
  16. How do we develop a strong voice that is resonant and can sustain a long phrase or note? As in every part of voice training, as you strengthen one point of technique you are helping others also. It is also true that as you are concentrating on one fine point of technique such as releasing the jaw as you inhale, then another point of technique falters. Such a dilemma! This blog post is concerned with developing the strength to sustain a phrase or pitch. Think of yourself as an athlete. Your body must be in the best condition possible. For singers that means well hydrated, well rested and properly aligned with a straight, stretched spine. (that's a whole other blog post) The ability to sustain a phrase or hold out Ah! in Poor Johnny One Note for 16 beats has to do with several factors. 1. An inhale that opens the airways and engages the abdominal muscles. 2. Using that breath efficiently. This comes with practice. 3. Generously releasing the breath and not holding or conserving at all! Big no-no: The act of parsing out breath a little at a time only creates tension and the breath you do have to use gets stale. That's why you feel you need to take another breath, not because you need more air! 4. A steady, consistent release of the breath. In the exercise below, you will see how you are using the air as well as learn how to use it efficiently. 5. The exit route for breath and sound must remain as open as possible. That requires muscular strength. 6. You must be saying something to someone! Can't just sing Ah until the 16 beats are up without a clear thought process about why you are still singing that Ah The Ah has to mean something to keep your mind and body actively involved in saying it! You might be thinking Ah, when I see my love tonight, Aaahhhh! Here's an exercise to help build the muscular strength to keep the body open on exhale. It strengthens abdominal/diaphragmatic coordination and response. This exercise will show you right away the inconsistencies in your breath and sound release. Done right, it will help you explore how you are currently thinking about releasing sound or if you are holding it! That’s a big build up for this little exercise, but it really is that useful. You know that annoying sound when a gnat gets in your ear and just keeps buzzing and buzzzzing and bzzzzzzzzz? Well, you are going to make the gnat sound. bzzzzzzzzzzzz. You will sustain the zzzzz forever. Well, maybe not forever, but for as long as you can moving the pitch around. Don't concentrate on pitch, but on the zzzzz. A few rules: Get a simple opening inhale jaw released, lazy. Make sure you begin the sound up above the hard palate. Yes, above the hard palate, high in the head. As you continue annoying your family and neighbors with the sound, do your best to continue releasing the sound from above the hard palate. Make the sound absolutely consistent. When you experience gaps in the bzzz, that means the breath is stopping then starting again. The sound may not want to continue this is usually due to the lack of muscular strength. Just keep doing it and the strength will build. When you are comfortable with just making the gnat sound try matching it to musical pitch. Play a pitch and bzzz on that pitch. No singing allowed, just be a bug. Then bzzz on the pitch and slide it down a 5th and then an 8va all the while keeping the sound steady and consistent still be a bug! Try it and let me know how it goes!
  17. When listeners say that they absolutely love the way so-and-so phrases a song - what exactly do they mean? In order to tackle the subject, let's first define what a phrase is, then we can figure out what we can do with it. Think of a phrase as a grouping of lyrics and notes The grouping might be as long as a sentence or a partial sentence. Phrases are often separated by rests or moments of silence, but sometimes shorter phrases can be connected together into longer section, like Lego blocks. There are a number of ways you can manipulate these blocks or perhaps I should say shape these phrases. In fact, when I make phrasing decisions, I feel like an architect, creating a sonic structure where all my choices result in emotional consequences. Here are some ways to define and master phrasing.... 1) Breath Choice: breathing should not be accidental. And you don't always have to breathe when to stop singing between phrases. You can do a pause, no breath sometimes and create a bit of excitement. When you breathe, you can make sound or not - your choice. 2) Word Rhythm: you can sing a word one of three ways: before the beat (rushing), on the beat (in the pocket) or after the beat (dragging). Mix them up within a song- though you should always be well aware of where the beat is at all times. It's only your relationship to the beat which can change. 3) Dynamics: This refers to louds and softs. Music that is only at one volume can be boring, so choosing how to build your overall song to a climax and resolution or climax through the fade is important. Our brains are wired to notice change and to ignore sameness. That's why dynamic change is so important to grabbing and keeping the listeners attention. 4) Word Stress: Certain words, like nouns and verbs are more important than prepositions (to, at in) , articles (the, an) or conjunctions ( and, so). Think of how you would naturally stress a phrase in speech and play with singing it like you speak it. That way the meaning comes out more clearly. The great pop singers of the 40's and 50's knew this trick. It's like Frank Sinatra is singing right to me! 5) Smooth vs. Choppy: The longer you hold the vowel, the more legato or connected the words sound: "Suh>>>>>mwhe>>>>>roh>>>>>ver>>>>>thu>>>>>rai>>>>>nboh>>>>>". This smooth delivery is good for a dreamy ballad or a jazzy sound. The opposite approach is what I call 'choppy' phrasing, with pauses in between each of the syllables. A great example is 'You've/got/to/ac/cen/tu/ate/the/po/si/tive'. This halting delivery is surprisingly effective in getting the words across. Is that all there is to phrasing? If we include song interpretation into the purview of phrasing then there's a lot more! To the four categories above, we can add some elements which affect the acting of a song. These elements are the vocal colors which add to the overall feeling, such as resonance choices (degrees of brightness, nasality, ring, the height of your voicebox), how closed or open your vocal folds are (breathy, blowy, clean or hard closure) Let's take an example of a famous phrase and see what kind of choices we can make with it. Somewhere over the rainbow can be sung as one phrase, two phrases somewhere...over the rainbow or even three phrases some...where...over the rainbow. Try saying it these three ways and notice how the feeling changes. In the one phrase model, you may feel more in control, optimistic that eventually everything will turn out alright. In the two-phrase model, there's more of a questioning feeling as if you're looking towards the horizon, hopeful that somewhere, oh yeah, I see the rainbow now, maybe over there, everything will be OK. And in the three-phrase model, you can sound like you're holding back tears and about to break down. What if we add one more ingredient, such as singing somewhere late? How does that change the feeling? Now try making the syllable some louder then float the where softly. Notice how the word sounds more natural? Let's try one more trick in the phrasing library: try sliding up in ptich from the some to the where. How did it sound? If your volume stayed consistent from your low note to your high note, you probably sounded cheezy. Try doing a slide where you leave out some notes on the ascent. Just dropping some notes out can make the slide sound elegant. What a difference changing volume and leaving a few notes out can make! There's no real mystery to phrasing. The ingredients can be learned by listening, then analyzing, then imitating and finally by recombining these elements into a personal style which relays emotional truth and sincerity. Lisa Popeil - Voiceworks® Method - (818) 906-7229 - www.popeil.com - lisa@popeil.com View full articles
  18. Phiguring Out Phrasing

    When listeners say that they absolutely love the way so-and-so phrases a song - what exactly do they mean? In order to tackle the subject, let's first define what a phrase is, then we can figure out what we can do with it. Think of a phrase as a grouping of lyrics and notes The grouping might be as long as a sentence or a partial sentence. Phrases are often separated by rests or moments of silence, but sometimes shorter phrases can be connected together into longer section, like Lego blocks. There are a number of ways you can manipulate these blocks or perhaps I should say shape these phrases. In fact, when I make phrasing decisions, I feel like an architect, creating a sonic structure where all my choices result in emotional consequences. Here are some ways to define and master phrasing.... 1) Breath Choice: breathing should not be accidental. And you don't always have to breathe when to stop singing between phrases. You can do a pause, no breath sometimes and create a bit of excitement. When you breathe, you can make sound or not - your choice. 2) Word Rhythm: you can sing a word one of three ways: before the beat (rushing), on the beat (in the pocket) or after the beat (dragging). Mix them up within a song- though you should always be well aware of where the beat is at all times. It's only your relationship to the beat which can change. 3) Dynamics: This refers to louds and softs. Music that is only at one volume can be boring, so choosing how to build your overall song to a climax and resolution or climax through the fade is important. Our brains are wired to notice change and to ignore sameness. That's why dynamic change is so important to grabbing and keeping the listeners attention. 4) Word Stress: Certain words, like nouns and verbs are more important than prepositions (to, at in) , articles (the, an) or conjunctions ( and, so). Think of how you would naturally stress a phrase in speech and play with singing it like you speak it. That way the meaning comes out more clearly. The great pop singers of the 40's and 50's knew this trick. It's like Frank Sinatra is singing right to me! 5) Smooth vs. Choppy: The longer you hold the vowel, the more legato or connected the words sound: "Suh>>>>>mwhe>>>>>roh>>>>>ver>>>>>thu>>>>>rai>>>>>nboh>>>>>". This smooth delivery is good for a dreamy ballad or a jazzy sound. The opposite approach is what I call 'choppy' phrasing, with pauses in between each of the syllables. A great example is 'You've/got/to/ac/cen/tu/ate/the/po/si/tive'. This halting delivery is surprisingly effective in getting the words across. Is that all there is to phrasing? If we include song interpretation into the purview of phrasing then there's a lot more! To the four categories above, we can add some elements which affect the acting of a song. These elements are the vocal colors which add to the overall feeling, such as resonance choices (degrees of brightness, nasality, ring, the height of your voicebox), how closed or open your vocal folds are (breathy, blowy, clean or hard closure) Let's take an example of a famous phrase and see what kind of choices we can make with it. Somewhere over the rainbow can be sung as one phrase, two phrases somewhere...over the rainbow or even three phrases some...where...over the rainbow. Try saying it these three ways and notice how the feeling changes. In the one phrase model, you may feel more in control, optimistic that eventually everything will turn out alright. In the two-phrase model, there's more of a questioning feeling as if you're looking towards the horizon, hopeful that somewhere, oh yeah, I see the rainbow now, maybe over there, everything will be OK. And in the three-phrase model, you can sound like you're holding back tears and about to break down. What if we add one more ingredient, such as singing somewhere late? How does that change the feeling? Now try making the syllable some louder then float the where softly. Notice how the word sounds more natural? Let's try one more trick in the phrasing library: try sliding up in ptich from the some to the where. How did it sound? If your volume stayed consistent from your low note to your high note, you probably sounded cheezy. Try doing a slide where you leave out some notes on the ascent. Just dropping some notes out can make the slide sound elegant. What a difference changing volume and leaving a few notes out can make! There's no real mystery to phrasing. The ingredients can be learned by listening, then analyzing, then imitating and finally by recombining these elements into a personal style which relays emotional truth and sincerity. Lisa Popeil - Voiceworks® Method - (818) 906-7229 - www.popeil.com - lisa@popeil.com
  19. The number one vocal skill is actually a combination of several skills and is collectively known as "musicianship". If you are lucky enough to have gained it from osmosis, then God bless you! Most people have no idea why they cannot sing in tune, do great riffs, understand style, form, structure and hear and know melodic and harmonic intervals and more. The audience hears that something isn't quite right but may not know what to call it or how to analyze it. Musicianship goes far beyond merely singing in tune and merely having a great sense of tonality. There is so much more! Sometimes vocal technique has not been fully developed and there are problems with register transitions, or breaks in tone production quality. Sometimes vocal technique is inadequate for endurance or range or even to sing a specific style competently. Some singers have problems "finding their own voice" or developing a unique style. Many singers are musically illiterate; unable to read or write music or to sight sing. Such things can be taught and may even be nonessential, if the levels of musicianship with hearing and executing are sufficiently developed. Knowing chords, scales, chord progressions and being able to write music (or at least to do sequencing) would place a singer in the position of more easily interfacing with musicians. Professional musicians may are usually so advanced as to know and perform such things as second nature. Some musicians think singers are not musicians at all and have little respect for them, treating them (in person OR behind their backs) as if they are severely deficient in musical knowledge. Recording experience is invaluable and irreplaceable because without it, a singer never has complete objectivity. What do you sound like to others? For the vast majority, the multitudinous skills of singing do not come naturally and do not come without some help and/or without countless hours of practice. View full articles
  20. How I evaluate singers?

    The number one vocal skill is actually a combination of several skills and is collectively known as "musicianship". If you are lucky enough to have gained it from osmosis, then God bless you! Most people have no idea why they cannot sing in tune, do great riffs, understand style, form, structure and hear and know melodic and harmonic intervals and more. The audience hears that something isn't quite right but may not know what to call it or how to analyze it. Musicianship goes far beyond merely singing in tune and merely having a great sense of tonality. There is so much more! Sometimes vocal technique has not been fully developed and there are problems with register transitions, or breaks in tone production quality. Sometimes vocal technique is inadequate for endurance or range or even to sing a specific style competently. Some singers have problems "finding their own voice" or developing a unique style. Many singers are musically illiterate; unable to read or write music or to sight sing. Such things can be taught and may even be nonessential, if the levels of musicianship with hearing and executing are sufficiently developed. Knowing chords, scales, chord progressions and being able to write music (or at least to do sequencing) would place a singer in the position of more easily interfacing with musicians. Professional musicians may are usually so advanced as to know and perform such things as second nature. Some musicians think singers are not musicians at all and have little respect for them, treating them (in person OR behind their backs) as if they are severely deficient in musical knowledge. Recording experience is invaluable and irreplaceable because without it, a singer never has complete objectivity. What do you sound like to others? For the vast majority, the multitudinous skills of singing do not come naturally and do not come without some help and/or without countless hours of practice.
  21. The Dying Breed... Working Solo Guitarists... How Technology has Slowly Killed the Troubador I was 12 yrs old the 1st time I saw a Guitarist playing solo in a bar. Yes he was getting paid, & his drinks were for free. His Name was Bill Mueller. He later changed his name to Blue Miller (or Bill Miller) when he went to Nashville & became part of "The Gibson Miller Band", had about 20 min. of fame. I've lost touch on what he is doing, but what he DID do was inspire a 12 yr. old to want to play guitar. It looked so easy, I mean what a job? Playing music, singing, talking to people, drinking, having fun. Four sets a night 5 days a week. He had a simple set up, but he had an ear for mixing his sound just right. Not that I was an expert on the proper way to set your guitar mic's or how to blend your vocals just right, but the more I learned, the more I respected him. I use him as an example, because he was part of a dying breed. He had good nights, bad nights, Great nights, & nights you could tell he was going thru the motions...mostly because the crowd was slim. He played at a Holiday Inn. This was the watering hole for the law firm my Mom worked at. My Sister & I would meet my Mom there after work, & I was the one trying to keep everyone to stay to listen to the Guitar Player. Years went by & technology seemed to add a spice to the lonesome guitarist. Drum Machines, MIDI interfaces for adding anything the guitarist needed. Synth's, loop machines, computers programming that added almost the equal to a full band . This was the start of something that would kill the guitarist's livelihood. All these electronic add-ons took away the beauty of these men & woman. After all, you had to captivate an audience with just 2 main things...your voice, and your guitar. You also had to have a connection to the people. After all, how many times can you hear Margaritaville without the thought of wanting to push the reject button. Unless of course you had "that connection". That connection was normally started by the voice. Many in the audience thought that they could do the same thing, that they could get up there & sing too. Now again, most of these Troubadors had a simple set up. No FOH manager to make adjustments, no roadies to hand off different guitars for new songs. It was the purity of the voice ringing in an acoustically imperfect venue that drew people like lemmings to the table area to sit and listen. For a moment, their voices quelled all the problems of the day, and showed promise to what was ahead. Although technology intrigues me, it has been a fearful enemy to one of the pureist artforms that has spanned generations & allowed many a vocalist to shine. Take a few singers who have shown that the voice is more than just a melodic form of storytelling. Take Al Jarreau as an example of someone who apparently swallowed a full orchestra as a small child. He brings a whole natural bag of tricks to show an audience. Rumors was that he was a chromatic tuner when he was in school. He is pure, innovative, dynamic, ecclectic. His albums are great, but to see him do things live that you thought may be overdubs...it is an amazing site. More to the genre of which I was speaking, James Taylor is a perfect of a pure vocalist. When you hear that smooth way he holds a tune, you are given a sense that all is well in this crazy world of ours. There was a number of them years ago, Cat Stevens, Gorden Lightfoot, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow, just to name a few. Now a couple in that list may not have been "pure" vocalist's, but their signature voice was like a comfortable old friend. One night we would walk into our favorite bar to hear our Guitarist/Singer...only to be told that the wave of the future was Karaoke! Instead of one person who COULD entertain a crowd for a full night, the crowd was able to be the entertainment. Take egos, add alchohol, music, stir, & the bar owner had a hit on his hands, & paid less & less as each year went by. I know this because I was a Karaoke host for 2 sperate stints. once in the late 80's/early 90's, then again 2003-2006. I always had the vocals, but not the guitar chops to be a performer like the ones who faded away. I was a Karaoke Host because I could sing 1st, then entertain the audience......Wait, that didn't really sound right! What I meant was that I tried to get & keep people involved during the night. I also had a good ear, great equipment, (Mackie), and an ability to make the mix the best for whoever was up singing. That could be where I got my Migranes starting Hmmmmm. The next thing we saw local up & coming bands, singers, et al ; strewn across the fields... replaced by a sophisticated CD machine! What would they do? Well technology came to the aid of these people who had been replaced by the Karaoke medium, the recording industry was going thru an upheavel: Analog...Digital...ADAT,,,,SPDIF...Firewire....USB....DAW.....all these letters together meant something. Now anyone with a computer & a DAW (Digital Audio Workstations) could make their own recording, add the enhancements during the mixdown, and presto they had a professional "sounding" track to present to the record companies. There was such a glut of stuff coming in, that it took alot of time, so let's bring in another new medium to present their efforts; U-Tube, My Space, FaceBook, Even prestigise Institutions like Berklee College of Music has their own radio station! I contend that if their were none of these things out there, we would still have the Troubador out there. A producer/engineer does not have to work so hard during the mixdown when the product presented is almost flawless. Take CSN & sometimes Y & their abilities to make vocal masterpieces. Their self-titles album CSN shows clearly 3 vocalists working toward sheer brillience. Their Harmonies are not your typical 3rd's and or 5th's above or below the melodies, they paint beauty with their vocal chords. The next I would include would have to be The Indigo Girls; Amy Ray & Emily Sailor. These 2 woman have spent over 20 years to play their music, and not get sucked into the record company machine. Thankfully they chose to write, arrange, and play their own music in smaller venue's over many years. With some help from Michael Stipe(REM), they got some opening act gigs with REM and have played the college circut for many years, & have built up a loyal following. They now have their own production company named IG Productions. This is a huge reward for these ladies as they have worked so hard to make their sound unique. Now we have technology available to us that would make Bob Dylan sound good. Pitch-Shifters, Harmony Makers, Tube Mic Pre's, amps with presets, vocal boxes with presets seperated by gender! This is the problem that I have. All you gotta do is plug one of these boxes (or more) into the vocal chain, and guess what? beautiful vocals for all to hear! The bad thing is that an artist has to use these crutches on stage to make themselves sound as good on the stage as they do on their tracks. Thank goodness you have pureists like CSN The Indigo Girls, The Eagles, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, again just a few samples. All these artists have been playing for 20 or more years, heck one of these groups wouldn't play together until Hell froze over so much for global warming). In closing there is some technology that does not work to the end of making beautiful music. It is not true and real. I would no sooner use a pitch-corrector, or harmonizer to "enhance" my performance" If you noticed I did not attack the tools available to the engineer/producer who adds reverb, flanging, chorus, delay etc. A Qualified Producer/engineer knows how to work the effects to the advantage of the overall mix. There are many unqualified people out there that thinks more is better. You have to have the ear to know how to add or delete aspects of the individual tracks in order to make the song successful. There is no cookie-cutter approach to mixing tracks, each group of tracks requires blending.The most important thing is to try to keep the vocals pure. A true vocalist will have his instrument ready to record. He or she needs no enhancers before the mixing stage. The vocals must be as pure as that person 1st sitting with his/her guitar and belting out a song they learned because they wanted to take that time and create something beautiful, serene, & hopeful. The end hasn't quite come with new artist's such as John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, James Blunt, Keb'Mo, who have shown that all is still possible with one guitar, one voice, one ability to captivate you with just their 2 instruments! Until next time, Cdbone501 "Listen Til it Hz View full articles
  22. How Technology has Slowly Killed the Troubador

    The Dying Breed... Working Solo Guitarists... How Technology has Slowly Killed the Troubador I was 12 yrs old the 1st time I saw a Guitarist playing solo in a bar. Yes he was getting paid, & his drinks were for free. His Name was Bill Mueller. He later changed his name to Blue Miller (or Bill Miller) when he went to Nashville & became part of "The Gibson Miller Band", had about 20 min. of fame. I've lost touch on what he is doing, but what he DID do was inspire a 12 yr. old to want to play guitar. It looked so easy, I mean what a job? Playing music, singing, talking to people, drinking, having fun. Four sets a night 5 days a week. He had a simple set up, but he had an ear for mixing his sound just right. Not that I was an expert on the proper way to set your guitar mic's or how to blend your vocals just right, but the more I learned, the more I respected him. I use him as an example, because he was part of a dying breed. He had good nights, bad nights, Great nights, & nights you could tell he was going thru the motions...mostly because the crowd was slim. He played at a Holiday Inn. This was the watering hole for the law firm my Mom worked at. My Sister & I would meet my Mom there after work, & I was the one trying to keep everyone to stay to listen to the Guitar Player. Years went by & technology seemed to add a spice to the lonesome guitarist. Drum Machines, MIDI interfaces for adding anything the guitarist needed. Synth's, loop machines, computers programming that added almost the equal to a full band . This was the start of something that would kill the guitarist's livelihood. All these electronic add-ons took away the beauty of these men & woman. After all, you had to captivate an audience with just 2 main things...your voice, and your guitar. You also had to have a connection to the people. After all, how many times can you hear Margaritaville without the thought of wanting to push the reject button. Unless of course you had "that connection". That connection was normally started by the voice. Many in the audience thought that they could do the same thing, that they could get up there & sing too. Now again, most of these Troubadors had a simple set up. No FOH manager to make adjustments, no roadies to hand off different guitars for new songs. It was the purity of the voice ringing in an acoustically imperfect venue that drew people like lemmings to the table area to sit and listen. For a moment, their voices quelled all the problems of the day, and showed promise to what was ahead. Although technology intrigues me, it has been a fearful enemy to one of the pureist artforms that has spanned generations & allowed many a vocalist to shine. Take a few singers who have shown that the voice is more than just a melodic form of storytelling. Take Al Jarreau as an example of someone who apparently swallowed a full orchestra as a small child. He brings a whole natural bag of tricks to show an audience. Rumors was that he was a chromatic tuner when he was in school. He is pure, innovative, dynamic, ecclectic. His albums are great, but to see him do things live that you thought may be overdubs...it is an amazing site. More to the genre of which I was speaking, James Taylor is a perfect of a pure vocalist. When you hear that smooth way he holds a tune, you are given a sense that all is well in this crazy world of ours. There was a number of them years ago, Cat Stevens, Gorden Lightfoot, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Martina McBride, Sheryl Crow, just to name a few. Now a couple in that list may not have been "pure" vocalist's, but their signature voice was like a comfortable old friend. One night we would walk into our favorite bar to hear our Guitarist/Singer...only to be told that the wave of the future was Karaoke! Instead of one person who COULD entertain a crowd for a full night, the crowd was able to be the entertainment. Take egos, add alchohol, music, stir, & the bar owner had a hit on his hands, & paid less & less as each year went by. I know this because I was a Karaoke host for 2 sperate stints. once in the late 80's/early 90's, then again 2003-2006. I always had the vocals, but not the guitar chops to be a performer like the ones who faded away. I was a Karaoke Host because I could sing 1st, then entertain the audience......Wait, that didn't really sound right! What I meant was that I tried to get & keep people involved during the night. I also had a good ear, great equipment, (Mackie), and an ability to make the mix the best for whoever was up singing. That could be where I got my Migranes starting Hmmmmm. The next thing we saw local up & coming bands, singers, et al ; strewn across the fields... replaced by a sophisticated CD machine! What would they do? Well technology came to the aid of these people who had been replaced by the Karaoke medium, the recording industry was going thru an upheavel: Analog...Digital...ADAT,,,,SPDIF...Firewire....USB....DAW.....all these letters together meant something. Now anyone with a computer & a DAW (Digital Audio Workstations) could make their own recording, add the enhancements during the mixdown, and presto they had a professional "sounding" track to present to the record companies. There was such a glut of stuff coming in, that it took alot of time, so let's bring in another new medium to present their efforts; U-Tube, My Space, FaceBook, Even prestigise Institutions like Berklee College of Music has their own radio station! I contend that if their were none of these things out there, we would still have the Troubador out there. A producer/engineer does not have to work so hard during the mixdown when the product presented is almost flawless. Take CSN & sometimes Y & their abilities to make vocal masterpieces. Their self-titles album CSN shows clearly 3 vocalists working toward sheer brillience. Their Harmonies are not your typical 3rd's and or 5th's above or below the melodies, they paint beauty with their vocal chords. The next I would include would have to be The Indigo Girls; Amy Ray & Emily Sailor. These 2 woman have spent over 20 years to play their music, and not get sucked into the record company machine. Thankfully they chose to write, arrange, and play their own music in smaller venue's over many years. With some help from Michael Stipe(REM), they got some opening act gigs with REM and have played the college circut for many years, & have built up a loyal following. They now have their own production company named IG Productions. This is a huge reward for these ladies as they have worked so hard to make their sound unique. Now we have technology available to us that would make Bob Dylan sound good. Pitch-Shifters, Harmony Makers, Tube Mic Pre's, amps with presets, vocal boxes with presets seperated by gender! This is the problem that I have. All you gotta do is plug one of these boxes (or more) into the vocal chain, and guess what? beautiful vocals for all to hear! The bad thing is that an artist has to use these crutches on stage to make themselves sound as good on the stage as they do on their tracks. Thank goodness you have pureists like CSN The Indigo Girls, The Eagles, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, again just a few samples. All these artists have been playing for 20 or more years, heck one of these groups wouldn't play together until Hell froze over so much for global warming). In closing there is some technology that does not work to the end of making beautiful music. It is not true and real. I would no sooner use a pitch-corrector, or harmonizer to "enhance" my performance" If you noticed I did not attack the tools available to the engineer/producer who adds reverb, flanging, chorus, delay etc. A Qualified Producer/engineer knows how to work the effects to the advantage of the overall mix. There are many unqualified people out there that thinks more is better. You have to have the ear to know how to add or delete aspects of the individual tracks in order to make the song successful. There is no cookie-cutter approach to mixing tracks, each group of tracks requires blending.The most important thing is to try to keep the vocals pure. A true vocalist will have his instrument ready to record. He or she needs no enhancers before the mixing stage. The vocals must be as pure as that person 1st sitting with his/her guitar and belting out a song they learned because they wanted to take that time and create something beautiful, serene, & hopeful. The end hasn't quite come with new artist's such as John Mayer, Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, James Blunt, Keb'Mo, who have shown that all is still possible with one guitar, one voice, one ability to captivate you with just their 2 instruments! Until next time, Cdbone501 "Listen Til it Hz
  23. ArticlesLearning to Sing

    There are hundreds if not thousands of ideas about the 'best' approach to learning to sing. I've just written my own thoughts on the subject, and anticipate a bit of a backlash when the book comes out next month; I highly doubt that many in the voice teaching establishment will enjoy my insistence that 'proper' singing begins only when you 'stop thinking, forget technique, and just sing!' I nonetheless hold tenaciously to this notion, and am thrilled that an increasing number of researchers and thinkers do so as well. I reference many of these men and women in my book, and continue to stumble upon the inspiring writings of those sharing this 'first, follow your instincts' approach to learning. According to D.T. Suzuki, creator of the method by the same name: "We do not eat as we did in our infancy; eating is mixed with intellection. And as we all realize this invasion by the intellect or the mixing with the intellect, simple biological deeds are contaminated by ego-centric interest. This means that there is now an intruder into the unconscious, which can no longer directly or immediately move into the field of consciousness." Indeed, the process of thinking about an activity often screws up the activity itself - particularly when the skills necessary to achieve that activity are by design organic, intuitive and unconscious. If you'd like some proof on this issue, try explaining to someone how to stand, talk or walk, and you'll have a good sense of the confusion and frustration that many beginning and professional singers alike encounter when trying to 'learn' to sing. Psychologist C. Peter Bankart calls this the "sense domain being invaded by intellect". Author Eloise Ristad suggests that we remedy this unhealthy and counterproductive "technical addiction" by "going beyond the rigid set of rules that previously formed our boundaries". Neuroscientists concur, and are racking up research proving that intuitive learning (involving the emotional centers of the amygdala and brain stem) as opposed to technical learning (involving the inhibitory processes of the pre-frontal cortesis), allow people to more fully 'own' information in not only the short-, but the long-term. In non-science speak, this means that true knowing is inherent, and precedes doing, which in turn precedes conscious reflection, naming, categorization and processing. Just as you can't be technically taught how to speak, walk or stand up, you can't really be taught how to sing. The process is one of trial and error, with practice becoming an ego-free act of familiarization and witnessing of the natural experience. Growth and expansion of the voice beyond this witnessing are playful acts best approached with wonder and curiosity. When the Technical attempts to precede and supplant the Intuitive, the natural, interconnected flow of activity ceases (as does the fun), and problems begin. One needs to first witness, observe and allow the natural experience of singing to emerge before attempting to technically comprehend, logically explore and consciously manipulate the voice. It's imperative that the process occur in this order... 'training' (in the traditional, classical sense) before a natural understanding is recognized and fostered can cause not only a one- or two-dimensional understanding of a very three-dimensional experience, but physical- and mental- tensions that are increasingly difficult to extricate as time goes by. View full articles
  24. Learning to Sing

    There are hundreds if not thousands of ideas about the 'best' approach to learning to sing. I've just written my own thoughts on the subject, and anticipate a bit of a backlash when the book comes out next month; I highly doubt that many in the voice teaching establishment will enjoy my insistence that 'proper' singing begins only when you 'stop thinking, forget technique, and just sing!' I nonetheless hold tenaciously to this notion, and am thrilled that an increasing number of researchers and thinkers do so as well. I reference many of these men and women in my book, and continue to stumble upon the inspiring writings of those sharing this 'first, follow your instincts' approach to learning. According to D.T. Suzuki, creator of the method by the same name: "We do not eat as we did in our infancy; eating is mixed with intellection. And as we all realize this invasion by the intellect or the mixing with the intellect, simple biological deeds are contaminated by ego-centric interest. This means that there is now an intruder into the unconscious, which can no longer directly or immediately move into the field of consciousness." Indeed, the process of thinking about an activity often screws up the activity itself - particularly when the skills necessary to achieve that activity are by design organic, intuitive and unconscious. If you'd like some proof on this issue, try explaining to someone how to stand, talk or walk, and you'll have a good sense of the confusion and frustration that many beginning and professional singers alike encounter when trying to 'learn' to sing. Psychologist C. Peter Bankart calls this the "sense domain being invaded by intellect". Author Eloise Ristad suggests that we remedy this unhealthy and counterproductive "technical addiction" by "going beyond the rigid set of rules that previously formed our boundaries". Neuroscientists concur, and are racking up research proving that intuitive learning (involving the emotional centers of the amygdala and brain stem) as opposed to technical learning (involving the inhibitory processes of the pre-frontal cortesis), allow people to more fully 'own' information in not only the short-, but the long-term. In non-science speak, this means that true knowing is inherent, and precedes doing, which in turn precedes conscious reflection, naming, categorization and processing. Just as you can't be technically taught how to speak, walk or stand up, you can't really be taught how to sing. The process is one of trial and error, with practice becoming an ego-free act of familiarization and witnessing of the natural experience. Growth and expansion of the voice beyond this witnessing are playful acts best approached with wonder and curiosity. When the Technical attempts to precede and supplant the Intuitive, the natural, interconnected flow of activity ceases (as does the fun), and problems begin. One needs to first witness, observe and allow the natural experience of singing to emerge before attempting to technically comprehend, logically explore and consciously manipulate the voice. It's imperative that the process occur in this order... 'training' (in the traditional, classical sense) before a natural understanding is recognized and fostered can cause not only a one- or two-dimensional understanding of a very three-dimensional experience, but physical- and mental- tensions that are increasingly difficult to extricate as time goes by.
  25. I am currently a member of the "Blues Singers Group" on this site. I went on it just a bit ago to check on the activity. I am sad to see that there has been little activity since mid February. Talk about being blue about something, with all the talent & intellegence I have seen since joining this site I would have thought more contributions would be proffered. Singing the Blues is akin to playing the Blues on guitar, or sax, or harmonica, or piano. We attribute W. C. Handy with the 1st Bastion who held the Blues tune up like a torch, blazing in the twilight of inspiration. If not for Bessie Mae Smith @ 1919 who with her voice launched a timeless hit, we may never have heard Handy's " St. Louis Blues". Louie Armstrong may have never joined her with the Coronet & this song may have passed on into obscurity. Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Louie Armstrong, B.B. King, the names go on & on forming & forging a foundation that gave us around 100 years later a place in our hearts for the love they had & we share of the blues. I 1st believe that with any form of singing, warm up is required. Your voice is an instrument, & thus must be treated as such. Most musicians have a warm up routine. Guitarists may run thru open chords to limber up their fingers, & then run a few pentatonic scales just to keep your right & left hands timing just so. A Saxaphonist may limber up his keys & ensure the reed is seated just right in the ligature. The point being the voice needs tuning up. The differance with singing the Blues, is that there is so much emotion added into the song, that in all reality, a Blues song could be in perpetual evolution. Meaning that each night you could hear a varaience in the songs composition. Before delving depper into how the Blues can shape the singer & the song, we must try to capture the essence of what exactly is "The Blues" The older Blues players had (even before age assisted) had the Blues etched into their soul, and you could actually see it when you faced one of these Icons. Be it a damaged gait in the way they walked as if the weight of their world was upon them, or in the depth of their eyes that held you captive when they shook your hand. A hand that was caullosed and weathered and felt like worn leather. The pain, or joy, or confusion of a world turned upsidedown for so long that had been taught to be kept down inside of themselves. The only outlet was in the form of music. The feelings began to pour thru their fingers, up from their diaphrams. between vocal chords, and out for all the world to see. Paul Cezanne one of the later impressionist's said about his medium of art; "We all share the same misery, for a moment come and share it's beauty" His work was dark & moody & he was identifying his work as beauty. Sounds much like the Blues eh? The Blues to "The Modern Vocalist" is something or some things that tug onto the heartstrings of the vocalist. In these times (2009) society is indeed blue! The future is bleak, the economy sucks, people are losing their homes left & right. Banks are getting bailed out all the while handing out huge bonuses' to the shareholders. Confidence is low, fear is high, crime is on the rise. Men feel emasculated because they are out of work. Woman are in a flux as what to do. Jobs that are available don't make it past the week. As these realities begin to hit home, the Blues slowly creep in. Working gigs are fading away to Karaoke, or Open Mike nights. Then somewhere from deep inside you have this feeling...its slow...sultry...deep...painful. It comes out of your body. It makes you want to peel away your skin. Now your up there on a cramped stage as the band senses your vibe & rolls out a group of chords that gives you a chance to open up that bottle you have kept stopped up, or crack open that door that holds the pain and you lash out the words like you never have before. Your bandmates don't know what to do. They look at the Bass Player & Drummer for direction on the downbeat. The rest of the group seems to "feel" what you are trying to say. Four minutes later the Guitarist has taken your lead and is harmonizing with your voice. You all feel a sense of commonality as you wind down the song. You're soaked in sweat like you never have been before. The song ends & for the 1st time you are emotionally drained from singing one song! Your head may spin, you close your eyes & realize you have exposed a very private side of yourself. It's then that you feel naked to the audience. Yet the people are going wild. You realize that your emotions have taken over and you are singing the Blues! No teacher has taught you this, this came from deep down inside you. It's warm & powerful. You feel elated as it carries you the rest of the night. You go home...too jazzed to sleep, but so drained of emotion that all you can do is sit in your comfortable chair, drink in hand running the sets thru your mind, your performance, the bands performance, knowing how magical it was. Could it be repeated again the next night? It's then that you realize you really sang the Blues, instead of singing the Blues! Leading up to the other question in the title? Does getting the Blues make you sing ...better? One argument is that as listedhaving the Blues causes you to supress these feelings until you can find a suitable outlet? I feel having or getting the Blues makes you a naturally better singer. When you sing, you take a story put to music and sing along with the music. As you know the melody is not a monotonus group of notes. The notes go up...down...fast...slow...atempo...off-beat...stacatto. In having all these opportunities to emote, having the Blues gives you a medium to express all that you have kept down. What's even better, is the fact that the audience shares the same highs & lows. You are a representative of all what people are thinking...feeling....hiding. By doing what you are doing on stage, you allow the average joe/joanne to feel your pain too. For one moment in time, you all come together and magic is created by the haunting saddness of the Blues. It is my opinion that both questions are answered in the affirmative. You sing for an outlet of these feelings, & the feelings make you sing better because of the power of the release of the Blues. Can you be taught to sing the Blues? Only if you can be taught to release the weight of your world in front of strangers, & celebrate in the beauty of what we all see as bad, but as bad as it is, we ALL share these doubts, fears, secrets, and wishes of celebrating the beauty that is the BLUES! So....what do you think? Regards, cdbone501 Listen Til it Hz View full articles