Performing a song on stage, with or without a mike, isn’t as easy as professional singers make it look. Real singing – not hyped up, artificially mixed and made in the studio – is an art. It requires years of practice, and a big dose of natural talent. In addition, real singing requires the singer to have a natural gift for music –a musical ear that is accurate. Then, you must have some kind of fire in the belly – a deep love of words, love of music, and love of making some noise!
I’m particularly interested in vocal coaching that emphasizes the art of projecting words. You must know how to project words and the notes. I believe that every vocal student needs to practice without a mike, understanding how we use the acoustic spaces as a natural feedback system.
As a vocal coach, I train singers to own the stage when they sing. To move an audience with the ease and beauty of their voice, musicality, phrasing and expression. I also train singers to be musically intelligent, and make intelligent musical choices about the repertoire and songs they chose. I’m not interested in training 3-note singers whose aim is to star in pre-packaged and hyper-mixed albums.
We live in a time when a young teen singer has a pocket library of countless new songs downloaded from iTunes or YouTube videos. Young people today feel rather egocentric about their music, but usually have little musical training to back up their opinion.
Kids today are rich in technologically well-produced music. But, they are poor when it comes to hearing singers perform live, with or without a mike. It’s becoming more difficult these days, for young people to experience a singer performing a song with a beautifully balanced and resonant voice – a song that is unmixed, un-miked and unplugged. The only place this would be is either in church, synagogue or at the Opera House. For a fascinating look at why so many of today’s pop hits sound the same see: Why Do All Records Sound the Same?
Remember, you’re never going to sound like your favorite recording artist. You can try to copy and paste – but it won’t take you far! Every voice is different, and every singer has different talents. All the great pop and jazz singers tailored their songs to suit their range – and abilities. They sang in the best key for them, and had great musical skills. The two go together.
Parents of young teens often don’t understand how much musical training is required. These past few years, as a vocal coach, I’ve seen a drastic decline in musical education for young people. I’ve had young teens showing up for their first voice lessons expecting to sing their favorite artist’s songs in a matter of weeks, who have never sung a scale and don’t know anything about music! Yes, there is something called “auto-tune” today. However, let’s get real about vocal training! If you went to a piano teacher wouldn’t you expect to learn scales, chords, read music and be told to practice daily?
Singers also have to learn scale patterns. We call these “Vocalizes” – and you can also think of these scales as parts of songs and melodies with different vowels/consonants, that are “Vocal – Eases”… Having a foundation in the fundamentals of Bel Canto – with its 500 years of methodology handed from master to student, gives today’s singers a competitive edge in contemporary music.
The purpose of vocal training is to train the mind, breath and voice – into one instrument capable of transmitting musical expression to the audience. The mind is trained to direct and organize the musical ear with a strong and well-coordinated breathing system, into one artistic expression. This training is best suited for those who are naturally gifted with an above average musical ear. If you can’t sing back a tune, or a musical pattern accurately with ease, it indicates some issues with the musical ear. Sometimes, just getting basic ear training helps to correct this, but for some people, it may mean that a singing career might not be the best path for them.
Training for the musical ear should begin ideally at birth, and continue daily by exposing a young child to music that is complex, pleasing, and live. Singing should be heard in the home, at school, and at a religious organization on a weekly basis. Musical training is all about the ear and how we listen. Studies have shown that classical musical training improves brain function and can actually improve IQ. For more about the importance of the ear – see the studies and methods of Alfred Tomatis.
To train your musical ear is a key ingredient in being a musician and particularly in being a singer. The better the natural voice is – strong, powerful, with a big range and clear diction – the better your chances of making it as a singer. However, a voice by itself is not enough. You must have an exceptional musical ear – being able to sing on key, “carry a tune” with notes and rhythm. This musical ear is then further trained.
My students get many different songs to learn by heart. A singer must memorize hundreds of songs and hundreds of lyrics or an entire role, such as musical theater or Opera.
All this requires daily study! I usually ask my new students to practice a minimum of 20 -30 minutes a day.
Contact me today to schedule an appointment!