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!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The #1 Vocal Mistake Made By Musicians In Live Performance

First of all, Happy New Year everyone!... I hope your Dec 31st gigs rocked and everyone is home safe and ready for a beautiful new year! Now onto my first post of 2010:

Performers come up in my list of favorites based on one thing: Do they get my emotional attention?

There is a reason that Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and John Mayer don't move me in live performance like  Bono, Sting and Mat Kearney do. The difference is surely NOT in brilliant, creative musicianship.. all six are full of that. It's not in the magic of their edited recorded vocal performances we hear on the radio in which we understand almost every word. The difference is that Sting, Bono and Kearney deliver -and Dylan, Browne and Mayer DO NOT deliver-  their lyrics in live shows. This frankly irritates me... they almost give me this incredible song, but stop short and it's like when the satellite goes haywire right at the payoff at the end of a movie!

Here's the deal... the #1 vocal mistake I hear great musicians make:  using MUDDY ARTICULATION.  It's not enough to mumble cool "sounds" instead of forming messages. This can be career-snuffing for those trying to break out, and for those who are enjoying radio success it results in under-delivering disappointment for their concert ticket-buying fans.

Consider this: In live performance, there are three ways we impact our audiences:  
  • Visually,
  • Musically and 
  • Lyrically.
It is a testimony to the power in Dylan, Browne and Mayer's live music shows that two out of three ain't bad. But just imagine... just imagine if you could have all three! Lyrics matter. Don't make empty promises of a great live music experience and then fail to deliver it all. Whether you're a stadium star or a songwriter at open mic...Talk to me and tell me something good. (that is, unless your lyrics really do suck.)

Wanna hear the difference?
Watch me demonstrate for you here in my first YouTube video vocal lesson!
Thoughts anyone?

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  • At January 4, 2010 at 10:01 PM , Blogger PhilB said...

    This is so true!! I see these guys and gals sing their songs at songwriter nights and I can't even understand what they are singing. They might even have a great voice, but if I can't understand the lyrics...they lost me.

    Good point Judy


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