Music ‘My’ Theory and other Stuff I probably should have kept to myself…

#1 – a note to singers

Hello all…

This is a series I’m thinking of doing, maybe one a month…or at most, every couple of weeks.

I hope if you are reading this that you have fun, and that maybe there is a nugget or two that resonates with you.

I’ll share lessons I’ve learned along the way, and my weird way of interpreting those lessons. Also, opinions I’ve formed from working with tons of bands, individual musicians , students, producers, etc, etc.

I’ll pepper in a few crazy road stories, weird gigs, and quotes I’ve gotten from people you might know.

Like here’s one: Steve Lukather told me semi-recently, at the end of a theory discussion, “Just bend shit”! Just slide to ANY note and bend the shit out of it! Not only is this super fun to practice and to do…but it’s also helpful/critical in twisting your head into places unknown! There you are… You’re playing in front of a pile of people, and you go for a random bend… YOU’D BETTER COME UP WITH A MELODY that ties it together FAST!! Right?! Great advice!

I wanted to make this first one be a note to singers.

As I listen to singers in an unfortunate amount of bands, it becomes obvious that “singing” in rock bands is rarely worked on with the furious dedication as say an ‘instrument’ player. Especially for those of us that sing AND play an instrument (yes, I’m pointing fingers at myself as well)… we don’t give our voices the same hours that we give our guitars, drums, basses, when IN FACT, the voice is a much more difficult instrument!

Though I’ve always felt this way, this really came to light for me when I was working on subbing in the bass position for the Eagles Tribute “The Long Run”. At the time, I had an extremely weak false setto, and a fairly weak head voice. I had tons of chest voice, but that won’t cut it if you’re trying to sing “I Can’t Tell You Why”. I had taken some voice training in the past, but really hadn’t ‘worked’ with my voice to try and change it. As I became afraid I wasn’t going to get the gig if I couldn’t sing “I Can’t Tell…” I went nuts trying to work on my voice. Through old lessons, and a new one…and a TON OF PRACTICE, I developed the head voice and false setto that I needed. I successfully ‘changed or added to” my voice.

So, that’s number one… as always, practice, practice, practice…but do it with a goal in mind…and use methodology that will get you there. Number two is a HUGE pet peve of mine…especially when singing harmonies.

Too many of us singers hear in our heads the note we’re supposed to be hitting, but seem to forget that there is much more to the note than just hitting the pitch at some point.

Now this next statement is why the blog is called what it is. In case you need a reminder:

Music ‘My’ Theory and other Stuff I probably should have kept to myself…#1

So, this is purely my opinion, but there are several parts to a note:

1- the air before and after the note

2- the note has an exact (or very close to exact) length. Too many singers slide up to the note…hit the note for a sec…and then drop off before the note is over.

Some things to think about while singing:

• Sing the whole note

• Relax… breathe 

• Don’t tilt your head up to hit high notes

• Remember…If you think it is, or you think it isn’t… either way you’re right (generally, in life…but in this case, if you think you can hit a note, or you think you can’t…etc)

• Put you’re whole soul in every note and the air in between…

• Lastly, make the whole song one big long phrase…one connected piece, that has a start, and doesn’t let you go for a nano second until it’s done. 

Well, that’s enough nonsense for now…let me know if you like this piece, and would like to see more.

All the best,

Steven

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