Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Public Speaking Tips - Dave Bricker On 'Story Sailing'

Judy Rodman                                              Dave Bricker

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Public speaking careers include more than you might think. Whether you're an event speaker, business person, teacher, professor, minster, receptionist, waiter, TV or radio host or guest, or a music artist who speaks between songs and gives interviews – your speaking voice matter a ton. I spoke to veteran speaker coach Dave Bricker who generously shared some ninja tips that can increase the impact and value of our voices in all our talking roles. 

Some questions we explored:

  • You really focus on teaching the fine art of great storytelling. Why is it such an invaluable skill for any speaker? How do stories work?
  • How do you take an extraordinary experience like crossing an ocean on a wooden boat or 
  • What about a story that is NOT extraordinary? I guess we could make one up or super-embellish a story based on fact (like great songwriters and screenwriters do) but where do you draw the line at stories that are less than 100% true? Do you ever adapt a story to fit your audience?
  • What about actually voicing the story? I love the following refrigerator magnet-worthy phrases I found in one of your videos… talk to us about each of these…
    • Turn nervous into service
    • Rediscover the power of the… pause.
    • Focus on your listener instead of on yourself. Don’t use it as your own therapy session (testimonials that make others feel like failures).
  • Any other tips on telling the story in a more engaging way? How do you elicit interaction?
  • I find that creative people are often socially challenged introverts. When they are involved in their art or music, they can focus like a laser, but they are often boring speakers, especially in radio or TV interviews. How can even introverts improve? What skills do they need to learn?
  • What are some common mistakes that speakers make—both on the storytelling side and also the technical side?
  • Now that so many in-person events & gigs have been canceled, we are all having to communicate far more to our clients and our fans online. What are some tips you could share that we can use to connect more effectively and memorably on-screen with our audiences? How do you suggest we interact with our audience during virtual concerts?
  • Looking into the future, what do you envision as the “new normal” for the public speaking business? Are there opportunities to be found in the pandemic that we can continue to use?
  • Your books are available on Amazon. How can people get ahold of you? What are you doing to continue to offer value to your customers and clients? 

About Dave Bricker:

As a young man, Dave became inspired by the remarkable world travelers, squatters and dreamers he met in a sailboat anchorage known as Miami's “secret floating village", and their remarkable stories.

By his senior year in college, Dave was living aboard his own tiny sailboat. Soon after graduation, he set sail for the Bahamas with a locker full of food and dreams … and a whole $40 in his pocket.

He traveled up and down the Bahamas, up the east coast of the US to Chesapeake Bay, and across the Atlantic to Gibraltar. He ran aground, dealt with mechanical breakdowns, got seasick more than once, slept in a volcano, survived powerful storms, and returned to the land of clocks and calendars with what he’d gone in search of—stories of his own.

Today, as a speaker, trainer, and coach, Dave Bricker helps remarkable people tell remarkable stories—through writing, speaking, graphic design, video, technology, and music. If you want to say it, share it, or sell it, bring him your story; he’ll help you tell it.

Find Dave:

  • Website: StorySailing.com
  • Course: 52 Speaking Blunders 
  • Blog: https://storysailing.com/storysailing-blog
  • Twitter: https://twitter.com/davebricker
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daveBricker

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Monday, May 10, 2021

Opportunity: Free Workshop on Alternative Income Strategies by Artist Mentors Bree Noble & Katie Zaccardi

 

Interviewing Bree and Katie was a brainstorming party for you!

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Have you ever thought about teaching what you know? If you make a living singing, creating music, or speaking, your financial situation is on roller skates. It's wise to develop alternative streams of income, and teaching your skills to others could be a win-win stream of good. For this episode, I interviewed artist mentors Bree Noble and Katie Zaccardi about their upcoming event to help artists do just that. First, they offer a quiz to help you narrow down what kind of skills you could best teach. Then they will hold a free workshop/challenge for launching your new income stream. Here are the links:


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Monday, May 3, 2021

Want More Vocal Control? 4 Critical Factors


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How important is vocal control? It affects everything your voice does. The better your vocal control, the healthier and more successful your voice is going to be at singing and speaking. Today I'm going to give you 4 things to improve if you want more vocal control: Inhale, Breath Support, Breath Control and Mental Focus. 

I was called to go on the road with an artist who was having some seriously career-threatening vocal problems. He had trouble hitting his high notes, had pitch issues and chronic vocal strain, his dynamic expression included wild volume swings, and his vocal licks were forced. His vocal sound was thin and strained, and listening to him felt like being yelled at. As is usual when a career vocalist runs into vocal trouble, the harder he tried, the worse it got! Thankfully, being the great artist he was, yet receptive to learning something new, he responded really quickly to corrective training. After three days of tweaking his vocal technique for each of his acoustic and full-band performances, all of his vocal problems disappeared and he told me this had changed his life! His label president was thrilled. What changed? He gained vocal control.

So how do you get it?

The most important factor for creating vocal control is the way you apply breath! Breath for the voice is not the same as breath for life, which is just inhaling and exhaling. For the voice, breath consists of three areas we need to master… 
  • inhalation, 
...and a balance of two opposing forces of exhalation known as
  • breath support and 
  • breath control.

1. Inhalation

Your posture is all-important here. try inhaling as you stand or sit flexibly tall, chin level, head balanced over your tailbone instead of forward. This should cause the upper curve of your spine to be straighter, which will open the ribcage wide. Your low abdominal wall should easily expand as you breathe in, allowing your diaphragm to flatten out and lower the floor for your lungs. This kind of inhale feels like a quiet, quality breath falling into the pelvic floor (which is really into the lower lungs) ... no gulping or gasping sensation needed! You don’t need a huge inhale… just breath enough to accomplish the phrase you intend to sing.

2. Breath Support 

Let's define breath support as that which moves air up and out, passing through and vibrating your vocal cords. To get it, you’ll need to contract those low abdominal muscles you just relaxed for the inhale.... This will support the dome of the diaphragm moving up and pressing air from the floor of the lungs - but keep the squeeze below the navel. In fact, the safest way to engage breath support is to focus on tensing your gluteus maximus (butt) muscles, which will naturally cause your low abs to also contract. We’ll talk about why next:

3. Breath Control

Let's define this as that which holds air back as it's coming up. To control your exhale, keep the bottom of your ribcage wide! This keeps the diaphragm, which is connected at its edges to the bottom of the ribcage, stretched taut like a trampoline or drumhead. The stretched diaphragm can then control itself and the air it allows upwards. In fact, the biggest saboteur of breath control (and the voice in general) is a dropped or tight ribcage!

I call the delicate and vital balance of breath support and control ‘pulling’ instead of ‘pushing’ air. It is a compression source of air power, centered and sensed in the pelvic floor or saddle area – NOT in the lower rib area that comes from a wrong understanding of breathing from the diaphragm. You back off the air pressure to the minimum needed to make the sound you want. The sensation of pulling instead of pushing breath is, in my experience, the best way possible to have optimum vocal control.

4. Mental Focus

Another key to vocal control is what your mind focuses on. In other words, your vocal control is affected by your intentions to...
  • to hit a particular pitch a particular way - such as using a particular tone, volume, degree of shimmer or vibrato or straight tone, phrasing and other nuances of the human voice;
  • to communicate a specific message and get a specific response. 
When you fully intend these two things, it affects your body and facial language which affects your breath and then wait for it... your vocal control!

Remember: Vocal control is vital for singing AND speaking.

Without control, your voice is going to be wobbly and inaccurate. This is bad not only for singers but for speakers, too. Whether singing or speaking, our voices deliver messages and if uncontrolled, our messages will sound insecure, inauthentic, and ineffective at communicating. It's worth digging into gaining more control over that instrument in your throat!

Want more help to improve your vocal control? 

Get my vocal training course or a vocal lesson. And don't miss my free training: subscribe to get 5 pages of vocal health tips and also updates on new posts on this blog. Any questions? Just ask.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

7 Wrong Ideas About Singing - updated

Let's turn the wrong lightbulbs off!  

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If you'd prefer to watch video version, scroll to the bottom of this post.
So you have a vocal issue... if you google it long enough, chances are good that you'll find vocal coaches that offer the total opposite advice for dealing with your issue. What's right? Well, there are two questions to ask to get to the best answer: 
  • Which one works? 
  • Which one works the best? 
There is lively controversy in what is deemed good vocal training, and different teachers embrace differing viewpoints and pedagogic philosophies. There is more than one effective way to accomplish training a voice. However, there are some ideas and techniques taught that actually limit and sabotage vocal ability... and that can even create damage in the voice. An idea is only wrong when it doesn't work!! From my practical experience, I give you...

7 wrong ideas:

    1. When phonating (making a vocal sound) the belly should go out.

Not in my experience! Your breath support and control are enabled and balanced by the low belly coming in when sounding the voice. Belly out, your voice will feel less controlled, and then your voice strains trying to make it right. Try it... see? Note that I'm talking about the LOW belly, below the belt line.

    2. A singer should inhale from the nose only.

Aaahh... I have to come down on the side of NOPE. I have gotten a lot of work from singers in all kinds of vocal trouble from the chest breathing that comes from inhaling through the nose only. This notion comes from sports training where you inhale from the nose to moisten the breath, and from doctors who tell us it creates more nitric oxide which is good for the whole body. However, inhaling from both nose and mouth will result in much better results for singing and speaking. And it's not a good idea to sing anyway when you jog or lift weights. 

    3. You should never drink coffee if you want to sing.

Uhhh... if this were true, I would not be able to sing. Is coffee dehydrating? Yes. Is it debilitating to all singers? In moderation (one morning cup), far enough away from performance time -- and if the singer is not overly sensitive to caffeine -- it's not a problem I've run into. NOTE: If you ARE sensitive to caffeine, stay completely away from it. In all cases don't drink it close to, or during, performance. That goes for alcohol, too. Alcohol in performance may mask anxiety but it will dehydrate your voice and unbeknownst to you, it will play havoc with your control and intonation.

    4. It takes at least a month of breath training to prepare a vocal student to sing a song.

Nope. When I can correct a singer's posture, breathing problems can instantly disappear. Do breathing exercises help? Sure, especially with certain singers, but in my experience, even simple rib stretching and flexing can help instantly improve the singing breath. Vocal exercises can and should be used to memorize better posture sensations and breath strategies so you don't have to think about them. But when they are employed, vocal improvement should be immediate.

    5. Singers should sing with arms hanging limp and still at the sides.

NO. Sadly, this is a common belief of choir directors, musical theater directors and recording artists that gets me a lot of work. Turning the arms into what I call 'rib anchors" is one of the worst things you can do to a singer or speaker, because it drops the ribcage and gives the diaphragm too much slack to work the inhale and control the exhale well. That sabotages everything the voice does. Instead, if arms are to be positioned at your sides for visual reasons, try hanging your arms down with your elbows a little farther back than usual. That should help stretch the ribcage. 

    6. The face should be quiet and still... too much facial expression detracts from the performance.

Nada. I've actually heard this from misinformed engineers, performance coaches and choir directors. Without an active face, you will never sing as well as you could with communicative facial movement... especially the eyes and eyebrows. Try freezing your face and singing a short phrase. Then use over-active facial language and sing it again. The difference in both vocal sound and feel will be profound.

    7. You can't learn to sing unless you were born a singer (aka 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks').

Au contraire mon cheri... If you can talk, you can learn to sing. In every instance of "tone deafness" I've encountered, all it took was some consistent target practice to train the ear-challenged singer to aim at pitch. The question isn't 'can you learn to sing?'... it's 'how bad do you want to?"

Want more bad vocal ideas to avoid?

Think you might be suffering from wrong thinking about your voice?

  • Get a course or a lesson that can turn voice-sabotaging beliefs into voice-enabling ones.

Want to watch this lesson? Here you go...


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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

How Vocal Careers Can Succeed - Chat With Sue Painter

Sue Painter                                                             Judy Rodman    
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So, dear speaker or singer working on/in a vocal career... Who are you? Who could benefit from the sound and content of your voice? Answering questions like this can lead you to a successful - or more successful - vocal career. Come with me and my brilliant guest Sue Painter as we explore the murky waters of vocal brand clarity... and much more about taking care of business!

Some points covered:

  • Sue's journey of discovery
  • The importance of developing vocal career brand clarity
  • Increasing online visibility for what we do
  • How to engage in meaningful as opposed to time-wasting networking
  • The importance for creative artists of being self-sufficient and knowledgeable about business principles, and thinking like a CEO
  • Why we need at least 3 different streams of income.
  • How to use failure to succeed
  • Why business coaching can help with vocal careers

About Sue:

Sue Painter is a serial entrepreneur who has birthed highly successful businesses and partnered in successful joint ventures many times. She established, directed and grew programs for several organizations, some of which were award-winning and had an international reach. Sue has run organizations, built businesses, and trained extensively with many top coaches of the world. She knows exactly what it takes for self-employed business owners (like those with vocal careers) to grow a business that matches their dreams and how to keep that going through bad times (can you say pandemic?) and good.

In 2009, Sue was named one of Knoxville’s 10 Top Women of Wellness by Natural Alternatives Magazine for her intuitive work as a massage therapist who built a highly successful clinic. A mentor by nature, she founded The Confident Marketer in 2005. Since then, She has worked with hundreds of business owners helping them gain the planning, business basics, and mindset that keeps them focused and profitable as small business owners. She is also a former concert pianist, so she understands our world. Learn more about her extensive experience in business, and contact her at her website:

ConfidentMarketer.com https://confidentmarketer.com/

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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

2 MILLION VIEWS for All Things Vocal!!

Overnight breaking news:

 All Things Vocal just hit 2 million views in my Blogger stats and I am so thrilled and grateful!! Great that I can brag about it of course, but more grateful that this means people find it helpful to their voices!

Enjoy our crazy video celebration, and I hope you join in, because quite literally...

if you're reading this, YOU COUNT!! 

THANK YOU!

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Interview With Briana Domenica - Singer/Speaker/Warrior

Briana                                                    Judy
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My guest today is Briana Domenica, who came from a family trauma of triple suicide, moved into her own serious depression and self-sabotaging actions, and finally had a paradigm shift of faith and music that led her not only to her own joy and healing, but also to a music and speaking career that may literally save some of the lives in her audience. In this interview, we talk about her creative journey, and her 'why'. I hope it inspires your own as it does mine.

About Briana:

Born in Massachusetts and raised in South Florida, Briana Domenica is a classically trained singer that found her calling in non-classical, contemporary Christian music. To find her voice in that genre, I’m honored to say became my student. A performer from a young age, Briana has sung at Carnegie Hall, in Disney’s Epcot Candlelight Processional, and toured internationally for the Make a Wish Foundation. But Briana has experienced heartbreak and tragedy, too. She was badly bullied in high school and lost three family members to suicide, and after some very serious bouts of depression herself, she decided she was going to take all that horrible experience and with God’s help, make a difference. So she started her own non-profit, ‘Angel In The Sky’, to raise awareness and save lives through suicide prevention, education and the power of music. She started writing and recording and eventually relocated to Nashville, where she has a team that is helping her turn her dreams into reality. Her new album 'Warrior In Me' was released last September, and she's planning on a unique presentation tour for it this year. 

Links:

Website... https://www.brianadomenica.com
Book her... info@brianadomenica.com
Facebook... https://www.facebook.com/BrianaDomenicaMusic
Instagram... brianadomenicamusic

Here's her sizzle reel, where she talks about her mission and shares snippets of songs and speeches...

Here's the video to her powerful song 'Warrior in Me'


What about YOUR voice?

If you need vocal help transitioning from classical to contemporary music, would like to improve your speaking voice, or have any other vocal matter, I'd love to work with you. You can read more about my lessons and contact me at my website.

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