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Found 8 results

  1. Singing on American Idol is a dream that has spawned an international obsession with talent contests, primarily for singers. Still going strong after a decade, the genre got its modern-day start in 1983 with Ed McMahon, host of the popular talent show Star Search. When David Letterman mentioned the phenomenon on the Late Show, he appeared bewildered as he said, "You know, I didn't realize we had a shortage of stars." But American Idol and its clones are more than just wildly successful television. They are like tuition-free classrooms for up-and-coming singers. In fact, I feel watching these shows should be required viewing for anyone who wants to become a professional entertainer. Aspiring singers can learn valuable lessons from these phenomenal hit shows. The advice given on voice control, body-support, appearance, branding, and other vital aspects of performance is about as good as you can get anywhere -- and it's tuition-free to boot! Shows like American Idol are the Super Bowl for the kids who didn't play sports in high school. They were the guys who were busy practicing their instruments or playing in the marching band. As competitors, singing on American Idol, The Voice, The X-Factor or America's Got Talent helps young singers get a sense of what real-world professionals are looking for and what the American public responds to. Singers can learn from the critiques what works and what doesn't, and then apply that to their own performance. I give the American Idol panel of commentators high marks for generally right-on advice. But, strangely, I find that I have agreed most often with Simon Cowell, who has usually been the harshest. I've noticed though he seems to be a bit kinder and, dare one say, gentler? since he has taken the helm at The X-Factor. If you think Simon is tough, try convincing a roomful of label executives that they should gamble a million dollars on your career. There have been episodes where the contestants who are singing on American Idol received criticism for choosing material that plays to their strength. The following week, the same singer was pilloried for making a song choice outside his comfort zone. And that's something every singer should think twice about -- stepping outside of your safety zone. Sometimes it's simply best to do what you do best. Choosing the right material is important and it's wonderful when the perfect song and the perfect singer come together. But the qualities we hear in a great singer would come through if they were singing the phone book. One caution I would give to the contestants is to guard against over-singing. Those who end up singing on American Idol and its clones seem to be obsessed with "LOUD." Many of them belt the songs out so loudly that the words don't seem to matter. It's becomes a shouting contest. Singing should be more subtle than just slinging a lot of voice around. When you sing with a thundering voice, you sacrifice the honesty, intimacy, and integrity of the lyrics. Yet, this style is presented to millions of television viewers as desirable. Does being in the final top ten guarantee you a spot in the hearts and pocketbooks of an adoring public? No, but it sure beats rehearsing in the garage, or sitting around thinking about becoming a big star. Singing on American Idol, The Voice, The X-Factor or America's Got Talent just might be your ticket to success. Or not... Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams helped make stars out of many top artists: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera... Click here www.cybervoicestudio.com to receive her free weekly video NewsLessons and PDF of "Answers to Singers' 7 Most Important Questions." Author of "Voice Power" AMACOM (NY). She offers insider's information via on-line lessons atwww.cybervoicestudio.com.
  2. Singing on American Idol is a dream that has spawned an international obsession with talent contests, primarily for singers. Still going strong after a decade, the genre got its modern-day start in 1983 with Ed McMahon, host of the popular talent show Star Search. When David Letterman mentioned the phenomenon on the Late Show, he appeared bewildered as he said, "You know, I didn't realize we had a shortage of stars." But American Idol and its clones are more than just wildly successful television. They are like tuition-free classrooms for up-and-coming singers. In fact, I feel watching these shows should be required viewing for anyone who wants to become a professional entertainer. Aspiring singers can learn valuable lessons from these phenomenal hit shows. The advice given on voice control, body-support, appearance, branding, and other vital aspects of performance is about as good as you can get anywhere -- and it's tuition-free to boot! Shows like American Idol are the Super Bowl for the kids who didn't play sports in high school. They were the guys who were busy practicing their instruments or playing in the marching band. As competitors, singing on American Idol, The Voice, The X-Factor or America's Got Talent helps young singers get a sense of what real-world professionals are looking for and what the American public responds to. Singers can learn from the critiques what works and what doesn't, and then apply that to their own performance. I give the American Idol panel of commentators high marks for generally right-on advice. But, strangely, I find that I have agreed most often with Simon Cowell, who has usually been the harshest. I've noticed though he seems to be a bit kinder and, dare one say, gentler? since he has taken the helm at The X-Factor. If you think Simon is tough, try convincing a roomful of label executives that they should gamble a million dollars on your career. There have been episodes where the contestants who are singing on American Idol received criticism for choosing material that plays to their strength. The following week, the same singer was pilloried for making a song choice outside his comfort zone. And that's something every singer should think twice about -- stepping outside of your safety zone. Sometimes it's simply best to do what you do best. Choosing the right material is important and it's wonderful when the perfect song and the perfect singer come together. But the qualities we hear in a great singer would come through if they were singing the phone book. One caution I would give to the contestants is to guard against over-singing. Those who end up singing on American Idol and its clones seem to be obsessed with "LOUD." Many of them belt the songs out so loudly that the words don't seem to matter. It's becomes a shouting contest. Singing should be more subtle than just slinging a lot of voice around. When you sing with a thundering voice, you sacrifice the honesty, intimacy, and integrity of the lyrics. Yet, this style is presented to millions of television viewers as desirable. Does being in the final top ten guarantee you a spot in the hearts and pocketbooks of an adoring public? No, but it sure beats rehearsing in the garage, or sitting around thinking about becoming a big star. Singing on American Idol, The Voice, The X-Factor or America's Got Talent just might be your ticket to success. Or not... Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams helped make stars out of many top artists: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera... Click here www.cybervoicestudio.com to receive her free weekly video NewsLessons and PDF of "Answers to Singers' 7 Most Important Questions." Author of "Voice Power" AMACOM (NY). She offers insider's information via on-line lessons atwww.cybervoicestudio.com. View full articles
  3. OK, so by now you may have undertaken some complex tasks to learn to sing to a level that can make people really listen and cheer for you every time you perform? Feels good, doesn't it? I guess now you may be wondering what is the next step? Here is where I sometimes discover that singers are a little unclear about what they have in their heart of hearts as their goal. When I say their heart of hearts I actually choose my words very carefully. Having been a vocal coach since 1999, I know that if your heart is not in what you are doing, you are never going to really dig deep to progress to the next level. Yes, singers spend a great deal of hours working on technique and notes, and range, and their look, and their song hooks. But sometimes it is worth taking a very daring look at what the next tangible step for your singing career? So, here is where the BE/DO/HAVE exercise can come in. I want you to look at what you think your goal with your singing might be. Don't worry, it does not have to be absolutely set in stone, it can be moulded later, but for now pop down a goal on a piece of paper for your singing. Then underneath that overall goal write out a list of the things you need to BE in order to obtain that goal DO in order to reach that goal HAVE in order to make that goal a reality So for example SINGING GOAL to have 2 gigs a week in the diary for my originals project Be booked up a month in advance for gigs, clever at marketing, organized, good a negotiating, motivating to work with, appealing to an audience Do proactive approach to getting gigs, calling 10 new venues a day in order to secure gigs Have A PA system, promo materials, press release, recorded songs for sale, a mailing list of potential fans.
  4. OK, so by now you may have undertaken some complex tasks to learn to sing to a level that can make people really listen and cheer for you every time you perform? Feels good, doesn't it? I guess now you may be wondering what is the next step? Here is where I sometimes discover that singers are a little unclear about what they have in their heart of hearts as their goal. When I say their heart of hearts I actually choose my words very carefully. Having been a vocal coach since 1999, I know that if your heart is not in what you are doing, you are never going to really dig deep to progress to the next level. Yes, singers spend a great deal of hours working on technique and notes, and range, and their look, and their song hooks. But sometimes it is worth taking a very daring look at what the next tangible step for your singing career? So, here is where the BE/DO/HAVE exercise can come in. I want you to look at what you think your goal with your singing might be. Don't worry, it does not have to be absolutely set in stone, it can be moulded later, but for now pop down a goal on a piece of paper for your singing. Then underneath that overall goal write out a list of the things you need to BE in order to obtain that goal DO in order to reach that goal HAVE in order to make that goal a reality So for example SINGING GOAL to have 2 gigs a week in the diary for my originals project Be booked up a month in advance for gigs, clever at marketing, organized, good a negotiating, motivating to work with, appealing to an audience Do proactive approach to getting gigs, calling 10 new venues a day in order to secure gigs Have A PA system, promo materials, press release, recorded songs for sale, a mailing list of potential fans. View full articles
  5. Over 38 years of teaching, I've met all kinds of people; some more talented and some not so talented. Some of them had good learning abilities; some were much slower accepting and retaining the needed technical skills, academically speaking. Interestingly enough, those with poorer learning, for some reason, had a better and more pronounced vocal talent. Those who were more academically sound appeared to be much tighter and more restricted in their vocal and, overall, musical abilities. The history also shows that the majority of today's well-known artists have hardly a high school education and, some of them, literally, have evident learning disabilities. Needless to say that for nearly four decades, I have been working with professional musicians, with wannabe professional performers and just regular people, which some of them came from the corporate world such as, accounting, law, medicine and etc. My experience shows that these particular category of people are very prompt, very disciplined and with excellent learning aptitude. They got used to working hard in their professional skills, but that part of the brain is not the one which is responsible for the artistic creativity, and in the majority of those cases, they are unable to activate that different switch in their psyche to get in touch with their artistic desires. Those who are usually artistically inclined, so to speak, appear to be quite vocally and musically talented, but to teach them what requires an intellectual concept, is virtually impossible. So go figure! What do I prefer, you my reader, might ask? My answer would be, I honestly do not know. I do like people with brains, education and class, but, unfortunately, they will most likely be lacking the desirable talent, however, sometimes, they are saved by the bell. As, due to their trade, nevertheless, being savvy, they are able to somehow balance the high level of knowledge, which I instill in them with the luck of a natural talent. However, sometimes, they are actually able to get away with it and even prosper as high selling recording artists. The rest, so to speak, of a street level, usually have talent galore, but to teach them anything, which requires to couple academic skills with their natural talent, is virtually a nightmare in a lot of cases. But again, some of them are still able to compensate for the lack of their technical knowledge with their beautiful, and sometimes, enormous artistic talent. Ultimately, the conclusion of it is, that if the potential artist could balance the technical knowledge and skill with their artistic talent, then we would all be able to account for what I call a Total Performance! Everybody's ideal goal.
  6. Over 38 years of teaching, I've met all kinds of people; some more talented and some not so talented. Some of them had good learning abilities; some were much slower accepting and retaining the needed technical skills, academically speaking. Interestingly enough, those with poorer learning, for some reason, had a better and more pronounced vocal talent. Those who were more academically sound appeared to be much tighter and more restricted in their vocal and, overall, musical abilities. The history also shows that the majority of today's well-known artists have hardly a high school education and, some of them, literally, have evident learning disabilities. Needless to say that for nearly four decades, I have been working with professional musicians, with wannabe professional performers and just regular people, which some of them came from the corporate world such as, accounting, law, medicine and etc. My experience shows that these particular category of people are very prompt, very disciplined and with excellent learning aptitude. They got used to working hard in their professional skills, but that part of the brain is not the one which is responsible for the artistic creativity, and in the majority of those cases, they are unable to activate that different switch in their psyche to get in touch with their artistic desires. Those who are usually artistically inclined, so to speak, appear to be quite vocally and musically talented, but to teach them what requires an intellectual concept, is virtually impossible. So go figure! What do I prefer, you my reader, might ask? My answer would be, I honestly do not know. I do like people with brains, education and class, but, unfortunately, they will most likely be lacking the desirable talent, however, sometimes, they are saved by the bell. As, due to their trade, nevertheless, being savvy, they are able to somehow balance the high level of knowledge, which I instill in them with the luck of a natural talent. However, sometimes, they are actually able to get away with it and even prosper as high selling recording artists. The rest, so to speak, of a street level, usually have talent galore, but to teach them anything, which requires to couple academic skills with their natural talent, is virtually a nightmare in a lot of cases. But again, some of them are still able to compensate for the lack of their technical knowledge with their beautiful, and sometimes, enormous artistic talent. Ultimately, the conclusion of it is, that if the potential artist could balance the technical knowledge and skill with their artistic talent, then we would all be able to account for what I call a Total Performance! Everybody's ideal goal. View full articles
  7. Here is a little essay from my training system, The Four Pillars of Singing... THE SINGING VOICE vs. the speaking voice At The Vocalist Studio, we don't warm up our voices, more accurately, we warm up to get into our singing voices. If vocalists want to achieve a profound increase in range and enjoy overtones with absolute physical freedom from gripping and inefficient physical ticks, the modern vocalist must learn how to get into his/her "singing voice" and get out of the speaking voice. The speaking voice and all the bodily responses that produce speech is not a platform for producing the singing voice. When a singer lacks the knowledge and practice of a legitimate voice technique, the brain will send creative commands from the right brain that can not be effectively executed because there simply is no learned behavior or coordinated muscle memory responses developed to drive the singing voice. When this happens, an internal battle between the well intended right brain signals and untrained, physical limitations of the body are out of synch. Yet the show must go one and the body must respond, so it does so by hurling the speaking voice at complex melodic ideas that require the muscles, normally facilitated for speech, to respond in an extraordinary way, it is not designed to do. This is an approach that is inevitably doomed. Consider this perspective. The Human larynx did evolve to produce speech, but it did not evolve to be able to produce vocal overtones of great volumes, definitive of a singing voice. Unlike animals born to produce vocal overtones, such as whales and birds, the ability to produce powerful vocal overtones and project our communications to great distances, were never critical to the survival of the human race. We don't need to know how to sing to survive, or to feed and breed, like other animals. The point is that students of singing must spend a lot of energy training to facilitate the physics that will transform thier bodies into wind instruments that can produce vocal overtones. To be sure, the process of learning how to sing and the experience of teaching people how to sing, is an abstract endeavor. However, with practice and physical work outs, the body can be trained to produce the most beautiful and effective overtones of all the animals on Earth and transform a mechanism facilitated for speech, into a system that is the most beautiful instrument of all. It is widely agreed by musicologists and music lovers of all points of reference that the human singing voice, when properly aligned, is the most beautiful and most versatile instrument of all, capable of producing athletic feats that no other musical instrument can. Summary The singing voice and the speaking voice are two very different kinds of vocal systems. The speaking voice and all the physical attributes involved in producing speech are not going to drive the singing voice and support modern vocal applications. Getting into your singing voice is an abstract art form and therefore, in order to train a modern vocalist, we must work to develop new muscle memory responses and increase muscular strength in key areas of the larynx to transform a vocal system evolved to facilitate speech, into a system that can sing.
  8. Here is a little essay from my training system, The Four Pillars of Singing... THE SINGING VOICE vs. the speaking voice At The Vocalist Studio, we don't warm up our voices, more accurately, we warm up to get into our singing voices. If vocalists want to achieve a profound increase in range and enjoy overtones with absolute physical freedom from gripping and inefficient physical ticks, the modern vocalist must learn how to get into his/her "singing voice" and get out of the speaking voice. The speaking voice and all the bodily responses that produce speech is not a platform for producing the singing voice. When a singer lacks the knowledge and practice of a legitimate voice technique, the brain will send creative commands from the right brain that can not be effectively executed because there simply is no learned behavior or coordinated muscle memory responses developed to drive the singing voice. When this happens, an internal battle between the well intended right brain signals and untrained, physical limitations of the body are out of synch. Yet the show must go one and the body must respond, so it does so by hurling the speaking voice at complex melodic ideas that require the muscles, normally facilitated for speech, to respond in an extraordinary way, it is not designed to do. This is an approach that is inevitably doomed. Consider this perspective. The Human larynx did evolve to produce speech, but it did not evolve to be able to produce vocal overtones of great volumes, definitive of a singing voice. Unlike animals born to produce vocal overtones, such as whales and birds, the ability to produce powerful vocal overtones and project our communications to great distances, were never critical to the survival of the human race. We don't need to know how to sing to survive, or to feed and breed, like other animals. The point is that students of singing must spend a lot of energy training to facilitate the physics that will transform thier bodies into wind instruments that can produce vocal overtones. To be sure, the process of learning how to sing and the experience of teaching people how to sing, is an abstract endeavor. However, with practice and physical work outs, the body can be trained to produce the most beautiful and effective overtones of all the animals on Earth and transform a mechanism facilitated for speech, into a system that is the most beautiful instrument of all. It is widely agreed by musicologists and music lovers of all points of reference that the human singing voice, when properly aligned, is the most beautiful and most versatile instrument of all, capable of producing athletic feats that no other musical instrument can. Summary The singing voice and the speaking voice are two very different kinds of vocal systems. The speaking voice and all the physical attributes involved in producing speech are not going to drive the singing voice and support modern vocal applications. Getting into your singing voice is an abstract art form and therefore, in order to train a modern vocalist, we must work to develop new muscle memory responses and increase muscular strength in key areas of the larynx to transform a vocal system evolved to facilitate speech, into a system that can sing. View full articles