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Found 49 results

  1. First of all, just thought it would be nice to point out that i sent this question to Rob by email. And he sent me here, so that he could answer it in public and everyone could benefit. What a nice guy Rob is. Been learning a lot from his program, still studying and working on all the stuff, registered not long ago. It's quite a lot of content to fully diggest and grasp!. And most of all, actually apply!. Which is awesome of course, haven't had a course as detailed/comprehensive as this one. Not even close. Before i bought it i was actually wondering why many people called it "comprehensive", now it makes total sense. And the time i spent wondering on if i should get it, could have been spent further studying and applying the techniques. So i encourage others to start ASAP. On to the question, might be a rather simple question, that i probably know the answer too but just am not concious enough to apply it, it can be easy to forget. So of course asking will save me the doubts. And hopefully others as well. This quote from the program/book "Engaging the respiratory system sufficiently to optimize your phonations as a singer is not intuitive for the body. Even after 30 years of singing, training and teaching around the world, i still, to this day, have to be very conscientious of engaging my respiratory support when i train and sing. If i do not, just like everyone else, i start sounding like a duck (and get tired from all the squeezing)." So basically what i took from this was, concious support is mandatory, both in training and singing. Basically you should ALWAYS engage some sort of support. Both in training and singing?. Now i didn't include this part in the email but i want too add a question, how "key" is this?. I think a lot of students these days need a lot of "value guidance" in order to fully recognize what they should be working on. It seems self explanatory, but on a scale of 1/5 - i'd like to know where this stands specifically in your program. Just for perspective. Which btw reminds me of a feature i really liked in the program, in which Rob basically does what i just said. He outlines the most "key" lessons to work on of every section/module. And of course each one also has long detailed descriptions/ illustrations / examples / and my favorite - benefits and troubleshooting. He clearly put A LOT of effort into this. Very thoughtful effort, might i add. Since a lot of programs out there don't go into such detail. Anyways, That's the question. (With some extra rambling included). Heck in a sense that's a mini review. Although i could say a lot more. Rob deserves the praise. Also thanks Rob for encouraging me to get registered, there is clearly a lot of value in this forum i was missing on.
  2. Hey all, A few months ago, I decided to get The Four Pillars. Since then, I've looked over different areas of the program, several times .At the time, I was too busy to really get into it all, and start practicing regularly, but I've just now got things together, so I can begin doing just that. A little background on me: I got into this singing thing a few years ago. It was something I was fascinated with for a long time, but I didn't know it was a skill that could be learned and developed. Once I found out that it was, I immediately decided that I wanted to learn. To try to accomplish that, for a while, I took lessons, and used several programs, including CVT and Singing Success. I even had purchased Singing Success forum access for a few months. I'm now going to express why I feel this is the best program around, if you really want to learn how to sing. This program is as thorough as a program gets. A comprehensive book, with an exhaustive assortment of video instructionals, explanations, and pre-recorded workouts. There's order, and guidance in this program. You're not completely overwhelmed by it all. You know what you're doing, when you should be doing it, and why you're doing it. The very science of it all is explained, but you aren't overwhelmed with a flood of terms. Still not quite sure about something? Check out the video library or come to the forum, because there's actually a forum where the creator of it all is actually active, and answering questions, everyday. This makes Singing Success look like an unfinished product. I bought access to that forum, for a while, and while it did show far more exercises, there was no order. You didn't know when to work on things, or why you were doing things. Forum was barely active. I ended up deciding to get that program. It was a 7 page ebook and a bunch of exercises in MP3 format. No direction. I used the exercises for about 3 weeks, and stopped. Looks, and sounds good, but no substance. For example, they put in examples of the whistle register being used, and no explanation of how to use it, at all. Perfect example of the entire system. Looks good, but nothing behind it. There were also examples of singing in several different styles, but no instructions or explanation regarding the dynamics necessary to sing in those styles. Should have just been called "Mirage Music" system, because it looked like something, but it wasn't. CVT was better, but it did not go as far as this system does. There's a book, and exercises, but reading, and hearing, is not enough. Some things are hard to pick up just from reading descriptions, and hearing them done. And when you're not able to bridge that gap, there's a dead forum. There are vocal effects and techniques in this book that sound great, but are not easy to perform. This can be dangerous, because if you think you are doing what you're reading and hearing, but you are not performing the exercises and techniques properly, you can seriously damage your voice. With The Four Pillars, you can read about the technique, hear the technique, and see the technique. Still have something you're not sure about? Go to the forum, ask, and you'll get assistance pretty quickly. Nothing is left to chance here. It's an honest, complete program. If you want to know how much confidence and honesty is behind this program, simply look at the fact that the author of the program owns this site, and there is a forum here, where you're allowed to talk about other programs. The author of the program isn't even trying to keep people from knowing there are other options besides The Four Pillars. A testament to how unparalleled this system is. If you're serious about learning how to sing, this is the only complete system. Learning to sing is like going to the gym. You use proper form, you do the right exercises, you work hard, and you will end up with a very strong body. Something that looks great and performs extremely well. The same applies to singing. You use proper technique, do the right exercises, and workout your voice enough, you will end up with a very strong voice. A voice that sounds great, and performs extremely well. The Four Pillars is the only gym regimen you need for your voice. And to add one more thing, some may be skeptical of whether this program is for you. For a while, I was. As some may have already guessed from my name, I'm into R&B/Soul music. There's an assumption that R&B is a genre where everybody sings softly. This isn't true. There are plenty of singers who sing with power and rasp. For example, Beyonce, Jazmine Sullivan, R. Kelly, Tyrese, and many more. I'm a guy, who's been practicing for a while, and I've got okay range (D2 - C5 in full voice and somewhere like E4 - A5 in falsetto), but a lot of where my strength is at is the lower part of my range. After a while, I managed to get my head voice to not sound like a dying cat, but still sounds like the notes are weak, up near the top of it. This program will build up my musculature so that I have strength and power up there, when I sing in that part of my range, while still working out other parts of my voice (Remember, NEVER skip leg day ). Also, for those interested in Pop or R&B, the scale exercises in this system, and several of the "run" exercises, will also train your voice so that you have the agility necessary to perform those riffs and runs. This is truly a program that is going to help tremendously, no matter what style you sing, and it's the only program out there that is thorough and resourceful enough to reduce your margin of error by this much. And did I mention that new videos are regularly added to the library? Enough said.
  3. No offense David, but if you are going to attack my industry and belittle the numerous GOOD vocal training programs that are out there and, more importantly, spoil the benefits of training with vocal programs for viewers, we'll have to call you out. David, the point that you have to work your song into the parts in songs, and to do that slowly is a good point. But to tell people to not invest in a vocal training program is misleading, hypocritical and doesn't enhance your message at all. What added value to add to your video by telling people to NOT train their voices with a training program. Could this possibly be because, ... you don't have a vocal program to offer? Because rest assured, if you did, you would not be saying this. Having spoke to you on the phone personally and gotten to know a little bit about what your motivations are, you wouldn't do that. Making videos on YouTube, makes you a video voice tip guy, not a voice coach David. Which, I suppose is ok, but you need to firm up your details David. If you had 20 to 30 real students a week, you would understand more about what vocal workouts and training are doing and more importantly, how to use it to help students get stronger. All the "work on the notes and parts in the song" point your making, doesn't mean shit... if you can't sing in pitch, can't get a good onset, know nothing about vowels and resonance, have no endurance, and on and on. Apart from the fact that vocal workouts and scales have been used for over 400 years in the art of singing. Now for the record, I think we should also let people know that .... you actually bought my vocal program, and you purchased Vendera's program and I suspect others. You have benefitted greatly from our content and ideas, and now you steer your viewers away from the same tools you used yourself? Seriously? You are a talented guy, you make content that doesn't dish your colleagues and advise you viewers to get less educated about singing can't you? May I suggest that you redo this video and simply make your message, "Slow down and work on parts in your songs, and be sure to not only do vocal training". BTW: Here are all my client reviews from the TVS training program, www.TheFourPillarsofSinging.com... These are real people folks, that have benefitted greatly from my program. http://www.thefourpillarsofsinging.com/reviews/
  4. No offense David, but if you are going to attack my industry and belittle the numerous GOOD vocal training programs that are out there and, more importantly, spoil the benefits of training with vocal programs for viewers, we'll have to call you out. David, the point that you have to work your song into the parts in songs, and to do that slowly is a good point. But to tell people to not invest in a vocal training program is misleading, hypocritical and doesn't enhance your message at all. What added value to add to your video by telling people to NOT train their voices with a training program. Could this possibly be because, ... you don't have a vocal program to offer? Because rest assured, if you did, you would not be saying this. Having spoke to you on the phone personally and gotten to know a little bit about what your motivations are, you wouldn't do that. Making videos on YouTube, makes you a video voice tip guy, not a voice coach David. Which, I suppose is ok, but you need to firm up your details David. If you had 20 to 30 real students a week, you would understand more about what vocal workouts and training are doing and more importantly, how to use it to help students get stronger. All the "work on the notes and parts in the song" point your making, doesn't mean shit... if you can't sing in pitch, can't get a good onset, know nothing about vowels and resonance, have no endurance, and on and on. Apart from the fact that vocal workouts and scales have been used for over 400 years in the art of singing. Now for the record, I think we should also let people know that .... you actually bought my vocal program, and you purchased Vendera's program and I suspect others. You have benefitted greatly from our content and ideas, and now you steer your viewers away from the same tools you used yourself? Seriously? You are a talented guy, you make content that doesn't dish your colleagues and advise you viewers to get less educated about singing can't you? May I suggest that you redo this video and simply make your message, "Slow down and work on parts in your songs, and be sure to not only do vocal training". BTW: Here are all my client reviews from the TVS training program, www.TheFourPillarsofSinging.com... These are real people folks, that have benefitted greatly from my program. http://www.thefourpillarsofsinging.com/reviews/ View full articles
  5. VOCAL TRAINING INDUSTRY WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW! Click The Top Left Menu To View Videos In The Video Playlist
  6. VOCAL TRAINING INDUSTRY WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW! Click The Top Left Menu To View Videos In The Video Playlist View full articles
  7. THE FOUR PILLARS OF SINGING THE INTEGRATED TRAINING ROUTINES Video Workout Demonstrations That Teach Singers How to Practice! Robert Lunte, founder of The Four Pillars of Singing offers an impromptu screen capture presentation of the Integrated Training Routines found in the TVS training program, The Four Pillars of Singing. The Four Pillars of Singing offers very clear instructions and guidance on how to train and practice vocal technique to make your singing stronger and more coordinated. Like no other vocal training program on the market today, TFPOS leaves no questions unanswered and removes all the mystery about singing great and what you have to do achieve great singing skills. If "free secret tips" on YouTube are not getting you any lasting results, that is because you HAVE to train! No tips or information, regardless of how good it might be, will do anything for you, if you do not take the time and energy to practice. If you are prepared to train and get serious about vocal training, The Four Pillars of Singing is a program you should take a serious look at.
  8. THE FOUR PILLARS OF SINGING THE INTEGRATED TRAINING ROUTINES Video Workout Demonstrations That Teach Singers How to Practice! Robert Lunte, founder of The Four Pillars of Singing offers an impromptu screen capture presentation of the Integrated Training Routines found in the TVS training program, The Four Pillars of Singing. The Four Pillars of Singing offers very clear instructions and guidance on how to train and practice vocal technique to make your singing stronger and more coordinated. Like no other vocal training program on the market today, TFPOS leaves no questions unanswered and removes all the mystery about singing great and what you have to do achieve great singing skills. If "free secret tips" on YouTube are not getting you any lasting results, that is because you HAVE to train! No tips or information, regardless of how good it might be, will do anything for you, if you do not take the time and energy to practice. If you are prepared to train and get serious about vocal training, The Four Pillars of Singing is a program you should take a serious look at. View full articles
  9. Don't let any other video or coach try to tell you that less information, less explanation, less features and less value in a vocal training program is a benefit to you.
  10. Don't let any other video or coach try to tell you that less information, less explanation, less features and less value in a vocal training program is a benefit to you. "Less is More" doesn't get you more benefit, or more of what you need, or more understanding about singing. It just gets you... Less! View full articles
  11. Hi guys! I'm Rodrigo again. I hadn't been training due  flu I had and now I started again. As you may guess, I'm a begginer and I have tons of ideas and questions. This one is really cool, and you will see why. I found out that the FBR is awesome but it has tons of information and for the part-time musician, it is critical to know what to practice in order to make more productive sessions. I've been playing gutiar for 15 years now, and also I play a lot of styles (classical, rock, acoustic, percusive, etc) and the key to progress and still have fun is to have goals. I mean, personal, realistic and short-terms goals that you can acomplish in a few weeks or months and then move on to another thing. Set a new goal, and keep moving. Now that I'm into singing, I can have practice sessions for 45 min 5 to 7 times a week. Some of them even until 1 hour. So I was doing this things to get better in things that I need to get better now. I do this: ---Resonant tracking 1 T&T Slow then Fast 2 T&R the same way and 3 R&R only fast ---Support training: Robert's excercises and a few more that I've been doing since I took classical lessons, more focused to feeling the awearness of the support process ( really easy ones, but gives awesome results) ---Onsets Well there is a lot here in the book. I have to get more compression, and I tend to sing with a lot of dark overtones amplified. And an excess of these does not sound well for me. What do I do? The following: Q&R since F3 to F3 (Sometimes G4 or A4, if I can do them without push, pain or constrictions) and I repeat 2 times that onset in every note, except for Db4 to E4, when I repeat 4 times the onset. I do this because my bridge is around those notes. And Robert says we have to practice those notes harder because those are the difficult ones (and I is so true!). Then I follow with a few attemps of A&R. If it is too hard for me, I don't do it. I listen to my body. After that, I do edging onsets in the same range, maybe 2 times per note. Sometimes 3. ---Sirens Well, not too much to say here. I do melodic 5th as Robert show us. Two times, at least, focusing on Q&R onset and some of T&R. I don't go too high, at least not for now. I hope my way to train this can inspire you to think and organize your practice schedule if you're not doing it now. For the most advanced TVS people... how do you practice the FBR? Do you think I'm doing it right? Rock-on!
  12. CVI vs TVS: Review of “The Four Pillars of Singing″ BY FELIX, ON APRIL 21ST, 2015 So I finally decided to buy “The Four Pillars of Singing″ by Robert Lunte (TVS, The Vocalist Studio). Some of his tutorials and lectures on YouTube caught my attention and after a few days of consideration (+200$ is a lot of money) I decided to give it a try. When I started my singing studies I had decided to look at as many different approaches as possible and learn as much as I can and Robert Luntes perspective is certainly interesting and he definitely knows what he is talking about. I will compare his training system to CVT (Complete Vocal Institute) because it seems to be aimed at the same target audience. “The Four Pillars of Singing” is a comprehensive vocal training system that includes a book, over 350 videos, audio training content, detailed training routines, guide files and a robust learning management system that allows you to take a comprehensive course to study and master the TVS Method. It offers workouts starting in the key of C and G (to make it easier for women to use), training work flows and training routines for over 64 workouts, guide files that help you learn how to perform the workouts quickly and a very useful interface that organizes this massive amount of content. A user interface like this, is not available in any other program.. Robert advertises it as being the system with "the most content in the history of mankind". That is not only marketing but certainly a fact. But what does it mean? There is a lot of data in here, that’s for sure. The content of the book is similar to what CVT teaches. Especially the TVS method for organizing the vowels of singing into what they call, "Acoustic Modes". But unlike the CVT vocal modes, the TVS Acoustic Modes have stripped out a lot of additional levels of complexity, focusing only on where the singing vowels resonate in the voice and their respective sound colors. It is a very effective and intuitive way to learn about the acoustics of singing. In addition to ideas from TVS such as training work flows (teaching students to train with "step by step" instructions), specialized onsets and vowel modification formulas, "Pillars" also offers "physical modes" which are essentially very similar to the EVTS voice qualities or Estill modes. If your looking for CVI and Estill concepts as well as the unique TVS techniques, you can only find it in The Four Pillars of Singing. The focus is on all styles of singing. The 616 page book includes descriptions and illustrations of all the important components for singing; physiology, acoustics and mental imagery. The product is very comprehensive and a lot of work has clearly been put into it. With CVT, you only get a book and some sound samples and that leaves the less skilled voice student lacking for guidance and instruction on how to train and practice. One of the strongest aspects of The Four Pillars of Singing very well may be, that it seems to not miss the important point that students of singing technique programs have to have the content and guidance that no only teaches them the method and techniques, but also teaches them how to apply the techniques with training and practice routines. The sound samples with CVT are helpful, but the value is far below what you get with The Four Pillars of Singing. Then there is Robert. He sure is an interesting voice coach, he sounds very credible and his way of teaching is captivating. In a real-life coaching situation, that might be great and it certainly is important if you want to reach your full potential as a singer quickly. What is better, CVT or TVS? Should I buy Complete Vocal Technique or The Four Pillars of Singing?... or BOTH? It is important to point out that both systems are actually compatible together, but if you had to make a choice, given that "Pillars" already includes the main CVT premise, vocal modes oriented around singing vowels, then The Four Pillars of Singing is the way to go, given that they cover that topic with the "TVS Acoustic Modes". If you are a person who needs or learns faster with video tutorials and audio files to listen to in the care and practice with, then "Pillars" might be the better choice for you. Learn more about "The Four Pillars of Singing". Read reviews on Amazon.com. CLICK HERE FOR AMAZON.COM REVIEWS >>>
  13. CVI vs TVS: Review of “The Four Pillars of Singing″ CVI vs TVS: Review of “The Four Pillars of Singing″ BY FELIX, ON APRIL 21ST, 2015 So I finally decided to buy “The Four Pillars of Singing″ by Robert Lunte (TVS, The Vocalist Studio). Some of his tutorials and lectures on YouTube caught my attention and after a few days of consideration (+200$ is a lot of money) I decided to give it a try. When I started my singing studies I had decided to look at as many different approaches as possible and learn as much as I can and Robert Luntes perspective is certainly interesting and he definitely knows what he is talking about. I will compare his training system to CVT (Complete Vocal Institute) because it seems to be aimed at the same target audience. “The Four Pillars of Singing” is a comprehensive vocal training system that includes a book, over 350 videos, audio training content, detailed training routines, guide files and a robust learning management system that allows you to take a comprehensive course to study and master the TVS Method. It offers workouts starting in the key of C and G (to make it easier for women to use), training work flows and training routines for over 64 workouts, guide files that help you learn how to perform the workouts quickly and a very useful interface that organizes this massive amount of content. A user interface like this, is not available in any other program.. Robert advertises it as being the system with "the most content in the history of mankind". That is not only marketing but certainly a fact. But what does it mean? There is a lot of data in here, that’s for sure. The content of the book is similar to what CVT teaches. Especially the TVS method for organizing the vowels of singing into what they call, "Acoustic Modes". But unlike the CVT vocal modes, the TVS Acoustic Modes have stripped out a lot of additional levels of complexity, focusing only on where the singing vowels resonate in the voice and their respective sound colors. It is a very effective and intuitive way to learn about the acoustics of singing. In addition to ideas from TVS such as training work flows (teaching students to train with "step by step" instructions), specialized onsets and vowel modification formulas, "Pillars" also offers "physical modes" which are essentially very similar to the EVTS voice qualities or Estill modes. If your looking for CVI and Estill concepts as well as the unique TVS techniques, you can only find it in The Four Pillars of Singing. The focus is on all styles of singing. The 616 page book includes descriptions and illustrations of all the important components for singing; physiology, acoustics and mental imagery. The product is very comprehensive and a lot of work has clearly been put into it. With CVT, you only get a book and some sound samples and that leaves the less skilled voice student lacking for guidance and instruction on how to train and practice. One of the strongest aspects of The Four Pillars of Singing very well may be, that it seems to not miss the important point that students of singing technique programs have to have the content and guidance that no only teaches them the method and techniques, but also teaches them how to apply the techniques with training and practice routines. The sound samples with CVT are helpful, but the value is far below what you get with The Four Pillars of Singing. Then there is Robert. He sure is an interesting voice coach, he sounds very credible and his way of teaching is captivating. In a real-life coaching situation, that might be great and it certainly is important if you want to reach your full potential as a singer quickly. What is better, CVT or TVS? Should I buy Complete Vocal Technique or The Four Pillars of Singing?... or BOTH? It is important to point out that both systems are actually compatible together, but if you had to make a choice, given that "Pillars" already includes the main CVT premise, vocal modes oriented around singing vowels, then The Four Pillars of Singing is the way to go, given that they cover that topic with the "TVS Acoustic Modes". If you are a person who needs or learns faster with video tutorials and audio files to listen to in the care and practice with, then "Pillars" might be the better choice for you. Learn more about "The Four Pillars of Singing". Read reviews on Amazon.com. CLICK HERE FOR AMAZON.COM REVIEWS >>> View full articles
  14. Hello guys,my name is Luka I must say that only after few hours of reading book,and about hour of watching videos ,I was able to do this(It is probably bad and for sure needs more practice ,but still before this it was like dream for me to hit those notes without hurting my voice ) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EfHMEXv17k
  15. I have just recently returned from my quick and somewhat short, but very impactful, trip from London.Within only a little bit more than a week’s period of time, I was able to provide my four UK clients with my voice repair services; speaking & singing. All of them were unique in their own way and, nevertheless, all of them were different. However, one thing they had in common is that they were extremely smart and sharp, took directions really well and complied with the procedures, introduced to them, to a tee. This whole process, for me, was extremely heart rejuvenating, as here in Canada & in North America in general, for some reason, people who come to obtain my services are, by far, not as alert, are taking directions much slower and mainly, after the fact, not compliant with the aftermath protocol. For example: speech repair clients, for some reason, seem to be unable to understand that after they complete their voice repair course and treatment, they cannot begin to “speak without boarders”. The minute they acquire their speaking voice back, not even a ‘Russian Tank’ would be able to stop them. Understandably, they were deprived of the regular communication due to their voice issues. However, they have to understand that they have just left a “vocal rehab” in a manner of speaking, and thus cannot begin right away “binging” on their colloquial speaking. However, that, unfortunately, happened to one of my serious voice repair clients in the UK as well, who luckily, is in complete understanding of what had happened, and she also understands that, for the serious vocal anatomy problem like she has had, she would need a lot more hours of instruction, coupled with the enhanced natural treatment. That said, I will be heading out back to the UK to help her (and others) further in a few weeks. Then there was a voice repair client who used to be a singer in his country, and won numerous of competitions in his early 20s. Not being aware of any vocal technique and just possessing a natural talent, he practiced, practiced and practiced… One day, right before appearing on National Television, his voice “snapped” and he was no longer able to reach the high notes which he was famous for. He had already lined up some producers who were interested in prospering his professional career. In just seconds, his dream was shattered for the next 20 years forward. Of course, with time, he buried his frustration and disappointment, but the dream to become a well-known professional singer is still alive within him. Nevertheless, he went to numerous doctors who conducted numerous of scopes, but no one seemed to be able to help him. While with me in a session, he offered me a recent picture of his internal vocal anatomy. I was shocked, as his whole pharyngeal area was blown out of proportion on both sides! The doctor, however, commented that his vocal cords are good and his pharyngeal area is “slightly bowed”…? So in spite of the obvious health and vocal problems, the ENT specialist recommended the vocal coaching, which supposedly would help my client to restore his singing voice!!! Go figure!!! My doomed student, first and foremost, needs to work on his health and his vocal anatomy health. Those bowed, out of proportion pharyngeal glands, possessing tons of toxins within them. It is just like a ticking time bomb, which could explode at any given time and could also easily cause substantial bodily harm. As per usual, I had administered the natural herbal treatment, which plays an essential part in one’s healing. The “proof was in the pudding”. Those herbs, (which also have medicinal power) almost in an instant, set off a body reaction. My student first started to cough and then, shortly after, acquired flue like symptoms. To my dismay, he clued in momentarily to what’s going on and started exclaiming that he finally felt a movement in his throat and in his chest which he was wishing to feel for the last 20-somewhat years. To his very big credit, he understood that in order to conquer his physical and vocal problem, something like this has to happen, and he embraced it with gratitude. Way to go Man! Then I had a voice repair client who flew to me from Scotland. That was quite a sad story, as this beautiful human being acquired what is called Spasmodic Dysphonia. This very nice woman is a teacher in a public school. Nevertheless, her vocal/neurological condition prevented her from working for some time. However, obtaining five official hours (and all together six, and a bit, unofficial hours), she was able to improve conducting her voice in a more proper fashion which, in turn, had helped her to experience reduced amount of spasms. Obviously, either five or six hours could not be enough to conquer such a complicated voice disorder. Hopefully in the future, this wonderful human being will be able to pair up with me again for some much more in-depth instruction and natural treatment. And lastly, about eight month ago, when I was last in London attending to a very beautiful and promising opera singer (former voice repair client), I also momentarily had attended to another in her mid-30s woman, who at the time, due to misuse of her speaking and singing voice, had a weak, scratchy, airy and somewhat hoarse voice. She only took 2 hours of instruction in 2014. When she came to my hotel room this time, and only for an hour and fifteen minutes, I could not recognize her voice, as she sounded completely normal, clear and amplified. I have asked her if she had attended any speech lessons, or anything like this related to the voice issue, her response was that she attempted to embark on a couple of singing lessons. However, she said that she was unable to locate her teacher any further. So, if that is not a miracle, then what is? I was almost shocked to hear her speaking and as well as by her new looks (loss of weight, and overall rejuvenation)! Way to go Girl! Her determination to restore her voice and to work on her physical appearance is, indeed, the best example for any human being. That’s all for now. Let’s see what my next up-coming trip to the UK will have in store for me. I will definitely make sure to share it with my readers.
  16. What do you mean by the above, you may ask? What I mean is that the person in question, immediately after recovering their speech (or their singing voice for that matter), goes on the binge marathon. It's like a person who has been on a diet for sometime, after loosing the desirable weight, goes right back to their bad eating habits and binges on everything they were deprived of. No doubts that their lost weight will come back really fast and often double their original weight. Sad? Indeed! But that’s haw the human body works. Similarly, it happens with voice repair clients. They acquire virtually a "verbal diarrhea" And in spite of all my warnings and pleadings, they cannot stop talking until they again become raspy and hoarse! Now they are, so to speak, in their "comfort zone" but upset and frustrated that they have lost their ability to communicate with no pain or strain on their vocal anatomy, like they did during the instruction. Whose fault is that? Obviously their own. They obviously have not followed the recovery protocol, which was thoroughly and strongly advised to them. Who could they blame now? Obviously themselves. However, all of us are human and it is understandable that when we become deprived of something, we want to regain it back real fast and that's where the problem begins. We do not have patience, at least the majority of us. And those who do, we applaud! Nobody would imagine the athlete with an injured leg, (with only a few treatments behind his belt) suddenly start running a marathon! To regain the normal function of any organ, especially the limbs, spine and yes, voice, requires time and a strict regimen. In the case of the voice repair, the person requires to speak much less then before (at least for some time). They have to continuously consume the natural herbs and remedies that were suggested to them. The absolute minimum amount of hours to start the rehab to concur the voice issue would be 30 consecutive hours of unique instruction and natural treatment. For some people that is enough, and they can carry on from there on their own. For others, it requires 2 or even 3 times of repetition of the same and then maintenance - In other words, “tightening the screws” should prevail. It also depends on the severity of the vocal disorder However, the strong and determined people require less repletion and less maintenance. The more healthy and fit people usually have much less struggle with the instruction, treatment and aftermath. Those (with psychological problems and poor diet) require more attention on both parts – instruction and treatment. And, as a rule, they have many more problems during and after the process. Very often, the voice repair clients suffer from many physical and emotional problems, which also contribute to their voice loss and their voice dysfunction. So the voice problem could be a very complicated and deep matter, as the voice loss might be just a symptom of something much more serious going on with the person. Therefore, the voice issue cannot be taken lightly and should be addressed immediately, as it could be an indication of something serious yet to come, for example, a stroke or heart attack. I want my readers to understand the seriousness of any voice disorder and address it, if not medically, then alternatively, as soon as possible.
  17. I was finally able to get "The Four Pillars" and wanted to drop a few lines about it. I have not been able to perform a Full Practice/Training session yet but just by learning and training the specialized onsets while driving and performing other tasks I have greatly improved. In the lectures, Roberts enthusiasm for teaching and his desire for the students to make progress really shines through. I have no doubt that "The Four Pillars of Singing" would be of benefit to any singer, whether Novice or Professional. Thank you Robert for taking the time to put together a program that is thoughtful, knowledgeable and entertaining as well.
  18. Hi, I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm Annie. I recently bought The Four Pillars after sifting through Youtube singing videos for about a month.   I'm in a folk duo (psychedelic/prog folk)  in the San Francisco bay area.  I have only taken lessons here and there through the years and basically have no vocal technique knowledge. I feel that my vocals are ok but not exciting. I have always thought of myself more as a songwriter than singer, so haven't given as much thought to my vocals as I should have.   I want to improve, get stronger, more creative and to sound exciting and more expressive. I was inspired by what I saw/heard of Robert on Youtube.   I'm finding The Four Pillars really interesting and full of ideas and things that I've never heard of before. It's a little daunting but I'm up for the challenge.   Here's a video created several months ago of me singing Neil Young's Mr. Soul with my duo just to share where I'm at now vocally.  
  19. Indeed, should you give up, or rather do something, which will (at least) improve the quality of your life?What are those untreatable, nasty voice disorders?It definitely is vocal paralysis (paresis) or both vocal cords, the severe forms of spasmodic dysphonia, the severe forms of muscle tension dysphonia, scar tissue on the vocal cords, damaged vocal box and it’s anatomy due to/or during the surgical procedure and many more others . Once, not too long ago, in my office/studio walked in a middle-aged, pretty handsome Asian man with his wife. It was very sad to try to speak with the man, as there was nothing else coming out of his mouth but mooing. I could not understand one word he was trying to say. Then his wife took over the “conversation”. She told us a story that her husband had a cancer of thyroid. Then the doctors first were trying to get rid of the cancer, they conducted a surgical procedure, which had paralyzed one of his vocal cords (vocal paresis). Then he was suggested to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments, which, naturally, worsened his voice condition. He became even more raspy and hoarse and then became hardly understood.Then doctors decided to proceed with the second operation to remove the remaining cancer from his thyroid. After he came out of the second surgery, his second vocal cord was also completely paralyzed. How horrible it might be for the man in his mid-40’s to have communication difficulties, to the point that he could not form any sensible words! He came with the hope that I will offer him a magic pill and a magic cure…? On one hand, of course, you cannot blame him that he was looking for a miracle. On the other hand, how realistic is that? I have explained to him that his condition cannot be cured, either by me or anybody else for that matter. But what I could have done for him is improve the quality of his speaking; to improve clarity, annunciation and pronunciation, if not for all words, but for the majority of the words. How would I do this, you may ask? With the great difficulty, a lot of patience, huge intensity on both of our parts, employing the tedious Vocal Science ™ method and all of my 40 years experience, dealing with the health related (and other kinds) of voice/vocal disorders. I would teach him how to speak, employing facial muscles, the use of which would make his voice at least 4 times more resonant and amplified. Also, employing along with facial muscles, the abdominal muscles, would allow him to have a greater support of the sound, the proper lift of the sound off of the vocal box and thus he would become more understood, which means his confidence would be improved by far and the quality of life would be more enhanced and escalated. Unfortunately, my prospective client could not understand how he could use the different muscles (facial muscles working in full conjunction and coordination with the abdominal muscles) and not the vocal cords. Too bad for him because, as far as I am concerned, this tedious and intense, syllable-on-syllable, word-on-word Vocal Science™ technique is the only hope he had. Evidently, not all vocal severe damages are curable, but almost all of them are treatable to some degree. It requires the understanding, willingness and 'lovingness', an open heart & soul and true belief in the improvement of one’s condition. Without the above, there is no point for any of the parties involved, to embark on such, not very easy at all, endeavor. If you find this content informative and helpful, please refer to our websites for more detailed information, or give Diana Yampolsky a call for a free consultation on any of the vocal problems you, or your loved one(s) might have. 416-857-8741 www.vocalscience.com www.repairyourvoice.com
  20. So what does a student need? They need to be able to do all of the physical tasks that constitute the singing activity required by their goals. This requires training, even if no trainer is available. In addition, their goals will require them to develop the musicianship and experience to handle styles, inflection, and ornamentation appropriate for the music they want to do. This requires learning, even if no teacher is available. In school and at home, we were told many times to "Think about what you are doing!" That approach is almost completely counter-productive for musicians and high wire walkers. Imagine the effect of yelling "Think about what you're doing!" to a person walking a wire across the Grand Canyon. The free-flow execution of skills is managed by a part of the brain that is totally different from the part of the brain where knowledge and understanding are applied to currently executing skills. Once a performer starts thinking about what they are doing, the analytical part of the brain begins to interfere with the free-flow part of the brain. If you as a teacher explain everything, you are implying that singing skills can be managed by the intellect, which is actually impossible beyond a beginner level. I'm not saying that teaching about the subject of singing technique has no value. A voice teacher needs to really know and understand the subject. However, I am suggesting that you carefully consider how much and when to teach a student "about" singing technique. My friend, Robert Lunte, says that singers need to train as "vocal athletes," and I totally agree. The great athletes don't become great by approaching their skills analytically. Their trainers focus on the physical and mental demands of specific skills, and they train the muscles to do the job. The great trainers also train the athlete's mind to concentrate in ways that don't interfere with the fluency of their physical skills. Princeton says that "training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies." I like that definition, but I would boil it down a bit and say that personal voice training is leading someone through exercises and experiences that develop the skills to achieve specific goals and acquire the knowledge required to execute those skills in the required styles. For more information about The Performing Mind, go to http://www.pfco.com. Michael Kysar The Performing Mind http://www.pfco.com
  21. So what does a student need? They need to be able to do all of the physical tasks that constitute the singing activity required by their goals. This requires training, even if no trainer is available. In addition, their goals will require them to develop the musicianship and experience to handle styles, inflection, and ornamentation appropriate for the music they want to do. This requires learning, even if no teacher is available. In school and at home, we were told many times to "Think about what you are doing!" That approach is almost completely counter-productive for musicians and high wire walkers. Imagine the effect of yelling "Think about what you're doing!" to a person walking a wire across the Grand Canyon. The free-flow execution of skills is managed by a part of the brain that is totally different from the part of the brain where knowledge and understanding are applied to currently executing skills. Once a performer starts thinking about what they are doing, the analytical part of the brain begins to interfere with the free-flow part of the brain. If you as a teacher explain everything, you are implying that singing skills can be managed by the intellect, which is actually impossible beyond a beginner level. I'm not saying that teaching about the subject of singing technique has no value. A voice teacher needs to really know and understand the subject. However, I am suggesting that you carefully consider how much and when to teach a student "about" singing technique. My friend, Robert Lunte, says that singers need to train as "vocal athletes," and I totally agree. The great athletes don't become great by approaching their skills analytically. Their trainers focus on the physical and mental demands of specific skills, and they train the muscles to do the job. The great trainers also train the athlete's mind to concentrate in ways that don't interfere with the fluency of their physical skills. Princeton says that "training refers to the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies." I like that definition, but I would boil it down a bit and say that personal voice training is leading someone through exercises and experiences that develop the skills to achieve specific goals and acquire the knowledge required to execute those skills in the required styles. For more information about The Performing Mind, go to http://www.pfco.com. Michael Kysar The Performing Mind http://www.pfco.com View full articles
  22. Which Is The Best Vocal "Method"to Study? A unique look at the approaches, challenges and insights of being a singing teacher. Advice from Vocal Coach Kathy Thompson © 2009 Request permission to use in whole or in part by email: admin@purevoicepower.ca We study singing to get better at it just as we would study any skill. We are studying this art form in order to improve our ability. One of the foundations of voice work lies in building confidence. But more than that, we should study singing in order to acquire healthy technique when we vocalize. Notice that I said healthy rather than good. I try to avoid words such as good or bad, because they imply judgment. When you sing with correct and healthy technique, you are in fact maintaining your voice for longevity and stamina, as well as optimum performance. Good technique involves understanding your instrument to some degree, and employing recommended, safe habits when it comes to warming up or working out with your voice. Beyond that, continued study and vocal maintenance (regular practice routine) is recommended. Regardless of my teaching methods, there are constants and truths such as: Progress does not - and will not - happen instantly, overnight. As with developing any physical skill, developing one's voice takes time without force. If you practice regularly, you will see results. Everyone progresses at a different rate. In order to create something artistic, it helps to know the rules. That's the same with anything you want to excel at in life! We shouldn't assume that just because you know how to use your voice to talk and have sung songs, that you know all there is to know about how to do it better. Think of it this way: Just because you know how to run doesn't mean that you can automatically run a marathon. Just because you can use a sewing machine doesn't mean you can sew high fashion clothing. Just because you can talk with your voice doesn't mean you can sing expertly. Just because you can sing without studying doesn't mean you have the ability to sing like a seasoned professional with heavy usage demands on one's voice. I think we can agree that someone just learning to paint can paint any old picture without knowing what they're doing or studying it. Maybe they will get lucky and it will look fine. But it's usually short-lived. Pretty soon that passionate novice painter will want to know how it all works. So they study. Great painters know all about painting and understand how the great masters created such classic, unique and timeless art. I think it's the same with singing. What is a method? My dictionary defines METHOD as: A manner of procedure, esp. a systematic or clearly defined way of accomplishing an end; system or order in thought or action; the plan of procedure characteristic of discipline; logical or scientific arrangement. A method is the way in which we do something. Most everything we do has a method of some kind. You might have your own method of stacking the dishwasher or your own method of folding your towels. Use of a method simply implies that there is a systematic or specific way of doing something. If a singing teacher advertises that they are certified in a particular method of teaching singing, it's possible that they will be only able to deploy only that one method when teaching voice. They may not be allowed to utilize any aids, exercises or approaches that they as a singing teacher created themselves. I prefer not to work like that. To just use one method created by someone else would be stifling to me, no matter how popular that method is, or which masterful teacher developed it. I am the sum of my parts. All of my experiences as a singing student, actor, voice over artist and vocalist made me the performer I am today, and also the teacher I am today. I have studied voice with many singing teachers myself, taken workshops, and I was a voice major in college. I have experienced various styles of teaching voice as a singing student myself. I have developed my own approaches on how to connect with students as individuals over the years and I customize lessons to the way in which a student will learn best. (BTW- I myself, will continue to learn, read, research, develop, take workshops and classes for the rest of my life. We are never above learning anything new.) Which Teaching Methods does Kathy use? I believe that there are so many different approaches to teaching voice because there is no standard. That is a lengthy discussion which is best had elsewhere. When I teach voice, I use mostly my own “method”. That means I use partial things from a variety of other methods, or systems of teaching voice, along with exercises, games and handouts that I created. I draw from information from all forms of media, and my own personal experience as a singer. I would work differently with someone who is very soft-spoken and shy than I would with someone who is a high-energy extrovert. There are different kinds of learners and I take that into account. I never plagiarize anything from other singing teachers. I might take a seed of an idea I learned and tweak it, just as you would a classic food recipe. If I learn something related to singing from a science book, I will incorporate that. If I use a scale from another method such as the Seth Riggs SLS method, Frank Sinatra method, the Alan Greene workbook, or the Bel Canto method, I am sure to tell the student where that exercise came from and that they can pull on those resources. (The source is always quoted on their printed handout). I frequently tell my students about other singing courses! If a student is doing something incorrect during singing, I can imitate it in my own voice, identify where the error is occurring during the process, and then show the student how to approach singing that one thing with more correct technique or more economical way. Kathy's Approach I insist on visiting the basics at first and spend time accordingly on the usual things such as correct breathing, posture, vowel formation, etc. It's ongoing. I devote a part of every lesson to performance. I want you to be an original. I want to help you discover the leader within you. Every moment that we are singing a song, we are making decisions about how to sing it. The lyrics will mean something. The beat will mean something. How you phrase, deliver words, the volume or power you apply will shape the song. The vocal nuance or the boldness you choose will come into play. I think there is an actor in each of us and we can adopt characters for our songs. How you connect with your audience whether live on stage, or from a recording booth - will matter in the end. The main goal of lessons is not to CHANGE the inherent way your voice sounds. My goal is to take the unique sound of your voice and add to it; enhance it. We work towards uncovering and empowering the artist within you. We develop the voice you have and build upon that with a spirit of joy. You will discover new sounds. You can't force your voice to grow or do things it can't possibly do until you have trained to do it. (And yes, there is a difference between belting and yelling!) To me, singing is both science and art at the same time. I never try to change someone's natural sound. We only enhance it, help it flourish, take a holistic vocal evolutionary path and keep adding new musical layers. At the end of every lesson, I hope that these 4 questions will be answered yes: 1. Did your voice get some good exercise / workout? 2. Did you learn something interesting and new? 3. Do you understand the assignment for next time; are there any questions? 4. Do you feel motivated to sing and practice? I research. I test. In truth, science is still learning about human behaviour and how the brain works, which is paramount to the mind-body connection not only when it comes to singing or playing an instrument, but is related to learning and executing ANY physical skill. Science is still learning about the voice. What Makes a Great Singing Teacher? Let us pose this question to anyone who teaches a skill. For example: In order to be a fantastic football coach, does that person have to be a fantastic football player themselves first? In order to be a fantastic auto mechanic teacher, does that person have to be a fantastic auto mechanic themselves first? In order to be a fantastic singing teacher, does that person have to be a fantastic singer themselves? It's my opinion that the answer to that is yes. Ideally, at some time in their career the teacher, trainer or coach would have excelled at performing that skill themselves, which they are now teaching. If they themselves know what it's like to hit a home run on stage or in the studio, they can bring that experience to you through their coaching. Don't be too quick to judge the style of your singing teacher. If you are a raspy rock singer and you need to learn how to sing more healthy easy sounds during practice, you might not want to study with a person who only knows how to rock hard with their voice. You probably need warmer, richer, healthier exercises to sing; not more of the same. You need a little something in the way of therapeutic singing. Look to a variety of styles to study: R&B, folk/roots, classical, SLS, theatre, pop, etc. Internet Misinformation About Singing Methods There is so much misinformation on the internet, it's hard to believe what's true and what's not! Just because something is in writing doesn't mean that it is entirely accurate and absolute. There are literally hundreds of people out there calling themselves singing teachers, vocal coaches, starting schools and calling themselves experts. Should a singing teacher have academic credentials only? A degree? Stage experience only? What credentials does someone need to be a valid singing teacher? Suppose someone has performed on Broadway stages for years but has never been in a hit musical, is not famous, and they decide to teach singing. Does that mean they won't be a good singing teacher? Maybe maybe not. Don't be fooled by fame. Fame can be a result of luck and good networking skills. It's rare that anyone becomes famous by accident, including singing teachers. They have usually sought their station. That's not good, bad, right, or wrong just fact. A few times, a parent has asked me if I have taught anyone famous. Would that make a difference to the quality of my teaching? Not necessarily. Keep an open mind is all I'm saying and try not to think in absolutes. There are singing methods out there with certified coaches who are fanatical with the notion that they have the ONLY and the BEST method of teaching singing on the planet. Some attach to celebrity endorsement. Well there can be many, many amazing and valid approaches to working with people on their voices. I think that some popular methods are far too technical and the student gets hung up on the mechanics of singing. Some methods recommend things like warming up with very high quiet tones, or never talk about vocal mechanics, and assorted approaches. Here’s something that made my eyes pop wide open. I saw video of a celebrity voice coach working with a famous rap superstar that I found to be very disturbing. He had his female rap star actually moving her jaw sideways, quickly sweeping it back and forth, fast and hard, as a part of the vocal warm-up! You can almost guarantee TMJ medical issues from that. In fact, it could possibly warrant litigation. This NY singing coach was charging an astronomical hourly fee into three figures (but included back massage). I like to base things in fact. I have kept a log of internet untruths about singing. Here is just one of many, and more benign than most: There is a website I saw which has the word musician and university in the name of the site. Under singing, it says, Singing is easy. Anyone can do it. But what most singers do not know is that your voice is just like an instrument. I don't think that's true. No, singing is not easy for everyone. Some people are very challenged with vocally interpreting and recreating sound as they hear it (* research the word amusia), and require different amounts of, and approaches to- ear training for accurate pitch placement. Some people are in poor physical condition and have a hard time understanding breathing, believe it or not. Some people were raised in a culture where silence was encouraged and they are ashamed to use their voice in a singing fashion. And so forth. The human voice is the only musical instrument located within the body. It is prejudiced with emotion. A piano is not. A violin has no emotion. A guitar has no emotion. It's the players of these instruments who can bring emotional interpretation to sound production. But our voice is within our body; the player and the instrument are one. Furthermore, I can see all other instruments as I play them. But you cannot see your voice as you play it. You feel it. You operate this instrument of voice as your brain sends neuromuscular impulses to your voice and various other muscles and systems in the body. For fascinating information on this, I encourage you to investigate The Alexander Technique for Singers. (FYI, it's a little technical.) I don't mean to scare or intimidate anyone. Connect with the person you want to work with. See if they make sense to you. Use your instincts and common sense when it comes to information at large. If something sounds astonishing or weird, perhaps try searching university and academic websites which are usually loaded with true and verified information. When we sing, let there be unconditional joy. Kathy Thompson, Vocal Coach, Toronto
  23. Which Is The Best Vocal "Method"to Study? A unique look at the approaches, challenges and insights of being a singing teacher. Advice from Vocal Coach Kathy Thompson © 2009 Request permission to use in whole or in part by email: admin@purevoicepower.ca We study singing to get better at it just as we would study any skill. We are studying this art form in order to improve our ability. One of the foundations of voice work lies in building confidence. But more than that, we should study singing in order to acquire healthy technique when we vocalize. Notice that I said healthy rather than good. I try to avoid words such as good or bad, because they imply judgment. When you sing with correct and healthy technique, you are in fact maintaining your voice for longevity and stamina, as well as optimum performance. Good technique involves understanding your instrument to some degree, and employing recommended, safe habits when it comes to warming up or working out with your voice. Beyond that, continued study and vocal maintenance (regular practice routine) is recommended. Regardless of my teaching methods, there are constants and truths such as: Progress does not - and will not - happen instantly, overnight. As with developing any physical skill, developing one's voice takes time without force. If you practice regularly, you will see results. Everyone progresses at a different rate. In order to create something artistic, it helps to know the rules. That's the same with anything you want to excel at in life! We shouldn't assume that just because you know how to use your voice to talk and have sung songs, that you know all there is to know about how to do it better. Think of it this way: Just because you know how to run doesn't mean that you can automatically run a marathon. Just because you can use a sewing machine doesn't mean you can sew high fashion clothing. Just because you can talk with your voice doesn't mean you can sing expertly. Just because you can sing without studying doesn't mean you have the ability to sing like a seasoned professional with heavy usage demands on one's voice. I think we can agree that someone just learning to paint can paint any old picture without knowing what they're doing or studying it. Maybe they will get lucky and it will look fine. But it's usually short-lived. Pretty soon that passionate novice painter will want to know how it all works. So they study. Great painters know all about painting and understand how the great masters created such classic, unique and timeless art. I think it's the same with singing. What is a method? My dictionary defines METHOD as: A manner of procedure, esp. a systematic or clearly defined way of accomplishing an end; system or order in thought or action; the plan of procedure characteristic of discipline; logical or scientific arrangement. A method is the way in which we do something. Most everything we do has a method of some kind. You might have your own method of stacking the dishwasher or your own method of folding your towels. Use of a method simply implies that there is a systematic or specific way of doing something. If a singing teacher advertises that they are certified in a particular method of teaching singing, it's possible that they will be only able to deploy only that one method when teaching voice. They may not be allowed to utilize any aids, exercises or approaches that they as a singing teacher created themselves. I prefer not to work like that. To just use one method created by someone else would be stifling to me, no matter how popular that method is, or which masterful teacher developed it. I am the sum of my parts. All of my experiences as a singing student, actor, voice over artist and vocalist made me the performer I am today, and also the teacher I am today. I have studied voice with many singing teachers myself, taken workshops, and I was a voice major in college. I have experienced various styles of teaching voice as a singing student myself. I have developed my own approaches on how to connect with students as individuals over the years and I customize lessons to the way in which a student will learn best. (BTW- I myself, will continue to learn, read, research, develop, take workshops and classes for the rest of my life. We are never above learning anything new.) Which Teaching Methods does Kathy use? I believe that there are so many different approaches to teaching voice because there is no standard. That is a lengthy discussion which is best had elsewhere. When I teach voice, I use mostly my own “method”. That means I use partial things from a variety of other methods, or systems of teaching voice, along with exercises, games and handouts that I created. I draw from information from all forms of media, and my own personal experience as a singer. I would work differently with someone who is very soft-spoken and shy than I would with someone who is a high-energy extrovert. There are different kinds of learners and I take that into account. I never plagiarize anything from other singing teachers. I might take a seed of an idea I learned and tweak it, just as you would a classic food recipe. If I learn something related to singing from a science book, I will incorporate that. If I use a scale from another method such as the Seth Riggs SLS method, Frank Sinatra method, the Alan Greene workbook, or the Bel Canto method, I am sure to tell the student where that exercise came from and that they can pull on those resources. (The source is always quoted on their printed handout). I frequently tell my students about other singing courses! If a student is doing something incorrect during singing, I can imitate it in my own voice, identify where the error is occurring during the process, and then show the student how to approach singing that one thing with more correct technique or more economical way. Kathy's Approach I insist on visiting the basics at first and spend time accordingly on the usual things such as correct breathing, posture, vowel formation, etc. It's ongoing. I devote a part of every lesson to performance. I want you to be an original. I want to help you discover the leader within you. Every moment that we are singing a song, we are making decisions about how to sing it. The lyrics will mean something. The beat will mean something. How you phrase, deliver words, the volume or power you apply will shape the song. The vocal nuance or the boldness you choose will come into play. I think there is an actor in each of us and we can adopt characters for our songs. How you connect with your audience whether live on stage, or from a recording booth - will matter in the end. The main goal of lessons is not to CHANGE the inherent way your voice sounds. My goal is to take the unique sound of your voice and add to it; enhance it. We work towards uncovering and empowering the artist within you. We develop the voice you have and build upon that with a spirit of joy. You will discover new sounds. You can't force your voice to grow or do things it can't possibly do until you have trained to do it. (And yes, there is a difference between belting and yelling!) To me, singing is both science and art at the same time. I never try to change someone's natural sound. We only enhance it, help it flourish, take a holistic vocal evolutionary path and keep adding new musical layers. At the end of every lesson, I hope that these 4 questions will be answered yes: 1. Did your voice get some good exercise / workout? 2. Did you learn something interesting and new? 3. Do you understand the assignment for next time; are there any questions? 4. Do you feel motivated to sing and practice? I research. I test. In truth, science is still learning about human behaviour and how the brain works, which is paramount to the mind-body connection not only when it comes to singing or playing an instrument, but is related to learning and executing ANY physical skill. Science is still learning about the voice. What Makes a Great Singing Teacher? Let us pose this question to anyone who teaches a skill. For example: In order to be a fantastic football coach, does that person have to be a fantastic football player themselves first? In order to be a fantastic auto mechanic teacher, does that person have to be a fantastic auto mechanic themselves first? In order to be a fantastic singing teacher, does that person have to be a fantastic singer themselves? It's my opinion that the answer to that is yes. Ideally, at some time in their career the teacher, trainer or coach would have excelled at performing that skill themselves, which they are now teaching. If they themselves know what it's like to hit a home run on stage or in the studio, they can bring that experience to you through their coaching. Don't be too quick to judge the style of your singing teacher. If you are a raspy rock singer and you need to learn how to sing more healthy easy sounds during practice, you might not want to study with a person who only knows how to rock hard with their voice. You probably need warmer, richer, healthier exercises to sing; not more of the same. You need a little something in the way of therapeutic singing. Look to a variety of styles to study: R&B, folk/roots, classical, SLS, theatre, pop, etc. Internet Misinformation About Singing Methods There is so much misinformation on the internet, it's hard to believe what's true and what's not! Just because something is in writing doesn't mean that it is entirely accurate and absolute. There are literally hundreds of people out there calling themselves singing teachers, vocal coaches, starting schools and calling themselves experts. Should a singing teacher have academic credentials only? A degree? Stage experience only? What credentials does someone need to be a valid singing teacher? Suppose someone has performed on Broadway stages for years but has never been in a hit musical, is not famous, and they decide to teach singing. Does that mean they won't be a good singing teacher? Maybe maybe not. Don't be fooled by fame. Fame can be a result of luck and good networking skills. It's rare that anyone becomes famous by accident, including singing teachers. They have usually sought their station. That's not good, bad, right, or wrong just fact. A few times, a parent has asked me if I have taught anyone famous. Would that make a difference to the quality of my teaching? Not necessarily. Keep an open mind is all I'm saying and try not to think in absolutes. There are singing methods out there with certified coaches who are fanatical with the notion that they have the ONLY and the BEST method of teaching singing on the planet. Some attach to celebrity endorsement. Well there can be many, many amazing and valid approaches to working with people on their voices. I think that some popular methods are far too technical and the student gets hung up on the mechanics of singing. Some methods recommend things like warming up with very high quiet tones, or never talk about vocal mechanics, and assorted approaches. Here’s something that made my eyes pop wide open. I saw video of a celebrity voice coach working with a famous rap superstar that I found to be very disturbing. He had his female rap star actually moving her jaw sideways, quickly sweeping it back and forth, fast and hard, as a part of the vocal warm-up! You can almost guarantee TMJ medical issues from that. In fact, it could possibly warrant litigation. This NY singing coach was charging an astronomical hourly fee into three figures (but included back massage). I like to base things in fact. I have kept a log of internet untruths about singing. Here is just one of many, and more benign than most: There is a website I saw which has the word musician and university in the name of the site. Under singing, it says, Singing is easy. Anyone can do it. But what most singers do not know is that your voice is just like an instrument. I don't think that's true. No, singing is not easy for everyone. Some people are very challenged with vocally interpreting and recreating sound as they hear it (* research the word amusia), and require different amounts of, and approaches to- ear training for accurate pitch placement. Some people are in poor physical condition and have a hard time understanding breathing, believe it or not. Some people were raised in a culture where silence was encouraged and they are ashamed to use their voice in a singing fashion. And so forth. The human voice is the only musical instrument located within the body. It is prejudiced with emotion. A piano is not. A violin has no emotion. A guitar has no emotion. It's the players of these instruments who can bring emotional interpretation to sound production. But our voice is within our body; the player and the instrument are one. Furthermore, I can see all other instruments as I play them. But you cannot see your voice as you play it. You feel it. You operate this instrument of voice as your brain sends neuromuscular impulses to your voice and various other muscles and systems in the body. For fascinating information on this, I encourage you to investigate The Alexander Technique for Singers. (FYI, it's a little technical.) I don't mean to scare or intimidate anyone. Connect with the person you want to work with. See if they make sense to you. Use your instincts and common sense when it comes to information at large. If something sounds astonishing or weird, perhaps try searching university and academic websites which are usually loaded with true and verified information. When we sing, let there be unconditional joy. Kathy Thompson, Vocal Coach, Toronto View full articles
  24. (This text has been sourced from the eBook "Just another day at the office...How to get better results in auditions and other high pressure performing situations"). Introduction Throughout the course of your performing life, opportunities to audition for jobs or perform in solo recitals don't usually come along too often. If you're an active job-seeker, you may have the chance to attend four or five auditions per year. As a student, you might perform one or two sixty-minute solo recitals per year. And as a full-time professional orchestral musician or choral singer, solo performances may be very few and far between indeed. Auditions and other solo performances are under the spotlight events, and are often experienced by many performers with high levels of performance arousal. Performance arousal? What's that? You've no doubt heard of or even experienced feelings of anxiety before and at times during performances. This anxiety, or performance anxiety as it is commonly referred to, is the negative form of performance arousal. Performance anxiety can affect you negatively in performing situations. Excitement on the other hand, or the feeling of looking forward to a performance, is the positive form of performance arousal, and can have a positive effect on your ability to perform. But this is only true if the level of excitement you experience is appropriate for your particular performing situation. In other words if the level of excitement you experience is inappropriate (i.e. too much or too little) for your performing situation, then this excitement will have a negative effect on your ability to perform. So in short, the term performance arousal describes the excitement or anxiety you may feel before and at times during performances. Performance arousal can be particularly strong in under the spotlight events, or other performing situations that you perceive as high-pressure. Ok. So how much positive performance arousal (excitement) do I need to get the best results? As a classical musician or singer performing in a recital or audition situation, high levels of excitement may make you feel like you are out of control. Likewise, performance anxiety can also make you feel out of control, and in addition may be accompanied by unpleasant physical sensations such as muscular tension, hyperventilation, sweaty palms, nausea, and so on. So, in traditional recital or audition situations, a moderately low level of positive performance arousal (excitement) will in most cases allow you to achieve your best possible results. That sounds like it should work in theory. But how do I actually make it happen? In this eBook you'll be shown the simple yet powerful technique of Intense Positive Visualisation . This technique has been specifically designed to help you obtain an ideal state of mind for your performing situations, regardless of your field of performance. Using Intense Positive Visualisation, you can achieve better results in auditions, and see how other high-pressure performance situations may be perceived as easy, comfortable, and dare I say, even a joy to experience! Familiarity To begin with, let's take a situation quite apart from a musical one. Let's imagine for a minute that you are an office worker beginning your first day at a new job. As with a recital or audition, this is a situation that can put you in the stressful position of not knowing exactly what will happen throughout the course of the experience. You might have a certain amount of information, but there are still many variables and details that are either unfamiliar, or completely unknown. You are also quite naturally aware that the outcome of the actual event is significant, especially given the importance placed on first impressions. What are some of the physical and mental responses that you might experience before and/or during your ever-important first day at the office? Perhaps you might have sweaty palms, shallow breathing, a churning stomach, or possibly mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety. However, after experiencing your new environment for a few days, you begin to perceive being at the office as no big deal. When this happens, the heightened excitement or anxiety (performance arousal) you experienced on your first day starts to disappear. Now, compare the number of times you've heard of the phrase I'm starting my new job today. Wish me luck! with the phrase It's my 30th day at the office today. Wish me luck! and not to mention It's my 2,623rd day at the office today. Wish me luck! It starts to sound ridiculous, doesn't it? So therefore, and this really is the crux of the matter, what is the difference between the ever so slightly ridiculous sounding 2,623rd day at the office and the 1st day at the office? The answer is familiarity! And it is a special sort of familiarity that helps us feel at ease, calm, confident and in control. This sort of familiarity can be referred to as positive conditioning. Riding the Roller Coaster To explain positive conditioning in plain English, picture this. You are at a theme park and are very nervous or anxious about riding that big, scary roller coaster for the first time. Even thinking about taking the plunge starts you off on a serious emotional roller coaster! Should I? Shouldn't I? I don't really want to after all. But I do want to try it, and all my friends are doing it. I can do it. I can't do it. It might be fun!? But what happens if we crash? Maybe I should have just stayed in bed this morning! Eventually you decide to board the roller coaster, and experience the ride. Riding the roller coaster turns out to be a positive experience you survived and even enjoyed it in some weird way! This makes your brain suddenly say Hey! That wasn't so bad after all! The next time you think about riding the roller coaster, you are perhaps only a little nervous or anxious. You make the decision to ride the roller coaster again, and again it turns out to be a positive experience you even had your eyes open this time! Your brain now says to you Hey! That was actually kinda fun! I wanna do it again! And so the next time you think about riding the roller coaster, you are looking forward to it, because you know it will be a fun, enjoyable experience! This is basically how positive conditioning works. However, what if your experiences are negative? For example, what happens if the first time you ride the roller coaster you get stuck at the top of the ride and are forced to dangle upside-down for 6 hours because of a technical problem? If this happens, your brain is probably going to say to you the next time you think about riding a roller coaster, Oi! Remember that last roller coaster experience?? It was horrible! I don't ever want to go through that again get me outta here! This is negative conditioning in action. The Routine Part 1 So, how do we ensure your brain tells you that auditions, recitals, and other high-pressure performing situations are easy and fun? How do you achieve positive conditioning when you only get one shot at something??? We'll answer these questions very soon! But for now, it's back to the office! After 30 days at the office, you know the routine... Wake up with the alarm clock, hit the snooze button, and sleep for an extra 10 minutes Get out of bed when the alarm rings for the second time Eat breakfast Have a shower and get dressed Brush teeth Shoes on Leave the house after locking the door Walk to the bus stop. Aim to arrive there in time to get on the number 85 bus that you know always leaves 2 or 3 minutes earlier than it's supposed to Board the bus Get off the bus at the appropriate stop Walk up to the building and in through the main entrance The Routine Part 2 A Greet the receptionist Sign in Walk up the stairs, bidding a fellow colleague a good day on the way Greet the other office workers as you pass them on your way to your desk Arrive at your desk, sit down, and start the day's work Lunch break for 45 minutes Work through to the late afternoon When it's time to leave, walk back down the stairs, out of the office, and out of the building All of these small but necessary actions are completed each day as part of your routine. Thinking back to your first day at the office, you didn't have this routine your first day was completely unfamiliar! This is the reason why you may have been feeling anxious or even over-excited (high performance arousal level), and the reason why you asked your partner, flatmate, friends, or family to wish you luck. Now, if it feels like we have wandered from the path of an under the spotlight performance situation, read the bullet points in The Routine Part 1 again, and then skip directly toThe Routine Part 2 B below. The Routine Part 2 B Walk around to the stage door of the venue Greet the receptionist at the desk Sign in Walk up the stairs and along the corridor to warm-up room marked ‘Soloist 1’ Take out your instrument, and begin your warm-up routine After some time, your accompanist enters the warm-up room With 15 minutes until your audition is scheduled to start, you rehearse entries and certain problem passages The stage manager knocks on the door, and asks if you are both ready You follow the stage manager to the wings in the off-stage area You walk confidently on stage, with your accompanist following closely behind You acknowledge the audition jury You begin the audition calmly, and confidently The performance begins, and continues in the most musical way you can possibly imagine You finish the last audition piece, acknowledge the jury, and finally walk off stage So, if you're a performer, and get the chance to be at the office for 30 days (performing in recitals or auditions every day for 30 days) you can get to know the routine, and become quite comfortable and familiar with it. But wait a second! You might be thinking: Ok, but the office worker has the opportunity to learn the routine and get familiar with it as they are in reality at the office every weekday. I'm not doing a recital or audition everyday. I only get one shot at this! What?!? You're right! You're not performing in a recital or audition everyday but you should be! What?!? Auditions and recitals don't come along everyday! In reality, no they don't! But in your mind, you can perform auditions and recitals as often as you wish! What do you mean?!? How does this work?!? By using specially designed visualisation techniques, you can use your mind to rehearse any one-shot performance as many times as you wish! Therefore, you can become familiar with your one-shot performing situation, well before it even happens! So, if you practise visualisation techniques, when you walk into your performing situation in reality, you're just like the office worker going to work on their 30th or even 2,623rd day at the office! In other words, you can feel, calm, confident, and in control in any performance situation! The Proof But wait just another second! Surely there is a vast difference between experiencing an event in reality and experiencing the same event in your imagination? After all, the office worker actually is at the office every day, and if I use visualisation, I'm only going to imagine myself being at the office. Can this really be the same thing? The short answer to this question is YES! According to many studies on visualisation in the field of sports psychology, the subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between actually experiencing an event, and simply imagining an event in vivid detail! Look at this example: One study on visualisation in sports psychology involved the members of three basketball teams of approximately equal skill level, practising shooting 3-pointers, for a period of 30 days. One of the teams practised neither physically on the court, nor in their minds during the duration of the study. Their improvement at the end of the study was not surprisingly 0%. Another team practised physically that is, on the basketball court for a period of one hour each day. After 30 days, their improvement was measured at 24%. The third team did not practise physically at all but was told to mentally visualise the game for one hour each day. At the end of the thirty day period, their improvement was a remarkable 23%. What was the reason for this? The sports scientists concluded that the subconscious mind cannot differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore, since the subconscious mind has a large influence on how you perform, positively conditioning your subconscious mind using Intense Positive Visualisation can have a huge effect on your success as a performer! Find out how to practise Intense Positive Visualisation in the next chapter! Intense Positive Visualisation Visualisation techniques can help you positively condition yourself to achieve an ideal state of mind, helping you to gain optimal results in your performing situations. In short, when visualising, you train your mind by entering a relaxed state and imagining the exact results you would like to achieve. By regularly practising visualisation techniques, you can condition yourself for success! In the book Performing in The Zone, three different types of visualisation techniques are explained: Snap Shot Intense Positive Visualisation The 5 Sense Visualisation Method Here in Just Another Day at the Office you're going to see exactly how the simple yet powerful technique of Intense Positive Visualisation can help you in your performing situations! Read on! Different points of view Intense Positive Visualisation can be carried out in the 1st person or 3rd person perspective. Using the 1st person perspective, you put yourself in the centre of the visualisation. For example, if you are a concert pianist, you would imagine yourself performing on stage from your own eyes, seeing your hands and the piano keyboard in front of you, taking in the experience as if you were actually carrying it out in reality. In the 3rd person perspective, you would see yourself from a distance, possibly from a seat in the audience, the back of the room, or even a position up in the ceiling somewhere above, behind, or beside you. Some performers find a 1st person visualisation to be more powerful and real, whereas others may find a 3rd person visualisation to be most effective. Experiment using both viewpoints, and discover which one works best for you. Intense Positive Visualisation explained To practise Intense Positive Visualisation, you will need to be undisturbed for a period of anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, depending on the length of the performance you are about to visualise. Intense Positive Visualisation is best carried out lying down on your back with your hands resting gently on your solar-plexus. You may choose to lie flat on the floor or on a yoga mattress. Lying down on a bed can be an acceptable alternative, and is at times preferable if practising this exercise just before sleeping. It's important to keep the body at a comfortable temperature throughout the duration of the visualisation, and therefore covering yourself with a blanket might be necessary. To begin Intense Positive Visualisation, gently close your eyes, and lightly touch your tongue to the front part of the roof of your mouth, just behind the teeth. This is a Qi Gong technique which forms an energy bridge to allow freer flow of energy in the human energy system. Try to keep the root of your tongue relaxed at all times. If you have trouble with this, simply let your tongue sit in its natural position and come back to this Qi Gong energy bridge technique at a later stage. Whilst in a horizontal position, allow the floor to take your weight. Feel your limbs becoming heavier the more relaxed they feel. Trust the floor it will hold you. Give in to the support from underneath. Trust, relax, and let go. Breathe gently through your nose. Allow your body to breathe as it needs to. The next section is designed to help you understand how Intense Positive Visualisation works. It is an example of one possible visualisation, taken from the perspective of a musician giving a recital, requiring a performance arousal level of +1 before the performance, +2 for the majority of the recital, and +3 for the climax of the concert. After reading the following example and understanding the process of Intense Positive Visualisation, you can then create your own personal visualisation to meet your specific needs. When creating your visualisation, remember to visualise events exactly as you want them to be Start of Intense Positive Visualisation example: You begin by imagining yourself at home, taking your performance clothes out of the wardrobe. You check to see that everything is in order with your clothes and your performance shoes. You put your performance clothes and shoes in a suit bag, pick up your instrument case, check to see if you have your keys and wallet, and leave the house, locking the door behind you. You walk down the stairs and out on to the street in a relaxed pace. Arriving at the metro (underground train/tube) station, you use your ticket to pass the barrier, and board your train. It's going to be a great show. Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. Getting off at the right stop, you stroll towards the recital hall, taking in the scenery on the way. Perhaps a seagull is calling in the distance? How do the trees look? Are there other people out walking? You take out your Cue Card and slowly read over your key words. Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. You arrive at the venue and greet the receptionist on the way in. After signing in, you head to your warm up room where your accompanist is already waiting for you. You ask your accompanist for 15 minutes by yourself so that you can prepare yourself and warm up. You unpack your instrument, and begin your warm up routine. It feels fantastic to start warming up. You know your accompanist is going help you put on a great show. You know that the venue has a warm acoustic. Your performance clothes are ironed and your shoes polished. You are ready. You are about to share part of yourself with some people who want to hear you they want to be touched by you. It's going to be a warm, giving, rewarding experience for both them and you. It's going to be great! Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. After 15 minutes your accompanist walks in to the room. Before you begin to rehearse, you check your Cue Card again, and go through your Pre-Performance Ritual, C3 calm, controlled, confident the C3 and +1 on your Cue Card gives you a familiar, friendly reminder. You rehearse the beginning of the first piece with your accompanist. It's easy and free. The acoustic in the practise room is dry, but you know that out there in the hall the space will take care of you the warm reverb will beautify every nuance and add to the experience for everyone. Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. When it is time, you are called to the wings of the stage. You take one final look at your Cue Card and go through the C3 exercise again. You can hear the chatter of the audience, and see the stage in front of you. You walk calmly, securely, and with purpose on to the stage where you are greeted by applause. They like you and you haven't even done anything yet! This is going to be a fun performance! Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. Whilst your accompanist adjusts the piano stool, you look out into the audience and make visual contact with the people you are about to touch with your performance. Your body language exudes confidence and assuredness. You greet the audience, introducing yourself and your accompanist, and begin to talk about the evening's programme. Your voice is stable, powerful, and reflects the perfect +1 state of performance arousal that you are currently in. Your voice resonates effortlessly to the back of the hall. You are in The Zone. After your brief introductory talk, you look to your accompanist who is ready to work with you. This is going great! You begin your performance, and your performance arousal gently rises to a +2. (At this point in the visualisation I strongly suggest that you visualise your entire performance that is, see and hear yourself giving the most musical, fantastic, controlled, inspired, moving performance you can possibly imagine. Use either 1st or 3rd person perspective. In your visualisation you are doing everything right it feels fantastic and sounds amazing. You are at an ideal level of performance arousal for this performing situation, and totally in The Zone.) Just before the climax of the final piece, you turn the page, and see the familiar figure of +3 that you wrote earlier at the top of your music. You step it up a notch, and raise your performance arousal level to +3. The music takes on a new life and energy and this is felt by you, your accompanist, and the audience. Finishing the concert at a +3 level your audience erupts in cheers and applause. You did it! It was great!! You were in The Zone!!! You acknowledge the audience, and walk off stage. End of Intense Positive Visualisation example. When you feel ready, slowly begin to move your body again. How did it feel to give that amazing performance? You were great! Everything just clicked. You were totally and completely in The Zone throughout the entire process. Intense Positive Visualisation can be practised every day before a performance. By doing so, you can condition yourself to perform in The Zone. Intense Positive Visualisation is highly recommended to all performers about to give important performances, auditions or recitals. The earlier you begin Intense Positive Visualisation the better, but at least one week prior to the performance event should be the minimum. In your own visualisations, remember to assess how much positive performance arousal you need at various moments: +1, +2, +3, +4, or +5. Do you need to be at the same activation level for the entire event, or does your performance arousal level need to modulate at various times? Remember that imagining yourself calm and relaxed probably isn't going to give you the best results if you are preparing for an intensely physical, fast-paced performance situation. Likewise, visualising getting yourself psyched up and exploding out of the gates isn’t going to help you if you are preparing for a more delicate +1 situation, such as a slow movement of a concerto. Visualising performing with an ideal level of performance arousal is important! By using Intense Positive Visualisation, you are using positive conditioning to become familiar with as many elements of your performance day as possible, and become used to experiencing these always in a positive light. Notice also that Intense Positive Visualisation goes into as much detail as possible, both before and during your performance. This is to help take away as many surprises and unknown factors on the day of your performance as possible. It may help the accuracy and intensity of your visualisation to do some reconnaissance by actually visiting the performance venue prior to your performance event. This is easily possible for students giving final recitals for example, or sportspeople playing at a local venue. Try to also incorporate some variations in your visualisations. Perhaps the audience isn’t ready and takes an extra 5 minutes to get seated? Perhaps your accompanist arrives later than expected due to traffic problems? Maybe the stage curtains are blue and not red? Perhaps the warm up room is bigger or smaller? Regardless of what happens, you are prepared, and you stay in your ideal level of positive performance arousal. You are completely stable, and in The Zone, always. By using Intense Positive Visualisation every day over a period of one week, you have in effect carried out your performance successfully 7 times. Practise this visualisation 3 times per day for a week and you’ve completed 21 successful, positive, great, fantastic, easy, ideal performances, and have been in The Zone every single time! Remember that your subconscious doesn’t differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore by using Intense Positive Visualisation diligently, you are conditioning yourself for success by becoming familiar with performing in The Zone! By using the technique of Intense Positive Visualisation, you can experience your next audition, recital or ‘high-pressure’ performance as just another day at the office! Conclusion Intense Positive Visualisation is just one of over 20 effective techniques fully explained in the book Performing in The Zone. These techniques can help you to become secure, confident, comfortable, in control, and successful in your performing situations. With the book Performing in The Zone, you get more than just techniques. You get: To find out what really goes on inside your mind and body in performing situations To learn about The Zone, what it is, and how you can get there A complete explanation of performance arousal, and how it can affect you positively or negatively in performing situations Over 20 techniques specifically designed to help you get better results in any field of performance The 12 Week Performance Success Programme to help you incorporate the techniques from Performing in The Zone into your performing life An introduction to additional sources of advice and information to further aid you in your journey to The Zone! By reading Performing in The Zone, you can: Perform at an optimal level Achieve better results when under the spotlight Become a master of yourself and your performance environment Realise your true performing potential Become a better performer by learning to perform in The Zone! In addition, at http://www.thezonebook.com you can subscribe to: The very latest techniques for controlling performance anxiety and over-excitement A personal email support service One-on-one coaching services – in person, via chat, or via video conferencing (limited number of places available) What should I do now? 1) Visit www.thezonebook.com 2) Sign up for a 20% Pre-Release Discount on "Performing in The Zone!" 3) Read Performing in The Zone, apply the information in the book, and enjoy the results! 4) Keep visiting www.thezonebook.com (as well as the blog, at http://www.thezonebook.com/blog) regularly for news updates, the latest techniques for getting better results in performing situations, and special offers!
  25. (This text has been sourced from the eBook "Just another day at the office...How to get better results in auditions and other high pressure performing situations"). Introduction Throughout the course of your performing life, opportunities to audition for jobs or perform in solo recitals don't usually come along too often. If you're an active job-seeker, you may have the chance to attend four or five auditions per year. As a student, you might perform one or two sixty-minute solo recitals per year. And as a full-time professional orchestral musician or choral singer, solo performances may be very few and far between indeed. Auditions and other solo performances are under the spotlight events, and are often experienced by many performers with high levels of performance arousal. Performance arousal? What's that? You've no doubt heard of or even experienced feelings of anxiety before and at times during performances. This anxiety, or performance anxiety as it is commonly referred to, is the negative form of performance arousal. Performance anxiety can affect you negatively in performing situations. Excitement on the other hand, or the feeling of looking forward to a performance, is the positive form of performance arousal, and can have a positive effect on your ability to perform. But this is only true if the level of excitement you experience is appropriate for your particular performing situation. In other words if the level of excitement you experience is inappropriate (i.e. too much or too little) for your performing situation, then this excitement will have a negative effect on your ability to perform. So in short, the term performance arousal describes the excitement or anxiety you may feel before and at times during performances. Performance arousal can be particularly strong in under the spotlight events, or other performing situations that you perceive as high-pressure. Ok. So how much positive performance arousal (excitement) do I need to get the best results? As a classical musician or singer performing in a recital or audition situation, high levels of excitement may make you feel like you are out of control. Likewise, performance anxiety can also make you feel out of control, and in addition may be accompanied by unpleasant physical sensations such as muscular tension, hyperventilation, sweaty palms, nausea, and so on. So, in traditional recital or audition situations, a moderately low level of positive performance arousal (excitement) will in most cases allow you to achieve your best possible results. That sounds like it should work in theory. But how do I actually make it happen? In this eBook you'll be shown the simple yet powerful technique of Intense Positive Visualisation . This technique has been specifically designed to help you obtain an ideal state of mind for your performing situations, regardless of your field of performance. Using Intense Positive Visualisation, you can achieve better results in auditions, and see how other high-pressure performance situations may be perceived as easy, comfortable, and dare I say, even a joy to experience! Familiarity To begin with, let's take a situation quite apart from a musical one. Let's imagine for a minute that you are an office worker beginning your first day at a new job. As with a recital or audition, this is a situation that can put you in the stressful position of not knowing exactly what will happen throughout the course of the experience. You might have a certain amount of information, but there are still many variables and details that are either unfamiliar, or completely unknown. You are also quite naturally aware that the outcome of the actual event is significant, especially given the importance placed on first impressions. What are some of the physical and mental responses that you might experience before and/or during your ever-important first day at the office? Perhaps you might have sweaty palms, shallow breathing, a churning stomach, or possibly mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety. However, after experiencing your new environment for a few days, you begin to perceive being at the office as no big deal. When this happens, the heightened excitement or anxiety (performance arousal) you experienced on your first day starts to disappear. Now, compare the number of times you've heard of the phrase I'm starting my new job today. Wish me luck! with the phrase It's my 30th day at the office today. Wish me luck! and not to mention It's my 2,623rd day at the office today. Wish me luck! It starts to sound ridiculous, doesn't it? So therefore, and this really is the crux of the matter, what is the difference between the ever so slightly ridiculous sounding 2,623rd day at the office and the 1st day at the office? The answer is familiarity! And it is a special sort of familiarity that helps us feel at ease, calm, confident and in control. This sort of familiarity can be referred to as positive conditioning. Riding the Roller Coaster To explain positive conditioning in plain English, picture this. You are at a theme park and are very nervous or anxious about riding that big, scary roller coaster for the first time. Even thinking about taking the plunge starts you off on a serious emotional roller coaster! Should I? Shouldn't I? I don't really want to after all. But I do want to try it, and all my friends are doing it. I can do it. I can't do it. It might be fun!? But what happens if we crash? Maybe I should have just stayed in bed this morning! Eventually you decide to board the roller coaster, and experience the ride. Riding the roller coaster turns out to be a positive experience you survived and even enjoyed it in some weird way! This makes your brain suddenly say Hey! That wasn't so bad after all! The next time you think about riding the roller coaster, you are perhaps only a little nervous or anxious. You make the decision to ride the roller coaster again, and again it turns out to be a positive experience you even had your eyes open this time! Your brain now says to you Hey! That was actually kinda fun! I wanna do it again! And so the next time you think about riding the roller coaster, you are looking forward to it, because you know it will be a fun, enjoyable experience! This is basically how positive conditioning works. However, what if your experiences are negative? For example, what happens if the first time you ride the roller coaster you get stuck at the top of the ride and are forced to dangle upside-down for 6 hours because of a technical problem? If this happens, your brain is probably going to say to you the next time you think about riding a roller coaster, Oi! Remember that last roller coaster experience?? It was horrible! I don't ever want to go through that again get me outta here! This is negative conditioning in action. The Routine Part 1 So, how do we ensure your brain tells you that auditions, recitals, and other high-pressure performing situations are easy and fun? How do you achieve positive conditioning when you only get one shot at something??? We'll answer these questions very soon! But for now, it's back to the office! After 30 days at the office, you know the routine... Wake up with the alarm clock, hit the snooze button, and sleep for an extra 10 minutes Get out of bed when the alarm rings for the second time Eat breakfast Have a shower and get dressed Brush teeth Shoes on Leave the house after locking the door Walk to the bus stop. Aim to arrive there in time to get on the number 85 bus that you know always leaves 2 or 3 minutes earlier than it's supposed to Board the bus Get off the bus at the appropriate stop Walk up to the building and in through the main entrance The Routine Part 2 A Greet the receptionist Sign in Walk up the stairs, bidding a fellow colleague a good day on the way Greet the other office workers as you pass them on your way to your desk Arrive at your desk, sit down, and start the day's work Lunch break for 45 minutes Work through to the late afternoon When it's time to leave, walk back down the stairs, out of the office, and out of the building All of these small but necessary actions are completed each day as part of your routine. Thinking back to your first day at the office, you didn't have this routine your first day was completely unfamiliar! This is the reason why you may have been feeling anxious or even over-excited (high performance arousal level), and the reason why you asked your partner, flatmate, friends, or family to wish you luck. Now, if it feels like we have wandered from the path of an under the spotlight performance situation, read the bullet points in The Routine Part 1 again, and then skip directly toThe Routine Part 2 B below. The Routine Part 2 B Walk around to the stage door of the venue Greet the receptionist at the desk Sign in Walk up the stairs and along the corridor to warm-up room marked ‘Soloist 1’ Take out your instrument, and begin your warm-up routine After some time, your accompanist enters the warm-up room With 15 minutes until your audition is scheduled to start, you rehearse entries and certain problem passages The stage manager knocks on the door, and asks if you are both ready You follow the stage manager to the wings in the off-stage area You walk confidently on stage, with your accompanist following closely behind You acknowledge the audition jury You begin the audition calmly, and confidently The performance begins, and continues in the most musical way you can possibly imagine You finish the last audition piece, acknowledge the jury, and finally walk off stage So, if you're a performer, and get the chance to be at the office for 30 days (performing in recitals or auditions every day for 30 days) you can get to know the routine, and become quite comfortable and familiar with it. But wait a second! You might be thinking: Ok, but the office worker has the opportunity to learn the routine and get familiar with it as they are in reality at the office every weekday. I'm not doing a recital or audition everyday. I only get one shot at this! What?!? You're right! You're not performing in a recital or audition everyday but you should be! What?!? Auditions and recitals don't come along everyday! In reality, no they don't! But in your mind, you can perform auditions and recitals as often as you wish! What do you mean?!? How does this work?!? By using specially designed visualisation techniques, you can use your mind to rehearse any one-shot performance as many times as you wish! Therefore, you can become familiar with your one-shot performing situation, well before it even happens! So, if you practise visualisation techniques, when you walk into your performing situation in reality, you're just like the office worker going to work on their 30th or even 2,623rd day at the office! In other words, you can feel, calm, confident, and in control in any performance situation! The Proof But wait just another second! Surely there is a vast difference between experiencing an event in reality and experiencing the same event in your imagination? After all, the office worker actually is at the office every day, and if I use visualisation, I'm only going to imagine myself being at the office. Can this really be the same thing? The short answer to this question is YES! According to many studies on visualisation in the field of sports psychology, the subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between actually experiencing an event, and simply imagining an event in vivid detail! Look at this example: One study on visualisation in sports psychology involved the members of three basketball teams of approximately equal skill level, practising shooting 3-pointers, for a period of 30 days. One of the teams practised neither physically on the court, nor in their minds during the duration of the study. Their improvement at the end of the study was not surprisingly 0%. Another team practised physically that is, on the basketball court for a period of one hour each day. After 30 days, their improvement was measured at 24%. The third team did not practise physically at all but was told to mentally visualise the game for one hour each day. At the end of the thirty day period, their improvement was a remarkable 23%. What was the reason for this? The sports scientists concluded that the subconscious mind cannot differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore, since the subconscious mind has a large influence on how you perform, positively conditioning your subconscious mind using Intense Positive Visualisation can have a huge effect on your success as a performer! Find out how to practise Intense Positive Visualisation in the next chapter! Intense Positive Visualisation Visualisation techniques can help you positively condition yourself to achieve an ideal state of mind, helping you to gain optimal results in your performing situations. In short, when visualising, you train your mind by entering a relaxed state and imagining the exact results you would like to achieve. By regularly practising visualisation techniques, you can condition yourself for success! In the book Performing in The Zone, three different types of visualisation techniques are explained: Snap Shot Intense Positive Visualisation The 5 Sense Visualisation Method Here in Just Another Day at the Office you're going to see exactly how the simple yet powerful technique of Intense Positive Visualisation can help you in your performing situations! Read on! Different points of view Intense Positive Visualisation can be carried out in the 1st person or 3rd person perspective. Using the 1st person perspective, you put yourself in the centre of the visualisation. For example, if you are a concert pianist, you would imagine yourself performing on stage from your own eyes, seeing your hands and the piano keyboard in front of you, taking in the experience as if you were actually carrying it out in reality. In the 3rd person perspective, you would see yourself from a distance, possibly from a seat in the audience, the back of the room, or even a position up in the ceiling somewhere above, behind, or beside you. Some performers find a 1st person visualisation to be more powerful and real, whereas others may find a 3rd person visualisation to be most effective. Experiment using both viewpoints, and discover which one works best for you. Intense Positive Visualisation explained To practise Intense Positive Visualisation, you will need to be undisturbed for a period of anywhere from ten minutes to an hour, depending on the length of the performance you are about to visualise. Intense Positive Visualisation is best carried out lying down on your back with your hands resting gently on your solar-plexus. You may choose to lie flat on the floor or on a yoga mattress. Lying down on a bed can be an acceptable alternative, and is at times preferable if practising this exercise just before sleeping. It's important to keep the body at a comfortable temperature throughout the duration of the visualisation, and therefore covering yourself with a blanket might be necessary. To begin Intense Positive Visualisation, gently close your eyes, and lightly touch your tongue to the front part of the roof of your mouth, just behind the teeth. This is a Qi Gong technique which forms an energy bridge to allow freer flow of energy in the human energy system. Try to keep the root of your tongue relaxed at all times. If you have trouble with this, simply let your tongue sit in its natural position and come back to this Qi Gong energy bridge technique at a later stage. Whilst in a horizontal position, allow the floor to take your weight. Feel your limbs becoming heavier the more relaxed they feel. Trust the floor it will hold you. Give in to the support from underneath. Trust, relax, and let go. Breathe gently through your nose. Allow your body to breathe as it needs to. The next section is designed to help you understand how Intense Positive Visualisation works. It is an example of one possible visualisation, taken from the perspective of a musician giving a recital, requiring a performance arousal level of +1 before the performance, +2 for the majority of the recital, and +3 for the climax of the concert. After reading the following example and understanding the process of Intense Positive Visualisation, you can then create your own personal visualisation to meet your specific needs. When creating your visualisation, remember to visualise events exactly as you want them to be Start of Intense Positive Visualisation example: You begin by imagining yourself at home, taking your performance clothes out of the wardrobe. You check to see that everything is in order with your clothes and your performance shoes. You put your performance clothes and shoes in a suit bag, pick up your instrument case, check to see if you have your keys and wallet, and leave the house, locking the door behind you. You walk down the stairs and out on to the street in a relaxed pace. Arriving at the metro (underground train/tube) station, you use your ticket to pass the barrier, and board your train. It's going to be a great show. Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. Getting off at the right stop, you stroll towards the recital hall, taking in the scenery on the way. Perhaps a seagull is calling in the distance? How do the trees look? Are there other people out walking? You take out your Cue Card and slowly read over your key words. Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. You arrive at the venue and greet the receptionist on the way in. After signing in, you head to your warm up room where your accompanist is already waiting for you. You ask your accompanist for 15 minutes by yourself so that you can prepare yourself and warm up. You unpack your instrument, and begin your warm up routine. It feels fantastic to start warming up. You know your accompanist is going help you put on a great show. You know that the venue has a warm acoustic. Your performance clothes are ironed and your shoes polished. You are ready. You are about to share part of yourself with some people who want to hear you they want to be touched by you. It's going to be a warm, giving, rewarding experience for both them and you. It's going to be great! Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. After 15 minutes your accompanist walks in to the room. Before you begin to rehearse, you check your Cue Card again, and go through your Pre-Performance Ritual, C3 calm, controlled, confident the C3 and +1 on your Cue Card gives you a familiar, friendly reminder. You rehearse the beginning of the first piece with your accompanist. It's easy and free. The acoustic in the practise room is dry, but you know that out there in the hall the space will take care of you the warm reverb will beautify every nuance and add to the experience for everyone. Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. When it is time, you are called to the wings of the stage. You take one final look at your Cue Card and go through the C3 exercise again. You can hear the chatter of the audience, and see the stage in front of you. You walk calmly, securely, and with purpose on to the stage where you are greeted by applause. They like you and you haven't even done anything yet! This is going to be a fun performance! Your performance arousal level is at +1. You feel relaxed, positive, and calm. Whilst your accompanist adjusts the piano stool, you look out into the audience and make visual contact with the people you are about to touch with your performance. Your body language exudes confidence and assuredness. You greet the audience, introducing yourself and your accompanist, and begin to talk about the evening's programme. Your voice is stable, powerful, and reflects the perfect +1 state of performance arousal that you are currently in. Your voice resonates effortlessly to the back of the hall. You are in The Zone. After your brief introductory talk, you look to your accompanist who is ready to work with you. This is going great! You begin your performance, and your performance arousal gently rises to a +2. (At this point in the visualisation I strongly suggest that you visualise your entire performance that is, see and hear yourself giving the most musical, fantastic, controlled, inspired, moving performance you can possibly imagine. Use either 1st or 3rd person perspective. In your visualisation you are doing everything right it feels fantastic and sounds amazing. You are at an ideal level of performance arousal for this performing situation, and totally in The Zone.) Just before the climax of the final piece, you turn the page, and see the familiar figure of +3 that you wrote earlier at the top of your music. You step it up a notch, and raise your performance arousal level to +3. The music takes on a new life and energy and this is felt by you, your accompanist, and the audience. Finishing the concert at a +3 level your audience erupts in cheers and applause. You did it! It was great!! You were in The Zone!!! You acknowledge the audience, and walk off stage. End of Intense Positive Visualisation example. When you feel ready, slowly begin to move your body again. How did it feel to give that amazing performance? You were great! Everything just clicked. You were totally and completely in The Zone throughout the entire process. Intense Positive Visualisation can be practised every day before a performance. By doing so, you can condition yourself to perform in The Zone. Intense Positive Visualisation is highly recommended to all performers about to give important performances, auditions or recitals. The earlier you begin Intense Positive Visualisation the better, but at least one week prior to the performance event should be the minimum. In your own visualisations, remember to assess how much positive performance arousal you need at various moments: +1, +2, +3, +4, or +5. Do you need to be at the same activation level for the entire event, or does your performance arousal level need to modulate at various times? Remember that imagining yourself calm and relaxed probably isn't going to give you the best results if you are preparing for an intensely physical, fast-paced performance situation. Likewise, visualising getting yourself psyched up and exploding out of the gates isn’t going to help you if you are preparing for a more delicate +1 situation, such as a slow movement of a concerto. Visualising performing with an ideal level of performance arousal is important! By using Intense Positive Visualisation, you are using positive conditioning to become familiar with as many elements of your performance day as possible, and become used to experiencing these always in a positive light. Notice also that Intense Positive Visualisation goes into as much detail as possible, both before and during your performance. This is to help take away as many surprises and unknown factors on the day of your performance as possible. It may help the accuracy and intensity of your visualisation to do some reconnaissance by actually visiting the performance venue prior to your performance event. This is easily possible for students giving final recitals for example, or sportspeople playing at a local venue. Try to also incorporate some variations in your visualisations. Perhaps the audience isn’t ready and takes an extra 5 minutes to get seated? Perhaps your accompanist arrives later than expected due to traffic problems? Maybe the stage curtains are blue and not red? Perhaps the warm up room is bigger or smaller? Regardless of what happens, you are prepared, and you stay in your ideal level of positive performance arousal. You are completely stable, and in The Zone, always. By using Intense Positive Visualisation every day over a period of one week, you have in effect carried out your performance successfully 7 times. Practise this visualisation 3 times per day for a week and you’ve completed 21 successful, positive, great, fantastic, easy, ideal performances, and have been in The Zone every single time! Remember that your subconscious doesn’t differentiate between what is real and what is imagined. Therefore by using Intense Positive Visualisation diligently, you are conditioning yourself for success by becoming familiar with performing in The Zone! By using the technique of Intense Positive Visualisation, you can experience your next audition, recital or ‘high-pressure’ performance as just another day at the office! Conclusion Intense Positive Visualisation is just one of over 20 effective techniques fully explained in the book Performing in The Zone. These techniques can help you to become secure, confident, comfortable, in control, and successful in your performing situations. With the book Performing in The Zone, you get more than just techniques. You get: To find out what really goes on inside your mind and body in performing situations To learn about The Zone, what it is, and how you can get there A complete explanation of performance arousal, and how it can affect you positively or negatively in performing situations Over 20 techniques specifically designed to help you get better results in any field of performance The 12 Week Performance Success Programme to help you incorporate the techniques from Performing in The Zone into your performing life An introduction to additional sources of advice and information to further aid you in your journey to The Zone! By reading Performing in The Zone, you can: Perform at an optimal level Achieve better results when under the spotlight Become a master of yourself and your performance environment Realise your true performing potential Become a better performer by learning to perform in The Zone! In addition, at http://www.thezonebook.com you can subscribe to: The very latest techniques for controlling performance anxiety and over-excitement A personal email support service One-on-one coaching services – in person, via chat, or via video conferencing (limited number of places available) What should I do now? 1) Visit www.thezonebook.com 2) Sign up for a 20% Pre-Release Discount on "Performing in The Zone!" 3) Read Performing in The Zone, apply the information in the book, and enjoy the results! 4) Keep visiting www.thezonebook.com (as well as the blog, at http://www.thezonebook.com/blog) regularly for news updates, the latest techniques for getting better results in performing situations, and special offers! View full articles