Make it sound easy, when you sing. Make it sound like it takes no effort and no thought. Make it sound like pure feeling and as if the words were written by you. Don't break character. Have most of your attention on the audience, not on how you sound or how you look or how you move.
If you don't perform like that, the audience feels ignored, neglected, and even cheated. They feel as if they have been lied to. Are you there for them or for yourself? That sounds simple, but if you are not there for the audience, why are you there?
Bare your soul. Drop your inhibitions and tear down your walls. You are just singing to people. You have nothing to hide. Your past doesn't matter. You can't change anything about the past. Future hasn't happened yet. The only thing that matters about the future is what you do in the present. That will directly affect your future. You should have learned from the past. Keep you attention on the audience and on the present moment.
Do you know what the past is for? It is the place to make your mistakes, learn from them, and to get ready for the "now". The past is part of preparation. It is why you are who you are. You are not your mistakes. When would be a good time to let go of the past? Next week? Tomorrow? How about now?
If (while performing) you make a mistake, instantly let go of it and make the rest awesome. Make the next part better or prettier or more intense, if appropriate. Most people remember the awesome parts. The critics, who hang on to the mistakes, should just stay at home and keep out of our way, if and until they learn to be artists. So, if your attention is on what others are thinking, it is actually on yourself and your anxiety about that. Give all you have, as if everyone is NOT a critic. The truth is that very few people are critics. Most people go out to have fun and enjoy, instead of trying to destroy others. The critics can go out and fight the wars while we make our art.
If you think everyone is critical, maybe you are critical. It takes no special talent or hard work to notice what is wrong. It takes very special talent to be great.
When the effort is put forth and added to the talent, the magic begins. Prepare to deliver. Deliver. There is joy in performing, unlike any other joy. Don't let others take that away from you. Others need to find their own. It is not about proving anything. It is not about showing off. It is not about being ignored when you were a little kid, so now you are making up for it. It is not about competition. It is about the best of you, unmitigated, unadulterated, and your bare soul is shining through while people bask in its light.
There will never be an absolutely perfect performance, but there are performances which are absolutely artistic.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
MOMENTUM! P=mv The product of mass versus velocity. What does physics have to do with the motion toward a goal? Only mostly everything. Let's say you are not practicing very much. You can expect that the reaction to your action will roughly be equal. Not practicing very much=not advancing very much. Do you have any power? What is power? It is the rate at which work is performed. The slower you go, the longer it takes to get somewhere. POWER is also the rate at which energy is converted. Where are you putting your energy? Since there is RATE in both parts of the definition of POWER, speed must be involved. It is possible to move so slowly toward a goal that you are dead before you reach it. Harsh? Physics is harsh. Physics is the observed motions, masses, and tendencies, not politically correct or incorrect. The laws of physics are immutable, but if they are used as guidelines, instead of barriers, they can put you at an advantage. In so-called "billiard ball mechanics", there is the law of inertia, stating that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, unless acted upon by an outside force. As people, most of us resist or resent outside forces acting upon ourselves, much of the time. We could modify the word "outside" to "inside", thus arriving at a new equation. Picture yourself in a huge 10' diameter beach ball. You walk; it moves. Inside force. Your car has an engine or a motor and it is within the car and that is another example. An object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. OUTSIDE FORCES...hmmmmm Gravity? Friction? Time? Space? Resistance, such as air or water? How about your life? Gravity- Are you or somebody else holding you down, slowing you down, or stopping you? Friction- Are you getting along well with others? Time- Do you have enough time? Are you efficient with the time you do have? Space- Places to travel or too much distance involved? Is someone in your face, giving you no space in which to move? Resistance- that can come from you, friends, family, bosses, or anyone. You can find more examples of your own, if you wish. It takes more force to start moving than to keep moving. You may have to overcome your inertia and other forces. Once you are moving, it doesn't take much to keep moving as long as you keep moving. MOMENTUM is one of the keys to progress, perseverance, and accomplishment.
Posted by Chuck Stewart, Vocal Coach at 9:31 AM
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Voice cracks or voice breaks are curable. If your voice is not fully developed, you may feel like you have a high voice, a low voice, and a space between where the sound abruptly changes. You can sing above the break. You can sing below the break but you cannot sing at the break. The break is not actually a break, or even a crack. It is the passageway between chest voice and head voice (and vice versa) but maybe you haven't learned to navigate that treacherous passageway. In the passageway you feel you have no control and you have to flip up or flip down to get to a place of stability and control. It can be really frustrating! I used to have that problem. I know how I felt. Hated it!!! So, if you yell or scream out the notes you might have so much swelling that you have no voice the next day or even in the same day. I had that happen once. It was terrifying. I couldn't make a sound. The following day, it still wasn't right. If you're real unlucky, you'll blister your vocal cords (vocal folds) and blisters can turn into callouses and those are called nodules. Those bumps keep your vocal cords from closing properly and then you have NO high notes and you sound raspy until you do something to handle the nodules. Some people call them "nodes", but that is not the correct word. Nodes are glands, such as those in the body's lymphatic system. If you do not retrain your voice, even after a long vocal rest (or surgery), the nodes can come back, so to speak. You actually just make new ones. Surgery may leave scar tissue and it does not vibrate the same way as normal tissue. So, you've been forewarned. There are some singers who have just sung through their cracks. (Not their butt cracks!) Or, they have sung "across" the break and they make it work. It's not my preferred sound, but they did okay with it. One is Phoebe Snow and the other is Sarah McLachlan. You'll hear some country singers do this, but if you try this in most other styles, goodbye! Yodeling is singing across the crack, back and forth. When you have learned some coordination and control, you can control your voice so that it feels and sounds like you have one voice, not two or three! I paid $175 an hour to learn to stop the break in my voice, comfortably and effortlessly. How many hours? It was about 100 lessons. In the 70th or 80th, it was obvious it was going to work. Stability took a little more time. These were not weekly lessons. Many were every day. There is a man in Hollywood, who is said to be charging $400 an hour. Is it worth it? To go from a lame voice to one which can leap and dance about a song, it could be worth it. To have a professional career that lasts for a lifetime it could be worth it. One lesson won't get you there, unless you are an Italian man, but that is a whole different story. Maybe next time.
Posted by Chuck Stewart, Vocal Coach at 11:51 AM