All Things Vocal Blog & Podcast by Judy Rodman: 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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

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:

btw... hope everyone had a great Easter!


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.


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"):

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!