Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Literacy has been defined as the ability to read and write and to understand what has been read and/or written. The CIA has a publication you can access online called The World Factbook. It states that 99% of the United States is now literate, being those over the age of 15, who can read and write. The worldwide number is not so good with an average of only 82%. There are more facts and figures as to location and the sex of the indiviuals but the average is 82% worldwide.

I don't believe that the CIA has studied the musical literacy of singers but I have made a few non-scientific observations. I have noticed that some of the great singers I know are also great musicians. One of those singers is a man who sings extremely well in tune and has also written, produced, and performed his music AND is also a great jazz pianist. It turns out that the late Nat King Cole also was a great jazz pianist. I never recall hearing him sing off-pitch, out of tune, "pitchy" or anything less than singing at a consummate professional level and consistently so. I believe that his level of musicianship transferred over from the instrument to the voice.

On television competition shows I hear singers all over the place with pitch and with other intonation problems. You can have all the vocal technique in the world and have a voice which never cracks and never tires and STILL be an average or even a terrible singer. If you can not sing in tune with yourself and with accompaniment, you need help. The help comes in the forms of melodic and harmonic ear training and in learning modern harmonic technique. Most singers are not musically literate enough to even start this kind of training and many singers have no inkling of their own problem, and if they are, they don't know where to even start to straighten it out.

I am compiling the solution to these issues in such a way that singers can handle their lack of musicianship once and for all. Help is on the way...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


What are the things which will potentially kill a singing career? These shouldn't be a secret but you would think so when you listen to all the competition TV shows.

The first is no musicianship (or poor musicianship). What CAUSES singers to sing out of tune, off pitch, or even worse: change keys? You may not know what to call it but it sure does sound amateurish or bad and it is sooooooooo irritating to hear. What is that singer NOT hearing and NOT identifying and why don't they know it?

The second is not being able to use the voice without it cracking or breaking. "Air" is not the answer to this but if you think it is,'re going to keep cracking.

There are more factors, but a third one is that a singer has no concept of how his or her own voice truly sounds. This can be emotional, mental, physical, or simply a lack of experience and/or training. Get recorded and try to be objective when you hear the playback

The solutions are not so complicated but they do go beneath the superficial and that is also where a true artist goes to improve and learn and thrive and succeed.