Vocal Instruction

Music Instruction

A unique view and detailed study of music’s impact on people

There have been a number of articles and papers written over the years on the topic of how music involvement, and more so, music study, has positively affected humans; some of these I have posted here at the blog. This piece takes a more scientific view, which in and of itself is even more assuring to me.

Though this compelling piece puts the primary focus on children and youth, it makes the case later in the article that an active involvement with music benefits a person throughout life.

The title is: The power of music: its impact on the intellectual, social and personal development of children and young people.
The white paper was written by Susan Hallam from the Institute of Education, University of London. Enjoy!


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.




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.



A unique opportunity to gain feedback on your songs

Pop Up Music, a music critique service affords you the chance to get your music critiqued and possibly published within film, TV, advertising and gaming. All music styles are welcome. Click through the Pop Up Music hyperlink here for more details: Pop Up Music.


Conquering stage fright

During the the first lesson with each of my students I hand out and discuss a list of vocal-study topics. In this way they have a better perspective on what to expect in upcoming lessons. One of those topics I have titled, “psychology & singing” and this includes many of the emotional aspects of studying voice and music. Invariably, stage fright finds its way into this category.
The link below offers some perspective from the view of a piano player on how to master stage fright. Enjoy!



Why we love music

It’s very enlightening to come across stories on the power of music and then share them with all of you. This story title is: Why we love music.
And the subtitle says so much: Researchers are discovering how music affects the brain, helping us to make sense of its real emotional and social power.

Love it- Enjoy!


Making money singing- part 6- Marketing the brand

Here we briefly discuss the tools you will need to promote yourself as a singer- and to develop your “brand.”

Business card- Every singer needs a business card. You will want a card that is not paper thin and a color that is not bright white. Ivory, off white or a neutral color are good options. Avoid raised printing as well. Perhaps you or someone you know can design the card. If not, VistaPrint has hundreds to choose from. For the design and printing of your business cards, Vistaprint is the best source: http://www.vistaprint.com/.

The basic info on your card should be: your name and then identify yourself as a vocalist or singer; Contact info: phone number, email address and web address if you have one. All other info on the card is personal and artistic choice. Refrain from using clichéd music notations such as clefs, staffs or notes. A graphic of a microphone may be used.

Always keep some cards with you for networking as you never know who you may meet. Opportunities may come up when you least expect it. Look for opportunities to leave your card at businesses and on community bulletin boards in places such as libraries and supermarkets.

A website is necessary for every singer. You can have a professionally designed site, or you can use many free site design services. First step is to choose a URL which is the name of your site. Many people use “Go Daddy” as a source for web names. I.e., johnsmith@comcast.com. If not, vary the address until the address that you seek is available. Once a site URL is established you then pay for that domain name. You can start for as little as 10-15 dollars and then you can get started building your site.

Your site should include your picture, your contact info, demo, songs, videos, bio, testimonials (fan or industry quotes) and a digital press kit. It is your choice as to whether you want a basic site and include minimal information or you can be more elaborate- it just depends on how much information that you have and want to share.

Social media should include the following, listed in order of importance: Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, You tube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat. Also look for music related social media, such as Reverbnation or music blogs.

Look to future installments here for more details on how to develop and market your career

Making money singing- part five- The recording market

Wherever music is recorded- singers are needed. Recording Studios vary in size and sophistication from major record labels to small home studios. Virtually every city and suburb has multiple recording studios. If these studios are in business- they are making money- and in the process they are recording vocals.

In the studio, you would likely be hired to sing lead vocal on an original song, and there may be a need to record a vocal for a band demo. Be mindful that background vocals are in demand as well . At one time three or more singers would be hired, but with today’s economy it’s more common for one singer to sing all of the background parts.

Do not overlook home based recording studios. These may be difficult to find as they are not typically advertised. You may find these “hidden studios” by talking to local musicians. You may also search craigslist or other internet listings of studios.

Versatility is always an advantage to a recording singer. Some assignments require a comedic approach, perhaps a Bronx accent, or a foreign language. There is also a demand for sound alike singers such as Elvis Presley, Barbara Streisand or Beyonce.

In short, there are many options to gain recording studio work, it just takes some networking and leg work on the part of the singer.

Making money signing- part four- The Media market

The media market is a field that includes jingle singing as well as vocal work in video production of all types. TV radio and film are in this market which also includes corporate work.
Corporate work is typically contracted through audio and video production companies.

Be mindful that radio commercials are produced in audio production companies; TV commercials are produced in video production companies; Films are produced in film production companies.

Jingle Singing is part of the advertising industry. It is the vocal part of radio and television advertising. Whenever you hear vocal on a commercial- it’s a jingle.

Who hires jingle singers? Since advertising agencies typically create radio and TV commercials they are an obvious source of work. When you seek out advertising agencies, be certain that they focus more than 50% in radio or TV. Trade publications such as Advertising Age list advertising agencies geographically, as well contact info and percentage of work.

Audio Production Companies are responsible for the creation of recordings which are used in the jingle market. These companies either own a recording studio or they are affiliated with one. Audio production companies hire writers, musicians and singers on a regular basis.

The nature of each commercial dictates the age and type of singer needed. The more versatile you are as a singer, the more opportunities you will have in the jingle market. It is advantageous, though not essential, that you learn to read music. New York singers are frequently excellent sight readers, but smaller cities and markets typically do not require sight reading.

Recording studios don’t produce jingles exclusively but since they are recorded there investigate which recording studios do jingle work and make contact with them.

If you can make contact with jingle writers they can become a good source of referrals. It’s not so easy to find jingle writers. Be aware as you talk to musicians, and in your overall networking, to ask about jingle writers and how to reach them

Though voice over is not strictly a singing category it is a common source of income for singers. It is the spoken-word part of the audio production. The pursuit of this work is identical to the pursuit of jingle singing. It is not unusual for a vocalist to also provide the spoken word part of a jingle.