Vocal Instruction

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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!

 

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

More on Vocal health for singers…

Am always glad to pass on along resources to help singers. The page link below is to vocal health.org. The many links at the site will be invaluable to singers at all skill and experience levels. Check especially the bottom of the page for the many links to various topics on vocal health. Enjoy!

www.vocalhealth.org

Making money singing: Part three-The religious market

Music plays an important role in special events- and especially those events at churches. Weddings and funerals and regular services offer many opportunities for singers. The music can be instrumental, vocal, or a combination of both. Of course, our interest here is vocal.

For example, in the Christian church market, singing is part of the Friday, Saturday and Sunday services as well as with virtually every wedding and funeral. The music often will feature a vocalist.

Vocal work within a church is as simple as learning the songs, and then finding the contact within the church that is responsible for contracting the music. This person may be in the position to employ you on a regular basis in the role of singer as events are scheduled.

This hiring contact may be the organist or pianist, or someone in charge of music and/or the choir, Often the pastor, priest, minister or deacon who conducts the services is responsible for hiring the singers

Beyond the regular services on Friday through Sunday, there are Holy days as well as the seasons such as Christmas and Easter.

Some of the songs are traditional liturgical songs, but there may be a custom song list that is requested by a church patron for a specific event.So you must be open and flexible to learn new material.

The combined number of services along with the number of churches that exist, results in a tremendous potential for work opportunities in this market.

To begin the search, pick your geographic area, and search churches online.
Contact each church and introduce yourself as a singer. Identify the individual responsible for music in the church and make contact with them.

Here it is essential to have a business card, demo and ideally a website with which you display your singing abilities and availability. It will also be quite helpful to provide any references.

Making money singing: Part Two- How to choose the right band for you

In Part one of Making Money Singing, we looked at the various options singers might explore to locate paid singing work.

At the point where you have identified a desirable band(s) for you, it’s time to take the next steps in the process.

Perhaps you already have a clear picture of your ultimate band? Whether you do or don’t, as you begin to target bands, it becomes necessary to get answers to your most important questions about the band- so that you have the best fit for you.

First ask yourself, is this music something you really want to sing? Can you see yourself singing these songs? The band will not change their song repertoire for you.

Let’s look at some of the important questions you will want to ask a bandleader:

-Are you expected to supply a PA system and/or microphone?

-What is the location of rehearsals? What frequency, days of the week and what hours of the day? are rehearsals?

-How long has the band been together? Are they working now and how does the band get booked?

-Current amount, or projected amount of work, and the location of the jobs. Is this amount suitable for you (too much or too little)?

-Does this band specialize in one type of music?

-Who chooses the songs?

-What is the pay scale?

-Will there be choreography (Dance) in the performances?

-What is the attire (especially for women)?

-Is this a club band or an outside band

-Am I replacing a singer?

-Am I expected to play any instrument?

-Am I the only singer and will I need to sing harmony?

These are important questions to ask right from the beginning as a way to get you closer to identifying your ultimate working band.

End of Part Two.

Making Money Singing: Part One (Overview)

Here begins an in-depth discussion on singers and income sources. This discussion will be in multiple parts beginning with: How do singers make money?

When it comes to singers and income, the very top of the spectrum would be the superstar recording artists who make sums well into the millions, such as Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. But even the superstars started somewhere and that is where we begin the discussion.

Band and solo public performance work:
Many singer-songwriters find solo work in venues such as coffee shops, clubs and listening rooms; but there are also many options for those singers that seek to be in a band.
There are bands to fit most music genres, such as rock bands, country bands, reggae bands, jazz bands, and also blues bands, pop bands and folk bands. Beyond genre specific there are also wedding, party and club bands. Some restaurants have singing waiters and waitresses.

Let’s look at another segment in the singers and income category:
Freelance singing: Singers for hire in this instance may not be looking to join a band, but still still have opportunities to fill a need for music that includes vocal:
-A church singer for weddings and funerals.
-“Media work” is Jingle singing for radio and TV.
-A recording studio singer aligns with a studio for projects such as demo recordings that require vocal.
-Singing telegrams are yet another opportunity for singers.

Next begins the process of research and networking to locate the situations that may be a fit for you. Begin to reach out to every musician that you know and also those that you meet along the way, and let them know that you seek singing work. To accomplish this it will be best to hand out a professional business card. These are relatively inexpensive to create as well.

Websites such as Craiglist are a good start. Within Craigslist, the musician board often has listings for bands that need singers. Bandmix and Reverbnation are band sites to search for those band styles that you are most interested in. As you begin to identify types of bands here, reach out via email to let them know that you’re looking for work.

Another search option would be to search online for live venues in your area or the area you would like to perform, and then visit these venues and talk to the band members on their break between sets.

You may consider karaoke or open mike venues as a means to get singing experience though these would be without pay. At some of the more established and respected open-mike venues you can also network with musicians and other singers.

Look for part 2 coming soon.

Songs and key choice

As both an educator and singer, I have always been fascinated and stimulated by the process of analyzing options for the key that a given tune might be played and sung. Of course, the ultimate choice is up to the singer performing the song.

As a vocal instructor, I notice that students will sometimes question, or even resist, changing the key of cover tunes that we work on in lesson.

I’ve found that at the outset, it’s a worthwhile exercise to examine a tune’s melodic range, as well as phrasing, potential breathing challenges and then the movement of the melody ascending and descending.

Sometimes changing the key is the answer if we can’t reach a note, but sometimes we can alter the melody slightly, and keep the key the same- without changing the overall “feel and sound” of the melody. Additionally, we may consider a key change just to create a unique overall sound of a song- regardless of any technical vocal challenges.

Remember that the singer in the original recording of a song has their own unique vocal range. And then the key of the song was chosen according to that range and voice. Unless you have the exact same vocal range and voice, you must choose the key that is right for you.

Rick

Singers and Microphone selection

When it comes to a singers preparation, one area that we cannot take lightly is equipment and specifically the choice of the right microphone.

Thought I would share a great site link that contains some basic technical information that  singers should be aware of as they approach the studio, as well as the stage. Topics include the “How and why” and importance of microphone impedance and polar patterns. And there is an overview on Mic selection for studio and stage for both singers and instrumentalists. There is also a list of the top 5 microphones with an option to order if you wish.

Glad that I could pass on another valuable resource for everyone.
http://www.sweetwater.com/insync/live-sound-microphone-buying-guide/