Monday, April 23, 2007

Exploring My Voice ...

It is a very good thing that I do not subscribe to too many podcasts. As it is, I have a backlog of 'em in iTunes. But I can listen at my leisure. Which is usually while I'm walking. Not that my walking is leisurely.

Lately, I've been catching up on The Explore Your Voice Show. Now, I don't know how many of you are interested in exploring your voice, but given the name of my blog, I'm damn interested in exploring mine. Finding and exploring. You'd think one would have to follow the other, but nope, apparently you can do both simultaneously.

Michael Oliphant, Kate Slaney, and Roger McLachlan are the hosts, three lovely Aussie folks who share their collective wisdom about voicey topics such as How To Choose Songs and How To Use A Microphone and How To Write A Set.

"How to use a microphone?", you're thinking? Yep. As with other things that measure just over six inches long, technique is terribly important to a successful performance.

The podcast complements Explore Your Voice," a unique singing method designed to help you discover your singing voice as quickly as possible. There are no scales or boring exercises, just great grooves to get you exploring and developing your voice," quoting from the site.

In between laying down my latest tune and getting to a place where I like listening to it, I wrote to Michael, Kate, and Roger, all together, and asked, "I'm a perfectionist, sure, but I'm wondering if all singers (and/or those just starting out with recording) go through this, like actors who don't like to watch themselves onscreen?"

And then, because I am old and addle-brained, I forgot that I wrote.

So imagine my delight this morning to find a reply from Kate waiting in my in-box. In the middle of her missive, addressing the main point of mine, she wrote, "Are singers perfectionists? The good ones are! That being said you should reach a point where what you hear is exciting and fresh every time in your ears. Something you want to live with permanently. As a writer you would know how many drafts come before the decision to print."

Clever girl, that Kate. Nothing like putting things in terms a writer would understand.

Of course, as a writer, a perfectionist writer, it's very hard to ever deem anything "done." I think most of my writer pals would agree that if it weren't for deadlines, we'd tinker endlessly.

As I replied to her today, "I've continued to listen to the track and it's certainly grown on me. I think hearing myself recorded on good equipment - hearing how I really sound - is just so new to me that it's somewhat startling. ... I think the true test of my comfort came the other day when I realized that I'd let a professional musician pal hear it. He's in Australia, too. Clearly, Australia is the epicenter of cool music people."

Which isn't to suggest that Michael and Kate and Roger aren't professional musicians. Of course they are. But I don't know them. Ah, geez. Lemme shoot her a note to make sure I didn't offend them. Hold on ...

OK, thanks. Anyway, I haven't yet put down my ducats to buy the singing lessons on CD, but they're also available through iTunes if you'd like to try one or two on for size.

If you've ever wanted to explore your voice, check out Explore Your Voice. I haven't taken any of the lessons yet, so I can't vouch for those, but the podcasts are great. As is the theme music. As are their accents.

Of course, to them, we're the ones who sound different.

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