Think about Story Telling, Musicians and Bards…

A long, long time ago in medieval Gaelic and British culture, a bard was a professional story teller, verse-maker and music composer, employed by a patron (such as a monarch or noble), to commemorate one or more of the patron’s ancestors and to praise the patron’s own activities. (Wiki Definition)

Bards kept track of the history of their people and would observe humanity and sing about it; whether local or foreign they would tell stories, counsel against wrong behavior and sing about the consequences of attitude.

Shakespeare would not have been far removed from the Bards. The Bard order having become troupes of performers and artist guilds over time would have a lasting effect on musical story-telling. I am personally very fond of the telling a story in music!

It is often called the language of the soul and the best example I can think of is David playing skillfully for King Saul to drive evil spirits away and refresh him (I Sam 16:14-23).

In fact, according to an Assyrian bas-relief, King Sennacherib asked for a tribute from King Hezekiah in the form of male and female musicians. It seems that they were first-class performers BUT David stood out among all virtuosos!

David’s divinely inspired compositions excelled in many ways. His songs include both contemplative and pastoral psalms. They range from expressions of praise to narrative history, from the joys of the grape harvest to the pomp of the palace inauguration, from reminiscences to hope, from request to entreaty.

We must remember man is not the inventor of music but rather the mouthpiece of history, stories, news, emotions and will; a messenger of words in rhythm and tone that can affect the course of things to come.

Yes, music can alter our moods and even Neurologists have discovered that music activates many unexpected areas of the brain like emotion and memory. Even Crazy_Eyes can vouch how one of his songs drove several women wild with anticipation. I will ask him share the details with you if you and him so desire.

Here is a good example of a song with story telling including a warning in a Bard-like fashion and based on one of my favorite books: The Pilgrims Progress.

Take a listen as he tells you about a place and an experience.

Nate Currin – Vanity Fair

Also thebuddha is a great storyteller who engages our senses with his words and  expresses the emotions of others in his music so well!

Speaking of which, I have missed his storytelling these last few days and I hope he is okay? I hope he brings us a good story!

Until next time, keep the story alive and sing me a song!

 

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Measuring Sound and Your Voice

Yes, you produce sound or noise every day!

The difference between your sounds is caused by intensity, pitch, and tone.

What is Intensity?

Your sound is a wave and waves have amplitude, or height. Amplitude is a measure of energy, how much oomph you put into it! The more oomph you give the higher the amplitude.

When energy increases, Intensity increases. Simple, hey?

The smaller the space the less energy is required to achieve the same Intensity. We tend to call higher intensity sounds, louder. Loudness cannot be assigned a specific number, but intensity can.

Intensity is measured in decibels.

The human ear is more sensitive to high sounds, so the next time you are stranded, twist your knickers and make the highest sound you can. You will be heard as this type of sound will travel further. That is why we scream for help when in trouble as  a natural reflex that is effective in getting attention! REEEEEEEEEEE……

Decibels and intensity, however, do not depend on the ear. They can be measured with an instruments. A whisper is about 10 decibels while thunder is 100 decibels.

Listening to loud sounds, sounds with intensities above 85 decibels, may damage your ears. If a noise is loud enough, over 120 decibels, it can be painful to listen to. One hundred and twenty decibels is the threshold of pain but thebuddha may dissagree on this.

Sounds and their Decibels

Source of SoundDecibels

Boeing 747

140
Civil Defense Siren130
Jack Hammer120
Rock Concert110
Lawn Mower100
Motorcycle90
Garbage Disposal80
Vacuum Cleaner70
Normal Conversation60
Light Traffic50
Background Noise40
Whisper30

What is Pitch

Pitch helps us distinguish between low and high sounds.

Pitch depends on the frequency of a sound wave. Frequency is the number of wavelengths that fit into one unit of time. Remember that a wavelength is equal to one compression and one rarefaction. Frequencies are measured in hertz. One hertz is equal to one cycle of compression and rarefaction per second.

High sounds have high frequencies and low sounds have low frequencies. Thunder has a frequency of only 50 hertz, while a whistle can have a frequency of 1,000 hertz.

The human ear is able to hear frequencies of 20 to 20,000 hertz. Some animals can hear sounds at even higher frequencies. Sounds that are too high for us to hear are called ultrasonic.

What is Tone & Harmonics ?

When a source vibrates, it actually vibrates with many frequencies at the same time. Each of those frequencies produces a wave. Sound quality depends on the combination of different frequencies of sound waves.

How is this knowledge useful in everyday life?

The more harmonics a sound has, the fuller the quality the sound is. All the different overtones of a sound help give it a unique pattern. This is especially true for a person’s voice. Everybody in the world has a different voice print, or pattern of overtones within a certain range.

What specific voice type or vocal range do I have?

If you do not know what your range is then you need to find out. It is important to know what range your voice is in to perform songs confidently.

It’s best use a five-note scale, singing up and down the entire scale until your voice cracks or you cannot hit a note. It is recommended that you sing the scale with a vowel sound — try “ah” — making sure to pick a comfortable middle pitch to start the scale on. From there, move your voice up a pitch. It is generally recommended to scale up in half notes — a small step musically — so you can ascertain exactly which notes you can and can no longer hit. 

Here is a Two Minute Video on how to find your range.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IejHKpfHso

The famous French vocal teacher Tarneaud defines the typical ranges of the four voice types as follows: Sopranos can typically sing B3 to F6
A
ltos perform D3 to A5
Tenors belt A2 to A5
Bass singers rumble out B1 to G5.

Basically, Sopranos and Tenors Sing High — Altos and Basses Sing Low, simples

Congratulations you have now discovered your Range and how we measure sound!

So keep the sound alive within your range and watch your intensity while delivering good pitch! You all are such good students here… 🙂

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Today, I shall tell you about a guitar and pretend it is a lesson.

That right there is a title. It’s a good title, as far as titles go. It tells you exactly what I’m gonna do! (It’s probably a horrible lie.)

Today, I’m in the mood to write something. I feel pretty good, actually. I was even able to smoke some pot. Damned right and about time!

That was probably a bad idea, ’cause I haven’t been able to smoke much lately and imbibed a ton of it. Hindsight is 20/20 and I now see that I didn’t think my plan through very well.

After much inner-discussion, I narrowed down the list of things I was going to write about. Trust me, you don’t actually want to know the subjects that were cut from the list, but they had very little to do with guitar and things like fake Grange Hall conspiracies were on the list.

It’s probably important for me to tell you the complete truth. It is that I don’t actually yet know what guitar I’m gonna tell you about. Not a clue, really. I’m pretty sure I’ll think of something!

Hmm… I should do a series on guitars that were horrible, horrible ideas. I’m probably not gonna, but I should do that.

But… The plan is to write about a guitar. I can’t actually say that’s what I’m gonna do, but I remain hopeful! So, get in the car! We’re going on a grand adventure!

~*hands you a rusty screwdriver, half-eaten fruit roll-up, and an old film canister filled with pennies*~

Bring those, you’ll know when it’s time to use them!
Continue reading “Today, I shall tell you about a guitar and pretend it is a lesson.”

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I’m doing smashing, thanks!

Today, I don’t even really hurt that much. I haven’t even eaten a pain pill yet today. My body doesn’t feel that bad and, at this moment in time and if I’m doing it properly, my spleen doesn’t even feel swollen!

I’m still devoid of energy, but I feel pretty damned good – comparably speaking, of course. I feel like I can constantly use a nap, except I can’t actually sleep. I’ve never been a big fan of sleeping and my body doesn’t seem to like doing so. But, I feel like I could sleep for days.

It’s reached the point where it’s damned annoying, to be quite blunt about it. I will deal with it, but not without complaint. I’m grateful that I’m at least not sore. Even my throat isn’t feeling bad!

I never did get the promised rash. Trust me. I looked everywhere for it. I’m pretty disappointed about not getting the rash. I was told I’d get a rash. I got no rash. I feel deprived.

And now for what might be the most inappropriate story you’ll read all day. I was going to share it last night, but I was on a tablet. Today, I shall share it! I probably shouldn’t, but I’m gonna. It’s what I do!

~makes spooky intro music sounds~

Last night, I went and watched a movie with the missus and the eldest hoodlum. It was one they picked and I don’t even remember the title. They enjoyed it and I partook.

Midway through the movie, the eldest hoodlum started coughing and was saying her throat hurt. The conversation follows and went something like this:

EH: *cough cough* Ow! My throat hurts. I probably have mono!
Helga: No. you don’t have mono.
EH: Do too have mono!
Helga: No, you don’t. David hasn’t been kissing you.
EH: Well, not when you’re watching!
Both: Cackles of laughter as they both felt this was the funnies thing ever.
TheBuddha: You’re both incorrigible. Real life needs an ‘ignore’ button.

In this house, we don’t actually always talk about music, math, and science. Sometimes, I’m surrounded by lunatics that crack bad jokes. Discipline, order, and deep thought are actually just as rare at my house as they probably are at your house, maybe even more rare!

With that story now out of my system, I shall move on! (The two online people who will appreciate that story know it’s for them.)

I was pondering what to write today. This is a lengthy process when there’s no reasonable way for me to smoke weed, which is a more complicated problem than you might imagine! I’ll explain…

If I cough, my throat will start hurting again. If my throat starts hurting again, I’ll want to take opiates. If I take opiates, I’ll get even more lethargic. I’m tired of being lethargic. There’s also the whole opiate abuse thing and opiate abuse leads to not pooping. I kinda like pooping. So, I’m not smoking pot. (Trust me, you don’t actually want to see the rest of what goes on inside my head.)

To write the article, I pondered the many ways to say that I’m feeling better today. Eventually, I recalled the turn of phrase, “I’m doing smashing!” In that case, it’s used to indicate that they’re doing well.

This seemed to remind me of something. It seemed like it might be important. I knew, beyond reasonable doubt, that I’d remembered this for a reason – and that I’d probably written it down.

So, I cracked open my “ArticleIdeas.txt” (which is not the most clever name, I admit) and scrolled through. After some distractions and mis-clicks, I finally found what I was looking for and the heavens burst open with sound as much rejoicing was had.

A couple of months ago (it has been that long?), I was smoking pot and talking to PMYB2 on a site known as “Poal.” (It’s a nice place to visit, though I’d suggest you put on an asbestos suit and have thick skin.)

In that conversation PMYB2, I was talking about how the universe runs on smashing. It does, too. The universe runs on smashing, not Dunkin.

Once upon a time, I envisioned turning that conversation into a 3000 word essay and explaining it all. I had a pretty good idea of where I’d take that and the memories of that intended article came flooding back. It was something that I’d put on that list, ’cause it was maybe a good article – and PMYB2 had been there to suggest such.

Reality is not often nearly as awesome as my dreams. Reality would be much more awesome if it was, but this universe cares not for justice.

Which is a rather absurd way to say, “I ain’t doing it.” I’m not doing it now. I’m not doing it tomorrow. I’m never going to turn that into a decent essay. Nope… ‘Snot gonna happen.

So, what better day to just pretty much cut, paste, edit, and pretty up that comment and turn it into an article? I can’t think of a better day. I feel pretty damned good but haven’t got much energy. (Speaking of which, the lack of energy makes it exceedingly difficult to concentrate. I think this bout of mono has given me greater understanding of the maladies that other people sometimes suffer from.)

That’d be what you’re getting today. It also serves the purpose of finally getting that entry out of my ArticleIdeas.txt file. Side note, it’s probably the least efficient organization system in the world, but it’s the one I have. You’re just getting a glimpse at a conversation from a couple of months ago.

Without further ado…
Continue reading “I’m doing smashing, thanks!”

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Throat Singing – The Mongolian way

Throat-singing, also called overtone-singing, is a range of singing styles in which a single vocalist sounds more than one pitch simultaneously by reinforcing certain harmonics (overtones and undertones) of the fundamental pitch. In some styles, harmonic melodies are sounded above a fundamental vocal drone.

Originally called overtone-singing in Western scholarly literature, the identification by acoustical researchers of the presence of harmonics below the vocal drone in the deep, guttural styles, as well as overtones in the more melodic styles led to adoption of the term throat-singing (a translation of the Mongolian term höömei).

Throat-singing necessitates activating different combinations of muscles to manipulate the resonating chambers of the vocal tract under sustained pressurized airflow from the stomach and chest. As with operatic singing, the technique requires years of training to master.

Throat-singers usually accompany themselves on the distinctive Inner Asian fiddle, with its pegboard often carved in the shape of a horse’s head. For an epic-narrative performance, however, the fiddle is replaced with a two-stringed plucked lute or a long board-zither. In the past, throat-singing was performed by men in ritual contexts.


Picture from: NIU Mongolian Throat Singer Brings Sounds Of Nature To Retirement Center

Female performance of throat-singing was thought to cause infertility or to bring misfortune on the performers’ menfolk for seven generations. Since the late 20th century, however, a number of female musicians have begun to challenge those taboos.

Here is an example of Mongolian Throat Singing.

Tuvan Throat Singing

To start the throat singing journey they would encourage you to start with Khöömii, basic – begin by producing a long, steady note with an open, relaxed mouth and throat. By altering lip and tongue positions to say vowels, “oooo… ohhh…. ayyy…. ahhh….. eeee….”, you will hear different overtones in ascending pitch. Cupping a hand to your ear may help you to identify these initially. Maintain one tone as you tighten your throat and stomach muscles slightly. If you choke, try a lower fundamental.

If you begin coughing, go into this tightening over a period of time to avoid damage to your voice. Hard coughing is punishing to the vocal cords…

You should now be making “electronic” sounding vowels. If any of these are extended with subtle changes to the tongue, lips, or jaw (changing one element at a time as in any controlled experiment), separate overtones will gain definition. The sounds you create are feedback leading to finer mouth control.

It may be difficult to sort out the overtones created by each position. Discover them as you work out a scale above one steady fundamental. Eventually simple melodies will emerge within a limited range. As you consciously create melody, avoid the temptation to alter the fundamental. This is basic Khöömii.

By now you should have picked up that Khöömii is steeped in Mongolian culture with origins in Shamanism (Mongolia’s national religion) and many songs are dedicated to Genghis Khan himself.

Interestingly enough the kids and I are currently learning about Mongolia and Genghis Khan and one of the stories I stumbled upon is definitely worth sharing.

In The Book of Virtues (Great book btw!) I found this story about Genghis Khan, his merry party of hunters and his favorite hawk.

This hawk was a trained hunter and at a word would fly high up into the air, and look around for prey, and if found, would swoop down upon it swiftly as any arrow.

So after a very long day filled with no success, his party took the nearest way home and Genghis went searching by a longer road for a drink.
His pet hawk left his wrist and flew away, knowing how to get home on his own.
The king searched but the hot days of summer had dried up all the mountain brooks.

At last, he found some water trickling down over the edge of a rock. He knew that there was a spring farther up. In the wet season, a swift stream of water always poured down here; but now it came only one drop at a time.
The king leaped from his horse and took a little silver cup from his hunting bag. He held it so as to catch the slowly falling drops.

It took a long time to fill the cup; and the king was so thirsty that he could hardly wait. At last it was nearly full. He put the cup to his lips, and was about to drink.

All at once there was a whirring sound in the air, and the cup was knocked from his hands. The water was all spilled upon the ground.

The king looked up to see who had done this thing. It was his pet hawk. The hawk flew back and forth a few times, and then alighted among the rocks by the spring.

The king picked up the cup, and again held it to catch the trickling drops and this time he did not wait so long.
When the cup was half full, he lifted it toward his mouth but before it had touched his lips, the hawk swooped down again, and knocked it from his hands.

And now the king began to grow angry and tried again, and for the third time the hawk kept him from drinking.The king was now very angry indeed!

“How do you dare to act so?” he cried. “If I had you in my hands, I would wring your neck!”

Then he filled his cup again. But before he tried to drink, he drew his sword.
“Now, Sir Hawk,” he said, “that is the last time.”

He had hardly spoken before the hawk swooped down and knocked the cup from his hand but the king was looking for this.
With a quick sweep of the sword he struck the bird as it passed.
The next moment the poor hawk lay bleeding and dying at its master’s feet.

“That is what you get for your pains,” said Genghis Khan.
When he started looking for his cup, he couldn’t find it.

“At any rate, I will have a drink from that spring,” he said to himself.
With determination he began climbing the steep bank to the place from which the water trickled. It was hard work, and the higher he climbed, the thirstier he became.

 At last he reached the place. There indeed was a pool of water; but what was that lying in the pool, and almost filling it?
It was a huge, dead snake of the most poisonous kind!

The king stopped as he forgot his thirst. He thought only of the poor dead bird lying on the ground below him.
“The hawk saved my life!” he cried, “and how did I repay him? He was my best friend, and I have killed him.” 

He clambered down the bank. He took the bird up gently, and laid it in his hunting bag. Then he mounted his horse and rode swiftly home.
He said to himself, “I have learned a sad lesson today, and that is, never to do anything in anger.”

Rewritten: By Nadeshda
Source: The Book of Virtues

So what does this story have to do with Mongolian Throat singing? Well not much really but it’s a good story none the less and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Obviously getting angry and cutting up your friends is never a good idea and we already know that you shouldn’t shout as this will stretch and damage your vocal chords.
If you are still curious and want to learn Mongolian Throat singing, here is a fun video on how to practice throat singing in a super easy way.

I think you will enjoy watching this guy!

How to do Mongolian Throat. (Tuvan / Tibetan / Didgeridoo)

Until next time, keep the song alive and make a joyful sound!

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TheBuddha Approves #6

I don’t really have much time or energy today. I’m going to be prone for much of the day, which limits me to a tablet. I have my daughter rolling in today, and that’s going to be enjoyable.

I suspect she’ll be in bed not long after getting here. It’s a dreadfully long drive. She has to stop along the way and will be getting the material needed to give me a second opinion.

She’s a pediatrician and my regular is not. She’s seen far more cases of mono than my regular doctor has, and she’s still pretty young. So, she can give me a second opinion. Mostly, I’m just glad she’s coming – even if she’s only going to be able to be here for a couple of days.

Seeing as nobody has stepped up to write an article, you’re just getting a short TheBuddha Approves article.

If you want something better, you’ll have to wait or write it yourself. I don’t really have much time and I’m not feeling that energetic.

This next one is actually not good – from my perspective. But, we don’t always have to look at things from my perspective. Instead, we can look at things with a different outlook. We can look at things with a different goal in mind.

My personal goal (and job) is 100% faithful replication. It is my task to make music that is exactly like what you heard from the original artist’s studio session. It goes beyond that. My goal is for other musicians to say, “That sounds just like the studio work!”

That’s not something everyone has to do. That’s not even something that I recommend most people do. The expense of getting the official tab and sheet music is not something everyone needs to undertake. The need to get someone to transcribe it to tab from ear is also not a task that you need to undertake.

It’s not only perfectly okay, it’s sometimes better to just play it how you want or just to use whatever tab you find that sounds good and that you can play. You don’t have to try to get perfect replication – nor should you, unless that’s your very specific goal.

My goals aren’t your goals.

This next site is not completely accurate. However, it will do. The tab is “close enough” and the results will be acceptable to even professional musicians. I’ve gone through and looked at a few songs that I know are often transposed wrong and they do have errors – and that’s okay.

It’s perfectly acceptable to use a site such as this one. You don’t have to be exact. You also don’t have to buy all the pedals. You don’t have to buy an amp profiler. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. You can do just fine without those things and you can do just fine with the tab that’s on this site.

This site also has some great features. You can play along with the audio and play it at a variety of speeds. There are a ton of different features and it’s not up to me to decide how you use them. It’s an excellent learning tool that will enable you to play ‘close enough’ to the original artists. They even include multiple tracks, so that your whole band (should you go that route) will have access to the same material.

In other words, it’s ‘good enough.’ You really don’t need more than this.

Without further ado:

Songsterr.com.

If you want an example of ‘close enough’ then you can see this link:

Songester.com’s tab for Metallica – Nothing Else Matters.

There… Now you have no excuses to not go learn a new song. There’s the music notation. It’s free. There’s a very good chance that they’ll have something there that you want to learn. The interface is easy to use, though I’d suggest they add a delay so that you can push play and then get setup and have it start playing like 10, 20, or 30 seconds later. (If they have such a delay, I have not found it. I don’t actually use the site, I just know it exists and have given it a once-over.)

Add that one to your list of resources, folks. It’s well worth looking into. No, it’s not perfect – as there are some errors in the tab. However, you don’t really need perfect and it’s good enough for the needs of most everyone. Until next time…

Shut up and play us a song!

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QUESTION: I think I have damaged vocal cords, can it be repaired?

Short answer: It depends as nerves can heal with the right energy, and nutrients and appropriate protection and use of the injured area. Probably best to discuss the specifics with a practitioner.

Longer answer will lead to more articles: Back in 2012 nearly six percent of the U.S. population had a vocal disorder, often caused by vocal cords that have stiffened due to scarring.

Vocal cords experience a LOT of TRAUMA and see more action daily than any other part of the body. In a single concert a singers vocal-cords can collide tens of thousands of times like mini-car crashes just happening over-and-over again.

Scarring can occur in a number of ways; including cancer and overuse from singing, normal wear and tear and shouting over a group.

The vocal cords, or folds, are made up of three layers: a surface layer, the middle layer (gelatinous) and the deepest layer (muscle).
When the middle gel-like layer is damaged, the top layer sticks to the bottom layer and interrupts vibration, causing hoarseness and this called vocal scarring. 

I would highly recommend seeing a voice specialist in your area to confirm this and not go on a hunch, many times rest and proper care is possibly all you need.

Firstly; I am not a Voice Specialist but you need to make an honest assessment. Do your research, understand your symptoms. A Voice specialist will work with you in understanding your current situation and help you to make progress.

If you have specific questions about:

  1. The normal structure and function of the vocal tract;
  2. Processes of voice production;
  3. Disorders of the voice such as laryngeal nodules, polyps and neoplasms;
  4. Contact ulcers, spasmodic dysphonia, vocal tremor;
  5. Vocal fold paralysis resulting in hoarseness and weakness of the voice.

Get in contact with:
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorder.
They provide free information and assistance in this area.
Here is a link:
https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice-speech-and-language

If you do have permanent damage I would suggest picking up an instrument to make beautiful sound or even consider some practiced farting.:) BUT please do it in tune !

Let me tell you a story where there was a famous flatulist
(yes, this is the correct term) who was paid handsomely for his windy tunes!
Along time ago in dreary twelfth-century England there lived a famous flatulist by the name of Rolandus le Fartere. As the court Jester he was paid handsomely with acres and acres of land to fart before King Henry II at Christmas time. Every year he was called to perform “Unum saltum et siffletum et unum bumbulum
(one jump, one whistle, and one fart).

Make a merry sound and don’t let anyone stop you! I hope this article helped you understand that there are resources available and I will be looking at some methods to prevent voice damage in the coming weeks and some home remedies!

Until then, keep the song alive !

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Quirky things Singers do?

So this weekend I had a show and noticed that most of the drinks had ice in them as I sipped away at it, I felt my throat tighten up. Silly me, I had just warmed up my voice and then cooled it down within a few minutes sipping a nice refreshing cool drink. Blegh, but thankfully I spotted some hot tea and a nice cup of tea saved the day!

I do enjoy teas of many kinds but please note that Green Tea isn’t that good for singing. Don’t get me wrong, I love Green Tea but it has a drying effect that reduces the lubrication around your vocal folds. It can make you more susceptible to developing things like a sore throat or even a vocal node. 

Drinking Green Tea is just fine on the day when you are NOT singing though.

As I was driving home earlier today I started thinking about this and generally about singers and what they do or don’t do before singing. I often achieve some of it but rarely all. Just knowing about them helps me to understand why my voice is sounding a certain way and what can I do better next time.

I haven’t had much time this week but I thought you may enjoy looking at some of these quirky habits with me even though I cannot cover all of it in one article the obvious point being;

Certain things you do, or don’t do, will hinder OR help the tone of your voice.

I digress but one of my quirky habits, highlighted in a conversation with the thebuddha the other day was that I collect scarves. Not a silly amount of them, I don’t think I ever have more then 10, but I wear them to protect my voice from cold drafts and they keep my vocal chords warm and ready.

Obviously, it’s best for colder weather but a silky-soft scarf that can you can tuck into your bag is ideal in a high AC environment, before a gig and after your warm-up. Now please, if it doesn’t suit your disposition or “aesthetics” don’t go buying a silk scarf just because I said so, okay?

YOU need to find your own groove and not follow everything you read on the internet, just know your voice, know what effects it and follow the best route for you.

On that note, here are some points to consider and get you thinking about what could help you get a better result.

  1. STEAM IT UP ! Yes, get a steamer to pass warm steam over the vocal chords before and even after a gig as it produces a healing effect. If your throat feels scratchy and sounds groggy, get it warm.
  2. SHUT UP ! When you are performing a lot, you need to make time to be quiet before and after the show and NEVER yell or scream outside your performance, if you can help it.

  3. AVOID CERTAIN DRINKS: Mucous producing foods such as dairy, stimulants such as caffeine and spicy foods, soft drinks, refined sugars, chocolate and iced drinks all effect the sound of your voice. LOVE THE TONE, skip the food and drinks that irritate your vocal folds.

HOLD ON! Sometimes these things just cannot be helped especially if you are like me and end up running around super busy and thirsty or hungry and you grab what you can, when you can.

This brings me nicely to point number four…

  1. DON’T WORRY: Just relax breath in deeply through your nose to your toes. Slowly exhale for as long as possible through your mouth. It’s going to be okay! Relaxing and knowing your voice will help you to naturally figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. Now DON’T SKIP the warm up and go sing your heart out !

My next point will offer a counter complimentary melody to theBuddha who has graciously provided me with a space here to blabber away about something I love.

Obviously he is going to  tell you to “Shut up and play him a song”! so when you are done with that…

  1. SHUT UP AND SING ME A SONG !

Sorry I missed my early segment of writing today but I really enjoyed writing it now and I hope you enjoyed reading it too.

If in doubt just read Point Number Five again and have a holler of a day!

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Lessons about Performing #blahblahblah: Set lists!

‘Snot that I’ve really stopped my lessons for performing musicians so much as I’ve just kinda mashed ’em into a pile of gibberish and stopped numbering them or even organizing them into a remotely usable fashion!

You’re welcome!

Today’s article really belongs under that heading and I’ve been meaning to write this for quite a while.

Yup… I’ve mulled this over countless times.

Unfortunately, one word for you. Weed.

Well, two words. Weed and time management. I told someone that I’d been planning on writing this one and that I’d try to get to it. So, today’s that day. ‘Snot gonna be good, coherent, or even useful – but it might be fun!

Yup. I’m pretty sure that’s all the intro this needs!
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Keep your equipment clean, seriously…

Yesterday, I told you about Paul. That was fun.

Today, I will tell you about Mike. Mike might be more likely to set your house on fire than Paul. He’s pretty awesome.

Mike is not his real name, but I’m using the story with permission.

On Saturday, I had people visit and one of them was Mike. I think Mike can be best summed up as being in his late 40s and still playing small bar gigs. Mike is very much the stereotypical small bar guitar player. I’m pretty sure that Mike said this when I first met him. “My name is Mike, and I live off the women I meet.” Mike’s pretty honest.

This might sound like a terrible job, but Mike doesn’t actually even have to be a very good guitar player. Mike doesn’t have to give two shits about his wardrobe. I am not sure if Mike even pays for the copious illicit substances he imbibes. If he does, I don’t know how. Mike has no money.

Mike isn’t in it for the money. No, Mike is in it for the lifestyle – which is more accurately stated that Mike probably isn’t able to be gainfully employed in an alternative industry. I like Mike, but I’m pretty sure he’d get fired on the first day as a fry cook.

Mike does have to worry about reliable transportation and reliable/affordable equipment. His transportation and equipment are about as reliable as a meth addict.

If Mike has ever had a new guitar, he probably stole it. Or conned a girlfriend into buying it for him. Seriously… If someone says they play guitar, they’re a walking example of a series of bad life choices.

I don’t think Mike actually has a driver’s license. I’ve seen his name in the paper! It distinctly tells me that they arrested him for exactly that reason. Mike drives – everywhere. I have ridden with Mike. It’s like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and Mike is distinctly not allowed to drive anything I own. Mike is never even a little sober. He’s a fucking mess!

Which is to say, Mike is one of my favorite people! I fucking love hanging out with Mike. There’s pretty much no point in time when Mike is doing something that isn’t interesting.

Mike brings me treasures – often hoping that I’ll buy them.

On Saturday, Mike brought me a treasure – except he was very confident that he didn’t want to sell it. (That’s a good thing.)

Mike brought me a 1991 Fender Strat. He loves Strats.

When he finally conned me into letting him bring it into the house, my first words were. “Holy shit, Mike. That’s fucking disgusting.”

It’s 27 years old. It’s probably seen zero maintenance and I’m pretty sure it’s never been cleaned. None cleaning. None.

‘Snot even the least bit unusual. It’s definitely not even the least bit unusual for Mike. Mike knows they’re disgusting. He calls it patina. That’s probably an old French word that means ‘too lazy to clean my shit.’

‘Snot like Mike’s going to keep this guitar. No, this guitar will last him maybe a year – and he’ll be on to his next treasure. This isn’t a collector piece. I’ll give him $200 for it. $250, if he fucking cleans it.

It’s in terrible shape. He loves it. Mike doesn’t care one bit about things like intonation. Mike does not make faithful replications. Mike does make (some of) his own music. He once made me feel so bad I bought one of his CDs!

Mike gave up selling CDs pretty quickly. He now informs me that my CD is a collector’s item. He even signed it. Thank you, Mike. It’s a treasure!

Mike can’t actually sell merchandise. Mike doesn’t have his shit together well enough to do that. He’s tried – and it always gets stolen or given away.

He might actually have more stories than I have. Ain’t no way Mike is ever gonna write them down. I’d consider writing Mike’s story, but I’d be really hard pressed to fool people into thinking Mike plays guitar better than Hendrix.

Now that I think about it, I don’t think Mike is in it for the music. That might actually be a brilliant idea. I think he just likes the attention and lifestyle – which includes vast amounts of time spent inebriated and picking up ladies from the bar. He does have a fascination with the equipment used, but that’s probably developed from constantly needing to replace and repair it.

Huh… I’d ask Mike if he even likes music, but I’m pretty sure he’s sleeping and I doubt it’s in his own bed. I assume he has a bed, but I’ve never seen it. I’m not sure that’s fair. Mike has slept at my house and seen my beds. Then again, I’m never sleeping at Mike’s house – ever.

Either way, I’ve touched on some of these subjects before, but I feel like writing about ’em today and, well… ‘Snot like you can fire me…
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