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Found 19 results

  1. Hey guys I'm a 14-year-old girl, who has ALWAYS been an EDM girl. Which means not so much singing, more beats. After Avicii´s death, I just couldn't bear listening to EDM, so I tried to find something else. I then started to listen to regular pop/acoustic music. And Jesus Christ I love it. In 2 months I'm gonna start singing lessons. I just bought a guitar. I am not a shy girl, and I love to perform (i have been doing theater since a very young age). Besides that, I have an uncle who had a lot of success in the industry, but of course, I still need the talent. My question is. Am I too old to become a professional/famous singer? Before ill be able to sing good, play the guitar like a pro, and write some breathtaking songs, will I be too old by then? able to get signed/recognition? Thanks in advance <3 P.S just to mention it, I don't want this only because of fame, its because I love to sing, and music. PPS. Are there any masterclasses, videoes etc. you could recommend learning how to sing?
  2. Join us! Robert Lunte & Draven Grey Ask Me Anything Singing Webinar Wednesday, January 24th, 10am PST. Broadcast on FB Live: https://www.facebook.com/events/158276921614589/
  3. Hello I recently discovered a YT-Channel called JT Machinima (now JT Music) and I enjoy a lot of their songs. Their main content are rap videos with some singing passages in them. So naturally I tried to sing/rap along and.... I am really bad at it. Obviously, I am a 16 year old boy who never did sth like this before. Song that I tried: So my question: I am a complete beginner. How can I get started and work my way up to sth like this song? How can I sing/rap without damaging my voice? Because when I tried to sing along my voice just breaks/goes silent because I cant reach that pitch. And even if, then my voice gets hoarse. Ps: Singing lessons are not a viable option right now, because I just want to try it and not start paying money or sth. Maybe later. Furthermore I am also kinda shy/scared when it comes to singing so I don't want to join a choir or sth public. Thank you in advance!
  4. Hi all, I'm gauging interest for a platform I'm looking to start. Its purpose is to provide high-quality material to allow you to self-teach a multitude of different skills using efficient learning methods. The methods that will be taught are incredibly powerful, allowing for quick and considerable results if you are willing to put the work in. The site would be a subscription-based service, with some free content, and payment providing access to additional content teaching you what these self-teaching methods are, and then applying them to many different skills. While we wouldn't teach you the skill itself, we're teaching you how to teach yourself how to do it. The whole idea being to learn how to learn effectively, which you can then apply to singing or indeed any other skill that you'd like to learn. I've added a poll to this post, so please put your vote in. I'd also love to hear any additional comments or questions if you have any below. Thanks, John
  5. Hii... i'm posting this one link here... its a pretty untidy take at the song I am confused as to whether this hooty sound is head voice or what is supposedly called the 'reinforced falsetto' .. what i know is that its not meaty enough the way true resonant head voice is ... I've nowadays taken to exercising for a fuller head voice..But i wanted to know just what i've done here
  6. Hi, TMV-ers! I thought it would be useful today to write a bit about how I approach and talk about vocal technique, in the hope that by putting these ideas out there, you can pick and choose some of them that make sense to you, and that you will hopefully find useful. As a starting point for this, I am inspired to recall an idea I read in Cornelius Reid's book, 'Voice - Psyche and Soma'. I cannot remember the exact quote, but the gist of it is that the mind and the body are acting together to produce the singing voice. I think this means for vocal technique that singing is simultaneously psychological and physical. A survey of books written on singing over the last 200 years shows that every teacher has a different approach to working with singers, a different mix of the psychological and physical. Some favor emphasis of the physical aspects, and talk about doing things with body parts, muscle groups, tendons, nasal cavities, lower jaw, the tongue, etc. Others emphasize the sensations of the singer, i.e., 'sing so that you feel such and such a sensation in such and such location in your body'. Still others rely on metaphors and imagery, i.e., 'sing out the top of your head', or 'imagine that you are projecting the tone toward a target on the wall', or 'think of a happy memory'. I don't do any of these alone. Perhaps better stated, I do them all, cherry-picking ideas and approaches from these authors that have these characteristics: 1) are based on anatomical fact, acoustical principles, and physiologically healthy bodily action. 2) are easily expressed and understood using in common language 3) can be practiced beneficially by the student without the teacher's constant supervision 4) help the singer build their ability to sing what they desire to sing - whatever genre or style that is. When it comes to teaching, I am also an optimist. :-) I believe that most people, with very few exceptions, can learn to sing for their own & others' enjoyment if they approach it with patience. In my next posts, I will be writing about the basics of how the voice works - 'what happens where' in the mind and body to produce healthy vocal tone. Along the way, I will address some common misconceptions I've encountered, and clarify some terms that are often used by singers and teachers, but not well understood. I have no illusions that the way I approach this is the only way, or even the best way. I am very interested to hear other ways of doing it as well, as that is how I learn myself. If you have a particular area you'd like to discuss, send me an e-mail or comment to my blog, and I will pull that text forward in a response. Best Regards, Steve
  7. Vocal Aerobics: Essentials for Today's Singers with Julie Lyonn Lieberman Running Time and Format: 60-minute instructional DVD Distributed by: Hal Leonard Corporation (7777 W. Bluemound Rd. Milwaukee, WI 53213, 800-637-2852, http://www.halleonard.com /) to bookstores, music stores and schools through the world) Release Date: September 30, 2008 Description: World-renowned music educator, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, has created an instructional DVD for singers. Her practice system focuses on cognitive illumination and muscular facility. This system can help develop a vibrating palette that communicates spirit, emotion, and viewpoint all riding effortlessly on the breath. It is supported by science yet connected to individuality. By first guiding the exercises in silence, her intent is to prevent the tension and misuse that often occur when the main impetus for the creation of musical sound is fueled by a brew of yearning and fear mixed with a fixation on the end product. Topics covered include: Section I Introduction, Creating a Cathedral, Breath Anatomy Section II Aerobicizing the Tongue, Mobilizing the Lips Section III Balancing the non-dominant side of the mouth, Posture, The Power of Imagery, Warming Up and Warming Down, Vocal Health Ms. Lieberman trusts the innate intelligence of the client by making sure that they understand how and why each region of their vocal anatomy works the way it does. Through extensive experience teaching, she has developed ergonomically based exercises that are fulcrum triggers: they get the job done more efficiently and faster. Lieberman has discovered that when the lights are turned on and the equipment is illuminated, epiphanies abound and can continue to be generated by the singer, long after the teacher leaves the room. In-depth studies while writing her critically acclaimed book. You Are Your Instrument, followed by her three spin-off DVDs (The Vocalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, The Instrumentalist's Guide to Fitness, Health and Musicianship, and The Violin in Motion) place a unique spin on this body of work. Most voice teachers use exercises that are effective in the long run or they would be put out of business, but the older model for mentorship entailed I do and do as I say approach. It was a faith-based relationship; the student was expected to blindly follow the teacher's directions without specifics, context, or adequate rapport with the musculature required to do the job smoothly and consciously. The belief behind that style of work was that if you repeated each exercise enough times (often while inadvertently thinking about something else), that it would help you sing better. This is the long, slow train to success. Julie believes that it's time to replace unconscious repetition with less activity, more awareness, and targeted control. She will help you convert the butcher's knife into a laser beam! To Order: see JulieLyonn.com and click on Vocalist's Corner About the author Julie Lyonn Lieberman (JulieLyonn.com) has specialized in working with creative vocalists in her NYC music studio over the last 3 decades. Her students have included artists such as Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Vanessa Carlton, Grammy-nominated Putnam Murdock, Indie music award winner Kara Suzanne (best new folk-singer/songwriter album of the year), and critically acclaimed lyricist Julie Flanders, to name a few. Ms. Lieberman is an improvising violinist/singer, composer, recording artist, journalist, educator, and the author of nine books and six instructional DVDs. A dynamic, participatory workshop leader, her ability to stimulate participants to think and grow in new ways has earned respect for her work throughout the world. In addition to currently teaching improvisation at Juilliard, she has presented for organizations like Music Educators Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, the Juilliard MAP Program, Carnegie/Weill Hall/Juilliard's The Academy, National Young Audiences, and the Carnegie Hall LinkUp. Lieberman is a J. D'Addario Elite Clinician. Alfred Publishing publishes her scores.
  8. Hey folks, I've made a short how-to video that I thought might be useful to you. It came from watching videos of myself performing and wondering how I was managing to move so damn strangely. Fast forward through four years of dancing lessons, and I've tried to distil down the knowledge I've acquired in to a simple default step to help people feel better and keep the audience engaged. I hope it is useful to you all. http://www.thatdancingchap.com/?p=5
  9. So, where do we start? Every good voice coach will tell you that before any drills or techniques should be considered you must make sure you know how to behave with your voice mechanism. First, let's not do it any worse then, let's try to make it better. Who needs Vocal Hygiene? EVERYONE does! Listen to a full radio show : http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-156371
  10. There are hundreds if not thousands of ideas about the 'best' approach to learning to sing. I've just written my own thoughts on the subject, and anticipate a bit of a backlash when the book comes out next month; I highly doubt that many in the voice teaching establishment will enjoy my insistence that 'proper' singing begins only when you 'stop thinking, forget technique, and just sing!' I nonetheless hold tenaciously to this notion, and am thrilled that an increasing number of researchers and thinkers do so as well. I reference many of these men and women in my book, and continue to stumble upon the inspiring writings of those sharing this 'first, follow your instincts' approach to learning. According to D.T. Suzuki, creator of the method by the same name: "We do not eat as we did in our infancy; eating is mixed with intellection. And as we all realize this invasion by the intellect or the mixing with the intellect, simple biological deeds are contaminated by ego-centric interest. This means that there is now an intruder into the unconscious, which can no longer directly or immediately move into the field of consciousness." Indeed, the process of thinking about an activity often screws up the activity itself - particularly when the skills necessary to achieve that activity are by design organic, intuitive and unconscious. If you'd like some proof on this issue, try explaining to someone how to stand, talk or walk, and you'll have a good sense of the confusion and frustration that many beginning and professional singers alike encounter when trying to 'learn' to sing. Psychologist C. Peter Bankart calls this the "sense domain being invaded by intellect". Author Eloise Ristad suggests that we remedy this unhealthy and counterproductive "technical addiction" by "going beyond the rigid set of rules that previously formed our boundaries". Neuroscientists concur, and are racking up research proving that intuitive learning (involving the emotional centers of the amygdala and brain stem) as opposed to technical learning (involving the inhibitory processes of the pre-frontal cortesis), allow people to more fully 'own' information in not only the short-, but the long-term. In non-science speak, this means that true knowing is inherent, and precedes doing, which in turn precedes conscious reflection, naming, categorization and processing. Just as you can't be technically taught how to speak, walk or stand up, you can't really be taught how to sing. The process is one of trial and error, with practice becoming an ego-free act of familiarization and witnessing of the natural experience. Growth and expansion of the voice beyond this witnessing are playful acts best approached with wonder and curiosity. When the Technical attempts to precede and supplant the Intuitive, the natural, interconnected flow of activity ceases (as does the fun), and problems begin. One needs to first witness, observe and allow the natural experience of singing to emerge before attempting to technically comprehend, logically explore and consciously manipulate the voice. It's imperative that the process occur in this order... 'training' (in the traditional, classical sense) before a natural understanding is recognized and fostered can cause not only a one- or two-dimensional understanding of a very three-dimensional experience, but physical- and mental- tensions that are increasingly difficult to extricate as time goes by.
  11. I am currently a member of the "Blues Singers Group" on this site. I went on it just a bit ago to check on the activity. I am sad to see that there has been little activity since mid February. Talk about being blue about something, with all the talent & intellegence I have seen since joining this site I would have thought more contributions would be proffered. Singing the Blues is akin to playing the Blues on guitar, or sax, or harmonica, or piano. We attribute W. C. Handy with the 1st Bastion who held the Blues tune up like a torch, blazing in the twilight of inspiration. If not for Bessie Mae Smith @ 1919 who with her voice launched a timeless hit, we may never have heard Handy's " St. Louis Blues". Louie Armstrong may have never joined her with the Coronet & this song may have passed on into obscurity. Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Louie Armstrong, B.B. King, the names go on & on forming & forging a foundation that gave us around 100 years later a place in our hearts for the love they had & we share of the blues. I 1st believe that with any form of singing, warm up is required. Your voice is an instrument, & thus must be treated as such. Most musicians have a warm up routine. Guitarists may run thru open chords to limber up their fingers, & then run a few pentatonic scales just to keep your right & left hands timing just so. A Saxaphonist may limber up his keys & ensure the reed is seated just right in the ligature. The point being the voice needs tuning up. The differance with singing the Blues, is that there is so much emotion added into the song, that in all reality, a Blues song could be in perpetual evolution. Meaning that each night you could hear a varaience in the songs composition. Before delving depper into how the Blues can shape the singer & the song, we must try to capture the essence of what exactly is "The Blues" The older Blues players had (even before age assisted) had the Blues etched into their soul, and you could actually see it when you faced one of these Icons. Be it a damaged gait in the way they walked as if the weight of their world was upon them, or in the depth of their eyes that held you captive when they shook your hand. A hand that was caullosed and weathered and felt like worn leather. The pain, or joy, or confusion of a world turned upsidedown for so long that had been taught to be kept down inside of themselves. The only outlet was in the form of music. The feelings began to pour thru their fingers, up from their diaphrams. between vocal chords, and out for all the world to see. Paul Cezanne one of the later impressionist's said about his medium of art; "We all share the same misery, for a moment come and share it's beauty" His work was dark & moody & he was identifying his work as beauty. Sounds much like the Blues eh? The Blues to "The Modern Vocalist" is something or some things that tug onto the heartstrings of the vocalist. In these times (2009) society is indeed blue! The future is bleak, the economy sucks, people are losing their homes left & right. Banks are getting bailed out all the while handing out huge bonuses' to the shareholders. Confidence is low, fear is high, crime is on the rise. Men feel emasculated because they are out of work. Woman are in a flux as what to do. Jobs that are available don't make it past the week. As these realities begin to hit home, the Blues slowly creep in. Working gigs are fading away to Karaoke, or Open Mike nights. Then somewhere from deep inside you have this feeling...its slow...sultry...deep...painful. It comes out of your body. It makes you want to peel away your skin. Now your up there on a cramped stage as the band senses your vibe & rolls out a group of chords that gives you a chance to open up that bottle you have kept stopped up, or crack open that door that holds the pain and you lash out the words like you never have before. Your bandmates don't know what to do. They look at the Bass Player & Drummer for direction on the downbeat. The rest of the group seems to "feel" what you are trying to say. Four minutes later the Guitarist has taken your lead and is harmonizing with your voice. You all feel a sense of commonality as you wind down the song. You're soaked in sweat like you never have been before. The song ends & for the 1st time you are emotionally drained from singing one song! Your head may spin, you close your eyes & realize you have exposed a very private side of yourself. It's then that you feel naked to the audience. Yet the people are going wild. You realize that your emotions have taken over and you are singing the Blues! No teacher has taught you this, this came from deep down inside you. It's warm & powerful. You feel elated as it carries you the rest of the night. You go home...too jazzed to sleep, but so drained of emotion that all you can do is sit in your comfortable chair, drink in hand running the sets thru your mind, your performance, the bands performance, knowing how magical it was. Could it be repeated again the next night? It's then that you realize you really sang the Blues, instead of singing the Blues! Leading up to the other question in the title? Does getting the Blues make you sing ...better? One argument is that as listedhaving the Blues causes you to supress these feelings until you can find a suitable outlet? I feel having or getting the Blues makes you a naturally better singer. When you sing, you take a story put to music and sing along with the music. As you know the melody is not a monotonus group of notes. The notes go up...down...fast...slow...atempo...off-beat...stacatto. In having all these opportunities to emote, having the Blues gives you a medium to express all that you have kept down. What's even better, is the fact that the audience shares the same highs & lows. You are a representative of all what people are thinking...feeling....hiding. By doing what you are doing on stage, you allow the average joe/joanne to feel your pain too. For one moment in time, you all come together and magic is created by the haunting saddness of the Blues. It is my opinion that both questions are answered in the affirmative. You sing for an outlet of these feelings, & the feelings make you sing better because of the power of the release of the Blues. Can you be taught to sing the Blues? Only if you can be taught to release the weight of your world in front of strangers, & celebrate in the beauty of what we all see as bad, but as bad as it is, we ALL share these doubts, fears, secrets, and wishes of celebrating the beauty that is the BLUES! So....what do you think? Regards, cdbone501 Listen Til it Hz
  12. The longevity of a singer's career depends on having the skill to consistently deliver quality sound without compromised vocal integrity i.e. sing your guts out without hurting yourself. A powerful belt, capably executed with good technique is an indispensable expressive tool. Yet ever since the belt became a necessary skill for singers, the debate has raged on how does one produce a healthy belt? First we need to define what is a belt. Easier said than done. The debate rages on in professional vocal circles. Here's my definition, which has been formed through research, experience and sitting through many professional voice organization seminars. To belt means: clearly spoken lyrics and unaffected vocal production a natural, powerful, communicative sound. In other words, speech on musical pitch, which admittedly may sound like an oxymoron, but voice science supports this concept. Done poorly, the belt boarders on a harsh shout or yell and often causes vocal damage. Don't do that! As an alternative to traditional vocal training, which does not teach belt, I developed a specialized technique that fills the gap between classical training and contemporary vocal needs. The Morganix Method, Sing Like You Speak, is designed to produce an open, clear, communicative instrument flexible enough to sing any style and play any character without strain even when belting. Singing has traditionally been considered a right-brain only activity. Yet as emerging research improves our understanding of the acoustics and mechanics of the vocal apparatus, the rules of theater performance voice and singing blend into one voice. Speech is a left-brain activity that is natural, comfortable and easy. You talk all day long without a passing thought to technique. You speak on pitch in normal conversation. And you speak in rhythm sometimes smooth and legato, sometimes pointed and staccato. Neurologically, speaking on musical pitch requires a crossover in the brain in order to speak (left brain) on musical pitch (right brain). Yet, it has been proven that emotionally inflected speech, i.e., speech with pitch variation, crosses over from left-brain to the expressive right-brain where music is processed. It does so without the physical tension and psychological fear surrounding singing. That is why the foundation of a healthy belt, healthy singing in fact, rests in speaking on pitch to combine the ease of speech with the music of singing. For more creative tips visit my website, www.VocalPowerTools.com . Sign up for my mailing list and receive one practice tip per week for a year! Go forth and create wonderful music!
  13. (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!
  14. I get asked a lot on my YouTube channel about how to sing without your larynx shooting up really high behind your chin. This can be challenging to any singer beginner or advanced. We naturally raise our larynx when we speak and swallow so it can easily carry over into our singing unfortunately it's doesn't help our singing at all. A slight raise of the larynx is necessary for some vocal effects like twanging the epiglottal tunnel, but in general its unhealthy for singing. So what can we do to help us disconnect from raising the larynx when we sing? Try this exercise on for size. 1. Imitate the face of an ape or monkey saying oo, oo, oo your jaw should be low and the lips outstretched uniformly to form a small, round opening. (yes -you will look silly) 2. With OO sound, start in your middle range and slide down gently to your lowest note in one continuous sound. It should sound like an old air raid siren winding down. The slide down should be slow and as even as possible. 3. Slip into an AH sound at the very bottom each time you do it. 4. Gradually raise the pitch you start on step by step. Continue to let the OO sound drop and turn into the AH as you reach your lowest note. 5. Continue raising the start pitch until you start singing in falsetto and the OO slides through your break area. *IMPORTANT* Don't make any changes in how you physically do the notes or change your volume to get through the break area. 6. Keep the exercises as deep as possible by keeping your jaw low and the lips puckered forward. Your lips may tremble a bit as a result of the tension you are opposing, but that's OK, let it happen. What's Going On: The monkey face is not used for singing those vowel sounds but for disconnecting the muscles that lift the larynx. The Lifter Muscles as they are called, are part of the chain of swallowing and when they are stretched the larynx is given some freedom. The slide down in pitch helps coordinate the muscles used for making pitch but nothing else. Its common to have some falling off of the notes at first because the larynx isn't used to acting by itself. Thats OK let it happen. It gets better the more you do this exercise. The goal of this exercise is to achieve a very slow and smooth slide down through the break area without a flip in the voice or any extra effort. This helps promote depth in your singing and control of the pitch without using any external muscles that just aren't needed. Once you become comfortable with exercise, add a return slide back up to your starting pitch and that OO sound. This not only helps disconnect the lifting muscles but also aids in breath support. If you run out of air before you get back to the top go back and do some more breathing exercises!!! Till Next Time Keep Rockin Kevin Richards www.rockthestagenyc.com
  15. In some ways it is harder to learn to sing backup that being a solo singer. When you are singing solo, you do not have to worry about blending in or following someone else, they have to follow you! Not so when you are the second singer or "backup" as it is known. When this is the case, you have to be aware of the main singers phrasing, nuances and even possible mistakes. Listening Listening is the most important skill a backup singer has to learn. It is far more important to blend in and not over shadow the main vocal than it is to showcase your own voice. This is not the time for standing out, you are there to enhance, color and accentuate the main vocal, not to over power it. You will not be asked back if it is felt you are only interested in your self. The best backup singer is one who goes virtually un-noticed. Sometimes people may not even remember that there was a backup singer, this is ok, and you did your job! Blending In In order to blend in with the main vocal there are many things you must keep in mind. First, position yourself where you can see the face and lips of the main vocalist. This is so very important. You cannot know when they are going to start a phrase or end one if you cannot see them. Also you will definitely not be able to react when they make a mistake. Sometimes you will need to sing a different verse for example because they started on the wrong one. If you are just looking at the music or going by what you have memorized you will be singing over the main vocal with a different verse and guess who will be blamed? Sometimes they will indicate by a nod of the head or a hand gesture that they want to repeat a section or go back to "the top" and you will not know this if you have your head buried in the music in front of you. Learn to watch them all the time. Phrasing This goes along with watching the main vocalist but also deserves special mention. You must ideally start the phrase with the main vocal and end the phrase with the main vocal. This is very difficult to do but there are some little tips to doing a good job even if you are not familiar with this particular vocalist or their phrasing habits. (And everyone has theirs) First as mentioned before, watch them very carefully to see when they actually start the phrase. Begin your line only when you are sure they have started and start yours quietly. This allows room to grow and to blend in imperceptibly. This seems like a very easy thing to do, but most people forget and try to jump in where it seems best and they end up sounding awful because they came in at the wrong time. If you start quietly and come up to the level of the main vocal you will have much more success in this regard. The same thing applies in reverse in the closing part of the phrase, the end if you will. Start preparing your ending before they get there. Anticipate the end coming up and watch them. You will know by observing when the end is coming up. Make sure you watch their lips and face to see when they might end. Do not get caught singing after they have ended! This can be very, very embarrassing. Also a note about beginning and ending consonants. Sometimes when two or more people are singing a phrase there can be multiple popping "p's" or sibilant sounds as each singer attempts to sing at the same time. A neat trick to avoid this is to drop the first consonant entirely when you are the backup singer. If the line is something like "peter piper picked a peck of", you as a backup vocalist might sing "eter-iper-icked-a-eck-of". This enables the main singer to have the definite first consonant of the phrase without you running over them or being out-of-sync with them. So when you are called to be a backup singer, remember you are there to blend in, not stand out. Enjoy! Learn to Sing ,Play Music, Enjoy Music for life! http://www.SimpleMusicSecrets.comBackup
  16. I hear so much complaining about this subject, I just wanted to lay my practical experience on you. Free. First, three pre-conditions: 1. if you are a very materialistic person, skip this article, I don't think you are going to like what it says. 2. if you don't have the music where you want it art-wise, you might want to go work on that, this article isn't going to help you much either. You will be better off by practicing and studying and working on your music instead. you will need to get the art pretty close to where you want it, before you should worry about making much of a living out of it. 3. determine if you are actually called to be a musician. If you aren't called, all the gyrations in the world, won't make it work. If you are called, no matter what you do, it's going to work. this determination will solve most of the problems you are going to encounter. Assuming these three conditions are met, you are financially workable and you have the music where you want it and you are surely called into the art, here goes, in no particular order as i am want: a. keep your expenses very low. read that one again. move someplace cheap. drive a good used car. do all the things it takes to be a secure un-monied person. you have to have health insurance. you have to have a reliable car [unless you live in nyc or something]. You have to have some money in savings. You have to pay your taxes. don't have a big expense of alcohol or drugs or any drag on your system like that. I wouldn't even smoke. Use your head. Spend very little, save as much as you can and don't get into any big expenditure until you can afford it, maybe never. Buy your gear used. research as much as you can. Think about it really hard before you part with a dollar. Learn how to honestly add and subtract without emotion. If you spend more than you take in, you lost money. I can't tell you how many folks that I run into that have trouble with this. If you bring in more that went out guess what? You just made money. Stick to this low-overhead model, if you end up making a bunch of dough, you already know how to deal with it. If not, you still get to keep working because you don't have a bunch of stuff that you have to dust and pay for. The more overhead you tack on, the harder it's going to be. And the easier it is to get knocked off course. b. however, don't be a cheapskate. Tithe or donate faithfully whatever your heart tells you to do. Pay your band as much as you can. Never withhold a laborers wages. Tip well. Give street musicians money. Become involved in charity work. c. be totally square on your taxes. render unto caesar that which is caesar's. if you try to fudge on this, it will come back to bite you every time. get receipts for everything, 1099 everyone no matter what, unless they are a corporation. be totally on top of this or you are burning money in a pile on the lawn. claim every dollar you make and take every deduction. otherwise you are a drag on the system. keep perfect records. d. your basic infrastructure will have to consist of these things: a good lawyer, bookkeeper, cpa, doctor, a mechanic, an instrument repair person, web person, and someone in your circle that will always tell you the truth. Maybe a backup of each one. And do what they say. These are all musts, even for solo acts. Then later you can add a good agent. Then maybe a manager if you have lots of stuff to deal with like a label. You can grow from there. If you don't assemble a good team of the first eight people on that list, you are likely to have problems every time you turn around and you might not have a way to fix them. e. if you are going into a deal with any entity, seek two things: 1. the arrangement must be win/win. win/lose is ultimately lose/lose. avoid that. 2. make an agreement that either one of you can walk away at any time and everything is cool. f. keep working on your art. Keep taking lessons and studying and working. this is the main art strategy. Research, learn, study, experiment, develop, edit. g. don't be afraid to do other things to make money in the short term. This can be a very rewarding experience. Historically musicians have been barbers and bartenders and all kinds of stuff to make ends meet. This is totally fine. don't worry about it. It's cool. Do what you need to do. Waiting tables will give you lots of stuff to write songs about. I used to call myself the king of the part time job, because I could get up out of my chair at any time and go get a job of some sort. Not that it would be the greatest job of course, but I could go and get something going. I've cleaned pools, painted apartments, done maintenance work, taught music, worked in a factory, threw newspapers, drove a delivery truck, cooked, all kinds of stuff, and none of it killed me. through it all i was able to keep practicing and writing music and studying what i was doing. bills? Hey no problem, go flip a few burgers and I can pay that and get back to playing the banjo. Get a job in a dance band whatever I have to do. Just live within your means and you can avoid so many hassles. Hassles interrupt your practice routine. h. keep your art the main focus. It isn't about you it's about your art. Do what's good for your art and don't draw attention to yourself as much as the art. If your main focus is on the art, waiting tables is no big deal because you are doing it to support your art. If your main focus is you, you are not going to like waiting tables. you will feel like you are way too good for that. i. avoid the performance mentality. I know this sounds ridiculous in a performance based industry. But think about this. Here is a recipe for disaster. my value = my performance + other people's opinions The reason why, is that someday, you are going to have an off day and/or someone is going to criticize you. If you put your value in the world like that, you are going to have a bad time of it. I speak from experience. i only learned this at the age of 46. Finding my true value fixed this for me. [Write me if you want to know what it is.] But establish your value outside of how well you did on the gig and what the papers said about you. Otherwise you are going to be miserable and you are going to make everyone else miserable. Somedays you play better than others. This doesn't make you a great person. Somedays you make lots of errors, this doesn't make you a bad person. h. don't gossip. gossip means you aren't in the problem or the solution, you are just talking about someone and probably gaining pleasure from something bad not happening to you or envying something good that happened to someone else. spend your energy on getting better at your art. i. record labels. they can help or they can drag you down. Here's the scoop. If they expect you to be the primary distributor of the product, don't sign the deal. The typical deal is a 90/10 split, you get the ten minus every expense related to the project. Thus you are paying for everything and giving the label 90 percent of the gross. read that sentence again. If they aren't really really offering you something good in terms of promotion, or something....some tangible quantitized tie-in to something bigger, skip it. You can hire that stuff yourself easier. Talk to other artists on the roster and ask them what they think. any more, if you are an emerging artist, it's going to be hard to find a label home. They are losing so much dough they only want for sure money makers or somewhat less money losers on the roster, and they are dropping folks right and left. this is all good for you. Take heart. It's a 90/10 deal and you get the 10 and they want you to be the primary distributor of the product plus pay for the whole deal, those are not very good terms. In addition they will charge you eight bucks plus shipping for your own cds that you can make for either zero or one dollar. And they might complain about every little detail. Again if they really have an idea for a bang up thing they are thinking of, by all means have a go. If they are motivated and have a track record and have ideas and are workable, they can really help. however, you might want to have an out. have an out clause in there. shooting from the hip, i'd tell you to avoid the whole thing and do it yourself. It's very likely that the person that brings your act into the label fold will get fired. then you can get stuck with four years left on the deal and no one will return your calls. then they just hope you will get another deal and someone will buy out the rest of the contract. lot of bands close up shop at this point. there are some labels that operate with different models. i have had very good success with them. they tend to be more punk rock style outfits. you might want to investigate that. the standard deal referred to in the preceeding paragraph is pretty hard to profit from unless the contract is on your letterhead. the punk rock deal goes something like this, all the black ink goes in a list, all the red ink goes in a list, find the difference, split what's left if it's a positive number. fifty fifty. these are really the only deals i ever made money on. the point is, there are some other ways to look at stuff contractually. if the deal is win/win, great. if it's win/lose, skip it. if the label in question is locked into doing contractual things a certain way, this won't be for your benefit. you are creative, your business arrangements can be creative. j. the main business strategy is to build your own audience. if you have a draw, agents, labels or investors [which i do not recommend] and stuff will come to you. if you skip this step and start trying to talk to industry people and you don't have a draw yet, you are going to be sorry [unless you are really hot looking or have a famous parent and/or willing to sign away the rights to the whole thing of course]. build your own audience. if you can sell your own records that you make yourself and do your own shows, you can attract the attention of industry folks and get your calls returned. then you probably won't need them unless you want them. that's a better bargaining position for you. work on your draw. if you don't have a draw, these are some likely things to look at: where you are playing isn't the right place the music isn't there yet the time isn't right in any case, the answer is to forge ahead. keep doing it. always keep writing and practicing. keep working on finding more and better places to play. and new contexts within which to place your work. if something feels right, it probably is right. if you are having to bang your head against the wall in regard to something, it may be better to drop it sooner. the longer you work on something that isn't going to work out job-wise, i think the more time we waste. i wouldn't get too hung up about opening slots. they are okay and you can increase your draw, but as far as that being the principle strategy you are using, it may not work. the old model of thinking that if you open for someone and do a good job you can get some of their audience interested in your work is not really that reliable. find a new model. if you meet someone who wants to work on your team, and you are thinking of hiring them and they offer this as the main strategy, this is not a creative workable person. they are working on business models that are decades old. this ploy will work sometimes, but it should be part of an overall deal, not the main thing. just like if you went to interview a financial advisor and he said, "what we are going to try to do is to buy low and sell high," and behaves as though he has just isolated the plutonium isotope. you might need a little more horsepower upstairs than that if you get my drift. i work for free when it's kind of my idea to do so. if someone else suggests it, i tend to pass. i also pass on a job where they say they aren't going to pay you but you'll sell lots of cds. and when i did not adhere to this, i was sorry. i'm not really a self promotion person, and find that sort of distasteful. in my experience the strong self promotion vibe alienates people or attracts folks that you don't want to work with. maybe i just didn't do it right but this did not work for me. i've had much better results endeavoring to let the art speak for itself. k. don't expect to get paid more than you can bring in. if you draw ten people, and the cover is ten bucks a head, you gross one hundred dollars. not five hundred. don't get mad at the agent, club owner or whatever because of simple math. you drew ten folks. guess what? that's better than nine. if you want a raise, figure out how to draw more folks. this is not as mysterious as some would suggest. but you can't ask for more than you bring in the door. if you don't believe this, try producing some concerts of your own. l. you may not want to hire sidemen that get too worked up about money, it can be hard to make these folks happy. also when it comes to hiring musicians, you may have to live with them at arm's length for a long time and be involved with them about emotional issues like money and life problems and stuff. you may want a person that's easy to get along with even if they are a little less sharp musically. of course getting both is best, but if you have to take one or the other, take the one you get along with a little better. if you are in a place where you don't have a lot of choice, you may be forced into hiring someone that's tough to be around. replace them when you can. really the best players i know are also the nicest folks. except for one or two. many times, in that world of musicians that are struggling to make a living, but haven't really gotten there yet with the music or with the people skills or what have you, they will be the most difficult to deal with. they over-compensate by talking too much, or acting like they know everything, or showing up drunk or being really critical or whatever. when folks have it together, they are at ease and play great, and know when to lay out and stuff. they are also more expensive. it's totally fine and many times necessary to use different players on the recordings than in the shows. if you are a leader, do this with no guilt. if you are a sideman, get ready for it and don't complain. it has to be this way. if you don't believe it, trying putting out your own record. you'll soon see why when you go to record. sidemen, you can always practice and take lessons and get your tuning and timing together. leaders again, get their tax id and report every dollar that transacts. if someone is upset about this, you can't use them. period. never fudge on taxes. m. you really won't be able to work that much in the town where you live. and there will probably be a morass of musicians in your hometown that aren't really committed to the lifestyle that haven't really developed their art that will be complaining loudly about how hard it is to make a living and whatnot and you can easily get sucked into their trip. you'll be better off traveling to various places and developing that. use local shows to try out new stuff, play with different folks, have fun, play for the home town crowd, etc. but typically you won't be able to work that often at home. maybe twice a year or something. don't worry about that. your market is the whole world, not your hometown. negativity is a sign to alter the course. n. don't let anyone tell you that you can't make money playing music. six of my pretty good musician friends are millionaires. three of them multi. three of them play music that most folks would surely comment, "you can't make any money playing that." don't tell those guys. five of them are the nicest people you would ever want to meet. one of them is as mean as a snake. there you go. o. i would suggest being able to do different things. if you write songs, maybe you can sing on other folk's demos. maybe play guitar in someone else's band. for years i taught music lessons in a music store. many folks i work with have a little studio and also play in someone's band. or they are a chef or tax person on the side. this is all very healthy. i know several folks that are sidemen but have their own writing deal or what have you. this is a good course to take. that way you can take a hit and keep moving. the world doesn't grind to a halt because your label went under. p. be wary of someone that talks about gear a lot. also be wary of folks that tell you how great they are. Stay away from complainers and folks that don't have their lives somewhat together. sometimes folks need some ministering, which is certainly what we are called to do, but if you take someone out on the road with a big jones, you are going to be sorry... or otherwise get involved financially, look out. don't make your own problems or agree to be in a messed up deal. drama is always bad. never make a financial agreement with someone that has no problem getting paid for not working. q. all the trouble in the world is going to come for you in two ways. The things you say, and the things you agree to do. Be very careful about these items. p. build alliances. Let's say you play some weird kind of music, make contact with someone in another city that does something similar and offer to set up a concert for them in your town. maybe they will later help you to play their city or something. Work it out with them. If you can't get into a particular festival, why not have your own festival? Get some like minded bands together, the venues would love to turn over the night to you to produce your own gig, and do it yourself. sometimes you can do stuff like that yourself easier than you can talk someone else into doing it for you and then paying you, think about that. going to that big music conference is out of the question for some reason? Why not have your own conference? It might be cheaper to fly the guy in you are wanting to have see your band. That way you only have to put one guy up, rather than having the expense of flying a six piece band to los angeles and have one guy come out out to the show that lives there. He may blow you off anyway. it would probably be cheaper to fly in six a and r guys to where you are and put them up and have them come to the show, than it would be to take the band out to them because of the gear and salary. You also could have their undivided attention, within reason. Don't keep saying "well if I had a label or agent or manager, then I could be happy." Forget that. Forge ahead with your music. Keep working. develop the music. Come up with different ways to do an end run around conventional wisdom. If you are really called to be in music, the right people will present themselves at the right time. Build those alliances of simpatico musicians, writers, studio guys, label guys, radio guys. Be nice and help others. I have been fortunate enough to be close friends with lots of folks that are way better at music than I am. I take constant inspiration and encouragement from these folks. I think this has been really good for my work. r. if for one second you think you aren't getting the recognition your talent deserves, banish this thought immediately. If others tell you this, ignore it. Just keep working on the music. You are probably right where you are supposed to be, learning and doing what you are supposed to be learning and doing. s. if there's no social context for the music you are making, don't be mad if no one comes to the shows or buys the music. Or if only very few people do. In that case the reward has to be the music. Hey that's a great deal. Also you have lots of freedom to do different stuff. There's no one to alienate. Let's face it, sometimes having no one at the show is a great indicator that you are onto something. I'm serious. t. robert keen told me he never regretted firing anybody that he fired, and i agree. If someone is a problem, and they won't fix it, get rid of them. It's okay. You both will be happier. u. don't waste materials and time giving a cd to someone unless you are fairly sure they will actually listen. v. avoid folks that make your job harder. Sometimes people gum up the works, even when they have a smile on their face. You'll get more done the less of this type you deal with. When you ask someone a direct question and they go into a convoluted story about something else, get ready for the hassle. w. we are all blessed with different talents. This is as it should be. don't be upset with someone that doesn't have your talent for something, and don't feel bad because someone else got some talent that you think you want. Move towards grace. x. I have a system, where if I sense that the gig is going to get weird before i even get there, I cancel the show and walk away. In my experience, if something goes awry before you even get there, it won't magically get better if you commit a bunch of dollars and time towards it. Because of this, I can't remember the last bad gig I've had. Example, let's say I've booked a show next year with a person that I don't really know that well. And as time goes by, he keeps wanting to chisel away at our arrangement, or add stuff for me to do, or whine or complain about the situation, I would cancel the show. time and time again I learned that it only gets weirder and more difficult when you get there. This is better for the buyer too because then he or she doesn't have to worry about my show anymore. If the buyer isn't really into it, or at least somewhat into it, seriously consider passing on the show. y. have interests outside of your art. Especially if you can do this on a non-performance basis, where you can just enjoy the activity and not analyze it to death and be real critical of your own work and stuff. It's so easy to burn out if you do one overwhelming thing for about twenty or thirty years. Sometimes, I just don't play at all and don't think about work and mess around with my sailboat, or work in the yard, or something. Ride the motorcycle. Giving myself a break from the pass/fail mentality. I like just being a regular person. z. think of your art as a work in progress. That takes the heat off of it having to be perfect all the time. Keep working on your art, your vision, your catalog. Dedicate your work life to that, and things will work out. Okay I'm out of letters. [These are all just ideas, and you may have your own way. Good. Also these are different components and you have to make a sort of stew of them. Maybe you have a little more of one, use a little less of the other or whatever it takes to make it come out right. I've made all these mistakes myself in the trial and error process, which is a fine way of doing things except for the error part.] Barnes
  17. You know the candy I'm talking about crisp chocolate shell on the outside, ooey-gooey center (imagine your favorite filling). Mmmmm mmmm! Oh yeah! So, what does this have to do with good singing? Well, once your breath is free (How to Avoid TVF Trauma #1) and your Trueand False Vocal Folds are better organized (How to Avoid TVF Trauma #2) now it's time to find your support where it actually counts!! In Estill Voice Training, we make a distinction between the muscles of breathing and the muscles of support. The muscles of true support are known as the anchoring muscles: Torso Anchor, Neck Anchor and Head Anchor Torso Anchor: Engage the Lats, Pecs, and Quadratus Lumborum Muscles by 1. Standing as if you were about to walk backward. 2. (standing with your hands at your side) pretending to lift two heavy suitcases one in each hand! 3. Imagining there are small balloons under your armpits then squeezing them. Neck Anchor: Engage the Sternocleido-mastoids and muscles at the nape of the neck by 1. Bringing the back of your hand to your forehead. Without throwing off the alignment of your head and neck, pressing your hand against your head and your head against your hand, equally. (Notice the muscles engaging at the sides of the neck the SCMs and the back of the neck.) 2. Shivering your head quickly left and right with a very quick, but small movement as if your were actually cold and shivering to keep warm. Head Anchor: Engage the muscles above and behind the Soft Palate by 1. Snorting! Feel that lifting up sensation behind your hard/soft palates. Maintain that feeling and breathe in and out normally without snorting. 2. Sneering and flaring your nostrils while breathing in and out normally. With each of these exercises, be sure that your breath stays free, easy and soft, that your face and throat stay relaxed and that you can use varying degrees of effort (Low/Medium/High degrees of effort)! The muscular regions targeted by these Anchoring exercises ARE the regions of muscular support that actually make the difference when singing AS LONG AS the breath remains boingy and pliant below! Once you get the feeling of these and the previous exercises, try putting them all together while you speak and sing: 1. Release the belly, and reduce the air pressure 2. Retract the False Vocal Folds 3. Add Head, Neck and/or Torso Anchoring Remember: Hard Shell (Anchoring), Soft Middle (Easy Breath and TVFs)! = Healthy Singing and Speaking!! ***If it doesn't feel right or good while you are doing these exercises, you are doing something wrong! Check your breath. Retract the FVFs. Slow down, be gentle and stay aware! Try doing it a bit differently next time!! OR stop and rest.*** Enjoy! Robert
  18. Anyone who wants to master a skill is taught that practice makes perfect or perfect practice makes perfect or practice makes permanent. But practicing one's singing is uniquely difficult because it's such an invisible process and it can be challenging to know if you're succeeding or not. A piano player can see his fingers and a skier can time himself racing down a hill. Singing though is esthetic and subjective so it's hard to trust oneself. For how long should I practice? Should I do exercises and then songs? What's the optimal practice time? How do I know if I'm doing anything right? When I began my voice training, in the Dark Ages, my teacher recommended that I not practice. She was concerned that I would practice incorrectly (very likely) and that we'd have to redo rather than build. Made sense to me at the time! But I realize that new muscle memory takes practice and that if the teaching is clear, there's less chance of practicing wrong at home. Here then, is a list of my suggestions to help make practicing a thing of pleasure and satisfaction. Find a private place to sing. Not easy for those living in an apartment, I know, but the more private and undisturbed you can be, the less self-conscious you'll feel. Singing can sound loud and strange at times and you don't want to have to worry about people making fun of you by banging on the wall. Though singing in the car is not ideal, for some, it's the only reasonable private space. Just keep your hands on 10 and 2and eyes straight ahead while driving! Determine exactly what you need to focus on- + support exercises? watching yourself sing in the mirror to eliminate head tilting or chin lifting? + getting rid of chest breathing? holding long notes more comfortably? having consistently easy, non-strainy high notes? singing in tune? + vocal agility (speed and accuracy ornamental sections)? + high belting? + memorizing lyrics? + creating vocal riffs? + figuring out harmonies? working out performance gestures and moves? Notice I didn't mention warming-up exercises. Technical exercises and warm-up exercises can be two different things. Personally, I think that too many warm-up exercises can be tiring and sometimes less is more when it comes to warming up. The idea that one must warm-up for 20 minutes (or any exact amount of time) prior to a performance is unnecessary for many singers. Warm-ups should begin with stretching the body, creating good posture, reaffirming lower belly breathing then warming up the support jobs: chest up, ribs out, upper belly firming out, lower belly going in. This whole process should only take about three minutes. Then it's time to attach the vocal folds to the picture. I love the trill patterns: either lip trill or tongue trills. BUT, do not make the mistake of doing them loudly and carelessly. Start on your very lowest note and LIGHTLY do the trills to your highest note with great attention to your breathing and support jobs. I hear so many people doing the trills incorrectly and super-loud. That will over-pressurize your vocal folds and you'll be hoarse in no time. Humming is also a standard first warm-up for the vocal folds. Can't go wrong with humming. Sirens (smoothing sliding up and down) on hums and on vowels is another great, simple vocal fold warm-up. Never sing high and loud until you feel thoroughly warmed-up. 4) Do you ever accidentally do something amazing when singing and the bell of truth rings in your head? Don't let luck be your master! Follow what I call the Rule of Five. If you get lucky when experimenting and something AWESOME comes out of your mouth, REPEAT the phrase 5 times in a row perfectly. If you blow it, start over and aim for five perfect ones. It's a great method (if a bit obsessive-compulsive!) to make happy accidents into new behaviors. 5) When working on high, challenging passages, take the phrase down an interval of fourth then gradually take the phrase up in semi-tones. Take the passage ABOVE where you need to perform it. That will help trick your brain into thinking that the once-too-high passage is not so high after all. 6) When practicing a new and difficult technique (like belting to high C....with vibrato!), take a break every so often. Go and make yourself a sandwich, then come back and try again. Also try your new techniques in as many different locations as possible so your muscle memory remains no matter what the visual input might be. 7) Figure out if you're primarily a visual learner (reading sheet music, chord charts, or lyrics), a kinesthetic learner (singing by how it feels) or an auditory learner (hear it, sing it, know it). If you have a strong predilection for one type of learning, don't be too hard on yourself if other styles of learning seem really difficult. It's just the way your brain is built. 8) Don't practice until you get hoarse. Hoarse means swelling and that means it's time to stop singing. Pain should NEVER be experienced...nor tickling in the vocal folds. It is incorrect to think that pushing past the pain is ever a technique for strengthening the vocal folds. There should be no pain, ever. 9) The goal of practicing is to sing songs, not to do exercises perfectly. There are too many people out there who can sing their pants off on exercises but cannot sing a song to save their lives. Songs filled with feeling and magic are the goal. Practicing is only the foundation, not the goal. So include songs or difficult song fragments as part of your practice strategies. 10) Record yourself or consider having a professional ear (like a vocal coach with a lot of experience) monitor your progress every so often. Just to make sure your practicing does make perfect! Celebrity voice coach Lisa Popeil, MFA in Voice, is the creator of the Voiceworks® Method and the Total Singer DVD. www.popeil.com
  19. Take your acting to the next level by following this one simple directive: Move, then sing. That's it. Amateurs move on their phrases. Pros move before them. I teach Movement for Actors at the Stella Adler Studio, Los Angeles. There, we spend countless hours laboring over truth in performance. Truth is what your audience connects with--more than great vocal technique, more than powerful lyrics, more than personality. And the truth of human behavior is that we express ideas with our bodies before we express them with our words. To act the heck out of a song, your performance behavior must reflect the truth of natural human behavior. When you see someone struggling with an armful of packages, do you stand there and say, "Oh! My gosh, let me help you!" and then go running over to help them? No, you run over, and, while you're running, you say, "Oh, my gosh, let me help you!" After you pour someone a drink, do you say, "Here you go," and then offer them the glass? No, you offer the glass and then say, "Here you go." When you hear a loud noise behind you, do you say, "What was that?" and then spin around? No, you spin around and then say, "What was that?" Your performance will be more truthful, and therefore more compelling, if it expresses the same truth of human behavior illustrated in the examples above. The way to this truth is to allow yourself to get caught up in the ideas of the song before you sing the symbols (words) that express those ideas. Your body is only a manifestation of what you're thinking; it has no intelligence to move on its own. So, if you get caught up in the ideas, your body will naturally express those ideas before you make the choice to express them through symbols (words). Wanna see what I mean? Check out these two performances: The first is Steve Perry singing "Faithfully." Notice what happens at 1:09. He moves his right hand just before he sings, "Right down the line..." See how natural it looks? And it feels natural. Steve isn't just a great voice, he's a singer, an artist. He's connected to the truth of what he's saying, and his body expresses it before his words do. The second is Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Watch her eyes. They almost always move before her phrases. You can see she's thinking about the ideas, not just singing words, so her body expresses the same naturalness of human behavior that you experience every day. It's why that performance is so compelling! It's like she's just talking to you, the way she would to a friend who'd stopped by for some tea. For some reason, when amateurs sing, they move counterintuitively--on the phrase, instead of before it. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU. Naturally, it's okay to do it if you have to dance during a song or when you're adding emphasis to a particular word, as Steve Perry does in "Faithfully" when he sings, "...you and me." And sometimes the song is so fast, it's tough to move before you sing. But don't let these become excuses for a lack of truth in your performance. Your audience came for the deeper truth that art can express. Move, then sing, and give 'em what they came (and paid) for! Paul Cuneo is the founder of NotToneDeaf.com and the author of Correcting Tone Deafness. This is the ONLY completely sensible approach I have ever encountered to resolving the problem and stigma of "Tone Deafness. -Jeannie Deva. Paul is also an actor and teaches Movement for Actors at the Stella Adler Studio, Los Angeles. He blogs on the topic of Performance and Movement for Actors at MovementalLA.com . This essay first published February 5, 2009 on The Modern Vocalist.com the Internet's #1 community for vocal professionals, voice health practitioners and pro-audio companies worldwide since November 2008.