Monday, February 25, 2008

Voice Analysis Test

I posted an article last week about the book I'm reading: Is Your Voice Telling On You? by Daniel Boone. Boone's thoughts are interesting. He claims that your natural voice may not be the voice that you are used to hearing yourself speak every day. He encourages you to find your natural voice by doing vocal exercises and breathing properly along with a number of other things (you'll have to read to find out Janell.. lol =P ). Here is a voice self-analysis test from his book. The test contains 20 statements. Check the ones that are true to you, according to your view of you voice.

1. You frequently find that you are short of breath as you speak.

2. You don't like to listen to yourself on a tape recording.

3. You voice gets tired as you use it.

4. Strangers on the telephone think you are younger or older than you are.

5. When your voice is tired, it sounds distant and weak to you.

6. Your voice is different in the morning than it is at night.

7. After you talk a lot, your throat hurts.

8. People have difficulty hearing you in a some situations.

9. Your voice doesn't sound as good as it used to sound.

10. Your voice sounds as if it is in your nose.

11. Your voice sounds as if you are nervous.

12. You may lose your voice when you are nervous or tired.

13. When you speak, you don't have the voice you want.

14. You would like to change the pitch of your voice.

15. You feel that your voice isn't "really you."

16. You frequently clear your throat.

17. When you have an allergy or a cold, you sometimes lose your voice.

18. Your throat feels excessively dry and scratchy after prolonged speaking.

19. People frequently misunderstand what you say.

20. Strangers on the phone think you are of the opposite sex.

Double check to make sure you really feel the ones you check are true. Count up the true answers. Boone states that most of us will have "a concern or two (a few true answers) about our voice."

Rate if you should be concerned by the number of true answers:

0-2 = no concern

3-4 =mild concern

5-8 = moderate concern

9 or more = severe concern

Boone states, "The higher your degree of concern, the more probable it is that you are using a voice that is different from your natural voice. If you are concerned about your voice, do something about it." What can you do? Drinking a lot of water is a given and avoiding foods that give you heart burn. More tips are coming....

On a lighter note: Noah is developing quite a set of lungs that accompany his opinionated personality. He thinks he's a preacher like his daddy. Here he is with his daddy last Sunday night after church.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How You Live by Point of Grace

I'm being reflective on my birthday and I hope I'm living my life this way. Go find a way to listen to this song. If you can't find time to listen, still make time to read these lyrics by Point of Grace.

How You Live (Turn Up The Music) Lyrics - Point Of Grace

Wake up to the sunlight

With your windows open

Don’t hold in your anger or leave things unspoken

Wear your red dress

Use your good dishes

Make a big mess and make lots of wishes

Have what you want

But want what you have

And don’t spend your life looking back


Turn up the music

Turn it up loud

Take a few chances

Let it all out

You won’t regret it

Looking back from where you have been

Coz it’s not who you knew

And it’s not what you did

It’s how you live

So go to the ballgames

And go to the ballet

And go see your folks more than just on the holidays

Kiss all your children

Dance with your wife

Tell your husband you love him every night

Don’t run from the truth‘Cause you can’t get away

Just face it and you’ll be ok


Turn up the music

Turn it up loud

Take a few chances

Let it all out

You won’t regret it

Lookin’ back from where you have been

‘Cause it’s not who you knew

And it’s not what you did

It’s how you live

Oh wherever you are and wherever you’ve been

Now is the time to begin
So give to the needyAnd pray for the grieving

E’en when you don’t think that you can

‘Cause all that you do is bound to come back to you

So think of your fellow man

Make peace with God and make peace with yourself

‘Cause in the end there’s nobody else


Turn up the music

Turn it up loud

Take a few chances

Let it all out‘Cause you won’t regret it

Lookin’ back from where you have been

‘Cause it’s not who you knew

And it’s not what you did

It’s how you live

‘Cause it’s not who you knew

And it’s not what you did

It’s how you live

How You Live (Turn Up The Music) Lyrics - Point Of Grace Song Words
Single Song Words by Artist / Band : Point Of GraceLyrics Title : You TalkTaken from Album : How You Live (Turn Up The Music)Single Released Date: 28 August 2007Music Genre : Christian Music

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tell-tale Voice

I just started reading the book, Is Your Voice Telling On You? by Daniel R. Boone. I am already impressed. For those of you who are required to vocalize on a regular basis, this book is a tremendous gold mine. Already in the first chapter "Your Voice is Telling on You," Boone aims toward finding your natural voice. Boone acknowledges the person who has "image" (according to Boone this is: degree, physique, fashion, affluence, friends) yet has not considered how his voice sounds. Boone speaks of the confident and knowledgeable business person who through their voice send a message that lacks confidence and appears ignorant. He adds, "How we sound is largely the result of speaking the same way, day after day, over a period of years." He offers checklists and vocal exercises to improve vocal intonation and discovering your natural voice.

This book already aptly applies to music voice students. Presence (or image) is definitely a part of the grading in our class, however if you have not applied some skills to the presence don't bother showing up. =) I also like what Boone says about being confident and knowledgeable. We talked about this in class too. Don't just sing a song to be pretty. Let the knowledge and passion be reflected through your voice. Convince me you mean what you sing. You will have an in-tune listener.

Another factor in the first chapter is on our Vocal "fingerprint" (qualities in our voice that causes someone in the other room to recognize us)are:
-the number of words you say in one breath
-how fast you speak
-your rythm of speech
-your ease in breathing
-the pitch of your voice
-the loudness of your voice
-the relative relaxation or tension of your voice
-your mood state
-the clarity of your speech articulation
-the resonance of your voice

Are you pleased with how your voice sounds on a recording? Does it sound convincing? Sincere? Smooth and at ease? Does it make a good impression on others? Boone recommends developing an awareness of different voices and how they compare to your own.

Here are some descriptions Boone gives to some famous voices:

Tom Brokaw: bright, confident, good, low, masculine, melodious, resonant, throaty

George Burns: bad, burnished, gravelly horase, husky, rough, scratchy, whiskey

George Bush: clangy, confident, metallic, nasal, pingy, ringing, strident

William Buckley: burnished, cello-like, cool, deep, golden, heavy, melodious, relaxed, resonant, sophisticated, velvety

Bill Clinton: burnished, constricted, gravelly, hoarse, heavy, pinched, tight

Goldie Hawn: baby, bubbly, feminine, immature, light, pleasing, sexy, wavering

James Earl Jones: bell-like, clear, deep, golden, low, melodious, powerful, resonant

Marilyn Monroe: affected, breathy, feminine, relaxed, sultry

Meryl Streep: bright, clear, cool, good, pleasing, sharp, warm

Barbara Walters: abrasive, affected, burnished, clangy, friendly, intimidating (at times), sophisticated, whining

If you think your voice does not match you well, listen to a recording of yourself. Write some vocal descriptions down then let someone else listen and do the same. Now listen to some people you have heard and list the qualities you find there. Boone then suggests to practice these vocal qualities and find your natural voice.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pianist David Lanz

Check out pianist David Lanz at his site. He has been around for a while but I thought about a cd of his I had years ago and visited his site out of curiosity. He has free listening demos there. The older albums are my favorite especially "Return to the Heart," his second best selling album. This piano solo album is very quiet and intimate with a hint of mystery. He even has variations on a theme from Pachelbel's Canon in D Major that is really nice. However, his later albums tend towards Jazz with the added instruments of upright bass and drums... thus they don't impress me that much (I'm not a huge Jazz fan unless its live). Check out the site:
For those of you in Sacramento and surrounding areas, I also found out that he will be performing in Dixon March 28th and 29th at 8:00pm at the Dixon Performing Arts Theater. The tickets are only between $15-$25 online, click here or by calling 800.838.3006. They are also available at Dixon City Hall. If I were in town, I would definitely be there. Since I was introduced to his music I have always wanted to hear him live.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Love Song

Although it is the day after Valentine's Day, we haven't forgotten it so quickly. I didn't post because I was out celebrating ;-) After cooking dinner, my two valentines, Jeremy and Noah, and myself went to the bookstore. After picking out a couple of books to buy, we left and made our way to another store and bought a couple of board games and some ice cream. We came back to the house and had a blast making Boston Coolers (a delicious frozen drink made of Blue Bell homeade vanilla icecream, Verner's, and Malt) and beating each other at the games we'd just bought. Jeremy's the champ at Mancala. BUT I'm THE CHAMP AT CHINESE CHECKERS. lol. How about you? Did the cherub get a bull's eye on you?

I must admit, I'm not quite through celebrating the holiday. Our church has a Valentine Banquet tonight for all the married couples put on by the youth. Last year was the first time they've done this and it was first class. We arrived to have our car taken from us and parked valet. The room was dimly lit with candles, ornamented with roses in vases setting on round tables with black table cloths. White Christmas lights were placed strategically throughout the room and soft classical music could be heard for added ambiance. The youth served Caesar Salad, Parmesan Chicken Spaghetti and moist warm sourdough bread. Southern sweet tea was optional (highly recommended by me) or you could drink water or unsweetened tea. Although I am embarassed to admit it, I can't remember the dessert. I just remember everything being wonderful. The skits were hilarious, they even used people from the crowd to participate impromptu. They did a few multimedia presentation skits that were hysterical and done first rate. So as you can see Valentine's Day is still on the brain.

On a more serious note, we were probably thinking of love songs yesterday and I came across this beautiful love song/hymn and I'd like to share the lyrics with you. This is probably one of the more beautiful songs I've heard. I've heard the story of Ruth and Naomi (Yes, I know Ruth and Boaz' story is noteworthy also, but that's for a later post.) and even heard songs written about it. I've heard this story in song has been sung on a wedding day. Such lyrics say: "Whither thou goest, I will go. Whither thou lodgest I will lodge." There is such loving trust in these lyrics. Please read...

Entreat me not to leave thee,

My heart goes with thee now;

Why turn my footsteps homeward?

No friend so dear as thou!

Thy heart has borne my sorrow,

And I have wept for thine;

And now how can I leave thee?

Oh, let thy lot be mine.


Entreat me not to leave thee,

Entreat me not to leave thee,

Or to return from following after thee;

For where thou goest I will go,

And where thou lodgest I will lodge;

Thy people shall be my people,

And thy God my God,

Thy people shall be my people,

And thy God my God.

I’ll follow where thou leadest;

My love will cling to thee;

And where thy head is pillowed,

My nightly rest shall be;

Thy birthplace and thy kindredI’ll cherish like my own;

Thy God shall be my refuge,

I’ll worship at His throne.


Where death’s cold hand shall find thee,

There let my eyelids close,

And, in the grave beside thee,

This mortal frame repose:

Oh, do not now entreat me;

No friend so dear as thou;

My heart would break in anguish

If I should leave thee now.


bio("Fan­ny Cros­by","c/r/o/crosby_fj")
Fan­ny Cros­by, in Bright­est and Best, by Ro­bert Low­ry and
bio("W. How­ard Doane","d/o/a/doane_wh")
W. How­ard Doane (New York: Big­low & Main, 1875), num­ber 120.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I want to comment on the music team at the Roch Church. They did a terrific job Sunday. The choir is first class and the music is very tight. Ben Vandiver is the music minister and is really bringing out the best of the talents. I had the opportunity to participate in choir practice on Sunday night and it was obvious of the near perfection expected of musicians and singers alike.
As many of you know, we had the wonderful occasion of Jason and Heather's wedding that brought us to California this past week. It was a beautiful wedding. Two pure and Godly young people made a covenant before God, family and friends. I thought I had a picture of the bridesmaids in curlers waiting to get their hair done. I will check again and post later. Nevertheless, here is me and "Milly".

We were able to get with friends and go to one of our favorite ice cream parlors, Leatherby's, on Saturday night. We had a great time. Afterwards, the girls and children hit Nordstrom Rack.

Sunday night we went to Mimi's after church and Noah had been getting sick and wasn't feeling great. But he was passed around to different ones at the table. At one point he ended up being pacified with a lemon by Bishop Wilson and soon after made his way into Sis.Wilson's arms. I'm glad I had my camera with me.We were also able to get together one last time Monday night and here are some fun pictures of the girls being rediculously goofy but having a RIOTeous time... and the children too seemed to be having a great time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Singing the Blues

I was just made aware that I had a youtube video that is not conducive to this site. I sincerely apologize. For those of you who know about blogging, I added a page element from youtube because I wanted everyone to see Samvel playing the violin on the Yanni tour, but it posts three other videos with supposed relative content. So I'm singing the Blues because I wanted everyone to see and hear this masterpiece without the confusion of added "trash."

I had not checked my Yanni videos since I first put them there (didn't think I needed to) when I started this blog so I didn't know anything had changed. I want to apologize to all my viewers. I have taken the video of Yanni off. Every time I try to add Yanni's "The Storm" clip, it brings up other nonsense. It is worth seeing, but not at the expense of other videos showing up on my blog that have nothing to do with what I endorse. Has anyone had this experience before?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Call and Answer

I love to hear a music group that has practiced together and they anticipate each others' actions. Maybe its the "exchange" that is so intriguing and captivating. Its really amazing to watch this exchange because you know that what they are performing has been practiced hours upon hours in reahearsal. Its not just getting up on the stage to perform something mechanically or by rote. Rather, its filled with excitemtent and there's a subtle give and take going on. You can tell the performers are feeding off of the performance of their fellow performers. Its no fun and almost impossible to be an active listener in a performance where you have robotic "music" with no exchange either by the performer to the performer OR by the performer to the audience and back to the performer. I used quotations for the word music in the last sentence because, yes, it is still considered music although I hate to admit it. Music by definition is simply organized sound. Most assuredly this IS organized sound, yet lacking the zeal. I've seen this incredible exchange take place at concerts, church, broadways and other musicals or music dramas.

There was a documentary on Black Gospel music that spoke of this "Call" and "Answer" phenomenon. Black Gospel music as we know it today had its roots in Africa with the intricate rhythms. Those captured and enslaved brought the rhythms with them to the Americas where they heard the white peoples' proper singing and added their twist to it. They were able to sing their music, many of them known as Negro Spirituals today, after the plantation owner and his family left for business, church, or a social call. A lot of their music had this "call" and "answer" displayed in it. For example: Call: I'm a soldier; Answer: In the army of the Lord. Another example: Call: What do you think about Jesus; Answer: He's alright. I am sitting here thinking how many times this applies in our daily life as well as in our music study and performance. When you converse with someone you expect feedback. If you don't receive it, it becomes a onesided conversation and rather boring. The preacher behind the pulpit also sends a "call" to the audience and the church responds with "Amen!" or "Preach it!" A dead congregation is a difficult church to preach to. A concert pianist who is on the stage alone bears his soul through his music and the audience answers with applause at the end. The choir, under the direction of the conductor, sings to the audience (not the conductor) and receives answer from the congregation.

All that to say, last night I had the opportunity to sing with Sis.Holly ( and Uncle Cletus (whose wife is at We sang the trio part to an old Hawkins song called "Marvelous". It was a blast to sing and feed off of each other... even during practice. The call and answer was so much fun to be a part of. Uncle Cletus did a terrific job on the solos and Sis.Holly did wonderful on the add lib throughout the song. But the greatest call and answer of all is that the Holy Ghost moved and He answered our call last night.