Whether or not you are a singer or a cab driver, it’s time to take care of those little membranes – says Donna McElroy
Ok! I wanna talk about the elephant in the corner. I hear it whip its ugly trunk all too often.
I have students who come to me without having slept, admitting that they have no voice ‘cause they’ve been up in the studio all night.
I ask, “Why did you come to me?!” Somehow the desire not to anger their voice instructor causes their brain functions to lapse, and the need to please trumps the common sense of rebuilding the energy that is required to sing healthily and survive a day as a vocalist!
Or even, for that matter, as a cab driver!! Everybody needs rest!
Think of the voice as a set of soft sensitive membranes which, while needing lots of lubrication, also need relaxation and rest!
If you are near a drum snare head and make movement or noise, the “head” of the snare drum, or the membrane that stretches across the frame, vibrates involuntarily.
Thus, the cords, or membranes of the vocal apparatus vibrate involuntarily whenever there is sound.
Sometimes just getting some silence in is better than the most calming guitar solo or the most absolutely gorgeous Bruno Mars cut! No offense, Bruno!
I just think my student needs to hear some silence for a while to rest that weary voice and give me a fraction of a chance to help him learn the best skills to use for vocal longevity.
So I tell my student, “Invest in your vocal recovery!
Spend an hour reading the lyrics to all your songs and organizing them in order of, say, the most to the least difficult to memorize.
Or read up on the careers of some pioneers in the style of music you do; see how they got started.”
Sometimes it’s best to get some rest!
My Reactions to This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Darcy Bambi – “E.T.” (Cover)
Darcy- good concept on your video! I think you could sing anything you want to! Since Katy Perry’s music is your choice for this video, I would like to hear you sing this song in a lower key, maybe just 1/2 step lower, to give more body to your vocal sound! Try playing around with the key a bit to find the best one for your personal sound!
JM Castro – “Roar” by Katy Perry (Cover)
Hey JM!!! I love this Katy Perry tune! I would love to see and hear the difference in your performance if you were standing and singing to the camera, your audience! Your voice is warm and inviting… now keep working on connecting with the folks you’re singing to! To make this happen, mic position and headphone placement could be adjusted. Better posture equals more efficient breathing and more power in the choruses where breath control is key!
Prince Aikins – “Deez Rappers”
Prince Aikins – RimzArtist! Your message sounds really fresh… the production is sweet; only needs a Martha Wash- or Keith Sweat-sounding vocalist singing a hook in the choruses to make me pay more attention to your hook! Keep rhyming’, Young Blood!
Donna McElroy is a Grammy nominated vocalist, celebrated arranger and well-loved Voice Professor at Berklee College of Music. Her contributions include arranger/background vocalist on gold and platinum releases “Why Haven’t I Heard From You?” by Reba McEntire; “We Shall Be Free” by Garth Brooks, “Addictive Love” by BeBe and CeCe Winans, and “House of Love” by Amy Grant. She’s been the recipient of a Grammy nomination for Bigger World (WB) and a Dove Award for Songs from the Loft (Reunion). Television appearances include Arsenio Hall, The Tonight Show, and The Grammy Awards.