Vocal Instruction

Performances

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.

 

http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/musician-tips/are-you-too-old-to-make-it/

 

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.

 

https://www.musicclout.com/contents/opportunity-5927-seeking-talented-bands-artists–producers-for-recording-contract.aspx

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”.
Enjoy!

http://www.citylab.com/politics/2016/01/the-secret-to-nashville-music-industry/424806/

 

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.

http://blog.getresponse.com/are-interactive-emails-the-next-big-thing.html?platform=hootsuite

 

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.

 

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul10/articles/vocalmics.htm

http://theroundingsound.com/best-condenser-microphones-under-200/

 

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!

 

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/06/26/417190441/to-master-stage-fright-practice-makes-imperfect-ok

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 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.