All Things Vocal Blog & Podcast by Judy Rodman: March 2009

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 20, 2009

Snowball - Another One Bites The Dust

There is NO way to be in a bad mood watching this aviary groove-meister!!! Thanks... GO SNOWBALL!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Booking Yourself Highlights from Vinny Ribas Speech

I was thrilled to hear veteran booking agent and musician Vinny Ribas speak about booking yourself for live performance gigs. It was filled with practical knowledge, applicable in today's music market. Vinny is founder of "Indie Connect" and truly cares about career success of independent artists and musicians. The good news is, success is more possible now than possibly EVER, with the right tools and information.

Here are some highlights from his information-packed talk (all credit for the following goes to Vinny Ribas, ):
  • Know and understand that don't get booked because you are good. You get booked because of the value you can bring to the owner of the venue. This should guide your "selling points. Know your strengths and weaknesses here.
  • Like other business people, you should have your 'elevator speech' down... "This is who I am" and "This is what I can do for you".
  • Determine what price you need to charge to be able to make a profit! Don't lose money unless the exposure at that particular venue is very important.
  • Always confirm your engagement 2 weeks before the gig.
Vinny explained that different types of venues obviously require different abilities. Bars would need acts who know how to sell food and drinks... how to get people thirsty & hungry, stay a long time, tip the waiters well. Churches need to be able to minister to congregations. Some venues completely depend on the act drawing the crowd (do you have an email list with people from the area of the venue you're wanting to play? Tell the owner you have this list and can expect 10% or more of them to show up... etc). Headliners for whom you wish to open need you to get the crowd excited. Weddings need you to know the the music they prefer, get people dancing, generally make the day go smoothly with a minimum of confusion.
  • BE PREPARED... a buyer could ask you for such things as:
  1. Website (Vinny says preferably not just your MySpace site)
  2. EPK (Electronic press kit)
  3. List of past performances
  4. Photos- live performance shots are even better than studio shots
  5. CD- live recordings best
  6. Live video, online or DVD
  7. Bio- several, geared to different kinds of gigs
  8. Serious press reviews (not just press releases you wrote)
  9. References from other venues (A HUGE selling point)
  10. Song list (some venues want to know the cover songs you know, and that you are not going to play something offensive, etc).
  11. A "one sheet" synopsis [Bio, recent performances, calender, bio, picture, contact info to go along with CD]
  1. Vinny suggests you identify the kind of gigs for which you are most appropriate. Don't mix messages of who you are, it can be fatal to your "branding".
  2. Pick one kind of gig to research... ask your fans at gigs and in your email lists to call the venue and request they hire you.
  3. Put surveys on your website and social networks
  4. Check out venue websites, see who they've booked that would have an audience similar to yours. Then check the websites of those artists to see where else they have performed.
  5. Ask your fans to tell you about bands that are similar to yours. Find them online, check their calendars to see where they perform. Those venues might be a great match for you, too. Use website resources like:,,, Indie bible, Indie Venue bible,,
  6. Use organizations and events than can refer venues or showcase you to entertainment buyers such as,,, SXSW (the largest indie artist conference/showcase in the world, held annually in Austin, Tx.) Especially check out the "Red Gorilla Showcase", and other genre specific associations (Bluegrass, Blues, Country, etc.)
  7. Trade referrals with like-bands and artists! Offer to introduce them to a venue in exchange for them doing the same. Find out the typical price range they get.
  8. Find out whether or not the venue expects YOU to draw the crowd. Don't disappoint them by building false expectations.
Develop a local fan base in no more than 4 or 5 regional locations. Start from the center and gradually expand in concentric circles. Try to come back to play again about once a month.

Vinny had a lot more to say, for instance, contact venues where you are getting radio airplay, offer to do radio and TV interviews to promote shows, do your homework before you make your calls, know what to say when you do make the call. Look for a video on his speech to be uploaded soon at site. There are many other videos uploaded there now, my speech on the voice should also make its way there soon.

I think from the info in this post, you can tell what a value these Indie Connect meetings are, for $5.00 (more if you order food, of course). The networking is important, the community is quite wonderful. You might want to consider checking it out if you're in or near Nashville.

Anyone else with booking tips to share?


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Getting Your Music into Film & TV meeting tomorrow

Hey everyone... this will be short and sweet because I'm a bit slammed. But I wanted to help Vinny Ribas of Indie Connect spread the word about the speaker at both meetings tomorrow. I plan on attending the evening meeting.

Vinny says:

Getting their music into film and TV has launched the careers of quite a few independent artists. Lisa Aschmann, a prolific songwriter with over 600 cuts to her credit, gets 4-8 placements of her songs into these mediums EVERY MONTH! Come find out her secrets!
Monday, March 16 at:
11:30 AM at Corky's Ribs & BBQ, 100 Franklin Rd. in Brentwood, and;
6:00 PM at Pie In The Sky Pizza, 110 Lyle Ave. in Nashville
Cost: $5.00 plus the cost of your meal.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm Playing Out This Thursday

I'm playing out at 9:30 pm this Thursday, March 12th. (2 days from this post)

I have a 30 minute set as guest artist at the Frisky Berry, which is located in "The Factory", Franklin, Tennessee. The address is:

230 Franklin Rd
Franklin, TN 37064
(615) 595-2500

If you're up for a late night listening room, come join us!

Here is the line-up for Tyson Bowman's show he calls the "Grand New Opry" Thursday March 12, 2009:

7:00-Tara Bell/Leanne Miele
7:30-Adam Foster/Harlan Pease
7:50-Tyson Bowman/Whitney Layne
8:20-Mary Ellen Kirk
8:40-Katha Harris/Crystal Chandler
9:00-Joey Formosa/Joe Porter
9:30-Judy Rodman (Special Guest)

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Booking Yourself... Vinny Ribas speaks this Monday Night

Hey all of you who are in or near Nashville...

Vinny Ribas, founder of Indie Connect , will be speaking in Nashville, Tn on a subject near and dear to artists & musicians: How to book yourself for gigs!

Vinny will be speaking at the evening session, 6:00pm - 7:30 at the Pie In The Sky on Music Row (old "Longhorn" location).

If you're interested in coming, see details here. I am planning to be there; see ya if you come!

and btw, Melissa Ellen will be speaking at the 11:30 meeting on "First Steps Towards Launching Your Music Career".

Friday, March 6, 2009

Live Singing Microphone Techniques

Microphones are the "hole in the fence" you sing through to reach an audience. You need to know what to do with them. Here are some tips for developing great mic technique:
  • Don't hold a mic like an ice cream cone.
  • Don't hold the butt end of the mic up continuously.
  • Do hold a mic at 45 degrees. This helps you pull instead of push your voice.
The slant you hold the mic at can make a big difference in how wide your ribs are (where your diaphragm is connected) and in where your chin is... affecting how tight your throat is. Holding it like an ice cream cone will also limit what it picks up in your voice, making it sound thin instead of rich. When you do hold a mic with butt end up for dramatic effect, make sure your elbows are out from your sides so your ribcage expands.
  • Don't hold a mic in your hand limply. Many people do this! Believe it or not, it usually causes a loss of breath support and control, which will go on to affect the throat.
  • Do grasp a mic steady in the groove between thumb and fingers, with energy -- and make it part of your feeling of power.
I recently found the source of a mic holding issue in one of my students. Her habits as a drummer were causing her problems. She was holding the mic in "match grip" position with her thumb long-ways towards her mouth. This was causing tension in her arm going up to her shoulder, and of course on to her throat. When I had her curl her thumb comfortably around the mic instead, her upper arm & shoulder relaxed and her vocal control increased easily.
  • Do squeeze a mic for extra breath power and control. You can do this with both hands around the mic. But ...
  • Don't let this squeeze transfer up your arm and...
  • Don't let this squeeze cause you to squeeze your elbows into your sides
When you squeeze the mic, do it in such a way that it causes your ribcage and nostrals to expand. Sounds strange, but you must learn to power yourself open instead of closed.
  • SLIGHTLY pull a mic away from your mouth - sort of to the side - on power notes. This can even help you properly "pull" instead of "push" your vocal sound.
And lastly, a couple of random mic ettiquite tips:
  • Always try to schedule a mic check before beginning your performance!
  • Never point a mic at a speaker.
  • Avoid mashing and crimping the cord at the base to avoid shorting it.
  • Make sure the thing is on :)
I'd love to hear from you about your experiences with microphones. Go online and hit the comment button!

Also, if you like this post, please hit a social network button and recommend it. Thanks!

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