Archive for August, 2010
One of the sweetest aspects of vocal music is the sound of vocal jazz- especially choral music. Tight harmonies and a great blend is almost like a bit of heaven, especially if you have been working with the same group for a while and helping them to develop and grow.
Jazz originally came from the mixture of bluegrass and black gospel music. It has slowly progressed, through the last century into an art form all its own. Across the nation there are many jazz festivals that cater not just to jazz musicians but also jazz vocalists. Most jazz festivals also hold clinics and competitions especially for jazz vocalists who are still in high school.
Some of these jazz festivals cater to the greatest musicians in the world, making the experience an incredible mixture of tight vocal harmonies and watching and listening to some of the greatest players in the world.
One of the best things for young singers, in their teens, is to be a vocal jazz group. Such a group will be difficult and will keep them on their toes, but the real gift that comes from participating in such a group is the ability to sing and hear tight harmonies and unusual chord structures. Once someone has been in a tight vocal jazz group, it is very easy to switch to classical or opera or even pop and rock. Jazz lies in the middle of these to extremes and is harder, in some ways than classical or rock.
Of course vocal jazz is great for adults too. There are many times that a good vocal jazz group is just plain good for the soul. Whether you are in school or have some connection with a local art center, encourage the establishment of good vocal jazz groups. You won’t be sorry.
Contrary to popular opinion, mankind was born to sing.
The human being is, in fact, a singing machine. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, especially in the Western culture, singing has become viewed as “feminized” and difficult.
The concept that singing is for girls or that singing is easier for women is almost laughable. It is actually the man that has an easier time singing as he sings primarily in his speaking voice and has about 11 breaks, or shifts, in the voice. The woman is a bit more delicate, as she does NOT sing primarily in her speaking voice and actually has about 35 breaks, or shifts, in the voice, once that voice reaches a certain range.
You see, singing is like owning an incredible 11 to 35 speed Maserati. Learning to drive that beautiful automobile is a bit like learning to use your own voice. Ever human being has his own authentic voice- the one that he or she was born to “play” or sing with.
One of the nuances of a world that has forgotten how to sing, is the fact that no one knows how to breathe. Everyone has become so uptight, that the average person breathes backwards. For instance, when told to take a deep breath, most people will, with a mighty gasp, suck everything in as their shoulders will rise to the ceiling. Real breathing is expanding with shoulders never moving.
If you wish to understand this, simply blow up a balloon and observe what happens. If the balloon is full of air, it expands; as you squeeze the air out of the balloon, it collapses. This principal is the same for the human body. The tone, or voice, rides on your air; if you are breathing backwards, the voice has no vehicle to sustain it.
If you want to remember what it feels like to breathe correctly, get yourself in a push-up and correctly sustain that position as you breathe. In a proper push-up, the only way one can breathe is correctly.
The next step is to sing.
One of the greatest life changing experiences of all is when a child becomes involved in performing arts.
Performing arts from orchestras to theatre to dance can give a child many things that nothing else can do. One of the greatest gifts is for a child to find that they are worthwhile and valuable within a performing arts scenario. Many children can come into a theatre or dance experience feeling extremely shy and sometimes worthless. With the right kind of leadership, a child can learn that they not only have value but, most important, they are NEEDED.
Children can go from a shy awkward place to dynamic leadership in a very short amount of time. The theatre experience can be especially rewarding because the results are usually quicker than dance or music. Theatre is something that one can learn in a fairly short amount of time, while still growing and developing in acting. Music and dance, although extremely valuable, take a bit longer to have skill enough to allow the child to actually be useful.
In theatre, extremely shy children can become full of self-confidence, fairly quickly, and hone in on their abilities to lead or be responsible in various aspects of theatre. Children are also extremely flexible emotionally and once they trust, it is easy to have them mentor other children who were once as frightened and shy as they were when they started.
Children can also accept responsibility and can soon be leading in several areas. Kids make great assistant directors, dance captains, or even technical leaders or over props or costumes. Children can learn that everything is theatre pretty quickly, which helps them to present themselves, as well as others, in a good light.
Over all, there is nothing like the performing arts, and especially theatre, to help kids find out where their abilities lie and exactly who and what they are, personally.
Sometimes, in the creation of performing arts, especially music, one gets bogged down with notes and perhaps words on a paper. Musicians may be reading notes; conductors may be studying the sheet music as they direct the orchestra. The written music is a guide but one must realize that this music notation on paper is not music.
It is the map, not the destination.
Sometimes people will feel they are not real musicians because they do not read music; they only play by ear. What they have failed to realize is that what they are doing is real music; it is a destination, as compared to the map of notes that they cannot read.
This principle also applies to a script or choreography that is written and read or used to teach. These elements are important but they are no more the destination than the airplane, which flies you to France, is the destination. As interesting as the plane may be, it is not Paris.
This does not mean that these elements are not important; they are absolutely important. And most of us understand that in order to get somewhere easily, efficiently, and on time, a great map is absolutely necessary.
We will be forever grateful to Felix Mendelssohn for discovering JS Bach’s manuscripts hidden away in church archives. These maps had lain there, hidden, for years. Yet looking at Bach’s masterpieces is not the same as hearing or playing them. These maps have allowed the world to become acquainted with one of the greatest composers to ever grace the earth and finding the map that helped us know Bach is an incredible gift.
However, the problem is when we begin to confuse the map, itself, with the final destination. The map can never be the real thing. But the music can change our lives.
As a performing arts person, you don’t have time to go do all of your performing arts gigs and find a great rental property. Or maybe, you are leasing rental units, but it is getting in the way of your performing arts gigs. If you’ve been trying to keep up with your rental properties, you may find that it has become a full-time job. When you contract with a property management company, they can remove that burden from your shoulders by taking care of daily responsibilities for you. No longer will you need to worry about having every vacation interrupted or getting midnight calls about problems that your tenants are experiencing.
For an affordable fee, you can allow the experts to take over and you can enjoy your personal time. They have a team of experts that can perform routine tasks at a lower cost than most property owners. If there is a major problem, property managers know all the best service companies to call and will have contacts that can take care of things during off-hours.
A property management company can also take care of old tenant move-outs. From walk-throughs to cleaning services, they’ll not only make sure that your rental property is in perfect shape for new tenants, they’ll also advertise your vacancy. A property manager will know how to list your property to highlight the location for the best rates. They might mention that the property is near a performing arts center if the area is frequented by dance students. To attract other types of renters, they could mention that the property is close to a library or a park.
Many people who attempt to manage their own investment properties rarely run credit checks. A property manager will perform due diligence on each prospective renter to reduce the chances of future payment problems. If rental payments aren’t made, they’ll know exactly what to do to make sure the situation is handled in a legal manner. There will be no need for you to deal with the stressful and sensitive situation of a renter who can’t pay their bills when you find an expert property management company.