Laranah Phipps / Blog

Singer's Jam Session Blues (Part 4)

PLEASE CONSIDER YOUR KEY! If you attend a jazz jam session, the musician may ask you what key you want to sing the song in. Try to find out ahead of time, what key you sing the song in.... you can do this by hiring an accompanist to run songs occasionally and asking her/him the song key and then create a song file with Song key/form/lyrics/composer and other valuable information. You can do and internet search for song keys. Consider taking a music theory class. Contemporary Vocal Academy offers a workshop "Fundamentals of Music for Singers", contact us for more information.

When you go up on the band stand, and call your tune, and the musician asks you what key, DO NOT say: I don't know the key, I sing the song in any key, or, you choose the key. Never let a musician choose your key. This is your song. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!! This is what can happen if you dont do your homework: You get up on the stage, you re looking and feeling great, You are ready to sing your heart out because you've been practicing and taking voice lessons, your voice is all warmed up and in optimum condition...you call the tune, the musician asks what key, you reply with one of the above mentioned responses, the soprano sax man chooses the key, the band starts the song, you are nervous and excited, as you get ready to start singing, you realize that that key is way to high for your vocal range, by the time you get to the bridge of the song, your voice is cracking and straining. now you no longer have the range that you had in your rehearsal session. Over all, your vocal performance was not good and now all you are thinking about is finishing the song and getting off the stage. KNOW THE SONG KEY.....REHEARSE YOUR SONG IN A KEY THAT IS COMFORTABE FOR YOU!!!....

There are many elements and techniques that can help produce a better performance, we will continue the discussion with our next issue.

If you enjoy singing, don't give up, keep singing, Practice, Practice, Practice. Stay connected and informed.....

Thank you for reading this article.

Laranah Phipps Contemporary Vocal Academy Vocal Instructor www.reverbnation.com/laranahphipps 757-233-0279

Singer's Jam Session Blues (Part 3)

Keep your voice in optimum condition before during and after the session. I can't tell you how many times I've encountered a gifted singer who sounded like crap at the jam session/open mic, due to a hoarse voice. Musicians have the benefit of packing their instruments away in nice neat cases and taking them out only when they need to play. Singers carry their instruments around with them everywhere they go!

If you're attending a venue that allows smoking, drink lots of water before during and after the event. This will help to keep your instrument from becoming too dry, which produces cracking, squeaking, register breaks and hoarseness. drink non-alcoholic beverages. Alcohol dries out your instrument very quickly. Try not to do too much talking over loud music. Do some vocal warm up exercises before you get to the session. Drink some water immediately following your performance and then find a secluded place to do some quick warm-down exercises.


Feel free to contact me, if you would like more information on warm-up/warm down and vocal technique exercises,

Practice, Practice, Practice and after you finish practicing, practice some more. DO NOT sing til the point of vocal exhaustion.

15 minutes of vocal warm-up, 20 minutes of vocal technique, 5 minute break to drink water and rest the voice, 30 minutes of rehearsing 5 songs you already know, 10 minutes of working on 1 new song, 5 minutes of vocal warm-down, 5 minutes to relax, mentally review your practice session and drink water.

Follow this schedule at least three times a week, you will be well on your way to improving your vocal abilities. It is also in your best interest get a vocal coach, I am available for lessons and vocal master classes via Skype. please contact Contemporary Vocal Academy for more information at 757-233-0279.

Have several songs prepared for the session. Find out what type of genres are being played at the session. is it jazz, R&B, blues, rock, pop, acoustic??? It is not a good idea to go up to the band stand and attempt to get them to play an obscure song or an original. Choose a song that both you and the musicians know. Don't be afraid to talk briefly with the musicians before you sing. be courteous and professional.

Singer's Jam Session Blues (Part 2)

Singers, if you are interested in having a career in the music industry, be it full or part time, then you need to change your mindset about clubs, bars, festivals and any and every live entertainment venue. These settings are your work place environments and need to be treated and respected as such,

Every single time you plan to attend a live entertainment venue, you should be preparing to go to work, If you attend a performance, then attend that performance just like you would if you were attending your day job's seminar or workshop. Take notes, observe stage presence, mic technique, strengths, weakness, repertoire, band interaction.....

There are several factors which can help you navigate towards successful career/interest in the music industry. Please note that a jam session/open mic is a very important aspect of the music industry. Many "A" list entertainers and main-stream industry professionals scout new talent/ access the up and coming competition, at these venues.

Image is extremely important in the music industry, What you wear, how you look in what you're wearing, how you present yourself to musicians, these are all aspects of your image.

If you are planning to sing at the jam session/open mic, you MUST be prepared before you hit the stage.

Choose your attire wisely. Do your homework. What is the venue's dress code. Visit the venue's website. look at the images of past events. Choose an outfit that presents the image you want others to have of you.

Singer's Jam Session Blues (Part 1)

Singer's Jam Session Blues

How many times have you attended an open mic or jam session and noticed that even though you enjoyed a particular singer, his/her skills needed a little work. He/she has nice voice, but something is lacking.

Lets explore the process, step by step; Here's the scenario...you noticed an ad for an upcoming jam session and you've pretty much made up your mind to attend. You've attended jam sessions before and occasionally, after few drinks, and a lot of encouragement from your friends, you decide to go up and sing a song with the band. Everyone cheered, especially your friends, you felt great, and then you noticed that the band members didn't seem to share the same enthusiasm as the crowd.

Later on that evening, you went over to the sax player and told him how much you enjoyed his music and playing with him and the band. You also shared with him that you really enjoy singing and that you'd like to get more serious about music. You gave him your number and told him to give you a call if he needed a singer for a gig. you noticed that the musician just sort of blew you off, but took your number. He called you a few nights later, asked you out on a date, you accepted and went on a date (and slept with him). he seems to have a great time with you, but he never discuses anything about the music.

Lady Laranah Phipps Contemporary Vocal Tip of the Day

Tip # 1 If you can talk....you can sing.