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.



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.

Contact me if you need help.  CONTACT