the free-airport-wifi edition*
Singers with issues around performance anxiety? (I mean, I don’t know any … do you? ahem.) Take a look. (Plus? Canadian content.)
humans and their performance anxiety issues. it’s like they don’t realize they have opposable thumbs or something. if i had opposable thumbs (and if I cared … which I don’t), I WOULD RULE THE WORLD.
So, this is a video showing how a diseased lung (from smoking, I think) inflates versus how a healthy lung inflates. So, you know, GROSS. However, if you can handle the PSAness, it’s also a fantastic teaching tool. Especially if you keep in mind that the lungs do not inflate on their own (because they’re not a muscle, they’re an organ, #AMIRIGHT?); they inflate because they are attached to the ribs … which open when the intercostal muscles (as in: ‘between the ribs” muscles. #sosciency) engage … which causes the ribs to swing out … and the lungs to open right along with those swinging ribs … because they’re attached to the ribs. (And then the air rushes into the body because there’s this whole pressure vs volume thinggie going on … which has ramifications for inhalations and breathing for singing … which is a WHOLE OTHER POST. DO NOT ENCOURAGE ME TO TALK ABOUT BREATHING FOR SINGING AND HOW TO TEACH IT BECAUSE WE WILL BE HERE FOR HOURS AND NO ONE WANTS THAT. (Also, I’m distilling those hours into a convenient twenty-minute segment in The Vocal Instrument 101 Online Course so there’s that.))
for the LOVE, woman. stay on target.
If you’ve been teaching for any length of time, you’ve definitely encountered singers whose vocal production issues seem to stem from something more than physiology. If you’ve never thought about it before, this is a good starter article (with link to a full-on documentary) about the role that the psyche can play in vocal production. (With thanks to the ever-fabulous Liz Jackson-Hearns for the heads up.)
you? are not a psychologist, woman. so you’d darn-well better refer out when necessary. #justsayin
If you teach operatic tenors? You need to just stop what you’re doing and watch this video. Go on. Do it now. You can thank me later. With (dairy- and nut-free) chocolate.
that’s a lot of bossy right there. #justsayin
It’s nine minutes long. It’s absolutely fascinating. You’re not going to regret it. #pinkyswear
Until next time,
You can teach your face off … I can help.
* You guys, I have been through three time zones (and had two puke/terror-inducing landings to boot) since Friday. This post was started at the Deer Lake Airport (which? might be*** located in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet, which is where I spent a day adjudicating some really lovely young singers (and a guitarist and violinist) with my colleague, Martha) and was finished while visiting family in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. And it is going to have to tie you the heck over for a few weeks, given that I am on my way to LA next week and in a conference all day Friday (wanna’ come? there’s still room!) so maybe I get a FFF post done and maybe I don’t. It’s MY BLOG so I get to decide these things.
** SHOUT OUT to Stephanie, who brought this blog to my attention … and who may know a thing or two about dealing with performance anxiety. #OneOfTheBravestPerformersIKnow
*** And by “might be”? I mean “TOTALLY, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT IS”. It’s not super-easy to get there but, WOW, is it worth it. GO THERE. (And tell them I sent you. If there’s a critical mass arriving on their doorstep all saying that Shannon sent them, maybe I get a free skiing vacation out of it. (ARE YOU LISTENING NEWFOUNDLAND TOURISM?!?))
I’ve spent a LOT of time listening to and evaluating singers this week. Because: FESTIVAL TIME. And this post is cutting it pretty darned close to the wire (I mean, it’s still Friday in Vancouver so, you know, SUE ME). I have heard A Path to the Moon* about a million times in the last four days so I feel I AM ENTITLED TO A LITTLE BIT OF LEEWAY FROM YOU.
you are a very whiny human. and that’s coming from a cat so …
1. favourite independent voice studio tool: postermywall.com
If you’re an independent voice teacher? You’ve made a poster or two in your life. Or four hundred thousand. You know, give or take. Postermywall.com is kind of like canva.com (which, incidentally, I just discovered a few months ago (thank you SECO friends) and virtually LOST MY MIND when I did. Because: SO EASY AND NOW I REGRET THE LIFE DECISIONS THAT LEAD ME TO FIDDLING AROUND WITH GOOGLE THINGS AND WASTING HALF OF MY LIFE MAKING CUTE POSTERS TO ADVERTISE ALL THE THINGS WHEN I COULD HAVE BEEN USING CANVA AND GOING TO BED A LOT SOONER), but better. So, #yourewelcome. (And thank you Patti for the heads up!)
you’ve missed a lot of sleep, human. you are not smart. you would be smarter if you got more sleep. and you would know to use handy programmes that save you time so that you can sleep more. and presumably get smarter. too bad about that.
Singing Voice Specialist, Kristie Knickerbocker demonstrates how a scope works, ON HER VERY OWN SELF. #happyworldvoiceday
humans are so weird. why are humans so weird?
3. favourite unintentionally educational YouTube video: Okurrr – Kris Jenner
The student of one of my friends? Taught herself how to tongue trill by watching this video. Yes. YOU HEARD ME.
did i hear you though? because i could swear you just said that a KRIS JENNER video was useful.
New initiative from Total Vocal Freedom with the purpose of supporting and empowering female singers over the age of 50 that are concerned about the longevity and quality of their singing voice in the second half of their life.
Yes. I stole that copy directly from their website. And yes. That’s the copy I included when I sent the information about the Phoenix Project to all of the women in my studio who might benefit from joining it. Which was about thirty seconds before I realized that I AM VERY CLOSE TO BEING THEIR TARGET MARKET. SAY WHAAAAAAT NOW?!?
you thought, perhaps, you weren’t aging with the rest of us, human? that you somehow escaped the inevitable? you clearly need more sleep. you are growing not smarter by the second.
If you have an hour or so to watch some cool voice teachery discussion unfold (and you weren’t able to watch it live because it happened at, like, MIDNIGHT YOUR TIME**)? This is well worth your time.
do not do this thing, human. we have been over this: YOU NEED YOUR SLEEP.
Here’s to sleeping and slowing down the inevitable decline into not-smartness. And as always:
You can teach your face off … I can help.
* Don’t get me wrong: I love me some A Path to the Moon. I just, you know, heard it a LOT this week. And you know what? You need to create ever-more energized K-sounds as you follow the composer’s crescendo marking on the chorus and allow that energy to build to create the crescendo. That’s right: those K-sounds? ARE A GIFT and will help you to avoid pushing or over-pressurizing to sing the crescendo. Also? You need to develop some subtext for those long chunks when you aren’t singing and make me believe that you have a reason to sing the next bit of text. AND? ASSIGN AN EMOTION TO EACH DYNAMIC MARKING ALREADY. THIS WILL HELP YOU TO EXECUTE THE DYNAMICS IN AN ENGAGED WAY AND ENHANCE YOUR PERFORMANCE. I HAVE HEARD THIS SONG A LOT AND I PROMISE YOU IT WILL HELP. #IPINKYSWEARIT
** Guess how I know what time Dr. Dan’s Lives are in my time? Because I am hanging out live with Dr. Dan in a few weeks and before I agreed to do so? I checked to make sure I wasn’t committing to trying to be interesting and witty at, like, three in the morning. That’s not good for anyone. Least of all someone who clearly isn’t getting enough sleep in the first place.
let’s have some nearly-the-end-of-march-break* funness
Friends, this is a BEAUTIFUL reflection on how and why we teach the whole singer, and includes some practical advice about how to connect with that whole singer in the first five minutes of their lesson.
[I mean, if that blog post didn’t make you want to send flowers to YOUR voice teacher(s), maybe do a quick pulse-check.]
I. can’t. even. with how great this FB Live is**. Send it to your students, even if they’re not classical singers and don’t know who Joyce DiDonato is (maybe include a link to her website so they get the picture? I mean, she’s kind of like the Idina Menzel of the opera world, #amiright?***). If you don’t have twenty minutes, just listen for the first twelve (although, I DARE YOU TO RESIST WATCHING THE REST OF THE AWESOMENESS THAT IS THAT VIDEO).
look, if you didn’t want to learn how to handle rejection, you should have adopted a dog. those slobbery beasts have no standards whatsoever. they’re so gross.
I know, I know: CURSE. Really? It’s not like your invitation to the ball was dropped in the woods by the horse-back riding messenger on their way to deliver it to you so you show up at the ball and curse ALL THE TEACHERS IN THE WORLD and DOOM THEM TO ETERNAL(ish) SLEEP ON THE EVE OF THE PRINCESS’S SIXTEENTH BIRTHDAY, right? Just ignore the clickbait title and get right to the article. (You know, if you want to know how you’re cursed.)
[Also? There’s a Friday the 13th in April. RELEVANT. THAT IS SO RELEVANT. If you want relevant stuff, write your own blog.]
Okay. I get cranky when young children sing things they shouldn’t sing and try to sound like adults while doing it. I think we all know that about me by now.THIS? Is not that. Let me count the ways this is not that:
- appropriate rep (oh man, do I LOVE me some girl-power tunes)
- sounds like a kid
- even vibrancy
- beautiful tuning (for pop singing. don’t you classical singers get all up in my face about the tuning – THAT IS SOME FANTASTIC POP TUNING RIGHT THERE)
- no evidence of developing tension patterns
that girl was amazing. and i would like to chew on her sneakers. or the laces at least.
This is a LOT OF SCIENCY MEDICAL STUFF … but if you’re into that? You’re gonna’ love geeking out on this. (Thanks to Cate Frazier-Neely for the heads up!)
Have a great week and …
You can teach your face off … I can help!
*It’s Friday of the March Break (aka Spring Break, aka a week off school at the end of the winter that a lot of people take advantage of to go somewhere warm or to go skiing but that we are using to renovate our house. We are not fun people.) here in Ontario, Canada.
**#trueconfession: I’m kind of a little bit in FULL ON LOVE with Joyce DiDonato. She seems like a very fun person.
***I have absolutely no idea who to compare Joyce DiDonato to in the CCM world. Like, zero. (Clearly, I am not a fun person.)
**** Yes. I am aware that this video is from, like 2017. I just saw it for the first time this week. I think people have stopped sending me videos of kids singing for fear of how grumpy I am, in general, about this kind of thing. (Because: not a fun person, obviously.)
listylist the second (are we having fun yet?)
Think you’re up to choosing the red pill? GO ON THEN. DO THE THING.
go ahead and try to give me a pill, hooman. go ahead and try.
I mean, THERE ARE A LOT OF COOL THINGS ON THE INTERNETS THESE DAYS, but THIS SERIES? Is rocking my world. And I’ve only seen the first installment. WHAT? (Also, I may or may not have a little sumthin sumthin to say on one or two or four of these installments. #truestory) Subscribe to the series HERE.
[When someone takes the time to herd a whole bunch of incredible singing teachers into one video series? YOU GET ON BOARD WITH THAT. #amiright?]
It’s inexpensive. It’s handy. It’s well-designed. It’s one-of-a-kind. It’s satisfyingly attractive. And? It just may be YOUR new favourite thing to gift to your students. (I bought one for all of my teen singers; the adults are on their own.)
[Don’t get me wrong: THERE ARE NO CAT PICTURES IN THE SINGER’S PRACTICE JOURNAL. But there IS space to draw your own. SHE THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING.]
You need to not let the title of this article throw you off. DO NOT BE DISTRACTED BY IT; THIS IS ABOUT YOUR SPINAL HEALTH. And I am seriously considering making the ‘How-To Table Bend’ exercise part of every one of my students’ daily warm ups … which they will write out in the space that is VERY CONVENIENTLY PROVIDED IN THEIR SINGER’S PRACTICE JOURNALS. (See what I did there?)
when i’m stretching, you look away hooman. LOOK. AH. WAY.
Haven’t quite scraped together the cash to buy a fancy-schmancy steamer yet? (Or, you know, asked for one for Christmas from your in-laws like I may or may not have done last year? #suchanerd #imintopracticalgifts) Well … don’t worry about it. For occasional steaming purposes, this sucker works like a charm. #pinkyswear
go ahead and try to clear my sinuses hooman. go ahead and try.
Happy Friday everyone!
You can teach your face off … I can help.
ps I inserted this post script to point out that I didn’t have any asterisks or post scripts in this post. #ICANDOITIFITRY (Probably those ALL CAPS aren’t going anywhere though.)
because there aren’t enough lists in the world*
Every Friday, you can now expect a -WAIT FOR IT- curated list of the best voice and voice pedagogy things I’ve seen all week. I KNOW, RIGHT?
Let’s get going with the FIRST EVER Friday Favourite** Five (or Fri Fav Five (although … that fourth letter in “five” is driving me kind of crazy … but it looks too weird as Fri Fav Fiv, right? right.) … or FFF …)!
FOR THE LOVE, WOMAN: GET ON WITH IT.
You guys, IF YOU ARE HUMAN, you need to listen to this podcast episode. It’s like a mini Tim Ferris Episode on SINGING. Seriously. If you ignore everything else on this list (I mean, why would you want to? But, you know, IF YOU DO.), please do yourself a favour** and listen to this episode.
someone dressed us like hoomans. may we listen to this podcast? also, GET US OUT OF THESE STUPID COSTUMES. WE ARE NOT YOUR PLAYTHINGS, HOOMAN. WE WILL KILL YOU IN YOUR SLEEP. unless you offer us treats. then we will hold off on your execution until the treats run out.
Need a little paradigm shift in LESS THAN EIGHT MINUTES? Here you go. (I LOVE her reasoning for not looking anyone directly in the eye when performing.)
i refuse to not stare directly into your eyes. i am a cat and I do not obey hoomans. even hoomans as incomparable as meribeth dayme.
Yeah. It’s a bit of a title, isn’t it? Also, I don’t know Thomas personally so I have no idea if he’s INCOMPARABLE or not (although, given that he’s HUMAN? I BET HE IS.). The gist? If you have a passion project, set aside one hour per day to work on it. Read the article to find out why and for ideas of how other people are doing it.
“passion project”? really? why can’t you be like a CAT? WORK LESS! SLEEP MORE!
No. Seriously. You’re Welcome.
[I searched for “famous cat” on one of my favourite creative commons photo sites. And this came up. I have no idea what it is or what it means. #yourewelcome and #IllSeeYouInMyNightmares]
Looking for a little inspiration to get you through next week’s teaching? Or singing? Look no further.
Have a great week! (OH! And if you haven’t already, you can sign up to get my blog delivered RIGHT TO YOUR INBOX by entering your email address in the little ‘sign up here’ box.)
[Here is a picture of a cute widdow white kitten kissing a cute widdow white puppy. Just to cleanse your palate from that last one. I am nothing if not generous. And also, concerned about whether you are able to sleep tonight.]
You can teach your face off … I can help.
*In my mind? Listiness is next to cleanliness. And we all know what cleanliness is next to. SO BRING ON THE LISTS.
**In Canada, we didn’t drop extra vowels from our words just because they got too cumbersome and unwieldy. NO WE DID NOT. WE ARE LOYAL TO OUR UNNECESSARY VOWELS.