In the Golden Nuggets Week of 7th February, we share Case Histories from our course archive.
You'll hear Gillyanne share techniques for increasing range and changing timbre.
Jeremy shares the "before and after" masterclass on using motivation to improve belting.
And he reads a case history in Why Do I Need A Vocal Coach, on coaching out of the box to help a singer use her love of dance to access more passion in a song she knows well.
In our What inspires us this week section, Jeremy's inspiration isn't a singer, it's an app!
Jeremy's on YouTube reading "How Dance Language Can Change Your Singing Audition", from his book Why Do I Need A Vocal Coach https://youtu.be/XTBuPEPmT-g
The paperback, ebook and audiobook are all available here https://amzn.to/3HgdQHP
The Learning Lounge with Belting Explained, My Singer Has A Voice Problem, Troubleshooting Range, and over 50 free previews is available here https://bit.ly/VocalProcessLearningLounge
Check out #Descript's great ad on YouTube here https://youtu.be/Bl9wqNe5J8U
Jeremy: This is a voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.
Hello, and welcome to our golden nuggets for the week of the 7th of February. We're mixing it up again this week with examples and excerpts from five different sources. So the theme of the week for February the seventh is... long pause plus a closeup of a singing teacher, hoping we're going to choose a topic relevant to her students.
Coaching the singer in the room. Gillyanne, why is coaching the singer in the room so important?
Gillyanne: Because no matter our background as trainers and as singers, and no matter the, the training institution that we're working in and maybe the demands of that situation, you're always needing to customise your work to the singer in the room.
And you know, more and more nowadays, people are talking about being client-led. And that's why it's so essential to really consider that singer in the room on a general basis, you know, as you're, you're planning training with them. And also that day, when they're in the room with you
Jeremy: I mean, if you're not working with the singer in the room, then you're just sort of, well you're not really there are you, and you're just going by rote.
Gillyanne: Well, I think that's slightly mean, but I think, I think they'll get the point. Do you know the other thing I wanted to say is that, um, not only did we do a whole podcast on this
Gillyanne: back in 2020 which people loved
Jeremy: one of our most popular
Gillyanne: but I was just checking through what we did the other week on the online singing teacher training, and guess what we call day five?
Jeremy: The Singer In The Room.
Gillyanne: The Singer In The Room. So it's a bit of a theme for us. Isn't it?
Jeremy: And this week in the golden nuggets, we are going to put our money where our mouth is because we are going to be sharing case histories and coaching advice with you. And we're going to start with an excerpt from Webinar 17 troubleshooting range.
Gillyanne shares three case histories from her studio, two West End leads and one actor-musician.
All you Sherlockians out there. See if you can clock the changes in our language from then to now in the way we describe vocal function, here's an excerpt from webinar 17 case history Singer A.
Now as Jeremy said we were breaking with tradition and we are because I want to share some case histories with you because I think they're very good way of getting us thinking about range in the right way. And in particular about the interplay between the different factors and how we can use those when we're troubleshooting.
Yes. So over to you Gillyanne.
Gillyanne: Okay. Now singer A was an actor who came to me. He had been trained at drama school and told that he was a bass baritone, and he'd been trained as a bass baritone. He has a lovely, dark, warm timbre, even in his speaking voice, which is very useful to him as an actor and also in his singing voice. But he couldn't sing above D Bb4 That's the D above middle C.
Yeah. And he also had some tuning issues, which is quite interesting, cause he's an instrumentalist and he reads music. So
Jeremy: What did you do? No, what were his targets.
Gillyanne: Yeah. What were his targets? So when he came, his targets were well, he wanted to improve his self-confidence. He knew he should be more confident about his singing.
He wanted to access more range. I showed him how to engage the cricothyroid mechanism. We will explain, using, moaning. I find that it's useful for guys to get them to moan rather than to whine and whimper. Uh, I also showed him how to sing with a small amount of space, especially when he was going up higher, rather than keeping that big mouth space all the way up.
And, you know, in that first lesson, he was vocalizing up to Bb4.
Just just to put that into context. That's one lesson and that's an extra sixth on top of his original note. Yeah. So I, you know, since then we've been working to get him accustomed to a different timbre of his voice because he was very praised for this warm, dark sound.
And also he'd done a lot of Alexander work. So this is where you get into belief systems. And, um, he believed that he should always feel relaxed and open. And so hence we had, you know, the open jaw, the low flat tongue and trying to access the high notes in that way.
Jeremy: So he was taking, keeping the same shape
Jeremy: And trying to take it up.
Jeremy: Which is one of the points we made originally,
Gillyanne: and it puts his voice under pressure. So, you know, now he's starting to learn the Jason Robert Brown song Moving Too Fast from The Last Five Years for those of you who know it.
Jeremy: That sits a lot higher.
Gillyanne: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it's a challenge for him, but it's, uh, it's, it's a useful stretch.
I haven't turned him into a tenor and in fact, I don't need that label, but he's got access now to much higher notes and it also happens to suit his casting.
Jeremy: Okay. So if you did, um, in the next lesson, what would you do? How would you take that further?
Gillyanne: I would continue to work with this sort of smaller space and I'm also getting him to think about, thinking high and wide, with his tongue in the back of the mouth space so that he has more room, oddly enough, for his top notes.
OK we're going to talk about that later. Excellent.
Jeremy: How important are customized vocal warmups? You need to purpose them for the singer and the task they have to achieve that day. Watch Gillyanne guide us in a step-by-step through a bespoke belting warmup from speaking to calling to sustaining on C5 and above. And this is Belting Explained video 2. Top Tip, you don't have to make belting loud, it already is. The intention behind the sound is just as important as the sound itself. your singer sings. Well, they can hit the notes, but something is lacking. What is it? You might want to check them out to. This mini master class section of the belting explained online course highlights Jeremy's ability to read the singer, discover their mindset and change it into something that works better for that individual.
It's a four minute 13 second piece of gold. Here's the before and after
so just say "I never thought I'd come to this"
Jan: "I never thought I'd come to this.
Jeremy: See you need the body, you need the physical engagement.
Gillyanne: Get her feet moving as well, have a tantrum.
Jan: I never thought I'd come to this.
Jeremy: No it's not! She says it's a bit over the top. Absolutely not. You tell her! It's not over the top. In fact, just, just
Just for that sentence at the top and holding the whole sentence. Let's do the touch.
you think that's completely over the top of horribly embarrassing.
That's the emotional strength of the song. And your thing is you are making such a great example and stylistically you're doing such good things, or this is the bit.
Ever felt tempted to tell your singer there's something wrong with ever. Listening to highly specialist SLT, Carrie Garrett guide us through the do's and don'ts we need to know our boundaries. My Singer Has A Voice Problem course on the Learning Lounge. Gillyanne has been invited to give a number of presentations on how she helps singers get back to work after having a voice problem.
It's something she feels passionately about. Having had a voice problem herself in her twenties. But can we really diagnose? Check out this entire two-hour, CPD accredited course on what we can and shouldn't do in our studios plus important information about recognizing and dealing with Long COVID.
Sometimes you just need to think out of the box, especially when your singer doesn't connect with the song. Find out what makes them tick. in One of my coaching sessions. I use dance language to transform one singer's audition material from okay to stunning. My book is full of out of the box coaching stories. Performance coaching is so individual to that person. The instructional, the image that works for one singer probably won't work for another. The skill and the fun is in finding the way in to someone's understanding beliefs and biases to help them unlock and share what's inside.
This story is a great example of connecting to different passions in someone to unleash a much more authentic performance.
Here's an excerpt from one of the videos on the Vocalprocess YouTube channel.
Hello. It's Jeremy Fisher here reading from my book. Why do I need a vocal coach? Stories, tips, and hacks from the studio of a voice expert? How dance language can change your singing? I work with many dancers who sing and singers who dance. The triple threat in musical theater- actor, singer dancer- is fast becoming the new.
My client this morning is a triple threat who thinks in dance terms, she's a dancer through and through. So how could I, as a vocal coach, tap into a dancer's wide and deep knowledge of their craft in today's lesson, I set my client a challenge to sing the first 16 bars of four songs, one after another, and to hit the ground running. Her task was to find the storyline emotion and mood of each character in the first bar. Things were going quite well. And she was producing good performances, but I felt I could get something stronger from her.
The audition technique. In my answers on a postcard technique, the singer chooses a phrase that she can use mentally at the beginning of the song to get her straight into character, see webinar five- exams, auditions, and competitions for how this works.
My client has just been telling me about a TV series she was in charting the history of dance. So I decided to extend the technique. I suggested that she think of the characteristics of different dance styles to incorporate them into her performance. The song was Stop and See Me from Weird Romance. And the style I suggested to bring to the song mentally was hip-hop.
She didn't move a muscle or change her position in any way. But the difference in the characterization was extraordinary. She became stronger, cockier yet much more vulnerable. Perfect for the song. The reading got deeper, more truthful and infinitely more moving. I felt I was witnessing an aspect of her really for the first time. It went beyond finding my version of this song and became finding myself in the song.
When I saw that she had completely understood the concept, we moved onto the concept of using costume as a creative kicker. Gorgeous from The Apple Tree is a Cinderella song about a young woman who sees herself in beautiful clothes for the first time. We started with imagining her in the, My Fair Lady Ascot costume, but the song also needs a more earthy sense of humour.
So we kept the scenario and added Miranda Hart in a wedding dress. If you haven't seen the Miranda BBC comedy series, check it out.
Someday from the wedding singer became a number from Grease with Bobby socks, the dirndl skirt and a vision of Teen Angel.
God helped the Outcasts became an eco warrior with dreads
occupying the cathedral steps.
This actually happened at St Paul's Cathedral recently, although I'm not sure they sang numbers from Notre Dame. The term performance magic is horribly overused, but when you see someone transform for the first time into a totally different character in songs they've known and sung for years, there's no other phrase that fits. Job done.
To find out more, get yourself a copy of why do I need a vocal coach in ebook, paperback, or audio book format, or to work with me in person go to bit.ly/workwithJeremy.
So Jeremy, as we're coming to the close of our Golden Nuggets, yeah. What has inspired you this week?
My inspiration this week, this is going to make you laugh. It's actually the program that I'm using to make this podcast. Anybody who knows me knows that I quite like apps and I quite like tech and I quite like things, mainly just to know that I'm going to be doing something creative and making it easier. So this week the inspiration is Descript, or Descript, or however you want to pronounce it.
Gillyanne: And you'd been looking into this for a while. Hadn't you been watching, you know, videos on YouTube and it looked like it was really cool, but you were kind of holding back for a bit weren't you?
Jeremy: I got it about a week ago and I'm absolutely loving it. And what makes it unusual? This is a video editing program or an audio editing program, and there's one specific thing that makes it really unusual and that is you edit from text. So what happens is you put your video into Descript and it transcribes it for you. And then you use the like a word document. So if you want to cut a bit out of the video, then you just delete the words in the transcript and it cuts the video for you.
Gillyanne: Okay. So that means, what you don't have to do is cut it out of the video and the audio, and then pray to God that you line them all up
Gillyanne: because it does the job for you. Trust me, I've seen him do it. And you would not believe how easy it is
Jeremy: Now I did say this on, on the tweets a couple of days ago. We did the first, of these golden nuggets podcasts last week. And it did take me 11 hours from start to finish to get everything together and done. So we're hoping that this one's going to be a lot quicker.
We're recording this. We're only about three hours in for my preparation. So I'm fingers crossed. It will be about six hours this time. And then next time we do it it will be about four. What I love about this program is that it's very intuitive, so you can create all sorts of things from it. And the way that it works is frankly jaw-dropping when you get to know it, it's jaw-dropping.
Gillyanne: And can I just say, uh, in case people are wondering, we're actually not sponsored to talk about Descript here.
Jeremy: Hello Descript. We'd love you to sponsor us
Gillyanne: Yeah yeah in the future. Please. But also for the lots of us are having to create content now, aren't we, and this just allows you to deal with your mistakes so, so quickly, and, and play around with the positioning of things as well.
Jeremy: And it suits me, because I like working from text. I like writing. I like editing writing. I do a lot of it. So the idea that you can edit a video from the text is just so useful for me. And also once you've got it up in Descript, you can then export it, once you finished as video, as excerpts, as a transcript, as subtitles, as tweets. I mean, there's all sorts of things that you can do from it. And if you don't know, if you want to find anything out about this, go and watch their ad, they have a absolutely brilliant. 32nd ad called introducing Descript on YouTube. And it is for me, perfection in terms of ads. It's exactly what I want to see in an ad.
Gillyanne: It's an object lesson.
Jeremy: It is
Gillyanne: good. Well, we hope that inspires you.
Jeremy: So if you expected me to be, to be inspired by singers this week, no, I was inspired by an app.
Gillyanne: Over and out.
Jeremy: This Is A Voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.