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February 26 2016


On Being a GREAT Singer

Estelle LIR0B front cover

When you have sung professionally for up to forty years, have been a vocal coach for 35 years, you have been exposed to a veritable many problems, all of which have begged or screamed for solutions.

Being a student of the voice, music, arranging, composing, songwriting, etc. has become and will be continuously studying the science and the art with the aforementioned. There have been debates throughout the years as to whether it is possible and even prudent to "mix art with science". In most cases, one may well realize that the two are inseparable, in this one cannot exist devoid of the other.

Acoustics, being the science of sound, has played part in the development of better wind instruments. They are better in sound quality and in playability. Just ask a real professional musician about the difference between the trumpets in the 40s and the ones these days, such as the trumpets of Chris Botti, Wynton Marsalis, or Arturo Sandoval.


Acoustics as to voice is alive and well on many levels. The inside of the singer's pharo-maxo-naso-laryngeal cavities is different from one singer to an alternative and all result in causing the unique sound of each and every singer. Inside are a couple of variables including a unique configuration in which will be the absorption, reflection, resonance, diffusion, and reverberation of sound. All of these affect the tone quality, timbre, sound level, projection, and also the overtones of the sound that is certainly emitted.

We could say that we can ignore doing this because we are "just singing" that is certainly true to an extent. Definitely we should instead ignore specific things once we perform because the distraction will detract from our performance in a variety of ways. When the problem arises of your singer attempting to sound or sing in a certain way which is contrary to the natural "equipment" in the singer, a solution or solutions may be addressed and explored. Science may hold some keys to the solutions.

For a long time anatomy, medicine, and physics were largely ignored by singing teachers and vocal coaches. People's tongues, teeth, lips and the interior resonating chambers are as individual like a fingerprint. How do you think it is possible to identify the uniqueness of the speaking voice or possibly a singing voice? These factors all play a part. Singers will often work for or up against the natural equipment they may be born with. Being a vocal coach who may have studied the variables in the list above, I can assist in finding the natural road of least capacity a person's own unique sound. This is one area where it's not nice to try to fool nature. And this is not to say that things is not manipulated, such as doing character voices, there is however a right way plus a wrong way to do this. The wrong method may lead to vocal injury.

Singing is really a hearing art. The audience hears the art though the singer hears so much more. After years of singing, several things transcend mere thought and occur while on an intuitive level. To arrive at this level, organic beef learn several things at the profound level in the process.

Singing is musical. The very best singers I have heard know music. They might or may not understand the nomenclature or the terminology of music, nevertheless they still know music. It's purported that the great drummer Buddy Rich would not read music. This was not verified but I recommend looking for some clips giving you Tube and hear his playing. Musicianship is possible at a very high level without getting past musical illiteracy. I don't know if Frank Sinatra could read or write music. If not, that didn't get in the way of his long career.

Musicianship is a vast subject, when divided into all the component parts, and for that reason is a subject on its own. It will be noticeable in the results of hearing all the components of music such as: rhythm, time, pitch, dynamics, tone, timbre, style, form, structure plus more. If we could all at one time "download" this and the remainder of what makes a great singer, I do believe your head would explode while there is much more to this than meets the superficial ear and eye. Musicianship is large. There is no getting around the importance of it as a singer.

Acting can lead to being able to more easily perform like a singer but if the singer doesn't move forward from acting, the performance may be like the singer can be a "fake", or even worse, a liar. The sentiments have to be freed up and express-able with appropriate amounts of intensity. Great singers perform to their audiences and are not a "parody of the singer". Still there is the factor of "communication". An incredible singer will make every person in the audience feel like he or she is in the conversation, not simply observing it. I personally felt this coming from a distance of perhaps 200 feet. The singer was, the truth is, Frank Sinatra. People do not visit concerts to simply tune in to a singer. They're able to do that on an I-pod or which has a radio. Something else happens at the live performance and although lip synching may seem about the same, an almost magical phenomenon happens at a concert and it has something to do with the live show. You cannot scientifically measure it however, you can definitely feel it, unless there's wrong with you at some level.

The state mind of the singer could make or break the greatness of the singer. I saw two famous singers one New Year Eve in Sin city practically fall flat. You would think that their integrity as professional artists and singers could have been sufficient to not modify the performance but they obviously didn't do their best your evening. It was disappointing, annoying, sad and even just funny to watch them make fools of themselves (compared to their usual degrees of performance). The disappointment was that the audience paid along with the performers were paid to perform. They did perform nonetheless they brought the effects with their argument to the stage together. I felt cheated. I felt like they betrayed the target audience. I had seen them often times before but not on one occasion after that ridiculous and immature debacle of the show.

The overall physical health of a singer will impact the greatness of a singer. You can imagine examples of this yourself. Tiredness, illness, or injury will all affect singing. We are of the belief that you will find levels of health that happen to be above what is considered normal or healthy. You will find optimal levels of health which, because we use our bodies to sing, is likely to make subtle or even great variations in our ability to "do our best".

Talent and intelligence will impact the greatness of a singer because ability and intellect would be the areas from which we draw for singing in a star quality professional echelon. We can't pretend that these factors have nothing to do with greatness. Additionally we cannot necessarily create these things of intelligence and talent should they do not appear to be present. We could work harder at developing other strengths and improving weaknesses, though. If an individual has a passion and an ability for singing, lots of things can be overcome but there might need to be compromises made regarding how and where singing is conducted.

Work which is carried out a diligent and educated manner will produce improvement provided that all other factors of greatness can be found in the singer. Work carried out a slipshod manner will produce no or little improvement. Work carried out the presence of misinformation or false information regarding and of the factors of greatness will produce no results or perhaps bad results. Singers can, have, and can injure their voices or maybe if not that, never ever reach their full potential.

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