We bring you an excerpt from Jennifer Hamady's New Book "The Art Of Singing".
Singing Onstage and in the Studio
On one level, we singers are master preparers. We spend a tremendous amount of time training and practicing, and in the case of many recording artists, songwriting as well. In fact, we’re physically and mentally preparing for success virtually nonstop, whether or not any performances or recording dates are on the imminent horizon.
That said, another kind of preparation is all too often neglected, and that is with the technology that makes recording and live shows possible. For all of our training and practicing for a performance career, for all of our songwriting and rehearsing prior to recording, we singers rarely take the time to proactively work with the technology that facilitates both.
There are a number of reasons for this, including access and money. Not everyone has friends who work in recording studios or have Pro Tools rigs at home. Even fewer of us can afford to book studio or stage time to practice, much less to record or perform.
Yet there’s more to it than that. There is often an assumption that when the time comes, we singers can show up to the studio or stage and that everything will work out… that we just need to sing the way we always have, perform the way we’ve always practiced, and that the technology and those running it will meet us where we are and ensure that things turn out perfectly.
It doesn’t work this way. And with a bit of thought, the reason why is clear: In what other setting, line of work, or discipline can we just show up, with no training or practice, and do a great job? Where else in life can we use an entirely new set of tools competently, much less expertly, without knowledge of how they function or experience with them? Absolutely nowhere. It’s like expecting to ride or swim perfectly the first time we get on a bike or into a pool. Practice and patience are not only to be expected, they’re required to achieve mastery.
As a coach myself, I’ll say that we teachers are somewhat responsible for this lack of interest and access. Focusing on technique and performance, we often assume that the studio and stage-specific aspects of our students’ careers are in their hands, or someone else’s… perhaps those of a record company, manager, or agent.
Thankfully, access to studios, friends in high places, and deep pockets aren’t necessary for you to gain the skills required for stage and studio singing. With a pair of inexpensive studio headphones, a handheld microphone, an average laptop, and free recording software, you can learn the practical basics of studio hearing and singing. With the same microphone and a decent amp or pair of speakers, you can begin to practice balancing your listening and performing in a live setting (to say nothing of the many free piano bars and open mic nights available in most cities).
Some singers take these steps, but the vast majority do not. This is particularly true with those in the musical theater and classical realms, where acoustics and projection, rather than amplification, are most heavily relied upon. However, not only is technology making its way into these genres more and more, all singers today are presented with recording opportunities and live commercial gigs on the path to success.
In every genre, it’s therefore critical that singers become adept at using technology. Countless phenomenal singers stagnate professionally and even leave the business because they can’t figure out how to deliver when using stage monitors and studio headphones, or how to communicate their needs to stage managers, music directors, producers, and engineers. And many less capable singers get ahead because they can. Do the work you need to do to make sure that you have all of the tools you need– technical, technological, and interpersonal– to have a successful and lasting career in his business.
*Adapted from Jennifer’s new book: “The Art of Singing Onstage and in the Studio: Understanding the Psychology, Technology, and Relationships in Performing and Recording” (Hal Leonard, 2016)
To be a great singer, talent and technique are obviously important, as are having excellent songs and being able to move an audience. But there’s more to it than that, including two critical skills that are rarely, if ever, addressed in vocal training: managing the technology onstage and in the studio and interacting with the people who run it. No matter how fantastic your voice is or how much money is behind you, if you don’t know how to work with recording and performance technology—whatever your genre—you’re in for a tough ride.
The Art of Singing Onstage and in the Studio finally and comprehensively addresses these important issues in an easy-to-read, accessible style. Beginning with a discussion of the history of the voice and technology in our culture, Jennifer also reveals the root causes of performance anxiety in music and beyond, as well as how to overcome it.
In her groundbreaking book The Art of Singing, Jennifer showed us how to discover and develop our true voices. Now she shares how to use them onstage, in the studio, and with the world. Singers, performers, producers, and engineers will all come away from this book more knowledgeable about the origins of their fields, empowered in the tools of their trade, and clear on how to best communicate with one another.
JENNIFER HAMADY is a voice coach and board-certified therapist specializing in technical and emotional issues that interfere with self-expression. Her clients include Grammy, CMA, and American Music Award-winners, performers in Emmy and Tony Award–winning productions, contestants on American Idol and The Voice, and corporate and creative clients across an array of industries. Jennifer began her career singing and recording with artists including Stevie Wonder, Christina Aguilera, Patti LaBelle, Wyclef Jean, and Def Leppard, as well as performing as a lead singer with Cirque du Soleil and as a backup vocalist on American Idol. Her first book, The Art of Singing: Discovering and Developing Your True Voice, is based on her experiences as both a singer and a coach, and has been heralded as a breakthrough in the psychology of musical and personal performance. She frequently conducts master classes and workshops on vocal and creative expression, and writes for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today. Her website is www.JenniferHamady.com
New Book: http://amzn.to/1UDNmoH
The first Art of Singing: http://amzn.to/1RJ1HtW
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