Showing posts from November, 2010

What good is an encore performance if your voice dies before you get there?

After all these years of bigger and bigger live music shows, everyone that’s been to a concert, large or small, expects any great show to have an encore. So after singing, playing and entertaining the crowd for two or two and a half hours on average, the crowd expects the artist or band to come out and sing with the same excellence, energy and conviction another song or two to close the show. The problem is that the majority of singers are not singing it by design. And primarily they deliver their performance by what I call, ‘playing it by ear.’ That means that they do not have an adequate vocal technique or at least the knowledge about it, which would allow them to save and protect their voices, and make it last for hours on end. Ultimately, they’re using the wrong set of muscles while singing and thus using and abusing their vocal apparatus sometimes to the bitter end. It’s a known fact that even Celine Dion once lost her voice during her concert. Luckily she found a

Vocally Speaking - How to Realize a “Teenage Dream” to succeed in the Music Industry at Large

I started teaching since 1976 in Russia and at that time was teaching primarily kids grade 1 through grade 8. They too liked the pop music, which was hardly available for the easy listening with the exception of a couple of local stars and some Beatles hits, which were occasionally played on the radio. Nowadays, here in Canada and in Europe especially, pop singing is very popular amongst constantly rising young artists and of course the teenagers who are on a regular basis listening to them through their radios, iPods and phones, and who would want to emulate something similar in their dreams and who would also want to experience the glamour which they see and read about in fashion magazines and watching on YouTube. For some of them the dream will remain to be a dream, but for others it could become a reality. At the present time, I myself have been scouting a teenage talent, primarily amongst young girls age 14 - 22. Some of them have more potential and more vocal talent,

What is the secret to being a standout artist now and in the foreseeable future?

Everybody knows that writing and recording a good original song is an important key to one's success in the music industry. Not everybody knows or realizes, though, that you need to be able to sing that song in the exact fashion as it has been written; preferably in tune and with proper phrasing, inflection, emphasis, pronunciation and clarity. You also have to be able to use your voice correctly in order to survive more than one song performance and prevent long term damage. If you are capable of all of that, your listeners will respect you because the magic of your music consistently translates in live performances and isn't just artificially created in the studio. Also, the record labels will be more interested in you because you can bring your "A" game any place, any time. Furthermore, already respected and well-known artists will be more interested in featuring you on their records, which brings you exposure to their fanbases. Consumers these days are very smar

Media human spirit pollution and conditioning: How does it affect the music business in general and vocal performer in particular?

We all go to sleep and wake up with the news on the radio, TV or Internet. Usually, none of the news stories are positive. They typically speak about crimes committed on a daily basis, horrible accidents that are happening all the time, and the getting-worse-by-the-minute financial situation in the country and around the world globally. Also, they are reciting about new technology, which is being upgraded literally all the time and not necessarily for the betterment of humanity. Therefore, evidently, the world is becoming more dangerous, more financially unstable, more electronically oriented and much less personal. Speaking of personal, the media and marketing campaigns are promoting complete selfishness and ‘Me, Myself and I’ attitudes. Just listen to them; “My phone, my personal TV, iPhone, iTunes,”, in other words Me, Me, Me, Me… and Myself. With this philosophy, how is the human being supposed to care for another human being when it’s all self-oriented? How’s the performer able

Vocal Style: Channelling Your Emotions Into Your Vocal Performance

We all know the importance of proper vocal technique and its role in the safety and protection of a singer's voice. But how important is it to attach a singer's style and emotion to that technique? And where should those feelings come from? The answer, obviously, is: They have to come from within. I have a favourite saying, "Be it, Feel it, Love it, Live it". What I mean by that is that a performer has to identify not just with the style of the music, but also with the lyrics and message he or she wants to convey. This is easier for singers who write their own songs, but many mainstream top-40 artists do not, especially in Pop. Recently, I recorded a young artist who was covering Miley Cyrus's "Can't be Tamed" for a demo and that song requires a lot of staccato punch. The title of the song itself suggests strength, rebellion, power, self-esteem and self-worth. If that song is sung with softness instead of intensity, or without strong enough inflect

The Importance of Peripheral "Thinking" for Singers and Everyone Else... (For That Matter)

You are obviously familiar with the term "peripheral vision". Every driver knows that if they don't exercise their peripheral vision they might get into trouble, as when you're driving you have to watch front, back, left and right. It is that level of attention that will help you avoid an accident because you can catch an unexpected object racing at you with just the corner of your eye. Personally, I encountered that situation not too long ago... Needless to say, if it were not for my active use of peripheral vision, I would not be writing this blog now. Along a similar vein, while running a number of vocal workshops and seminars over the last close to four decades, I have learned that when conducting a large group of people, I had to mastermind a skill allowing me to be able to see all of my participants at once in order not to lose their attention while I was engaged with them on a subject. In the context of sports; For example, hockey players cannot play their ga

Vocal Box Repair: Is There Such a Thing? And is it even possible?

Apparently there is! And yes, it is possible and it is fixable… however, with great difficulty. For comparison, let’s look at classical ballet dancers: Everybody knows that ballerinas have to have a certain arch in their feet, especially females. It is detrimental to their careers if their feet are flat and not properly arched, because it would be difficult to do pirouettes; circling up to 32 revolutions ( fouettés)  with one leg while keeping the whole weight of the body on the other leg while the flat foot is virtually unable to hold the body weight. Similarly for singers, the upper palette (located in the vocal box) also has an arch and curve. The deeper that arch is, the more the "body of the voice" will be projected. The palette arch, however, is not everything, as the sound also needs to be supported simultaneously by the lower abdomen and upper diaphragm, or else the whole lift of the voice becomes obsolete. Singers can avoid cracks in their vo