Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog: November 2011

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.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gift Ideas for Singers, Songwriters, Musicians and Speakers 2011


For those who find this old post: I strongly suggest you go to my UPDATED gift list at a much later post.

Here is the old post, but disclaimer: some of the links may now not work:
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I don't know about you, but the recent advertisements for Black Friday shopping (having to compete with  Black Friday Ninjas?!!) leaves me... well... afraid! I decided to stay home, play with my husband and dog and cook a chicken... (go ahead, call me chicken).

For those of you who, like me, have not yet completed your Christmas and holiday shopping, here's my annual list of suggestions for the vocalist or speaker you love (feel free, of course, to send hints from this list to those who love YOU:) and yes, I am shamelessly including some of my goodies in here. OK here we go...

Gifts $25 and under:
 Gifts $25 - $50:
  • A set of Hearfones
  • 1/2 hour vocal lesson with me (personally, phone or Skype)
  • A gift card for iTunes
  • Tickets to a writer's night, fav artist's concert, symphony, ballet, musical, play, art museum or other creative event. Great for inspiration!
  • A tune up or oil change from a trusted mechanic to get to the gig
  • A music stand
  • Dinner out, listening to someone else play for a change!
Gifts $50 - $150:
Gifts over $150:
  • Karaoke system (I used a VocoPro system recently during a vocal seminar I gave in Florida, and was impressed with it for the price)
  • A series of vocal lessons (contact me for a gift certificate)
  • Speaker docks for mp3 players or other gear
  • Membership with NSAI
  • Dance, guitar, piano or other lessons (search Google for classes and rates in your area)
  • A couple of hours of Performance coaching for your live show
  • A new instrument
  • Masterwriter songwriter's software
Gifts way over that...
Gifts that keep on giving: 
  • A donation to a charity in honor of the giftee.
  • Time... quality and quantity, with your loved ones

Again... Please visit my updated gift list for current links and more suggestions. 

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Vocal Health from the Chinese Medicine Point of View

As you probably know from reading what I write, I believe in an integrated approach for maintaining health... and that goes for vocal health, too. If not for medical doctors, yours truly wouldn't be here to write this post! If in doubt, get checked out by a medical professional.

That said, there are alternative therapies that I and other singers have used through the years that made very significant differences in health in ways unknown to mainstream medicine. There are of course many types of alternative medicine practices. Here is a link to a quite detailed article on Chinese medicine point of view. I thank my friends at Superior Vocal Health for pointing me to this information.

Disclaimer... I have not used most of these remedies; this is for your information if you're interested in checking it out. Here's the link (and do let us all know if you use or have used any of these remedies and what your results were):

Vocal Health from the Chinese Medicine Point of View

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

What Can Singers Do About Allergies?


I got a great question about allergies through my Facebook page (and if you're on FB, pls join me there!)

Rita asked about warding off allergies before a singing engagement. Of course it's best to deal with the allergens before they can trip the inflammation trigger. Here are some tips I've found helpful:

[Medical disclaimer... I am most decidedly not a doctor. This blogpost is purely for your information; always consult with a medical professional for treatment of medical issues. You may have a condition that requires more than you think. ]
  • #1 is to avoid contact with what you're most allergic to, of course. Check your living environment for mold, dust, pet and other things that could be triggering your symptoms. Get hypoallergenic bedding, etc.
  • #2 is to drink copious amounts of water. Among many other things, this keeps the mucous membranes more healthy and safe and able to fight off pathogens and deal with irritants.
  • I like the Neti Pot approach (wash em out!). Check out this review on saline irrigation from Web MD
  • Consider alternative health remedies and therapies. One of my clients reports significantly lessened or stopped allergy symptoms with special sprays customized to her tested allergies (Otolaryngologist Dr. Manrin Raines in Cordova Tn is her doc). Other alt med approaches my clients have reported success with include accupuncture and a therapy chiropractors such as Dr. Dwaine Allison uses called NRG Allergy Relief
  • Eat healthy. Your body can deal with allergens much better if you are not already on toxic overload from your diet.
  • Keep looking for information. Get my 5 pg report on "Vocal Health" by signing up to my newsletter if you haven't already for lots more suggestions. I believe in the integrated approach... Seek mainstream medical advice, sign up to a great medical magazine for the public called "My Family Doctor.", and also consider a consult with an alternative medical professional (a natural health practitioner or doctor of naturopathy, etc) My own source for this is Lynne Lavers at OHM in Nashville.
OK... anybody else got suggestions? And remember.. this is all heresay stuff; some things work for some and not others. When in the slightest doubt, consult a doc.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Last Night's CMAs... What Worked, What Didn't?

The CMAs this year were an interesting mix of vocal prowess and vocal problems.

Part of the problem with singers was undoubtedly a problem with hearing onstage. Those shows are always hard to get monitors - even in-ears - just right. There is the audience roar, the big venue reverb and boominess, etc. I actually thought the sound was mixed better for the audience (including TV watchers) than in past years.

But there was some pushing; some trying too hard and probably some "nerves" that put "ceilings" on voices that don't usually experience problems with their high notes. This manifested in thin, flat and even broken notes.

It is SO HARD to be exposed so publically and fall short of the vocal mark, so we need to give them some grace. And some of you may not like a performance just because you don't like that particular style. But for the sake of learning what helps our voices, I want to throw a three part question out for you that focuses on the voice itself:

What did you see that worked (vocally) on the show? What didn't? Why do you think so?

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