Jaime Babbitt reveals the 5 principles of performance etiquette
My mother always said, “You’ll get more flies with honey than with vinegar”.
I don’t know why anyone would want more flies, but I see where she was coming from.
To make it easy, remember the FIVE P’s when you’re working in a studio OR live situation:
That means be 15 minutes early. Every time. Don’t ever make anyone wait for you. Leave 30 minutes earlier than you think you should (Los Angeles people: leave 90 minutes earlier than you think you should, especially during rush hour. You can always sit at a coffee shop near the studio. Been there, drank it…).
Did your monitor engineer make the band sound fabulous in your wedge or in-ears? Did the composer record a click for your hard-to-count-in entrance? Did your drummer bring you a bottle of water? SAY THANK YOU! ALL THE TIME! FOR EVERYTHING! It’s so nice to feel appreciated, isn’t it? So…do unto others, right?
When you enter your gig/session: STEP AWAY FROM YOUR CELLPHONE. You are now at work and your full attention is to be given to those with whom you are making music. I don’t care if everyone else’s phone is glued to their hand. It’s time to make the donuts and you need your full attention Right. Here. Right. Now. Pay attention to producers/engineers/soundpeople/bandmates like your life depends on it; hey, your musical life does.
Sometimes things go wrong (gee, what a shock). Files get corrupted, equipment malfunctions and singers have meltdowns because they forgot to eat all day. Do your best to count to 10 and BREATHE. Fix what’s in your control (EAT!) and let go of what isn’t. “This too shall pass” is a great saying. Tattoo it somewhere (just kidding!)
Remember that even if you’ve got your share of problems, it’s always a great day when you get to spend it making music. The “glass-is-half-full” philosophy goes a long way in our business. Notice how great you feel when you nail a song at rehearsal or see big smiles in the crowd. For those few moments, problems disappear, don’t they? So please keep in mind:
NEVER, EVER, EVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF MUSIC TO CHANGE PEOPLES’ LIVES…yes, even your own.
My Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vids
Jennifer Dewan – “I Won’t Give Up” (Cover)
Yeah, girl—great emotional connection here! Your singing voice pours out like honey; I LOVE how it’s so connected to your speaking voice. That’s how it should be; yay for finding YOUR voice. FYI: Don’t “give up” on the ends of your lines; sometimes you let your support drop out too soon. Remember: you’re not done singing until the very last syllable of each line! And please do challenge yourself with more complicated melodies; this one’s a piece of cake for you. Hey, we all need to sing an easy one every now and then, right?
Jacob Sargent – “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab Cutie (Cover)
Awesome, Jacob; I feel you making this one your own—hard to do with well-known songs, so…kudos! Your voice is verrrry soulful and righteous; please tell me you’re writing songs! For this one, I’d work voice and guitar separately; I’d like to hear you “swing” the vocals a bit more; they seem a bit too on the downbeats, too tethered to your guitar rhythm, y’know? I’d also solidify your finger-picking so you’re not looking at your hands as much (yeah, I do it all the time–I know!). And LOVE your gorgeous guitar…
Melissa Parker – “Sleeping at Last” (Cover)
Beautiful song choice, Melissa… well done! It’s perfect for your clear soprano sound! I might work on your dynamic/emotional range a bit more (practice going from whispery to louder) to build the song a bit more. Also, I’d like you to work on getting your guitar playing a little more fluid; I always recommend practicing vocals and guitar separately, then bringing them together. And make sure to memorize the chords and words – you seemed to be reaching/scrolling to do something in the video(?)
Jaime Babbitt is an-in demand voice teacher/vocal coach, session singer and performer who started as a Musical Director for Disney Records. Believing that no two singers are alike, Jaime assesses each client, providing personalized vocal tips and techniques relevant to their specific material for real-world application. Check out her book, Working with Your Voice.