Vocal Control: It’s all in your “head”
We have countless singers call our studio wanting lessons. One of the most common goals we hear these prospective students say they want to attain is “vocal control”. But when we ask them what they think that means, the answer is a lot harder to come by. You have heard the saying “Identifying the problem is 90% of the solution”, right? This proves especially true here. So, how DO we gain vocal control and become stellar singers? The first step is to put a “face to a name”. Get to know the anatomy of your voice. Check out this YouTube video for a crash course into how you create sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjRsa77u6OU Once you are able to visualize the inner workings of what goes on when creating sound, you will have a greater awareness of what it takes to “phonate” or, “produce sound”. The second step is to always be one note ahead. I always tell my singers, “You have to sing it in your mind before you can sing it in your mouth”. When approaching a hard vocal run or a challenging high note, I always advise to simultaneously sing that challenging note or vocal run in your head while you are currently singing the note right before it. This is definitely a learned skill and requires you to multi-task, but it gives you the opportunity to tune the note in your head before actual sound is produced out loud. Not only that, but since you are not allowing that difficult note or vocal run to catch you by surprise (which usually ends in a crack or splat resulting from vocal strain), you are more physically centered and prepared which results in a more confident and relaxed vocal state. If you want to try this method, I would recommend starting with a slower ballad rather than a fast, wordy up-tempo song. A ballad will usually have longer notes to hold, giving you more time to implement mental multitasking. If you have any questions or would like to train at Tara Simon Studios, please visit our website at www.tarasimonstudios.com
I had a young artist come into my studio the other day, all wide eyed and ready to work hard. She started telling me how much she practices, how many songs she's writing, how she's forming a band to play out. All these great things. Then she says to me that she's going to college and majoring in Music Performance, cause it just "made sense". I nodded my head and smiled and when she finished telling me her detailed plans for success, I told her what I wish someone in my position would have said to me when I was on the other side of the microphone: "If you want to be a part of the music BUSINESS....you need to know about the BUSINESS end of your industry". I realize now that a good singer, shoot...even a half decent singer will get better and become a better entertainer with private coaching and good old performance experience. Where I feel college tuition is most wisely spent is in the education of how to navigate the business of the music industry. If you are talented AND know how the industry operates, then you also have a better idea of what publishing companies, labels and audiences are looking for and when. And if you know this valuable information, not only are you light years ahead of most of the starving artists out there, you actually have a good shot at being able to pay your bills while doing what you love. Sometimes the obvious choice isn't always the wisest one.
Atlanta vocal coach, Tara Simon had her song and music video "Walk Away" selected by producers at Pulse Records (in a record time of only 3 days after her submission) as part of their Mainstream Music Video Opportunity. The video is currently in rotation at over 8,500 retail outlets & broadcast stations nationwide. beginning February 2013. http://youtu.be/UxSX6tqTH5g
Tara Simon is a dynamic entertainer with a stellar voice, serious songwriting ability and dance skills that will make your head spin. She recently release four new singles on iTunes, including "Walk Away." Over the course of her professional career, Tara has appeared at a wide array of notable venues and has had the pleasure of performing for A-list celebrities like Simon Cowell, Sugarland, Donald Trump, Brittney Spears, Justin Bieber, L.A. Reid, Demi Lovato and Scooter Braun. In 2012, Tara made it as one of the top 24 vocalists on the X Factor. After her first audition for the celebrity judges, Simon Cowell said with a smile, "I believe we've only scratched the surface of what you're capable of.” Tara is not only a fierce artist but she is also the Director of Music & Performing Arts at her company, Tara Simon Studios in Atlanta. She has been coaching children and adults in all areas of the performing arts for more than ten years. Several of her students have landed principal and supporting roles in independent films, television and theatrical productions as well as tours with national recording artists.
As an entertainer in the music industry, life can be completely exhilarating and then in the very next breath, completely crush your soul. I know both of these feelings well. And, if you're one of the few honest people in "the biz", you would agree with me emphatically. Sometimes I wish that I wanted to be a doctor or lawyer. Something that had tangible and logical steps that you could go through to accomplish your dreams. Unfortunately, the music industry is NOT that way. Its timing, connections, and perseverance. Notice that I didn't mention talent in my previous sentence. That word wasnt included because unfortunately, that is not a requirement. So...what then? When the join gets tuff, the singer straps on her stilettos, smears on her red Mac lipstick, and gets back to hustling and grinding...harder, better, and more fierce than ever!
Recently I have come across a few parents who call me looking for vocal coaching for their children approaching puberty. They have told me that all the coaches they have called say they don't accept students who haven't passed puberty and have been told it will hurt their voice to take lessons during this time. What hog wash! I am sorry, but the only reason a coach wouldn't accept a pre-teen is because they don't know HOW to coach that type of student. I feel it is actually more beneficial to teach that student how to deal with the transition properly, rather than to leave them on their own, and pick up the pieces later.