Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Vocal Textbook

The Singing Book by Meribeth Bunch and Cynthia Vaughn is an excellent vocal resource. I have used this numerous times for private vocal lessons. They cover "The First Steps To Singing Easily" which include "healthy singing," "Preparing to sing," "Selecting Music to Sing," "Learning Music Efficiently," "Practice Habits," and "Performing." Part Two delves into different styles and genres of singing. They encourage you to sing from the beginning while gaining confidence through given vocal exercises. Proper singing is covered thoroughly as they exlpain how it helps you to sing any style. This is very useful for teachers as well as vocal students. Visit their student website at

Co-author: Meribeth Bunch "an authority on the science of the singing voice, has given master classes in singing throughout the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe. She is the author of Dynamics of the Singing Voice and Creating Confidence." -- copied from The Singing Book

Co-author: Cynthia Vaughn "a well-known voice teacher and author, teaches singing at Colorado State University and hosts international online chats for the National Association of Teachers of Singing. She writes for Classical Singer Magazine." --Copied from The Singing Book

Monday, October 29, 2007

A Skillful Musician

"A skilled musician must eat, breathe, sleep, and think music constantly," stated Richard Cionco, my piano professor at CSUS. One cannot expect to perform his or her very best having not become "one" with the music. Anywhere from three to seven hours a day are normal practices. There are those who practice, give or take, longer or shorter amounts of time. Given one is spending hours with his music every day, he really is [eating, breathing, sleeping, and thinking music constantly.] What does it take to be skilled at anything?? Having taught piano for twelve years, I have found that focus, time, and consistency is the answer. One grows to know something intimately by thinking or meditating on, devoting time to it, touching it,and interacting with it consistently. A musician goes through stages as in a relationship: timid at first, aquainted with, familiar, intimate. The process of getting to the last stage has many "mountains" and "valleys", sleepless nights, frustrations, hand and finger cramps, sore finger tips, stress of memorization and performance anxiety... but at the same time an increasing amount of beauty is forming with each rehearsal. As one finally and truly "knows" the music, one begins to love it. When a musician loves the music he or she performs, the beauty of passionate expression has evolved over many rehearsals and performances. Thus, we have a very skillful musician. There is nothing more thrilling and rapturous than to be audience to a skilled musician who has a love affair with his music up on a stage... except perhaps to be the one who knows his music inside and out and has weathered some intense times together with his music -- being the skilled.

Tips on becoming a skillful musician:
-Start at a young age (this is not a must but it helps)
-Have a set practice time every day
-Practice at "least" an hour every day (if you cannot get more time in)
-Have at least one lesson per week from a skilled musician
-Play in competitions and recitals
-Teach someone else to play your instrument
-Meditate on your music when you are not actively practicing

Friday, October 26, 2007

Anyone Can Sing!

Anyone can sing. Recently I formed a class to instruct in the art of singing. I graduated with a BA in Music Management from California State University, Sacramento in 2003. In the course of my four years at the University I was required to be enrolled in a Large Performing Ensemble. I chose choir. My choir instructor, Donald Kendrick, was a phenomenal teacher and I am implementing much of his theory into my class. He taught that anyone could sing, even people that were convinced they were tone deaf. For example, he told us to quote any phrase as if we were in a conversation with someone. Next he instructed us to recite the same quote monotone. Then he had us say the phrase the first way except leaving out all consonants. Of course this sounds rather crazy. But we followed his instructions and everyone realized that we could form various pitches without even trying. Try this question: "How are you?" Now use the same voice inflections and leave the consonants out... See?! The first step in being able to sing is to realize that you hit numerous pitches in one sentence without even trying. What will happen once you begin to try???