Rick Gabe

Vocal Instruction

How Children benefit from music lessons

In past posts I had shared here some perspectives from professionals on what music study has meant to their lives as they look back- well on in the careers- having achieved great success in careers outside of music. Still. music was a key part of the learning process for them in their youth.

In this piece the focus is youth development and how music training can help positively effect social skills, IQ development, academic skills, spatial-temporal skills and making the brain work harder. Very fascinating study here.




Singers and the aging process

Ok so this post speaks to anyone who has thought about their age with respect to their involvement in music and singing. Should you have concerns if over a certain age, say 50 or so?

I must share that my vocal students at times express concerns about age as it relates to their singing, some as young as 30 or so.  The fact is that we can sing and reap great benefits from singing at any age.

Here in 2016, Jazz/pop singer Tony Bennett is nearing 90 years of age- and he is still touring and drawing big crowds! Now he has been in the music business consistently since a young age, but what if he changed his mind set at any point along the way- that he was “too old” to sing? Though he has altered his approach with age, Tony still goes on- entertaining crowds.

Over time our bodies do change with the aging process. As we age our Vocal chords have less pliability, and so one of the more distinctive changes that happens to our voice, as a result, is that we may not reach the highest notes that we did when we were younger. But this process varies from person to person, and is dependent somewhat on the lifestyle and health habits from one person to the next.

As Tony Bennett and many others singers prove, you can make alterations, such as the keys of songs and vocal arrangements that will still result in wonderful music- that you will still love performing. Of course maintaining overall good spiritual and physical health is essential as well.

So the focus must be on your music- regardless of age. What drives you musically and vocally? With this more proactive approach, you are much less likely to focus on age so that your real strengths come through. And as with any endeavor, musically or otherwise, continue with training to develop your skills.

So set goals and go after them. Wherever there may be the perception of an age-related issue such as who will accept your music, bring the focus back to your music. It can also be enormously helpful to talk with your peers and loved ones to gain their perspective as well.

I love the linked article below, “Are we too old to make it.” It is right on the money with the focus on how we think- about ourselves and our craft; this piece goes back a few years- but the message is still timeless.

Feel free to leave comments.




Recording contract opportunities

In the past I have shared  the Music Clout site with my blog readers in instances when MC has promoted various resources that I viewed as worthy for singers and musicians. Here they are offering an opportunity for artists to get their music heard and to possibly get a recording contract. Check it out- and good luck.



Calling singer-songwriters, Americana, Country and Folk artists

Hey All:

Red Train Records is looking to add Country, Folk/Americana and singer-songwriters to their labe. They will provide a vast array of resources to the accepted musicians as well. Red Train has worked with names such as Fiona Apple, Robert Palmer and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Follow the link below for more details! They do have a deadline to submit. Good Luck



Creating “space” for music- and a sense of community

The trend toward smaller recording studios and away from the big, expensive ones, especially for those singers and musicians with budgetary concerns is nothing new.

However this article from the Temple (University) News exposes  a newer trend toward studios that are carved out within existing spaces, and often in more urban, industrial buildings. Interesting how the vibe of these spaces incites creativity for these young musicians while also creating a sense of community as well.




The phenomenon that is “Music City” (Nashville)

Much has been written in recent years about the rise of the music scene in Nashville, from its roots as a country music mecca- to a bustling community of musicians, singers and music business folk from multiple music genres.

Now, from City Lab, comes a in-depth look at this urban cultural transition. The story is fueled by an interview with Daniel B Cornfield,  author of the book “ Beyond the beat: Musicians building community in Nashville”.



Songwriter royalties- in the digital age

T Bone Burnett is certainly a “titan” of the music business. An american songwriter, as well as  a soundtrack and album producer since the early 1970s, Burnett has collaborated with the likes of Elton John, John Mellancamp, Roy Orbison, The Wallflowers and Allison Krauss, to name a few. He has won Grammy awards, as well as an Oscar and a Golden Globe award for his music.
This article is Burnett’s view on the music business today and specific to the concern that royalty sums due songwriters have shrunk to all-time lows. And so Burnett details the reasons, and how the root cause of the problem is this age of the digital download, and what might be done to stem the tide of this phenomenon. Read on.



Using email in the marketing process

You may recall my 6-part series “Making money singing” published here in March/April, 2015 where we explored various ways for singers and musicians to expand their marketing campaign and also find work.

With marketing in minds, let’s now take a look at the email process, and more specifically, interactive email, as a means to expand our marketing, and as an additional way to reach out to our fan base. This great piece on Interactive emails comes courtesy of getresponse.com.



Choosing a microphone

As singers, we typically stay mindful of vocal care and development and all the things that that entails. But it is real easy to overlook the equipment that we use in recording and on stage. So let’s take a look at the primary tool of the singer: the microphone.

Below are two links, each with the focus on Microphones. The link to the Sound on Sound article discusses singers and the choice of vocal mic’s across many music genres, and for the studio as well as performance.

The second link,  rounding sound, provides an expansive look at the five best condenser microphones under two hundred dollars. Condenser mic’s are typically used in recording studios while Dynamic mic’s are used in live performance.  Some great resource information in these two links here to help singers make this important and sometimes tricky decision.





A choral director- and trailblazer for social justice

In some ways this piece is a departure from my other posts, given the focus on choral. But it very much ties in with similar posts here that focus on the importance of music in our society today- at a time when music and the arts are less likely to be counted into school budgets, and when the industry in general has changed drastically in this age of the digital download.

Elaine Brown was Temple University Professor Emerita and choral director from 1948 to 1956; she had a vision for what was best for her students- as singers- and as people. Brown made certain that her choral groups were racial integrated. Given this time in American history- she could be touted as a trailblazer for sure.

This quote from Tara Webb Duey, Director of Development, Center for the Arts, Temple University, really says a lot about the legacy of this woman: “She worked to bring people together- at at time when society wanted to keep them apart.”

In this article, two former students of Elaine Brown reflect on what this Iconic music professor meant to them and how she helped shape their lives.



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