Long story short, we were having a brainstorming session about how to develop the vocal side of things at the Band Project to just keep making his vision of his amazing project just better, and better, and better!
Whilst the demographic of those that we teach is different; he teaches young people, I tend to teach adults and advanced singers,we both had the realisation that in fact we are motivated by several common principles!
One under-rated developmental areas is to assist musicians and singers to build good listening skills.
I have observed that the best vocalists are often the best at listening keenly to music, chords, ad libs. musical instruction etc. As they listen, they assimilate the skills that they need in order to be able to replicate sound with their voices.
Of course, this would be in partnership with muscular training to ensure that your method of producing vocal sound is safe?
So, for example – how loud is your rehearsal room? Chris made the valid point that as a young musician, you do have to pass via the stage of rehearsing altogether in a room, battling to be able to hear yourself!
So, as a fun exercise, why not write down a list of 10 things that you need the skill of listening for?
Here is my list:
- It helps if you listen for dynamics – the more you know they are coming up, the more you can shape the song and create additional emotional reactions in the listener!
- It helps if you listen to what the original artist used as a vocal technique – here you need to be a “vocal detective!”
- It is imperative to listen to the blend of instruments when you do a soundcheck, both before the audience arrive, and afterwards when their bodies and clothing will absorb the sound differently to an empty room.
- To blend harmonies, you need to listen to the component parts of the chord – it holds the answer to pitching!
- It helps if you listen to vocal embellishments and break them down
- It helps if you listen and actually make notes about the track you are intending to sing. Was there any syncopation, or variation on the melody line?
- It helps if you listen to musicians objections to turning down their instruments and then mutually find a work around 😉
- It helps if you listen to the radio and make up harmonies to songs as a practise method
- It helps if you listen to singers to hear when they use mixed voice!
- It helps if you listen to your audiences praise at the end of a gig as it makes all the carrying of heavy equipment so much more worthwhile!