Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog: March 2008

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Monday, March 24, 2008

5th Christian Independent Alliance Summit this wk

Heads up ... there's a good conference going on this wk if anyone's interested. It's the
5th Christian Independent Alliance Summit near Nashville, TN. The email I received says:

"We have 3 excellent events!"
Wednesday, March 26- Tom Jackson Performance Seminar
Thursday, March 27- Songwriter Bootcamp
Friday-Saturday- CIA Summit Seminars

For more info, please visit:
http://www.ciasummit.com
For an overview of the Summit events, go to:
http://www.ciasummit.com/2008/02/19/recap-of-all-cia-summit-2008-events/
To register, go to:
http://www.ciasummit.com/registration/
The CIA Summit is sponsored by:
Mission of Mercy:
www.missionofmercy.org
Indieheaven:
www.indieheaven.com

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Byrd Burton passing

Our beloved Byrd Burton passed away March 10th. He will be greatly missed, because he has left a big hole in the world.

Byrd was chosen by Sam Phillips to be a session guitar player at his famous Memphis studio. Byrd also played with my husband John at the William B. Tanner jingle company in Memphis. One day Byrd mentioned to John that he was cutting some tracks with some guys and none of them knew what they were doing but it was fun. The "guys" and he became the 70's rock band "The Amazing Rhythm Aces" with such legendary hits as "Third Rate Romance" (remember the famous guitar lick?) and "The End Is Not In Sight". Byrd won grammys for both songs, and also as producer.

Not bad for "not knowing what he was doing"!

After the Aces, Byrd went on to major work in the recording studio and onstage with artists such as Nancy Griffith, Dan Fogelberg, Brooks & Dunn, Emmylou Harris, the Oak Ridge Boys and with me. It was so much fun for my husband and I to reconnect with Byrd... I wish I had a nickel for every belly laugh we all had on the road together! He flew me to some gigs in his precious little plane, and we all remember how manic he was about keeping baseball stats at the games! He would amaze and entertain our little son Peter on the bus by just being Byrd.

Oh, dear Byrd, I like to imagine what skies you are seeing now. You are now a part of the music of the spheres. May our thoughts and our actions make you proud of us till we join you.

You can check out the benefit fund for Byrd's medical expenses, and see great pics and other info about Byrd at www.byrdburton.com and at Mike Plunk's blog http://plunkchronicles.blogspot.com/2008/03/byrd-burton-1947-2008.html

Friday, March 14, 2008

How to write your artist bio

I have received a request to write an artist's bio. This is not one of the services I offer, but I know it's important and I do have suggestions for researching the topic.

If you are writing a bio to get the attention of the music business, do remember that you are writing for industry. Don't over-hype... they can smell it a mile away. Just give a well written summary of your best true information, and write it from the viewpoint of "how will this interest a music industry person in getting on board to further my career" instead of "this was fun and interesting to me (the artist)". What's in it for THEM?

Here are some great bio writing suggestions sites:

http://www.taxi.com/members/bios.html


http://www.musicbizacademy.com/knab/articles/artistbio.htm

http://www.arielpublicity.com/sound_advice/professional-musician-bio.html

http://mediawebsource.com/band_bios.htm

btw... hope everyone had a great Easter!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vocal Aerobics- the importance of physical exercise

I have a new understanding to offer you for the phrase "Move it or Lose it!" Think of the word "it" as meaning "voice".

If you sing according to Power, Path & Performance principles, you'll notice you don't get vocally tired. You'll also notice that you do get physically tired! That's because singing correctly will use the big muscles of your core (abs, back, thighs, buttocks) and minimize incorrect over-use of the little muscles of your throat. The state of your body at any given time will affect your vocal ability - for better or for worse.

It should go without saying that part of the state of your body has to do with your rest, stress, hydration and nutrition levels. However, in this post, I want to concentrate on the levels of flexibility, coordination and strength of your muscles.

I have noticed that people who don't do much physical exercise don't contract their lower abdominal muscles when they sing. This means they won't be encouraging the abdominal contents to shift upwards, which is vital for supporting the upper movement of the diaphragm. This results in all kinds of vocal limitations.

These sedentary people also don't get good breath in. Their shoulders tend to be rounded forward, ribcage slumped, trunk sort of compact and arms hanging limply at the sides like rib anchors.

They also tend to be rather numb in performance. It takes physical energy to communicate.

Great vocal exercises can work out your physical core if you do them properly. I used to notice my own abs get sore after a number of vocal lessons. (They don't get sore anymore... I use them too much, and they are strong!) But I suggest working out your core so you can do your exercises more correctly. You'll find yourself singing longer without strain. Remember- once physical fatigue sets in, vocal fatigue can quickly follow.

My suggestions:
  • Find an exercise routine you will actually do regularly - at least 3 or 4 times a week.
  • If you go to a gym, consider hiring a personal trainer for at least one round of lessons. Let them know you are a singer or public speaker. When holding your breath to push against a weight, be careful not to put too much pressure on your vocal cords. (Don't grunt hard).
  • Find a routine you can take with you wherever you go. I used to use Cindy Crawford tapes in my hotel room before my concerts. I didn't know why then, but I knew from experience that I sang better for exercising at least 30 minutes before a show.

My cautions:

  • Don't use your physical strength against your voice! In your mind right now, separate what you should do when weight training from what you should do when singing. Weight training requires you to tense muscles in your neck, which you MUST relax when you sing. Also remember to relax "buff" chest and throat muscles when you sing or speak. Float your head on your shoulders, like you wouldn't do while weight training.
  • Don't work out too much - or incorrectly with weights. If you injure your neck muscles, you will definitely affect your voice. Again... find a great personal trainer to help you protect yourself with correct form. Don't weight train the day of performance.
  • Remember to rest your muscles with a day off when weight training. You can do aerobic training (treadmill, etc.) every day, but not weight training the same muscles.

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Friday, March 7, 2008

The bug is spreading... vocalists beware!

The dreaded scratchiness at the back of your throat... the fatigue that you can't explain... the headache from the first tinges of fever... and you know.... THE BUG IS TRYING TO GET YOU!!

Here in Nashville, we are definately experiencing the season to be sneezing (and throwing up and coughing... well, you get the picture)

What can successfully nip an oncoming cold in the bud? I know there are things that don't work, things that some people are allergic to, and things that work for some but not for others.

Use common sense and go to the doctor if your symptoms warrent. Pneumonia or serious sinus infection can take hold fast. Also...do not take any layperson's medical advice (including the following) without consulting a trusted doctor. Most remedies, natural or not, are powerful enough to have unwanted or dangerous side effects in some people.

That said, here are some things that have worked for me when I feel a cold coming on.
  • Hot bath with 2 cups Epsom salts (don't take hot bath if you are or could be pregnant)
  • Airborne (find at most drugstores and grocers)
  • Zicam (find at most drugstores)
  • Echinacea Synergy (not for those allergic to the daisy family)
  • FlumaxPro (homeopathic remedy)
  • heparsulph.calc. 30x (homeopathic remedy)
  • Holy Basil (homeopathic remedy)
  • the Master Tonic (go to "About Judy" tab on my website and click on left to see recipe)
  • Vick Salve on the soles of feet (for coughs)
  • "Firewater" (a concoction of lemon juice, honey or grade B maple syrup and Cayenne pepper)
  • UltraInflamX (supplement that fights inflammation)
  • Vibe (vit/min suppliment)
  • Sambucol black elderberry cough syrup
  • Ginger tea (1 tsp grated ginger root -steep in cup of hot water- plus 1 tsp lemon juice)

Also important... I eat very lightly or not at all. I find that my body needs to harness all its resources to fight the invaders, not digest heavy meals. My homemade chicken soup (hint... use organically raised chicken and lots of garlic!) can make me feel better if I'm not too sick to eat.
And of course, warm clothes - including something at my neck- and precious sleep!

Now... what do YOU find helpful that you'd like to share?

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

David Byrne on evolving music business

In my researching of where the "Music Business" is evolving, I came upon a great article in Wired Magazine that was written by David Byrne (of the band "Talking Heads"):

http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_byrne?currentPage=all

In this article, Byrne lists 6 different music distribution possibilities quite nicely. These models go from the do-it-yourself sell-from-myspace-page to the megastar's 360 equity deal.

I find this fascinating. If we really have music inside us, and we really want to get into the business of music to distribute this music and perhaps make some money, there are more ways than ever to do so.

To quote David Byrne:

"For existing and emerging artists — who read about the music business going down the drain — this is actually a great time, full of options and possibilities. The future of music as a career is wide open."

There are and always will be, sc*mers out there who prey on the desires of people to make and distribute their music. That's why it is more important than ever to really do your homework. For instance, as Byrne points out, music sold on iTunes can make the artist with a label deal less money than cds. (Question I have... then artists with their own labels can make more money on iTunes?)

You may have to learn to use software like "Pro Tools" or partner with someone who can. You may have to do some "social networking" on places like MySpace, Facebook, etc. You may have to learn how to do things like license your soundtracks or your songs. You may have to settle, at least at first, on not having a major label attached to your name. But if the music is the reason for your efforts, you'll be able to find a way to make your music and to find your audience in this day and time - because, hallelujah, the bottlenecks are being broken!

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