Tuesday March 4, 2014
What classically trained singer became famous for her versions of spirituals and folk music, received the "Visionary Award," at the Kennedy Center, in 2005 the "Living Legend Award," from the Library of Congress, and in 2007 the "Traditional Folk Artist of the Year," awarded by the International Folk Alliance? The poet Maya Angelou said of the famous contralto, "If only one could be sure that every 50 years a voice and a soul like (blank's) would come along, the centuries would pass so quickly and painlessly we would hardly recognize time."
Friday February 28, 2014
Recently a reader asked me to evaluate a recording of her voice. Her tone was easy and pleasant to listen to. That might have been missed by a less trained ear, because many of her phrases began flat and improved as they went on. I wrote a series of articles that would help her understand how to solve her problem. First, she needs a basic understanding of phonation
and a quick introduction to the anatomy of the voice
. Second, she needs to know the basics of breath support
and how that affects the stomach
. Those two concepts work together so she can learn to initiate her vocal sound
in-tune by coordinating the breath and vocal cords
. If you or anyone else has this problem or feel that the beginnings of phrases are weak, this would be a good series of articles to look into. Thanks for reading and keep singing!
Friday February 28, 2014
Turns out I never got a picture with Anthony and I
swimming, but here we are posing with Mickey about the
same time we took the swim class together this past year.
I grew up in Seattle and for whatever reason swimming was not a part of the general physical education classes at any of the public schools in my district or surrounding ones. I loved going to the beach and local swimming pool to doggy paddle, but avoided putting my head under water. I signed up for a beginning level swim course at my university. The first day we were asked to swim laps using various swim strokes I was not familiar with, and I realized learning to swim as an adult would be a challenge. I dropped the course. Last year, my 5 year-old, Anthony, started jumping off the diving board with a pool noodle, and I knew it was time to learn. His teacher allowed me to swim on the sidelines with the rest of the kiddos and within a couple of weeks I was swimming well enough to feel comfortable allowing my son to swim in the deep end while I supervised. Of course, I had to swallow my pride. Parents line the swim pool to watch their children and there was one swimmer (me) that was not like the others!
Thursday January 30, 2014
When I auditioned
for Brigham Young University's school of music, I probably winged it much more than I should have. I simply picked songs
I loved and ones that seemed impressive. I remember one was "How Beautiful are the Feet," from Handel's Messiah
. I had previously been broadcast on the radio singing it, so of course it was a favorite. Though I didn't fully comprehend how prestigious the school was or how bad the odds were, I entered the program as a junior beating out well over 200 other singers who mostly had better odds as newly entering freshman. From my early experiences I learned to practice
my music until it was a part of me, get enough sleep, stay hydrated
right before, but above all to have fun
! Once all the other pieces of the puzzle are in place, that's what really makes you stand out.