Sunday, January 31, 2010

Vocally Speaking - Pushing the Carriage Before the Horse?

Over 35 years of teaching and especially over the 26 years over running my professional vocal school, it never ceases to amaze me why people would embark on spending money to equip their rehearsal spaces with expensive PA systems, microphones, keyboards and what have you much before they know how to sing or sometimes even play. Moreover, the so called singers are going to expensive recording studios and paying for their vocal recordings which take hours upon hours as they the crafty engineers are trying to autotune it or melodyne it to death. I just received a client who was definitely at the end of her rope and already literally losing her high range and basically killing her vocal anatomy with every note that she was trying to embark on. Interestingly enough, she was referred to me by a reputable recording studio. Her sensible engineer probably felt that if she continues any longer she will run of her steam completely and he will run out of the technology means trying to save the project. In fact, the prospective student was very alert and smart and, prior to coming in to my studio, she was talking to my assistant in the reception area and revealed in that converation that she was fully aware that she did not quite know what she was doing in the studio and that something was definitely very wrong with her throat and her voice. Meanwhile, as the money was spent in that studio, she could not afford to start her voice repair course momentarily and postponed it for two months forward. Go figure!!! No doubt she will continue recording, drowning her voice deeper and deeper into her vocal box and will come back with an even more severe vocal problem two months down the road. How does it makes sense? The answer: BEATS ME!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

American Idol Deja Vu - Amazing Discoveries - People Who Cannot Sing Cannot Wait To Be Discovered?

Outside of the training school which I have owned for almost three decades, I also own an indie label, Royans Universe Records, and attached to it a Management Company, 4 a.m. Talent Development and Artist Management Group Inc. More and more I am going into the development and management of various artists and naturally my crew and I are constantly holding auditions in the hopes of discovering someone unique and unprecedented and then graduate him/her to the music industry at large. And, yes, people are very responsive to this endeavour and every one of them, just like on the American Idol show, think that they are the "NEXT BIG THING". Due to popular demand we requested to listen to their music online and naturally to look at some of their pictures. And now we have discovered three categories of people that are approaching us. One category which is actually quite legit are those that look decent and possess some talent and, moreover, are willing thrive upon it and acquire some training if required. The second category is made of people that obviously require training, grooming and the real in depth artist development. Usually this category has no listening with respect to the topic of any further development, as they think that they have it all already. And they are surprised that nobody is running after them to offer them a million dollar recording contract! GO FIGURE! The third category is made up of tone deaf people with horrible music, some admitting that they have never had previous training in music or vocals, and not only are they genuinely surprised that they might need some training, but they are getting extremely upset that nobody is offering them a recording contract right there and then when they are presenting their precious selves. One of them with the completely unlistenable music and singing that was not resembling even one live note known to humanity, actually, to our surprise, did not get very upset when we, however, very intelligentlly rejected her proposal, but instead she offered to become a vocal instructor for our professional vocal school with a worldwide reputation, while at the same time admitting that she herself had a lot of vocal problems and had been facing a voice-related surgery in the past. To her "credit", she was trying to present it as a "positive thing" to be able to teach others...? The question is - is there a limit to human ignorance? It makes me wonder as once the makers of American Idol put out a show looking for the worst singer in the United States without announcing to the participants what the real purpose of the competion was. I happened to catch that show on TV a few times and at first not knowing what was going on, I nearly lost consciousness until I clued in that there was a reverse agenda. However, at the time, NONE OF THE PARTICIPANTS DID!!!!!. And at the end the makers of that show FOUND THE WORST SINGER EVER, who until the end believed that he was next legitimate American Idol. The conclusion here is that people have no check with reality, as they are so self absorbed and so self centred that they literally cannot hear or see what is happening in the real world.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Vocally Speaking - Can You Afford To Be Shy About Your Problem? Or Should You Deal With It Head On?

In my previous blog entry "Vocal Insurance" - Do You Need An Agent?, I discussed a perplexing issue that I have encountered over the years, namely people that were plagued with vocal problems but who were at the same time hesitant to call me on the phone so that I could hear their voices in order to deduce if I could help them or not. I finally posed a question about this on a discussion board and received an explanation from one person afflicted with a voice problem. He mentioned that he was very uncomfortable dealing with phones because of the current propensity of companies to use voice activated menus or having to deal with receptionists and operators in a manner that is very fatiguing for someone with a weak voice. All of what he was saying is 100% true and understandable. For the people with voice disorders it would be understandably difficult to deal with government agencies, voice activated menus and etc. As far as I'm concerned, not having a voice problem, the latter is just simply annoying for anyone, not to mention impersonal and very time and effort consuming endeavor. But please agree that it is different when you're actually looking for help to conquer your voice problem or any other problem for that matter. How otherwise do you expect to fix it if you're not facing it or approaching the matter straight on? From the point of view of a voice specialist, if I know that somebody with a voice disorder is going to be calling me, I'm not expecting a very "pleasant and angelic" voice on the other end. I'm kind of prepared that it will be none of those things and, depending of the severity of the opponent's sound of their voice, I would make a decision if it's in my jurisdiction to help that person. There is no need to be shy to call a professional who specializes in that very matter. If, for example, the over weight person walks in a weight loss clinic, the staff there is kind of expecting to see an over sized person. So nobody naturally would act suprised or condemn them for the very sheer fact that they're in fact over weight. That would be kind of funny to think that way. Similarly, if the female requires let's say a geinicological care, she probably wouldn't say that she would be shy to present her problem to a specialist. In that instance it would be kind of dumb, to put it mildly. Yes, I understand that with the respect of a voice disorder, it also takes a lot of effort and energy and because of that it actually might set off the problem back to some degree. But that is the choice that one should make. "Would I rather feel more comfortable, less tired, but angry and alone or I would put my best effort forward and try to do something about it."
Hard? Yes. Can you do it and will you be willing to do it or will you rather try to learn to live with your problem? It's a question for you to answer.