Tuesday, July 23, 2019

EXCERPT FROM THE FREE SINGING BOOK




EXCERPT FROM THE FREE BOOK ON THIS BLOG:


RATE YOUR SELF WITH THIS TEST

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being excellent and 1 being poor, rate yourself on the following:

1. INTONATION  - Are you on the note, above it or below it?

2. RANGE  - Can you get the high notes, the low notes and the ones in between?

3. ENDURANCE  - Do you get vocally tired or last for a long time?

4. ARTICULATION- Are your words clear and easy to understand?

5.  VOCAL USE versus ABUSE – Do you experience any pain, hoarseness, loss of voice, during or after singing?

6. SING IN KEY - Can you “carry a tune”?  Can you sing without switching keys?

7. CONNECTED VOICE - Does your voice “crack” or “break”?  Does it sound like you switch gears or hear a drastic sudden change in your sound?

8.  BREATHING - Do you know how to breathe?

Without hearing and seeing you, I cannot assess your problems but I can offer some advice on each topic. 


Monday, July 22, 2019

First Meeting

When I first meet with a new singer, I know they are probably going to be nervous. Some aren't, but most are. One of the first things I do is a little anatomy lesson, regarding the "singing instrument". It is a complex machine. There are also some things about it, which are simple. One simple thing is that the vocal folds (they used to be called vocal cords) have to vibrate in close enough proximity and not "fly open" and if they do this, your voice will not "crack" or "break". Cracking and/or breaking is caused by the inability to maintain the bringing together of them (it is called adduction). Many, if not most, people have a break in their tone quality, as they ascend from chest voice to head voice. It is not a lack of strength which causes the crack; it is a lack of coordination. It is usually caused by the larynx rising as the pitch ascends. Untrained muscles inside the larynx contract when the larynx is up, as it is when we swallow something. They are just doing what they normally do when the larynx is up. It works very well for swallowing, but not for singing. If we can make some sounds which use the sternohyoid and sternothyroid muscles, we can learn to use those and ultimately achieve laryngeal stability, so that the larynx does not rise as the pitch rises. What happens then? No more cracking and a lot more usable vocal range. Maybe (if you're VERY lucky), you have no crack in your range but you have other issues. There are solutions to those, too. A little knowledge and a lot of practice can take a person a long way. Some have made it to Broadway or to a record deal. Others have been on The Voice and other fun TV shows.

What else? Maybe you're a victim of some common and confusing myths about singing technique. We can clear up common misconceptions and get you onto a road which might lead you to a better place.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

GET YOUR FREE BOOK NOW!

HEY!  Want a free primer for singers?  It's called Karaoke, No Chokey.  It means so that you don't "choke" when you get up to sing, by making a fool of yourself.  In the little book is a primer on vocal technique that works.  I know vocal coaches who charge a lot, to teach you the same things.  How much?  $500/hour,  $450/hour,  $350/ hour.  I AM NOT KIDDING!!!  I know them personally.  I paid $175/ hour in the early 1990s in Las Vegas.  Want something for free?  Get it before I change my mind.  It's called Karaoke, No Chokey on the first page of the site.  You can download the PDF!  Want it?  Get it! https://practasing.com/

Monday, June 24, 2019

Don't Copy Other Singers


"Don’t copy other singers."

This has been espoused and preached, as if it were an absolute and immutable truth.  Is it?

Only with a caveat. 

The problem with “Don’t copy other singers” is it is non-specific as to what, of a thousand or more aspects of a voice.   Unless you are an actor or a voice actor or a comedian, it might not be the best idea to imitate, as closely as possible, another’s voice.  The main reason for this is that you might do something that causes you to strain your voice.  The closest identical voices would be found in identical twins, maybe.  They may have the same vocal folds, pharynx, nasal cavity and other similar or identical physical vocal and resonating apparatus.  To copy another singer, you would have to manipulate your mouth and tongue and vocal folds to try to duplicate or approximate another’s sound.  I can do some voices and started this in the 5th grade of elementary school, discovering I was quite good at it.  I don’t do it as a regular thing, but it is fun to try.  I personally never strained my voice doing this because I do have an aversion to pain and to hoarseness.  I just cannot recommend doing this, yourself.  I can recommend something else.  I got this from the late great Clark Terry, a jazz trumpet player and singer.  It's a process and it works quite well.   Here we go:



EMULATE

What could or should be “copied” are other things than the exact and precise sound of another person’s voice.  You can greatly shorten the time of the learning curve by copying some very specific things in a voice of a singer, as long as your usable range matches that of the singer (or can be done an octave away, comfortably).  Some things you can emulate are:

·         Phrasing

·         Style

·         Pitch

·         Note duration

·         Dynamic variation

·         Rhythm

·         Timing

·         Breathing

That is a lot, isn’t it?  What you might gain from doing this with recordings of singers is some of the qualities of professional singers.  If your ability to duplicate and to analyze objectively is strong, you can speed up your progress.  You do not want to become a “copycat”, unless you are doing and act or making a living at being an impressionist or impersonator.  There are people who make a good living doing this, such as impersonators of: Sinatra, Cher, Elvis, or others.  I know some who do this in Las Vegas, they enjoy it and are paid well for it.  I can do few singing voices, also but usually as a joke or to have fun.



ASSIMILATE

What if you can and do take advantage of being able to emulate other singers’ professional aspects?  Does it end there?  No.  Some people vehemently are so against being a unique individual that they completely miss the skill involved in professional singing.  They do sound unique.  They are individuals but to the extent that they sound horrible and no one wants to hear them sing.  I know of some graduates of universities who try to sing with an operatic sound and it is more abrasive than a cat fight, to listen to.  It is amazing that a person can have a degree in music IN VOICE and sound disgusting or insane or horrible or sing out of tune but it can and does happen.  The step after emulate is to assimilate.  Own it.  Own it as if it was yours from the beginning, but it doesn’t end there!



INNOVATE

The final step in the journey of being a great singer is to innovate.  What new thing or things can you do?  You don’t want to change every single note or the melody gets lost.  The exception is if you’re improvising jazz.  You may not need or want to change a lot but there are things you can experiment with.  You can change some notes, you can add some notes, , you can omit some notes, you can change the timing, the phrasing, the dynamics, the rhythm, you can add silence, you can speed up or slow down time and/or try many other things.  You can change the emotion or emotions of a song.  This is a huge range of possibility.  From your emulating step, you may have picked up on stylistic tendencies which are typical or standard.  It is even better to emulate a few or many singers and to learn even more in so doing.  You’ll discover some parameters of what audiences can find beautiful or acceptable or tolerable or offensive or disgusting or unacceptable or intolerable.  You don’t want an audience walking out on you.  It can happen even to the best.  Between songs, a man was walking, leaving one of Sinatra’s performances.  Frank said, “Five will get you ten he doesn’t make it to the bathroom in time.”  Frank could get away with saying that and it is funny but it isn’t funny to a performer when a person walks out.

Objectivity is an ability that every singer must have in order to analyze and to improve.  You must hear yourself (use a recording) to know if you are doing what you intend to do and without being hypercritical.   I tell people to be analytical, not critical.  There is a difference! Too big or too small of an ego can also be a problem.  If you think you’re great but you’re not, that is a problem.   If you think you are terrible but you’re not, that’s also a problem.  If you can be objective, you’ll know where you really stand.  If you cannot be objective, yet, get with someone who is a kind but honest professional and ask for help.  Some will charge for this and it may be well worth the money spent.


Friday, June 21, 2019

LIES AND DECEPTION

Call Someone A  Liar

What happens next?  You know you will get a reaction and it might not be pleasant.  Dishonesty is unacceptable and, worse still, it is a part of life.  Name one person who has told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  We like to think that we are honest and straight (not necessarily in the sexual sense) or maybe we want others to believe we are honest.  Why?  Honesty is essential to being trustworthy and dependable, but name one person who is 100% honest 100% of the time.  We like to think we are, but are we?


Let go of dichotomous thinking.  

Things do not really have opposites.  We could say that the opposite of black is white.  The blackest black absorbs the most light, but there are blacks which absorb less and less, until we call it gray.  There are many shades of gray, from dark gray to lighter and lighter, until we hit the range of whites.  If you’ve ever done any digital art, you have seen that the range is nearly infinite.  Your eye may not be able to differentiate the range of shades, one to the other, but it is mathematically measurable, which you can see as you slide on the scale of black, gray, and white.

What Can We Actually Observe?  


This opens up a whole new can of worms in the world of truths and lies.  Our eyes, our perceptions, our minds, our experiences, and even our intelligence come into play, but they are not scientifically or mathematically capable of perceiving and precisely defining all the concomitant nuances which exist.  To avoid our drowning in the oceans of microcosms and macrocosms of the universe, we might step back a bit and try to be more objective and less subjective, to discover the profundity lying underneath or beyond the superficial.

Contractions Are Contracts!

There are some words, some contractions, we use every day, which may be the outer layer of some lies.  These aren’t the lies we tell others, usually.  These are the lies which we tell ourselves.  They sound rational, plausible, and reasonable, but they aren’t.   They also may be your way of avoiding uncomfortable feelings, so you put these thoughts or statements in front of yourself.  What are they?  “Can’t” is the main one.  Some examples are:  “I can’t do public speaking.”   “I can’t sing.”  “I can’t dance.”  “I can’t draw.”    A closer truth might be along the line of “I won’t sing.”  It means more specifically, “I will not try to sing because I might not sound good and I would be embarrassed if someone heard me and they would think that I am a bad singer and that I am stupid for even trying and I will feel bad about myself and I don’t like feeling bad about myself and there have been many times in the past that I felt bad about myself and I now avoid feeling bad about myself.”  All of this may be under the surface of “I can’t sing.”

I'm Not A Singer

I won’t sing.  Wait.  Is that an absolute truth?  What if you said, “I haven’t sung”?  Are we getting closer?   What if you said, “I haven’t tried to sing”?  Maybe that is closer, but it still may not be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  How do we get to that?  There is your conscious thought about this singing thing.  You are aware of that, but you may not be thinking about the past and past experiences.  Some of those may not be readily available to your conscious mind.  Some thoughts, feelings, and ideas may be stored in a different compartment from the conscious mind, one you cannot access easily or maybe not at all.  We can only deal with what we can know or discover or uncover. 

The Whole Truth

How much of “the whole truth” must we know in order to act, to improve things, and to get into motion?  All we need to know is where the lock is and where the key is.  Is this true?  No.  We also have to know where the lock is, where the key is, and have that key in possession and how to put the key into the lock the right way and to turn the key the right way that unlocks the lock.  The lock is, “I can’t sing.”  The key is, “I can sing.”  “I can sing” may feel like a lie at first but remember the vast range of the shades between absolute black and absolute white.  If you think you cannot sing like a professional, you may be right.  If you think you never will be able to sing like a professional, you may be right.  But “right and wrong” also has many gradients, repercussions, and ramifications you might not have seen before.  There was a point in time that the professional singer whom you envision did not sing like a professional.   Believe it.  We have now entered the realms of faith and trust, when we can believe something we haven’t personally observed.   Is it possible that this is true?

Where Do You Fit In?

Singers you love, admire, respect, or adore are people you may have placed on a pedestal, in your mind.  The problem is that you may have made the pedestal surface too small and you have left no room for anyone else, including yourself.  People prefer to be right instead of wrong.  That’s just how we are.  We like to win.  We like to succeed.  We also apparently like to think good things about ourselves.  Since admiration is such a precious thing, we like to avoid not admiring ourselves.   It hurts.  It is not comfortable.  It feels unstable.  We like stability.   There’s nothing wrong with admiring other singers but there is something wrong with using that to limit yourself and to lie about why you don’t sing as well as the other singers.   How awful will you feel when you know you have surpassed one of your singing idols? 

What Do You Know?

In life, we seek pleasure and we also seek to avoid pain.  PPF.  Pleasure, pain, and fear.  Truth and lies.  Some people will feel pain as they realize there were incomplete sentences prior to this one.  In a push button society, we don’t have to be little stimulus-response machines.  We can add ideas, thoughts, considerations, paradigms, value systems, all of which may also have a multitude of feelings attached to them.  Everyone has his or her own and unique concept of what truth is.  I would wager that scientists may have a much broader concept of truth, especially if their knowledge is vast and their experience is extensive.  When we get into trouble is when we mistakenly believe that we (or anyone) know all there is to know about anything.  This is self-deception or ignorance or utter delusion.  You may know all you need to know to function at the level at which you currently are.  You also may have all the skill necessary at this time.  You do your work, or you keep your job as long as you handle all that’s required of you, adequate to the demands of the boss and within the time frame allotted.  Stability in your job is more pleasurable than it is painful, or you would leave eventually.  Every singer you know or have seen also seek pleasure, seek to avoid pain, have a complex mind, and has a somewhat quantifiable amount of knowledge about singing and music.  

Nothing But The Truth...


Truth is not always easy to see or to find.  It may not be an absolute thing.  Intelligence, knowledge, skill, experience, beliefs, and the perceptions of all our senses will affect how each of us sees, finds, or seeks truth.  The meaning that we give things, which exists outside of the realms of truth and lies, is part of one or more values systems.  Those “if, then” things we heard or made up on our own.  The meanings and the value systems may serve us or they may inhibit us from being more than we are or more precisely, stepping into all if who we are and walking in that existence.   When you know the truth, the truth can set you free.  I didn’t say it will.  It can also stop you or squelch your action and thus your life.  Look carefully and completely as you can and maybe you’ll lie less often to yourself.

FEAR, Stage Fright and Other Fears

The premise upon which the title is derived is that fear is behind action, no action, and reaction. It is the force which keeps a person from jumping off a cliff, bridge, or building. It is the force which causes a person to go to work every day. No work, no pay. No pay, no food, no place to live, no material things such as: cars, TV, furniture, or the renewing of those things, when the time comes. 
When your friend is deep in conversation with you at the curb and without thinking or looking starts to walk in front of the oncoming car, you reach out and grab the arm closest to you and save a life. 
Fear has got a bad rap. It is primal. It doesn't go away. It can be altered and utilized for good but we mostly do not recognize or acknowledge that. When fear stops you from speaking publicly or singing publicly before an audience, it is a multifactorial and possibly rational thing. How you look at it will change the outcome. If you decide that stage fright is simply nothing more or less than inexperience threatening you, preparation may solve the fear as confidence overcomes the fear. The fear doesn't leave; it just becomes less significant and less in control. 
People who do public speaking frequently know this through personal experience, as do singers and musicians. Those who work all the time in music feel fear as a little motivating excitement, not as a formidable enemy. It can be the kind of thrill some people get, watching an action movie or a horror flick or the romantic film where it seems that they are never going to get together, then they finally do. The tension is palpable but the climax is.... well, like a climax. 
Fear may be the catalyst, it may be the force behind the journey that sustains it, but it is always there if you are just inquisitive, interested, or curious enough to look through profound introspection. It is for survival and that can be from barely making it to a phenomenal success. It is actually on your side and not your enemy. Use it but don't confuse it.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Are You Stuck? Are you on a plateau?


Have you plateaued?  Are you stuck and not improving?  If you knew why, you’d be able to progress more.  This is an instance where there is not paralysis of analysis.  This unlocks the lock and opens the door to more progress.

Do you know if it is physical or mental?  The mental game of singing involves your commitment, self-discipline, attitude, inspiration, and motivation.  I have assigned some singers the task of writing 100 reasons why they sing.  This little exercise reveals your purpose and you may not have to get anywhere near the 100 mark before you are clear on your purpose.   If you’re feeling uninspired, listen to some of your idols or heroes or examples of singers you love to hear.

Broad Categories To Explore:

1.       Vocal Technique

2.       Musicianship

3.       Practice Technique

4.       State of Mind

5.       Confidence

6.       Artistry

7.       Objectivity

8.       Health

9.       Work Ethic

10.   Something else

A more complete vocal assessment may be required to help you isolate your specific problem.  This vocal assessment can be useful.  Vocal Assessment

When you know where the problem lies, it can be addressed with a strategic plan to get you moving in the direction you want.  You may need to learn something new or to apply something you already know.  You may need to practice more or to practice more effectively.  The singers you love may have had the same problem as you, but they learned how to overcome it. 

I am here to help, when you need it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

When Practice Does Not Make Perfect

What?  I thought that “practice makes perfect”.   No, it doesn’t.  The first problem is that you cannot even define what “perfect” is.  Everyone has a different opinion about a vague undefined concept that we call perfect.  Maybe you think that perfect is something that is flawless or without mistakes.  This is still a very superficial way of looking at something.  There is so much more to this.  When looking at things microscopically, so to speak, they are not as they appear to the naked eye.  When analyzing sound, it is not as you perceive it with your ears or your mind.  Now we enter an entire universe of gray area, where there are variables beyond your perception or knowledge.  So what do we do?


We have to start an analysis of where we are now as a singer and where we want to be as a singer.  There are routes that lead to where you might want to go, but there are many routes which will not take you there, regardless of how much or how long you practice.  Two things are required to start navigating.  1) Where are you? and 2) Where do you want to go?  This doesn’t just apply to singing.  This is a life lesson, too.  You don’t want to get lost along the way or go somewhere unplanned or you will waste time and maybe even money.

When I was in college, there was a teacher who had every trumpet player play on the exact same mouthpiece that he did.  It worked for him, so why not?  The ones who worked well with it, maybe  three out of 20 did fine.  The others quit, thinking that they were not good enough.  He had a PhD.  What did he not know?  Everyone has a unique mouth, lips, teeth, oral cavity and pharynx.  Some people’s teeth are such that the air stream projects up; for some, it goes down.  One is not right and the other wrong, but there are unique problems to be solved to make it work well.  There is much more to this.  The seventeen failed trumpet players could have put in six hours a day practicing or just a half hour and it still would have had the same outcome.   Wrong = wrong.   Practice does not make perfect when something is wrong.

Every singer is unique and also has a unique mouth, lips, teeth, oral cavity and pharynx.  Look around.  We all do not look the same!   Every singer is currently at a unique level of musicianship, which can be tested.  Musicianship is one of at least 18 factors to look at when deciding what needs to be worked on by a singer.  Those 18 factors also have subcategories of many more factors.  It is not that it is so complex.  It is, instead, necessary to work on the exact specific thing and practice the exact specific exercise or method to achieve the best result in the shortest amount of time.  Otherwise, your practice makes frustration, or your practice makes you worse, or you have no improvement at all.   If you are a singer and a super genius, maybe you can figure it all out on your own.  I had to have help.  Some of the “help” along the way was useless.  Some help was insufficient for what I wanted.  I was fortunate to have connected to truth and that truth has a “track record” of enormous success.

Dynamics, intonation, phrasing, style, vocal production, articulation, endurance, and power all play a part in singing.  If your teacher cannot tell whether you have problems perceiving pitch or melodic or harmonic interval perception and if your teacher doesn’t know if it is a register transition issue (or not), for which you have developed a bad habit to hide that, you can practice from now until the cows grow wings and fly and you will still sing out of tune.  This is but one instance of when your practice will not make perfect.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

LISTEN !

One of the single most neglected activities by amateur singers and some professionals is listening. It is a great idea to listen to singers you love. It is an even better idea to listen and try to analyze singers who may not even sing your favorite music.  I have a list of some fabulous singers to listen to and also what to listen for in their singing.  It's not a fluke that they have risen to fame.  It's not talent alone.  It's not learning healthy vocal technique alone.  It's not musicianship and knowing modern harmonic technique.  If you don't know how to listen to very specific aspects in a voice, the style, the interpretation and more, you may be missing 95% of the entire "picture".  One example is articulation which might also be called enunciation or diction.  There is a standard for performance and for recording in every single style of music.  What works for classical will sound ridiculous for R&B.  It is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.  It also can be under or over-done and fall short of professional.  Listening to great singers provides lessons for free and who doesn't like free?  I paid as much as $175 an hour, 25 years ago for lessons.  Was it worth it?  I sang in a show in Las Vegas and followed that with countless performances in Vegas and Orlando.  I gained endurance, range, control, and style as a result of lessons and discovering exactly how to practice, how much, when, when to rest and how much.  I got comfortable at being able to sing six nights a week, 6 hours a night and without vocal fatigue or any other vocal issues.  No hoarseness and no cracking and no need for vocal rest.  No ill effects whatsoever and it is not unique to me.  Correct and healthy vocal technique works that way.  Is your voice worth spending money on? Maybe it is. So, don't copy other singers as an impressionist might do a voice.  Listen, assimilate, emulate (NOT imitate) and when you have it down, innovate.  Make it new and make it yours.  It starts with listening!

Monday, April 01, 2019

Breathing For Singers PART 1

For years, and even today, there have been singers who thought that breathing is everything when you're singing.  No, it's not.  BUT, you have to breathe.  It's essential to living.  When it isn't easy, it can be scary or terrifying.  I had asthma in the Springtime in Las Vegas.  It was SEVERE!  The first spring there I felt like I couldn't breathe in or out for about a month with almost no relief.  In the next spring, I found odd remedies with various vitamins and things I found at a health food store.  It wasn't too many more springs until I sought out an allergist who had been writing articles in the local paper about the pollen from plants which was wrecking peoples lives.  At that time there were over 250,000 people in Las Vegas who shared my ailment.  Olive trees, flowerless mulberry trees, Bermuda grass and Desert Sage were my worst sources of pollen.  Life in Las Vegas, for me, was a constant fight with having to get Albuterol breathing treatments every other day, getting desensitization injections every other day, getting Kenalog injections (corticosteroid) every three or four months and constantly taking Claritin.  You gotta breathe to sing, though.  The first two years I was not doing much singing in Las Vegas.  What else?  I played trombone since I was nine years old.  I ran a lot.  I had lung capacity well beyond what a singer would ever need.  I also had studied trombone in Philly with the late great Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt.  HE KNEW BREATHING and also how to do things with it which were logical, practical, and very applicable not only to brass playing but also to singing, as it has turned out. I've shared these with singers and have seen the joy they experience when their breathing is working for them, instead of against them.  An aside is that I can hold out a note for almost a minute.  Air does not act as an impediment.  Eight doctors, who were my students, confirmed that the diaphragm is the INHALE muscle and doesn't PUSH out your air... your abs do, IF it needs to be pushed.  One of my students cried when I exposed the myth of "singing from the diaphragm".  I replaced it with truth and medical facts.  Her illusion was gone but her singing improved and was easier, since she was not fighting something that turned out to be a myth.  Since the 1700s, physicians have understood the actual function of the diaphragm.  It has been proven over and over.  It is not something we have to believe or guess at.  Hanging on to useless myths works AGAINST singing better or even being able to sing well.  If you cannot find the source of "truth", it probably is not truth.  There are many myths about singing.  Some don't help at all and others can cause injury.  Do you know the common myths about singing?  Do you want to?

Friday, March 29, 2019

STOP raising your head for high notes!

Do you raise your head (tilt it back) for high notes?  Is this wrong?  Many times I have seen in studios, a singer sing with the head tilted back, the microphone set high, at eye level or higher.  Does this help you reach your high notes?  REACH is the operative word.  Notes are not "high".  They may FEEL high to you but it is simply a more rapid vibration and this increases the "higher" you go.  If you raise your head, you WILL cause strain.  It may not be today or tomorrow or it might be.  If you raise your head, you are trying to compensate for bad technique.  It won't help to tilt your head back but there are things which will help.  It is almost a 100% certainty that if you tilt your head back, your larynx has risen way too high and you are also hyper-adducting your vocal folds (cords).  When they crash together too hard and the lubricative mucus on them dries up, the vocal folds will become irritated from the friction.  What happens next?  You can become hoarse from the swelling you have caused, you can lose your voice temporarily (laryngitis from vocal abuse) and you can even get calluses (vocal nodules) which come after the blisters and the blood blisters.  What to do?  What to do?  Get training to achieve laryngeal stability so that your larynx doesn't fly up to the moon every time you fly up to your high notes.  I COULD NOT CONQUER THIS ON MY OWN !!!  I did it for years, straining to get the high notes.  I paid over $175 per hour  in the 90s to get this bad habit gone.  It was worth twice the price. I gained the freedom of LOSING the break in my voice and GAINING a lot more usable and COMFORTABLE range.  A caveat (a not so good thing): MANY vocal teachers have no idea how to fix this, much less know about the cause of it, and still, will gladly waste your time and your money. 

My Experience Is Unique (so, is yours)

I wrote a test for vocal coaches a few years ago. Most could not pass it. It is on one of my websites. What is it based upon? My experience is unique. No one has lived my life in diverse fields, as a professional; not the same ones as mine. My perspectives are based on my experience as a professional musician, professional singer, professional arranger, professional music producer, having studied with the best teachers and mentors to be found, having studied the most factual and scientifically accurate sources having to do with the voice, and having done an internship under one of the greats of vocal pedagogy. This includes having had eight physicians as vocal students, who shared their knowledge, expertise and wisdom with me, and I asked a lot of questions along the way. 
Then there is my other side. It does have something to do with music, but it is 4 decades of a being professional in architecture, structural design, and other related fields, giving a very broad understanding of the structure and function of the vocal apparatus, seen as a musical instrument and art unto itself. 
I have never been into this "for the money", but instead approached it as a journey of factual and workable discovery and sharing those findings along the way. But wait, there's more. I once knew a man who owned a few houses. I asked him how a person could "learn to be an investor". He answered that he thought it was best to "learn by doing". I put that concept to use and have written over 2,500 musical pieces. I also studied with some fantastic professionals, to expand my knowledge of music. All this was after being a college music major, leading an 8 piece band on the road, playing six nights a week, working in Las Vegas for 18 years, working in Orlando for another 18 years and having had a few thousand students. I write music almost every day. Staying objective and non-judgmental of oneself affords the freedom to grow and to learn.   
Along the way, there have been some side effects. I can write music that I hear, meaning all of it: the melody, the chords, the percussion, the piano, bass, drums, guitar, etc. and can do it without using a keyboard or any other instrument. I can also do this very quickly. Whether it is innate or learned from experience, I'm not sure. Just as cross-training can be helpful to an athlete in a given sport, doing other arts may well enhance your main art. There is an art of duplication, assimilation, replication, and extemporization and it can be found in all art, potentially. Improving this in one area will often enhance another which is apparently not related at all. These are some things to think about. I am not looking for any new students. The ones who are looking for some help do find me and I give them my all.

TEST FOR VOCAL COACH

MY CROSS TRAINING
https://www.stewzart.com




Friday, March 15, 2019

What Should I Practice?

What should you practice?

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" - Thomas Bertram may have been the one to whom this phrase is attributed but there is truth in the idea of it.  Why waste time on things you are already doing well? Focus on the issues.  Don't just sing songs over and over again.  You'll get nowhere in a hurry.  A great professor I had said, "Practice with a purpose."  If you're not working toward something, you're working toward nothing.  What must be better?  What can be done about it?  Which exercises should you use to improve the issue the quickest?  If you don't know, ask, but ask someone who does actually know.

Assess your singing.

  1. How is your intonation; are you in tune?   
  2. How is your endurance; does your voice get tired?
  3. Do you have a problem with register transitioning, cracking or breaking?
  4. Do you enunciate clearly, too clearly, or not clearly enough?  Style will dictate this, usually.
  5. Can you sing softly, medium, loudly while maintaining control?
  6. Do you have a vibrato?
  7. Can you sing every style you wish to?
  8. Is your musicianship strong or weak?  Rhythm, pitch, duration of tones, timing, etc.
Fast help for singers is here: practasing

Click on practasing.

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