What Are Your Habits?

Posted on February 29th, 2016

Whatever your habits, these are the things that mold and make who you are as a singer. All the little things we do that we don’t pay attention to like……losing sleep over time, letting your posture start to fall forward, drinking too many cups of coffee…….or just turning on the t.v.,  when instead 5 minutes of looking over a piece of music would put you a few steps ahead.

I encourage you to just be aware of what steps you are taking daily to move forward in your music. Whether this is being a better sight reader or better singer, daily steps have to be taken to keep the ball rolling. Are you stepping forward or are you falling back?

Take notice of your habits. You may not even be aware that some of those habits are holding you back.

Say It Outloud

Posted on August 31st, 2015

Every time you look at a piece of music, ask yourself the basic questions out loud. Then answer yourself out loud. There is nothing better than seeing, hearing, speaking and thinking something all at the same time. It becomes part of your memory much faster that way. This will also get you in the habit of a consistent review. So next time your choir has rehearsal for instance, before each new song, quietly to yourself, review the basics: key signature, time signature, starting note number, dynamics, etc……… –

Just Do It!!

Posted on July 1st, 2015

Just Do It!

I remember several years ago where I was involved in a year long program, teaching me to be a “Champion.” It was quite an experience  and I’ll never forget entering thinking I was going to figure out the “secret” to success. There were many books to read, audio tapes to listen to, conferences to attend and repeating positive affirmations to increase the results of my actions.

This year was the most productive year I ever experienced but not because of the books, the positive affirmations and all of what I thought was going to be my secret. What was it? It turned out to be the fact that this program forced me to be accountable, to show up and to get the job done whatever that was supposed to be.

I opened a new studio, gained an assistant and tripled my clientele. Why did this all happen?
Again, it was the fact that each week I had to be there. I had to do my homework and be accountable.

I had to “Just Do It.”
I equate it to working out. If you can just make it out the door, you’ve won the battle. Doesn’t really matter which program you use, just pick one and go with it.

I write all of this because the more successful this program becomes, I’m faced with many who ask why I do it the way I do. Why do you use numbers instead of solfege they ask. I answer them by saying, I chose a way and just started doing it. Why do the local classes work so well? Because we show up. We just do it. Any method we use would work. But the difference is we choose one and run with it.

When you are practicing your sight-reading, know that there is no best way. The right way is if you are consistently moving forward, whatever method you choose.

Pick some class to be a part of and “Just Do It.”

Ask Yourself The Hard Questions

Posted on January 1st, 2015

Ask Yourself The Hard Questions

As we come into the new year, we always stop and evaluate where we are and where we are going. Even if we don’t plan to, our minds seem to go there. Did we get what we wanted this past year? Will I ever learn to Sightread or do anything else I put my mind to for that matter?

As you start off this new year, ask yourself a few questions and think about what it really takes. I wrote an article to my private students about being excellent at your craft. Being so good at what you do that they just can’t ignore you. And to accomplish this level of excellence, it takes good ole fashioned hard work.

  • How bad do you really want to learn to sightread?
  • How much time everyday do you spend practicing this craft?
  • Do you put yourself in situations requiring you to sightread?
  • Are you taking classes?
  • Are you forcing yourself to learn the new piece one measure at a time or are you getting someone to play it for you?
  • Are you falling for all of the gimmicks? Or do you realize that this comes by daily practice and hard work?

I always compare these situations to eating and health. Why? Because we all have to eat and we all have to maintain health. And we all know that none of it is accomplished overnight or with an app. It’s accomplished by very small daily steps which keep us on track and moving one little step forward at the time.

I encourage each and every one of you to keep going. Remember the small steps. I repeat this over and over and believe it wholeheartedly. You will get there IF you take the small steps consistently.

I wish you all a very successful 2015!!

Look For The Trouble Spots

Posted on November 30th, 2014

Look For The Trouble Spots

After you have established the key and time signatures, the next step is to scan through the piece and see where the tricky places are. Often times, it’s one huge leap that throws us off or even an unusual accidental like a double sharp. If we know in advance, then we will be prepared and not get thrown off track at that place. Most singers I work with carry a pencil with them at all times and write in the music where these places are.

Another great symbol to use is a pair of glasses. It means to watch the director so you are not all of a sudden singing solo. The incredible thing about group singing which is where most sightsinging occurs is that there will be a synchronicity that happens. One person is strong when the other one is weak. If you’ve prepared your quick synopsis of the piece, then you can be that strong voice during the roadblocks and not get caught off guard.

Melodia, A Tried And True Method

Posted on November 1st, 2014

Melodia– Written In 1909

Have you ever tried using the book Melodia It is tried and true, written by Cole and Lewis back in 1909.
This book has been around for years and I have say one of the best practice tools available. It covers every key, every time signature, every rhythm and every combination of intervals imaginable. If you get the complete collection, you will start from the very basics and travel through the really complex towards the end. If you can read Melodia you can read anything!!

Sometimes going back to the very basics is a step which can bring us back to reality. I have my classes read through it because regardless of what style of music you study, this foundation will cover it all.

You can now download this for free at https://openlibrary.org/books/OL24178198M/Melodia.
There are also versions for your iphone and ipad.

Say It Outloud

Posted on October 1st, 2014

Say It Outloud

Every time you look at a piece of music, ask yourself the basic questions out loud. Then answer yourself out loud. There is nothing better than seeing, hearing, speaking and thinking something all at the same time. It becomes part of your memory much faster that way. This will also get you in the habit of a consistent review. So next time your choir has rehearsal for instance, before each new song, quietly to yourself, review the basics: key signature, time signature, starting note number, dynamics, etc………

It’s All In Your Mind

Posted on August 31st, 2014

It’s All In Your Mind

We all play this vicious game in our heads. And who do we play it with?
Ourselves………..

We often start to beat ourselves up before we ever start to sightread.
As soon as it’s our turn to audition and the director gives us the music, we
go through every reason in the book of why we can’t do it. Our palms start to sweat and
singing, which is normally so easy, seems to be the most difficult task ever.

Before you start sight-reading that song, begin to tell yourself that this is something you can do. You’ve rehearsed, practiced and taken much time to go through the routine. Now start to let that little voice in your head know that
“You’ve Got This.”

Review the concepts so much that it becomes truly a habit of going through the steps every time you pick up the music.

Remember, You’ve Got This!

Is Perfect Pitch Necessary?

Posted on July 31st, 2014

Is Perfect Pitch Necessary?

There is always a student in one of my classes who has perfect pitch. They seem to be envied by many…….but is it really necessary?

Let’s first address who has it and how you get it. It is a gift! You are born with it. Can anyone learn perfect pitch? That is to be debated and yes, there are programs out there which teach it. But it has been my experience that the ones who have it naturally are the ones who can utilize it and it is an added benefit to them.

I don’t teach perfect pitch, because if you actually walked down that road, it’s a longgggg walk. What you need is the ability to hold a given pitch in your head which we call “Do” or the tonic or key center. Then you learn to determine how far notes are from that given pitch both audibly and on paper. So if you are wondering if you are missing out, please don’t. It’s a very small percentage of people who have it. But, the rest of us have done quite well without it. 

Characteristics Of The Intervals

Posted on July 1st, 2014

Be Aware Of The Interval Characteristics.

In jazz training, we were taught to hear chords as a unit with a certain characteristic.
Because in some cases, the player would use all 10 fingers with each finger on a different note, it seemed impossible to pick out each individual note quickly. So we learned to hear the unit and give it a name. Something about the sound of the chord reminded us of a color, or shape, or emotion, or style.

The same happens when you hear an interval. If a minor second is played, we tend to think “crunchy” or “dissonant.” Being able to link the interval with some adjective will help to quickly identify the interval and your ability to sightread will being to improve.