Sunday, March 1, 2015

Do You Know?

It is March.  Thank the Universe.

Spring is now possible, even though as I type, there is light snow falling.

This post is really about the questions you need to ask in your technical and artistic development.

I am always amazed, and yet not surprised at many singers' lack of knowledge of their instrument.  This can be for many many reasons honestly, so this is a general overview.

I was asked last week if I could tell singers and developing artists one thing that could help them,  what would it be.

And here it is, without hesitation: ASK QUESTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(enough exclamation points for you?)

No one expects  you to have all the answers.
Nobody has all the answers.
Questions lead to answers or exploration or more questions.

That's what this is all about!

Sometimes you have to ask a question to simply find out what question to ask!  That, too, is fantastic.

From a purely technical, behavioral perspective,  do you know what building your physical instrument is going to take?

Do you know when the actual vocal mechanism reaches maturity?

Do you know what "reaching maturity" actually means?  (hint:  you aren't done when you mature!)

Do you know what the process is for YOU as you progress toward vocal maturity?

Do you know HOW you are building the instrument?

Do you know how the support mechanism works for YOUR body?

Do you understand how the basic vocal mechanism functions?

Do you know where your lungs are?

Do you know how to care for your instrument?

Do you recognize the athleticism of your vocal instrument?

Do you care?

Are you afraid to ask questions?

Are you excited to ask questions?

As a teacher, my job is to find the singer where she/he is.  Not to start them again.  I have to figure out where you are,  and access what you know, what you don't know, how you learn, how you respond. 

Guess what?  As a teacher, I ask LOTS of questions:  of you; of myself; of my research, of my experience, of my knowledge, of my intuition.

In asking lots of questions to discover MORE,  I expect the same of you.

It is YOUR instrument.  It is YOUR development.  It is YOUR journey.  YOU are responsible.

Development isn't passive, it's active.  It's action-filled.  It's exciting, and frustrating, and annoying, and thrilling and amazing.

Remember that person who never asks direction and thinks they can figure out how to get there and they never do or it takes all day and a tank of gas?  Remember how much EASIER it would have been to simply ask the gas attendant how to get there, cause he lives in the area and would actually know????

ASK QUESTIONS.  If you don't get the answers that help (not always the answers you are comfortable with btw) then go find someone else that can answer them.

You are never beholden to someone but rather, responsible for you.  You are responsible for your development,  and therefore, responsible to ask the questions, to find more questions, to discover more answers, and in more answers, more possibility.

So if you don't know.  ASK.

Ask some more.

Asking questions reveals a desire for truth and understanding. 

If you know WHY you can replicate the behavior.

If you don't know why,  you wander around,  and find yourself back in the same place wondering how you are still there.

So, do you know?

I think it's time to start finding out!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The many kinds of "singer" and study!

So many kinds of "singer" out there - and I am not talking about genre.

How do we define a "natural" singer vs an "organic" singer vs a "musical" singer?

Again, I hate boxes and labels so this is always difficult for to make generalizations so let me just begin to shape ideas...

I believe truly and honestly that singing by a physical definition is an athletic activity.  Some singer simply have the physical athleticism to do this.  Some do not.

Just as there are "natural" athletes and "learned" athletes there are singers in the same vein.  They both must have the physicality.  The "natural" athlete also has easier access to that physicality,  whereas the "learned" athlete has the physicality but may have issues they need to develop or overcome in order to access that physicality.

So it could be said for singers.  Some have the physicality and nothing in the way to access it.  This, to me, is the natural singer. However, this does mean that the natural singer KNOWS what they are doing.  They just simply do it.  Until they cannot. 

The "learned" singer must discover how to access their physicality.  These are the singers that might have physical issues, tensions, imbalances etc that through ongoing technical behavior can access the athleticism they can develop.

The "organic" singer seems to find what they can do within the limit of the talent, or the excess of their talent and discover the voice and the place that voice is best suited.

The "musical" singer could be an organic singer, or a natural singer, or not as natural physically singer - but has incredible color and ability to exude musicality and style in their singing while overcoming some physical issues in technique.

Before anybody gets their panties in a wad, I am oversimplifying.

Even the most "natural" voice still has to develop it.  A "natural" voice doesn't mean it is musical.  A musical voice isn't necessary a natural physicality. 

What a natural voice can do without training earlier on in development can be astounding.

What a musical voice can achieve can be moving and remarkable.

Some singers have exceptional physical gifts;  some have exceptional musical gifts;  some have exceptional interpretive gifts;  Few have all three in equal measure.

Regardless - you as the singer - need to figure out what you have and how you DEVELOP IT.

Even if you are a "natural" singer - it means nothing if you can't access what the music demands of your instrument.  The music, the craft demands you hone and develop.

If you are a "natural" athlete you have to decide what you are going to develop with that physicality and what sport best exemplifies it.

If you are a musical singer, you must find a physicality that you can rely on in order to access that musicality fully through your developed and rebalanced athleticism.

Regardless of the "voice" - it is up to you to HONE THAT CRAFT: physically, athletically, musically, dramatically, spiritually, organically. 

This is just the beginning - so let's explore this in the following days and weeks ahead!

We can want but if we cannot DO it is fruitless.  We must recognize, and simply be honest enough to develop what we have, and who we are.  Even the most "natural" of us will not be able to sustain without knowledge and development and clarity of how we do what we do.

So let's delve in shall we?

Let's find YOUR voice and make it uniquely YOURS.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A first time Master Class Collaboration in NYC!

I am thrilled to announce that Chuck Hudson, Stage Director and Master Teacher will be joining me and together we are offering a Collaborative Master Class for Opera Auditioning in March in NYC!

Here is the link to find out details:

This will be open to only 6 singers to participate but we are also accepting auditors to observe and take in the class.

Please go to the link for more info and then email me if you have questions or queries.

Hope to see you in March!

Friday, January 9, 2015


New content for the studio AND the blog this year of 2015!

I got to sit down with CEO/Founder of CREATIVE SOCIAL MEDIA,  Tony Howell just before the new year to discuss social media for the artist and what we need to consider going forward with our online presence.

I learned TONS from him, and will keep consulting with him as this social media is constantly morphing and changing.  Tony is really an expert in this field, and as an artist himself,  uses both left and right brains with panache and brilliance!  Definitely check him out,  as the site is ever changing, and he does regular webinars and consultations,  as well as all things social media and more!

Check out CSM's sit by clicking above or simply click here.

We are going to keep video-blogging throughout the year with interviews and talks with industry and artists to keep us all updated on what is going on and how we keep ourselves fresh and involved!

So here is the video of Tony & me and our great talk in the Times Square Voice Studio! ENJOY!