Pages

Friday, December 31, 2010

Why your success as a singer is SHORT term only?

Believe it or not if you are a singer, 90% chance your success is short term only. Short term means that your singing career will only last one year, 2 years or at most 5 years.

This article is for the singers who are not still sure of their direction in life and needs a career guidance. Now that the year 2011 has arrived, there are a lot of changes in technology, new job offers and opportunities that implies singing may not be the best profitable career that anyone can choose for life.

This is why 95% of released albums will fail, or 90% of singers will not last for a lifetime. Singers will get tempted to change to a more profitable career. Most of these singers might decide someday to become bank managers, engineers or even nurses.

Sadly, only very few will last as a singer for their entire life. I examined deeply the major reasons why singing career is mostly a short term success, it is because:

1.) Singing career is too competitive and least rewarding. Even in Philippines, audition as a singer in music clubs is very competitive (with more than 50 will normally audition all in all) for a performance payment of only 500 pesos per night and at most 2 performances per week. It can hardly finance even a small family and is not a permanent type of job.

You will even get lucky to get paid at first. It is not an easy job, singing in front of people which most normally won't listen to you because they are doing something else. It is different from playing a live concert where you are the center of attention.

In other countries like the US, I believe this is a similar case. Singing in clubs and bars for the entire life needs a strong effort to stay competitive behind most other singers. For example, you need to know how to perform different types of songs and with lots of songs for long hours.

You need to satisfy your audience, their request which can vary depending on their background( new songs for younger audience and old songs for older audience). In this case, it requires you to know the latest songs as well as the old songs.

2.) A singer is nothing without original hit songs in his/her name– it is why you can be easily forgotten if you kept covering songs. There is nothing original in you. You are just another “quality imitation”.

To succeed as a singer, you must have original songs in your catalog. Think of Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion. The moment you heard their name, you can always associate them with the popular songs they performed.

It is very hard to beat the original except if you do a “drastically” and “extraordinary” performance that does not imitate the original. For example, the song “Love hurts” by Everly Brothers is not known as the “Love Hurts” covered by Nazareth. If you compare the differences in performance, the band Nazareth does put 500% effort in making the song to sound like a new one and it pays off.

3.) A singer is nothing if he/she is not a musician – singing and music are like marital couples. They go together as one. It is why a large percentage of successful singers throughout their lifetime are also accomplished musician; writing and composing their own songs.

If you just trust in your voice quality and no musicianship, you will not last.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to improve singing voice quality- Measurement and Improvement tips

Singing voice quality is one of the biggest factor for singing/vocal success. Yet only a few of singers do know exactly what it means by having “voice quality”.

First let us define what is “singing voice quality”? From a common listener point of view, it means to them having a pleasant, compelling voice and can belt ultra- high notes beyond human imagination. Really? For example, common listeners associate a certain voice quality to an established singer; such as comparing your quality to Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, etc. It also means that if you cannot sing LIKE them, you SUCK.

But is this really the meaning of “singing voice quality”? The anwer is NO. It is because, the following are the characteristics of having a quality singing voice (you cannot argue here, this is what so called as “technical skill” in singing):

1.) Can sing almost perfectly in-tune with a background music or in acapella.

Explanation: Singing is a gift or talent to radiate sound waves from your mouth that is in-tune with a background music. It is also an ability to perfectly radiate musical notes from your mouth and hitting the right notes such as in the case of an acapella.

This can be measured simply by having you:

a.) To sing a certain minus one at the original key – of course this is easy, this is what you are practicing daily.

b.) To sing again the minus one version of that song with a unexpected change of key (example – increase the key of the song 3 steps higher). If you can still sing perfectly in tune; chances you have good singing quality. Quality singers adopt the key right away and can sing in-tune no matter what is the key signature of the music.

c.) In case of acapella, you can sing at a certain pitch according to the vocal piece of that music.


What does this imply?. If you are recording artist or a singer that cannot live without Antares Auto-tune, you are really a bad singer. Or if you are a singer that are afraid to render vocal live performances and will just settle on a lip sync. Conclusion: Only hype or non-sense controversy can make you a popular artist.

What are the improvement tips in this case: Well, try to sing at a perfect pitch. Trying hard to practice “in-tune” with the music is 100 % recommended and more effective than a daily belting practice to be like Whitney Houston. Being to sing high notes does not equate quality, the important is to hit perfect notes!

2.) Trademark Voice! – this is the voice that you are to be known for what you really are, well how good is it depends how on many persons you have already impressed with your own voice. You do not need to sound like Mr/Miss Extremely-Famous-Celebrity-Singer because you have your own brand -your own voice, given by GOD.

Trademark voice is what makes Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Elvis Presley become legendary singers without any marketing, publicity or recording label hype.

To measure how good your trademark voice, monitor your performance; say you made 50 shows and in these shows; 45 of them praise your unique voice. Well, that's a good indication that you have great unique voice.

To improve; just like any tradermark – you need to protect it; by developing more unique singing styles and performances. Do not copy styles of other singers, you will not be known for what you really are but for that certain singer you are copying.

3.) Repeat successful performance in a continual basis – if you are a singer, you should sing regularly just like a doctor working daily in a hospital.

Measure your performance success by having a lot of shows. If you made 20 shows and 18 of these shows always reveal your common mistakes. You need to practice some more. Only by “constant correct practice you can attain perfection”.

Do not afraid to commit a mistake because:

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention,
sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents
the wise choice of many alternatives.” -William Foster

You can never improve as a singer if you do not know what are your mistakes. By knowing your mistake; quality singing voice and performance is NOT an accident but it is a product of hard work, constant correct practice and determination. Sure it is NOT an overnight success, or even your own “physical looks” or the recording label million dollar budget cannot help to improve the quality of your singing. You might be popular but your singing still sucks, big time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What are Simple Time Signatures and How to Beat

Time signatures are repeating pattern of strong and weak beats of equal duration. Time signature also known as meter signature and it can be found at the beginning of a composition. Time signature is use for synchronization of the music that is being played most especially when it comes to orchestra. Instrumentalists, Singers and conductors must need to know how to execute or beat. These meters are called simple meters.


Use your right or left hand and follow the drawing. As you can see the first beat is downbeat must is always strong. Second beat is to bounce your hand a little through between the second and third downbeat. Third is go back from the first position. The three eight and three fourth are the same beating position, only the value of each notes are different.
_________________________________________________


First beat is always downbeat and is strong. The two two and two fourth are having the same beating position. Only the value of notes are different.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Please take a look at the drawing. And you can see the direction of your hand. Always remember the first beat is downbeat and is strong, the second is bounce back from the downbeat until middle and the direction of your hand must be inside, then the third beat is outside, finally the fourth is back to from the start.

Thank you very much for your time! God speed everyone!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What are the Basic Musical Signs and Musical Terminologies

Musical signs and terminologies can be found in music sheets, solfege, music lesson books and etc. Signs and terminologies are applicable when you based to play in music sheets or singing the piece. These signs and terminologies are very helpful in terms of dynamics in playing and singing. If you can apply correctly and properly the signs being used in the music sheets, you really can create wonderful and golden sounds.


a capella-without instrumental in accompaniment
accelerando-accelerating gradually increasing the tempo
adagieto-rather slow
adagio-slow
adagissimo-very slow
ad libitum-liberty
a due-two voices singing in unison
allegretto-little lively
Allegro-cheerful or brisk
amabile-pleasant
andante-walking pace
andantino-slightly walking pace
animato-bright
arco-bow
arietta-a short song
arpeggio-harp
markato-marked
brio-lot of energy
fermata-paused
con-with
brioso-vigour
cantabile-kanta
capo-head back
coda-a closing section
con anima-with feeling
con moto-with motion
double stop-playing two notes simultaneously
moll-minor
encore-again
falsetto-pure head register
forza-musical force
funebre-funeral
langsam-slowly
lunga-long
ma-but
ma non troppo- but not too much
maestoso- majestically
measure- complete cycle
medly-piece composed from parts of existing piece playing one after another
molto- very
mezzo-half
motto-motion
pausa-pause
presto-very quickly
prima volta-first time
pizzicato-flucking
rapido-fast
simplece-simple
sempre-always
sordina-mute


Music is an art!

What are Beethoven 9 Symphonies


Ludwig van Beethoven was a legendary musician and one of the most famous/influential composer in the whole world and he composed Western Classical Music in his time. Beethoven was totally deaf that time when he composed his symphonies but he never been surrendered his passion. Instead of losing his hopes he diverted it through his unforgettable, unbelievable and legendary compositions. You can not imagine how gifted he was. So, if you have deep passion in music like Beethoven, you can listen to his Symphonies via www.youtube.com either search the song title of the movement in search engine. In addition to his very popular compositions like “Moonlight Sonata” and “Fur Elise” these songs can transform you to a better musician.

1 In C, Op. 21 - 1. Adagio Molto - Allegro Con Brio
1 In C, Op. 21 - 2. Andante Cantabile Con Moto
1 In C, Op. 21 - 3. Menuetto Allegro Molto E Vivace
1 In C, Op. 21 - 4. Finale Adagio - Allegro Molto E Vivace

2 In D Major, Op. 36 I. Adagio Molto; Allegro Con Brio
2 In D Major, Op. 36 II. Larghetto
2 In D Major, Op. 36 III. Scherzo Allegro
2 In D Major, Op. 36 IV Allegro Molto

3 In E Flat, Op. 55, Eroica - 1. Allegro Con Brio
3 In E Flat, Op. 55, Eroica 2. Marcia Funebre Adagio Assai
3 In E Flat, Op. 55, Eroica - 3. Scherzo Allegro Vivace
3 In E Flat, Op. 55, Eroica - 4. Finale Allegro Molto

4 In B Flat, Op. 60 - 1. Adagio - Allegro Vivace
4 In B Flat, Op. 60 - 2. Adagio
4 In B Flat, Op. 60 - 3. Allegro Vivace
4 In B Flat, Op. 60 - 4. Allegro Ma Non Troppo

5 In C Minor, Op. 67 - 1. Allegro Con Brio
5 In C Minor, Op. 67 - 2. Andante Con Moto
5 In C Minor, Op. 67 - 3. Scherzo Allegro
5 In C Minor, Op. 67 - 4. Allegro

6 In F, Op. 68, Pastoral - 1. Allegro Ma Non Troppo
6 In F, Op. 68, Pastoral - 2. Andante Molto Mosso
6 In F, Op. 68, Pastoral - 3. Allegro
6 In F, Op. 68, Pastoral - 4. Allegro
6 In F, Op. 68, Pastoral - 5. Allegretto

7 In A Major, Op. 92 I. Poco Sostenuto – Vivace
7 In A Major, Op. 92 II. Allegretto
7 In A Major, Op. 92 III. Presto - Presto Meno Assai
7 In A Major, Op. 92 IV. Allegro Con Brio

8 In F, Op. 93 - 1. Allegro Vivace E Con Brio
8 In F, Op. 93 - 2. Allegretto Scherzando
8 In F, Op. 93 - 3. Tempo Di Menuetto
8 In F, Op. 93 - 4. Allegro Vivace

9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral 1. Allegro Ma Non Troppo, Un Poco Maestoso
9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral 2. Molto Vivace
9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral 3. Adagio Molto E Cantabile
9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral 4. Presto

Moonlight Sonata 1st movement- Click here to listen
Fur Elise-Click here to listen

Thank you very much! God Speed Everyone!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What are kinds of Basic Musical Symbols and Abbreviations

If you are planning to study in college and taking up major in music course, you need to master the very basic musical signs because it is very important for the rest of your life. Remember you can not go through Grade-2 without passing the Grade-1 or you can’t read if you don’t know the ABC’s. In music is always symbol. Trust yourself if you master the basic concept, it is very easy for you to go to the next level in music.

NOTE SYMBOL

REST SYMBOL


STAFF


BAR

G-CLEF


BASS-CLEF

GRAND STAFF


I hope you had a wonderful day! Thank you...

Monday, October 18, 2010

What are Major and Minor Intervals and the Equivalent Measurement of each Intervals

These are parts of basic music concepts. You will have to learn the major and minor intervals and each measure from do-re and so on because it is very important in your listening skills to get the right note. Like if you are not in perfect pitch, as long as you can memorize or identify the measures of each interval you will make it easy to know the exact note. To practice this, you'll have to play the note in your piano like for instance, do-me what kind of intervals and how many measures is from do-me? These pictures below are major and minor intervals and the equivalent measurements.

To clarify the intervals and the measurements: M2- 1, M3- 2, P4- 2.5, P5- 3.5, M6- 4.5, M7- 5.5, P8- 6

Minor intervals and the equivalent measurements m2- .5, m3- 1.5, P4- 2.5, P5- 3.5, m6- 4, m7- 5, P8- 6

************************************************************
Let's try to answer the in first given note re, find the M3;

First step: count 1-2-3 it means major 3 from note re-me-fa
Second step: then fa is your M3.Are you sure?
Third step: To confirm if fa is exactly M3, you have to use the equivalent measurement of the M3- 2
Fourth step: Re-fa is not M3 because it only measures 1.5 but you need to have 2 measures to get the M3.
Fifth step: In order to get the M3 you have to put sharp to fa to make it fa# so that it can be M3 the answer is Re-Fa#.
Six step: To get the 2measure of M3, you can use the chromatic scale which is called semitone or halftone like this do-do#-re-re#-mi-fa-fa#-sol-sol#-la-la#-ci-do.
Seven step: To use the chromatic scales for the measurement of intervals start to counts re# not the given re. try to add the re#semitone to fa#semitone it will give a result to M3-2 wholetone.

I hope you can understand this basic music concepts. But remember before you go through the advance, you must learn first the basic. Good luck to everyone.!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Downstroke guitar strumming exercise for basic chords

It is highly recommended that you will read my post on the best way to get started on playing guitar easily before reading this part.

If you already understand and read the first part, then this tutorial will present the most recommended beginner guitar lesson plan which I learned based on experience. This will be very simple, no technicalities, no videos and no other things you need to buy. All you need is only your guitar and your time to practice.

Realistically, I will devise a 6th month training plan for you:

1st month training: Play these chords successively after four downstrokes of strumming: A- C- D- E- G – Am – Dm- Em

How you will do it?

1.) Find the chord chart of the following chords above. You can look at it here: http://www.chordie.com/chords.php , and if you still do not know how to read chord charts refer to this page: http://www.guitarchordsmagic.com/guitar-chord-charts/how-to-read-guitar-chord-charts.html

2.) First, form chord A major, then strum down stroke four times, after stroking four times, switch to chord C major, down stroke four times again, so on and so forth (same strumming pattern but different chords). Do it very slowly at first because you still need to form the chords. It should be like here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYUJ2QGTAXI ;just ignore the chords used in the video as well as the tempo because they are not basic, but the 4 times down stroke strumming is correct which you should follow. Also ignore the fast down stroke tempo, because it is required you will play very slowly at first.

Objective: You should be able to change the above chords with your hand quickly at a speed of 80 beats per minute. Use metronome for this here: http://www.metronomeonline.com/ , set it to 80. Every tick , represents one down stroke of strumming. So make sure it is continuous like this:

Tick1 – Chord A 1st downstroke strumming
Tick2 – Chord A 2nd downstroke strumming
Tick3 – Chord A 3rd downstroke strumming
Tick4 – Chord A 4th downstroke strumming
Tick5 – Chord C 1st downstroke strumming
...so on and so forth..

The most important skill to develop is to switch from tick 4 to tick 5 (from A to C) without delay. This is a good training for your hands when it comes to timing and changing basic chords.

It is expected that after one month of training, you should be able to complete 80 beats per minute of consistent down stroke strumming for these following basic chords in sequence: A-C-D-E-G-Am-Dm-Em

If this exercise looks very easy for you (assuming you are a gifted guitarist and a fast learner), you can challenge yourself by increasing the beats tempo from 80 to 100 or 120 beats per minute.

In the next tutorial, I will talk about incorporating upstrokes in your basic guitar playing exercises.

Best way to learn to play guitar easily - Beginner training plan

If you are dreaming of becoming a singer/songwriter, one of the most important skills you should have is to learn how to play a guitar while singing.

It is not really hard to do but it takes time, patience and a lot of practice to perfect these skills. So what are things needed to get started?

1.) First, you need a guitar. If you are not sure how to select and buy your first guitar, you can check out this guide on how to buy your first singer/songwriter acoustic guitar.

2.) You need to plan in advance how much time you like to actually commit in practising guitars while singing. This is very important, a lot of people wanting to become singer/songwriter fail to plan and in the end they fail how to play guitar while singing.

I assume you have a day job, whether as a student enrolled in high school, college or having a regular job. Time is precious, so if you have other important commitments; chances you will not be able to commit in playing guitar at a regular basis.

After buying your guitar, there are very important things you should know:

1.) Playing guitar continuously can hurt your fingers and hands. So it is good to play at an interval and limit your training time not more than 3 hours per day.
2.) Playing guitar with hurted fingers and hands will not be effective in your training. So you need to give some time until the pain will be gone.

The training plan: You need to fill up the data below as realistically as possible. This is important in knowing how much time you can devote to playing guitars alone. Different persons may have different priorities, so set your own time. The only thing that will not be change is the 24 hour data in one day, which is constant.

Number of hours in a day: 24
Number of hours needed to sleep (realistic average): 8
Number of hours in school/work: 12
Number of hours rest, socializing, studying, etc outside work or in school: 2

Total number of hours you can commit to play guitar: 24-8-12-2 = 2 hours

You need to commit 2 hours playing guitars on a daily basis. There will be no excuse for skipping practice as it is already managed.

3.) OK, the most important part is how to get started and what are lessons that you need to learn. Click this link for the next tutorial: How to practice down stroke guitar strumming easily

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Music Career Tips Learned from Ludwig Van Beethoven's Life

One of the greatest musician who ever lived in this planet is Ludwig Van Beethoven. He is also my most favourite composer. His works are considered as the one of the finest in classical music, his masterpiece like Symphony #9, Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise, just to name a few, still shines in the modern world of music and even in film (countless of Beethoven works are used in movies).

This is to say, he is not only a great musician by skill and works but as “success” is concerned, no other musician reach this level of success except Beethoven.

If you have read and understand Beethoven life, it is not as smooth as it seems to be. Your life now may be more enjoyable, alive, beautiful, loving, fulfilling and peaceful than Beethoven's life.

I purposely dedicated this short article to all those independent and committed musicians who are experiencing difficulties in their life in either both personal and financial aspect.

The following are one of Beethoven's greatest life challenges (which he faced bravely yet still succeed in becoming one of the greatest musicians who ever lived):

1.) He started composing at age of 15 to 20's. But his sense of hearing starts to degrade at his early twenties.
2.) He is completely deaf by the age of 40.
3.) Beethoven has no lifelong compassionate partner to share with his music. No documentation exists that Beethoven is a married guy.
4.) Beethoven life is mostly solitary.
5.) Beethoven takes care of his brothers after their parents died.
6.) At age 17 or 18, he is now responsible of his two other brothers after her mother died and his father succumb to alcoholism.
7.) His father beat him when he was a child and even forced him to play piano.
8.) When he is completely deaf, he cannot hear piano notes, instead tap his legs to the piano to feel the vibrations in order to get a feel of the low notes.
9.) Beethoven became broke when he spend his entire savings to cure his brothers illness.
10.) Beethoven failed to secure a concert which otherwise would have earned him a lot of money.
11.) Girls he like turned him down and does not accept him as a lover because he is just a commoner.
12.) Beethoven planned to end his career by a suicide because of his inability to hear.

However, he survived:

1.) Beethoven greatest work is Symphony #9 which was written when he was completely deaf. He just play all the notes in his head.
2.) He does not commit suicide because he thinks he love music more than his illness so he move on to write his greatest works.
3.) He express of all his sadness and happiness in his music, that makes his music expressive.
4.) He love what he was forced to do, this is acceptance. When he was child, he was forced to play piano by his father, yet Beethoven never abandoned piano and even became a great pianist.
5.) He observed techniques from great composers like Mozart. Mozart is extremely popular in his time. But Beethoven never stops innovating and he ends up getting more attention than other composers in his time after a hundred of years later.
6.) Beethoven wrote only 9 symphonies. Mozart and Bach wrote more than a hundred. It is because Beethoven is a perfectionist and rewrite his piece a lot of times until it sounds “perfect”. This also made a difference a hundred of years later. His symphonies are also considered to be the finest.

Most important lesson: Do not let life problems, situations, weaknesses or even people opinion influences you to stop creating and innovating great music.

My most favorite Beethoven piece:
a.) Beethoven Symphony #9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral 3. Adagio Molto E Cantabile
b.) Beethoven Symphony #9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral 4. Presto
c.) Beethoven Symphony #9 in D Minor, Op.125, Choral 2. Molto Vivace
d.) Moonlight Sonata 1st and 3rd movement.
e.) Fur Elise
f.) Symphony Number 4 and 5.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Best Microphone for Home studio, Professional and Personal Practice

If you are singer-songwriter, it is a strong requirement you should have your own microphone. You will be using this microphone for home studio recording (if you are fond of recording your songs in a computer with your guitar tracks and vocals), professional performance and personal practice.

It is important to take note that since you own this microphone, you should protect it from any damage. This means it is ok to be greedy to your friends, brothers and sisters if you are having this “personal” and high quality microphone. The primary reason is that these type of electronic equipments are very fragile and will be easily damage due to mishandling or misuse. A single drop of the microphone to the floor can render it useless. So make sure that once you have this microphone, take care of it and use it for your own self.

But what is the best microphone for you? There are different types of microphones with varying prices (from extremely cheap to extremely expensive) to varying applications (very specific to general).

If you are a singer-songwriter, the best type of microphone will fit the following requirements:

1.) A Dynamic microphone – a detailed explanation can be found in this article: http://www.audiorecording.me/best-microphone-for-vocal-recording-tips-and-guides.html (Best Microphone for Vocal Recording)

This is the most common type microphone. And does not need any external power. Once you plug it to your sound system, you can immediately sing.

2.) Great frequency response – this is why you should buy a more expensive type of micrphones, they are capable of replicating your voice as accurate as possible without introducing any artifacts or audio biases.

3.) Includes the microphone pack – to save some money and more convenient for you, it is much better you will buy a complete micrphone package. This package should include at least:

a. The microphone

b. A Windscreen
- helps to make your vocal as clear as possible.
c. Microphone Stand – very important if your recording and performing

d. Lo-z Cable – these depends on the length , but this cable should be long enough in order to carry your microphone to some performing stage where the amplifiers location could be far.

Final Recommendation: Based on my experience, the best dynamic microphone that fits the above criteria is Shure SM58 Classic Mic Pack:

Photo:



Another type of great Shure microphone is Shure C606N Vocal Mic with 1/4 Connector, which is 5 times as cheaper as SM 58. This is a perfect entry level microphone for professional and personal use. Although, SM 58 is more an industry standard and has much better quality though its more expensive than C606N. It all now depends on your budget.

Photo:

Buying your first singer-songwriter guitar: Recommendation , tips and guide

One of the most important requirement of becoming a singer-songwriter is the ability to play and sing with the guitar. If you are still young, and you have not a guitar for your own self. This is a short guide that will help you select the best guitar for your singer-songwriter career.

First: It is recommended that you will buy a full size guitar. Although if you are still very young (below 15 years old for example), your parents, teachers and friends might recommend you buying a junior size guitar which is smaller than a full size guitar.

Although this might seem practical in terms of cost and convenience (they are cheaper than full size guitar and smaller to fit your small hands) it is not good if you will be using gutiar for a long term.

It is because, it you are practicing junior sized guitars what will happen is that you hands will get used to smaller frets and sizes. Once you get older and will be using a full sized guitar, you hands needs to re-adjust with the full size guitar which makes it very inconvenient for you to play while you sing.

It again takes time for your hands to get acquainted with full size guitar. So the best recommendation for beginners like you is to buy a full size guitar. This will make your small hands adjust right away to the full size fret boards which makes it very easy for you to adapt once you get older.

Second: Buy steel strings not nylon strings. Nylon strings often called classical guitar is not appropriate for a modern singer-songwriter it is because the sound is designed for classical and folk work.

If you noticed modern singer-songwriters, they are using steel based string guitars such as John Mayer, David Cook, etc. Steel strings sounds more trendy so make sure you are going to buy a a steel string based guitar.

For those nylon-classical based guitar fans , you might asked this question: “When will I buy a nylon based guitar?”. The best answer is that if you are planning to pursue a career as a classical guitarist instead of becoming a singer-songwriter. If not, then it is best to buy a steel string based acoustic guitars.

Third: Buy only acoustic guitars. You might be tempted to buy an electric guitar, but this is appropriate again for singer-songwriter work. Electric guitar works best if you are a guitarist of a certain band (e.g a lead guitarist or a rock guitar soloist). Make sure the one you buy are acoustic guitars which does not need any amplifers or sophisticated electronics in order to make it sound.

Fourth: Budget, since you are not yet reached the status of a legendary singer-songwriter like Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, etc. You need to limit your budget in buying acoustic guitar. Of course, you buy a more expensive one, once your career flourished.

You can buy a great acoustic full sized and steel string based acoustic gutiar at Amazon. The most recommended and the best acoustic guitar would be Jasmine Takamine S35 Acoustic Guitar, Natural

Photo of this guitar:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to find Session Singing Jobs Easily: A Step by Step guide

Vocalist or singers can sometimes be categorized into two types:

a. Amateur or hobby stage
b. Professional stage

“Amateur or hobby stage” is those types of singers that sing for fun or plain hobby. They typically sing when just invited in friends parties, weddings or in some karaoke event. They are not paid, and just there for some respect.

Professional singers on the other hand are different. They sing for a living (e.g. sing for food :) ) This step by step guide illustrates the critical steps in the transition from an amateur or hobby stage into a professional stage of singing career. This will be very challenging to do because if you want to become a professional singer; then each of your clients are expecting you to be fully ready for everything that comes to your way.

You might hear a lot of stories of singers getting famous, but most of their successes are short lived. Even when there are million of dollars promotion behind it (such as major label stars , the one you will see in television and listen to the radio); I bet if the singer is not fully ready, he/she have a short lived career (5 years the most).

There is something that you need to prepare in order to find session singing jobs really easily. So here are the steps:

Step1.) Audit your abilities.

You should find where your expertise lie in a broad niche of singing career. Are you a lead singer? A background singer? Or what specific skills can you offer to your client that you REALLY think you should be one for it? Selection of specific genre is also a requirement, are you are rock, pop or a jazz singer?

It all started with getting an OVERWHELMING public acceptance of your talent. You cannot be a professional singer by just practicing in your bedroom and one day you go out of your house to look for singing jobs right away. It won’t happen.

So what you should do is to go out to the public and expose your singing talent as much as possible (not yet looking for a job). People will know if you are really a good singer. One way is to join public choir, participate in as many singing contests, choose to sing national hymn in events, play in music bars as much as possible, etc, countless ideas of where to perform..

Gig as much as you can, expose your talent. Get public acceptance. If you receive a lot of positive comments, about your singing talent, start answer this question truthfully: “Am I comfortable of making a living as a singer, is this really the life I need? If you answer yes, move on to step 2.)

Step2.) Document your performance

You might need to write all of your magnificent accomplishments in a piece of paper back up with solid photos, audio recordings, people reviews, etc. This documentation can be considered as your resume and is a very powerful marketing tool for success. You can promote all of these in social networking sites like Facebook, YoutTube, get as many “real” fans as possible.

Step3.) Start meeting industry people

At this period of time, your singing career is still in amateur stage. You are not yet paid for a job. So the key is to submit some singing demos to industry professionals looking for a singer. There are countless opportunities in the internet alone. You might need to network as much as many industry professionals, these includes music industry persons like working in the radio, TV, recording industry, etc. Network as much as you can, then someday, you will receive a phone call asking if you are available for a certain project. Update your resume to include your professional career. Once again, you are now a professional singer. Celebrate your first gig with champagne. Congratulations!

Friday, July 16, 2010

How to memorize key signatures easily using mnemonics?

This guide is teaching you on how to memorize key signatures very easily using mnemonics. Mnemonics are memory aid and should help you to memorize items faster and even in a longer period of time.

There are two common key signatures used in music, these are:

a. Sharp major key signatures with their corresponding sharp minor key signatures
b. Flat major key signatures with its equivalent flat minor keys also.

All in all, there are 2 major key signatures (# and b) and 2 equivalent minors.

If you are a songwriter, musician and a singer, then memorizing these sorts of things can be definitely helpful in your music career.

So if you asked me, what are the things that need to be memorized? You need at least to memorize the following:

Check item 1. The complete names of the # (sharp) major key signatures.
Check item 2. The complete names of the b (flat) major key signatures.
Check item 3. The equivalent list of # (sharp) minor key signatures.
Check item 4. The equivalent list of b (flat) minor key signatures.
Check item 5. The notes affected of the # (sharp) key signatures (major and minor)
Check item 6. The notes affected of the b (flat) key signatures (major and minor also).
Check item 7. The triads of the both major # and minor key signatures
Check item 8. The triads of both major b and minor key signatures.

All in all there are 8 check items to be memorized! If you are music major, you should memorize all of these within the first year of college.

Let’s discuss these items one by one, so as not to drown you with too much information in a limited amount of time. I highly recommend self-evaluating yourself using the 8 above checklist above and compare your answers in this blog to see if you made some progress.

If you are ready lets get started:

Check Item 1 &2: The complete names of the # (sharp) major key signatures and b (flat) major key signatures.

This is already been discussed here: http://becomeasinger.blogspot.com/2010/07/music-theory-for-singers-part1-piano.html, kindly look at Step 2 on that post.

Check Item 3 & 4: The complete names of the # (sharp) minor key signatures and b (flat) minor key signatures.

This is also discussed in the music theory for singers. You can read that in Step 3 of that post.

The complete screenshot guide are shown below:



The rest of the check items will be discussed in the future tutorials.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Get the timing right when singing

How many times did you experienced singing without proper timing or having seen one? It will not sound good. It is because you are singing “off the beat” and violates the music rhythm.

So how one can you avoid off beat singing and improves timing during any vocal performance? The following tips below will be surely helpful:

Step1: Get a metronome. Metronome is a musical device that will be very helpful for singers or even musicians (like guitarists, violinist, pianists, etc) to have their performance in timing or synchronization with music.

Step2: If you do not know what is a metronome and you have a personal computer. You can try many online solutions for metronome, they are free such as here: http://www.metronomeonline.com/

Step3: Check the “on” button of the metronome and it will start playing ticks.The default I think starts with 92 beats per minute.

Step4: Now get your music that you would like to sing in timing. Play the music and determine the number of beats per minute of the song: http://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-the-Beats-Per-Minute-%28BPM%29-of-a-Song

Step5: Once you have calculated the number of beats per minute, adjust the metronome to provide that clicking sound tempo.

Step6: Using your multi-player, adjust the music so that it will fit directly with the beats of the song. Example if your music drum hits, you need to synchronize the beats of the drum with the metronome beats.

You also need to pay attention to the vocals to see if it fits with sense with the metronome beat.

Step7: Once you have get the exact metronome tempo after some adjustments. Turn off the music and let the metronome to play only.

Step8: Sing acapella with the metronome ticks in the background.

Step9: If you are singing acapella previously and also be criticized for being an out of timing singer. It is now your time to improve because you will most likely correct those timing difficulty with a metronome.

Hint and more tips:

If you are reading or interpreting a song directly from a music sheet. They already include the beat per minute or any information relating to the song tempo (placed on the top portion fo the music sheet, page 1)

So this means, you can directly adjust the metronome to play the desired tempo without following the procedures stated on Step 4 of this tutorial.

You might as well search the music sheet of the song in Google like "name of the song" "music sheet" keywords. Good luck!

Do not be an Out of Tune Singer

One of the most serious problem in singing is to be out of tune. There is nothing annoying that an out of tune vocal. Much worse if it is so severe that not only you will be annoyed but it now appears to be funny (most of you will probably laugh on this case).

The good news is that, being out of tune is not inborn, hereditary or incorrigible. If you are an out of tune singer, you can follow the steps below to transform you in order to become a “perfect” pitch singer- “professional” level.

Principle of improvement: Unlike other instruments such as a guitar or violin which has a peg or tuning keys that can be used to correct an out of tune instrument immediately; there is NONE for the vocals.

It is why the only way to overcome for being an out of tune singer is PRACTICE a LOT by listening and singing the correct musical pitch.

My recommended approach to become a perfect pitch singer is to:

Step1: You need to have at least a standard tuned instrument like a piano or a guitar. This instrument can be tuned using guitar tuner. If you do not have one, it is highly recommended at least to purchase one instrument. You will not only be using it for in-pitch/tune practicing but you might as well using it for singing performance and in songwriting.

Step2: You will also need a tuner for your vocals. But I recommend that in order to save money on buying chromatic based tuners. You will need to buy only one for both your guitar and vocals. I am currently using Matrix Chromatic Tuner
.

Step3: Now practice singing the standard notes in C major: do – re – mi – fa – so -la – ti – do. Of course, since this is your first time; you will not be able to sing it correctly at the proper pitch. In this case, you need guidance from a standard musical instrument to speed up this process. For example play the note “do” and listen to it carefully, the same with the rest of the notes.

Step4: To evaluate yourself how you are getting close in getting the correct pitch, sing all the notes ( do – re – mi – fa – so -la – ti – do) without the aid of a musical instrument.

Step5: Check if you sing the notes at the correct pitch by looking at the chromatic tuner. If you sing do or C note, the chromatic tuner should also reflect at the center you are singing the do or C note. IF not, then you are still singing out of tune.

Step6. Do this frequently and on a daily basis unti you are well versed with the C major pitch.

Step7. Proceed to a much more difficult chromatic (singing the sharps and flats), do- do#- re- re#, etc.

Step8. For more advanced practice, you might consider singing the scale of common key signatures like G major, D major, etc, with the aid of a musical instrument at first then evaluate your pitch using a a tuner.

If you do this consistently, you can now notice quickly and easily if you are singing out of tune or even detect an out of tune vocal performance by other singers.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How to Identify Minor Key Signatures|The Solfeggio-Chromatic Scale

In the tutorial regarding Music Theory for Singers, I have introduced the major and minor key signatures but the presentation is too theoretical. In Part 2, I will give a series of examples on how to illustrate using those principles in actual musical notation with a music sheet.

Exercise Number 1: Identify the key signature of this music:



Since there are 3 sharps, according to the table in the music theory for singers, it is A major, hey wait…but the 1st note is fa # or F#, so it should be the minor. The final answer is that the key signature of the above screen shot is F sharp minor.

Exercise Number 2: Identify again the key signature of the music shown below:



Well, since there are no sharp or flats. By principle it should be a C major key. You may asked, how I know the minor of C major. The minor of C major is A minor. A minor like its major does NOT also have sharp or flats.

A minor can be identified if the first note is La (A note) and there are no sharp or flats in the staff.

Exercise Number 3: What is the key signature below?




The first note is re (D note) and there is one flat. It is a D minor key signature.

Exercise Number 4: Is it in E minor or a G major key signature?



It is not an E minor key because the first note is not “mi” (E note). So since there is one sharp in the staff and it is not starting in mi note, therefore the above key signature is in G major.

The Solfeggio-Chromatic Scale Equivalent in Musical Notation:

Chromatic scale is using letters (A, B, C, etc) while the solfeggio notation is not. I highly recommend you will memorize this one for easier interpretation of musical notations:

Chromatic in sharp progression – Solfeggio Equivalent:
A – la
A#- la#
B- ti
C- do
C# - do sharp
D- re
D#- re sharp
E – mi
F – fa
F# - fa sharp
G – so
G# - so sharp
A – la

Chromatic in flat progression (pitch the same as above, but presented in flat rather than sharp)
A –la
Bb – ti flat
B – ti
C- do
Db- re flat
D – re
Eb – mi flat
E – mi
F – fa
Gb – so flat
G – so
Ab – la flat
A – la

Therefore with the above given progression, we can say that the following is just the same, or in equivalent pitch:

A# - Bb = la sharp or ti flat
C# - Db = do sharp or re flat
D#- Eb = re sharp or mi flat
F#- Gb = fa sharp or so flat
G# - Ab = so sharp or la flat

If you play a chromatic progression in the piano, the sharp or flats are using the black color keys of the piano.

Music Theory for Singers Part1: Piano notes and Key Signature

If you are a singer, you will be required sometime in your career to read and sing musical notes from music sheets. This might sound scary as it looks difficult for first timers. Record producers are expecting professional singers to sing directly from the musical sheet without even using a piano. This needs a thorough training on the music theory.

The strategy is to be familiar with the pitch first by playing the piano, then gradually memorizing the key signatures, notes affected etc.; until you can sing independently.

By following this guide, it will speed up the note reading process which you can implement when you play piano and singing those notes. Let’s get started:

STEP1. Be familiar with the notes on the piano and its equivalent placement on the musical staff. The notes on the piano are as follows:



Shown in the screenshot is just one octave of voice ranges – from Low D (or low “re” note) to High D (but it actually shows more than that up to high G note). If you are playing on a multi-octave piano, the notes will still be the same, just follow the pattern as shown above. Standard piano has around 7 octaves, so imagine that the above screenshot has been replicated 7 times in a row.

Tips for further improvement: Practice ear training by memorizing the standard pitch of the piano (whole octave including sharp or flats) and mimic it by singing. In this way, even without the use of a piano, you can sing the notes at the correct pitch. If you do not have a piano, you can start practicing here: http://method-behind-the-music.com/piano

STEP2. Identify the key signature of the music sheets. The key signature defines the sound of the music sheet you are going to interpret by singing. It tells you what notes needs to raised half step (#) or low step (flat). You can determine the key signature by counting the number of sharp (#) or flats (b).

Flat major scale mnemonics:

Fat – F major scale – one flat
Boy – Bb major scale – two flats
Eats – Eb major scale – three flats
Apple – Ab major scale – four flats
During – Db major scale – five flats
Good -Gb major scale – six flats
Christmas – Cb major scale – seven flats

Sharp major scale mnemonics:

Go – G major scale – one sharp
Down – D major scale – two sharps
And – A major scale – three sharps
Eat – E major scale – four sharps
Before - B major scale – five sharps
Father – F# major scale - six sharps
Comes – C# major scale – seven sharps

The number of sharps or flats can be found right in the beginning of the musical sheet. You will need to memorize the above table for convenience.

STEP3. Identify whether the music you are playing is a MINOR of the major scale above. You can determine this by identifying the FIRST NOTE in the music sheet:

Flat major scale and its equivalent minor with minor notes

F major scale – D minorre
Bb major scale – G minor- so
Eb major scale – C minordo
Ab major scale – F minorfa
Db major scale – Bb minor - ti
Gb major scale – Eb minormi flat
Cb major scale – Ab minorla flat

Sharp major scale and its equivalent minor key with minor notes

G major scale – E minor = mi
D major scale – B minor = ti
A major scale – F sharp minor = fa sharp
E major scale – C sharp minor = do sharp
B major scale – G sharp minor = so sharp
F# major scale – D sharp minor = re sharp
C# major scale – A sharp minor = la sharp


Refer to the part 2 of this tutorial: How to Identify Minor Key Signatures|The Solfeggio-Chromatic Scale.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Basic Recording Studio Fundamentals from a Singer Point of View

If you still have not seen or visit a professional recording studio, then you need to read this short guide in order for you to prepare the real world as a professional studio singer. It is because if you still have not visit a recording studio, then most likely you only know 3 things – the microphone, your speaker and even your headphones.

Even with these 3 things, the real studio is filled with out of these world microphones, speakers (monitors) and headphones. In short, the equipments you know in your home are NOT the same as what you will see in a professional recording studio.

If you are ready, then prepare to get to know the lists of equipments and studio gears below:

1.) Condenser or Ceramic type microphones – if you are recording in a professional made studio, you will not be using dynamic microphones (these microphones are the ones you had in your home). But you will be using condenser microphones in the recording studio.

Below are the tips for using condenser microphones (see screenshot below for the picture of a condenser microphone):

a.) Since is microphone is “ultra” sensitive in picking up sounds, put your mouth at least 5 inches from the microphone. This is not a strict rule, feel free to experiment and follow what the engineer advises you to do for best recording results. Do not record if you have colds (nasal congestion for example) or mouth related problem as it can really ruin your day at the studio.

b.) Most condenser microphones include a pop filter, so get used to it. The purpose of that is to prevent the “pops” and “clicks” in your mouth in reaching the microphone, so that the recorded vocal is clean.

2.) Headphones – this is not an earphone you commonly used in your iPod but this a “full” headphone such as shown below. In the picture of me below, you will also see the condenser microphone with a filter (black in circular shape).



Tip: Be comfortable with your vocal level, you will actually hear it in the headphones. So if something is not comfortable or distracting, feel free to report the problem to your engineer.

3.) Control room – this room is where the engineer and producer are sitting to watch you recording the vocals. In most professional studios, you can only hear them through headphones or microphones; it is because the control room is separated from the vocal booth. A sign language is important; so in case you have a problem and they won’t hear you taking in the microphone; feel free to give a “sign” language to them (waving a hand for example).

You can see the control room through a glass from the vocal booth.

4.) Vocal booth – this is where you will be recording the vocals. This is done purposely to avoid bleeding of noise from other sources or instruments.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Background singer/vocalist training and tips

You might amazed to know that background singers are all NOT bad and infamous. In fact legendary singer like Mariah carey starts to work as a background vocalist before she went to a become a great lead singer.

Background singer is an important step in pop music production where their skills are needed to:

a. Further enhance the song hook as background vocals are commonly employed by record producers in the chorus section of the song.

b. Blend with the lead vocalist in terms of emotion and harmony.

Background vocalist in fact requires a lot of skill more than you imagined. You might think that a lead vocalist training is much more rigid than being a background singer.

In reality , they are almost the same and even being a background singer requires much more complicated task in the studio. It is because they have some problems when doing recording sessions such as:

1.) If the background vocalist does not know how to sing along with other singers at “different pitch or harmony”. They will sing easily out of tune. Unfortunately this type of problem does not have solution except to fire the background singer and replace with a more competent background vocalist.

2.) Specific control with respect to vibrato, styles and volume - if the singer will sing too much vibrato or no vibrato at all, it sounds dull. So if the recording producer instructs the background singer to entirely sing without a vibrato, she/he should sing that without vibrations.

Too much vibrato can destroy the nature of the vocal blending which producers are hoping to achieved desire results.

3.) In some cases where the lead vocalist conveys a certain emotion and tempo, the background vocalist is required to blend or convey that emotion also. This might be difficult if you are not the type of vocalist which is not flexible enough to adjust different types of emotions when singing.

4.) Some record producers expects the background singer to understand and sing from the musical transcripts or series of notes. This might be impossible if you are the type of singer which does not know how to read musical notes from the sheet or no strong musical background.

The following are the suggestions on how you will start to become a better background vocalist or singer:

1.) Try to join choir. Joining it , provides a good ear training ground for wannabe background vocalist. It is because you will be required to sing at a different harmony with the rest of the singers. Doing this in unison, helps you to practice singing at a different harmony together.

2.) Take music classes to help you read musical notes. Practice it at home by downloading free music sheets online and see if you can sing directly by reading those notes.

3.)It is important to be prepared at all times, when you are hired to become a background singer of a certain track. Be diligent and hard working enough to do the assignments in advance before coming to the recording studio.

4.) This means you should fully know your role, the song, those notes that you need to sing as well as everything including the lyrics and the emotions you need to convey.

If you are great and successful at singing background, it will be very easily to become a lead vocalist.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to set goal as a musician or indie artist?

You might be reading this post because you need to set goals as an independent musician. If you are just started out or planning to become an indie music artist. It is highly important to read this post to avoid frustrations, failure and problems from being an indie artist.

OK, so lets jot down to this FACT: There is no overnight/quick success in music. If right now you have just write a great song, cool, but do not expect to hand it over to a recording label in the hope to get a deal tomorrow, next week or even one year from now.

Why? Music business is just extremely and intensely competitive , these labels are accepting materials from “established” artists. These artists have thousands of followers ready to buy their CD with their own cash.

Aside from that, these artists have strong financial support from either their own pocket (most of these are rich anyway), or coming from somewhere else.

So what you can do? I suggest starting a five year plan and what you will need to accomplish each year. It should be realistic enough that will prove your skills and effort. For example, if you are dreaming to become a succesful artists signed to a label, you might have this 5 year plan:

1st year: Write 50 songs and perform in public once a week. I need at least one loyal fan a month liking my music, I will get his/her email for my updates.

2nd year: Record my top 5 songs in recording studios, I need to meet a recording producer that likes my music. These top 5 songs are what I considered a hit. I should be completing these songs in a year. I will send it for FREE to my friends, fans and asked them to share it to anyone interested, I will start a profile where fans can drop by a message and comment on the songs.

3rd year: I will play a lot in public for FREE but also provide my EP CD for FREE, the technique is to get more and more fans. I will perform a lot of performances, video taped it and upload it in Youtube for others to see.

4th year: I will continue playing live, and hopefully I will have a lot of fans right now, a lot of song reviews, a lot of performances, I will start releasing a self produced album, start to sell it with my fans at a very low price. I should sell a thousand CDs (or downloads like iTunes) this time from my thousand lists of fans.

5th year: Contact a reputable entertainment attorney to review my performances, just down all my achievements as a musician and create press kit to be sent to his label A&R contacts. I should be getting a record deal this time.

So what are the chances of failure? I should say low but there are still chances of getting rejections even at this level. You should really have:
a. Extremely good original songs and demo recording.
b. Extremely good performances
c. Nice long list of supporters and positive reviews.

I mean its quite challenging; could take your 5 year plan to a 10 year plan maybe. Quit? No, if you enjoy it → NO because what makes you happy makes you rich right?

Friday, June 11, 2010

How can I improve my singing style

I can say that the best way to improve your singing is to keep practicing. However, lots of wannabe singers do that so it should not be real problem. Days or years past practicing singing, you might ask again “How can I really improve my singing?”

This is where you might realize that practicing is not enough. Do not stop, below are the some of things that you can do to further improve your singing.

1.) Believe in the principle that it is not enough to just practice singing, you need to affirm that: “Constant Correct Practice Makes Perfect”.

So what defines a constant correct practice? Let’s elaborate in detail:

a.) “Constant” in the sense that you need to practice at a regular intervals. Or it means you need to schedule your singing practice. It does not matter whether you can sing daily but definitely it is NOT good that you practice singing only once in a month.

The most recommended is to allot one day in a week of your time to singing. This is what professionals do. If you cannot commit at least once a day in a week to devote to singing, then do not expect in the long run to improve your singing.

b.) “Correct practice” is important. This is what again separates amateurs from professionals. You need to adopt a standard routine in your practice that tests your skills to the limit, which is:

b.1) before doing any singing performance during practice, you need to “vocalize”, spend a lot of time singing the low notes, medium pitched notes, the high notes and the ultra- high notes.

If during these exercises you seem to fail in a certain aspect, then that is your weakness. Weakness does not define failure but it provides a clue to your “vocal range”. So maybe your vocal range is not good for pure pop or ballads like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, etc. But this is not the end. Your vocal range is possibly optimal for country, rock, or other genres..

You need to find your vocal range in the practice. Principle: Strengthen more on your vocal range and slowly practice/correct your weaknesses.

Refer to this tutorial I wrote on what are basic vocal warm-up exercises.

2.) Test your vocal quality by getting public exposure or training.

If you like singing, do you have it takes to have a “signature sound”? What defines “Quality” is your signature sound in singing; this is what differentiates you from other singers. 


Some might say that if Beatles do not exist today, there is no single event that Paul McCartney will be accepted or even make up to the Hollywood for American Idol. It is because Paul does not have a superstar vocal quality in the likes of David Cook or Kris Allen, he cannot compete even on the same age.

But why Paul McCartney or the other Beatles makes a living out of singing for their entire life? It is because:

a. They love to sing. (Yeah, they do not even need to be voice idols, but if you listen to their music, it carries their signature voice)


b. They love to write. (A big plus to any singer, if you cannot write, do not expect singing be a lifetime career for you)


c. They kept singing and enjoying from it. (Yeah always, not only weeks but maybe everyday)
 

d. People start to love their performance.
 

e. People start to follow them.
 

f. They become legends.

There is no other excuse that you should not do the same. You can get exposed easily nowadays as compared before, today we have You Tube, My Space and lots of live venues that were not available before. It takes time, it takes practice – done correctly.

Monday, June 7, 2010

How to make your own song?

One of the best hobbies that a musician can do is creating songs. This type of endeavor requires a lot of creativity, imagination and musical skills in order to make a good song.
In fact, creating a “hit song” is very rare, even in top writers catalog such as Paul Mc Cartney, you can as well estimate that his hit songs are well around 5 to 20% of the entire songs he written.

This short how-to guide maximizes the chances of creating a good song.

Things you will need:
1.) Cassette Recorder
2.) a piece of blank paper.
3.) Ball pen
4.) Musical Instrument (Guitar or Piano)

Step 1 Write Lyrics first.Using your imagination, write lyrics that tell a story or something that can be inspiring. Using poetic lines is ok, but it is best to write meaningful and easy to understand lyrics.

Write lyrics that can relate people’s lives. This has a strong impact on a success of the song particularly if it is common among people. Start with a good title then followed by the first stanza.

I use 4 lines for each stanza, with the same or similar number of syllables in each of those lines. Example:

Can I know your name?”

I can’t understand how I feel
When you smile my heart beats so fast
I can’t understand why I feel so shy
When I try to look at you

Step 2. Complete the lyrics by defining its pre-structure. Typically, a common structure is:

Verse 1
Chorus
Verse 2
Bridge
Ending

It is important that you have to present the chorus as early as possible. In music business, time matters, if you are going to present your song to music industry professionals; most of the time their attention span is short particularly around 1 minute and 30 seconds. Chorus is the most important part so make sure that it is well presented in that short span of time.

It is also the reason why the chorus is next to the 1st verse.

Do not yet write any melodies at this stage. Just complete the lyrics.

Step 3. Now start writing melodies. To do this, you need the complete lyrics and start humming or guessing any good melodies that might fit the lyrical lines. It is important that the melodies should fit the lyrics. You can as well tweak the lyrics to fit a great melody line. It is your choice.

Writing melodies is not actually writing notes, but you will base your humming on a chord progression. For example, C-Am-F-G or G-D/F#-Em-C, it is ok to deviate or make your own unique chord progressions but this is not recommended.
If you examine the chord progressions of most hit songs, it is relatively common and predictable like the one shown above.

Step 4 It is ok to spend one day humming the 1st stanza finding good melodies, remember that melody of the song plays an important role on the success of the song. You have freedom to select any tempo of the song. The important is to have a great melody.

If you find a good melody, it is now the time to record it with a cassette recorder (by singing the 1st stanza lyrics with the melodies you create).

Do not forget to write down the chords.

Step 5 Write the hook of the song. This is the most critical part. Great/professional song writers even spend at least a week figuring out the best hook for the song.

Hook is the most addictive part of the song. It is placed in the chorus. It is often the part of the song that is easiest to remember. Hook is often characterized by high but long notes. You might be able to define a hook in 5 notes or 4 notes. For example:

a.) A song “Come Together” from the Beatles. You can remember the song in the long run by just singing “Come—To—Ge—ther” …

b.) All by myself by Celine Dion. The 4 notes on the “All—By—My—Self” is the part which is easiest to remember even if you forgot the rest of the verse lyrics.

This is the characteristic of a good song hook. Make sure to write a hit quality hook, something which is addictive, meaningful and easy to remember. One way is to use the song title as the hook lyrics like the example above.

To test how strong is the hook. Sing it in front of your kids (5 to 6 years old) on a daily basis. If they sing it with you without telling or guiding them, it is a good indication that you have just written a good hook (your kids like it and they remember it).

Step 6 Complete the bridge by creating a contrast melody. The bridge part does not follow the chord progressions of the verse and chorus. The bridge is also optional; some great songs do not even have a bridge part.

Step 7 The ending is just a repetition of either the hook to make more memorable to the listeners. It is why in most commercial songs, the ending might consist of the repetition of the chorus (either using the same or different set of lyrics) and fading out until it ends.

Songwriting is not that simple but it is really an enjoyable and a rewarding hobby. Even a single hit song can make you a living in the long run because of the royalties involved. Not to mentioned, how many lives are changed because of your song (lots of songs became couple wedding themes or inspire them to work, fall in love and enjoy life).

Tips & Warnings

1.) Avoid boring sections of the song. You can always sing it to your friend and if they find it good at first but feel bored at the end, something is wrong within your song. Maybe the verses are too long? Or you have very slight melodic variations?

2.) Do not forget to file a copyright with the copyright office. Protect your asset.

3.) Try to join an open acoustic guitar sessions within your community and present your song. You might receive some constructive comments or even confirm that you have written a very good song.

4.) During the process of tweaking the lyrics to fit a great melody line, make sure that it is still sensible and meaningful.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Know your career goals direction and how it works successfully

There are many career choices in life and it is important to choose the best one of all. God design us to walk in step by step because he wants us to be happy all the time. It is said when a man is lonely it is because he has no goals or no focus of doing at all. Every plan has rules to follow and if you miss only one it is difficult to proceed, much better to care every move you make. Have tight decision when choosing a career and if you think that it is in the field of music business you have to make an exact and right rules of your goals start from one until you achieve it all. I read a book and it really help on how career goals will work such as keep on going, accept failures and learn, be flexible, be patience, study and learn new ideas that is applicable to your career goals, make friends that is in the field of music industry like A&R, recording producer, songwriter, publisher, recording artist, TV producer, movie producer and they can help you someday.
On the other side, keep in mind a man who can follow a rule is a man of success. Trials will come to you once your closer to success, but do not listen who says negative to your career because they are frustrated people. Don’t be like them instead of mind your own work. And think that every man is unique and has different goals in life. If you are focus you will know then that right there that way you go through is more you than you expect. It could be you will become singer-songwriter or singer-producer. Always remember, through success is a very long way process to go. It is good to start now than never.
Tips: Time and money is your investment when building a career goal. Manage wisely your investment!

Thank you guys for your time!

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Maintain Strong Voice all the Time

The right time to use the power of your voice quality is when you have live concert, tour and singing contest. Here are things to do and not to do of maintaining strong voice.
Do’s;
1. Body exercise- At least 15 minutes (Jumping jack, Jogging in place and dancing).
2. Vocalization- warm up your voice 15minutes and do it with only basic exercises (ha-ha-ha-ha, inhale exhale, twinkle little stars, 1&2&3&4&5& and etc stop until you lose air and do-re-mi-fa-sol) you can search it on youtube or Google of any vocalization.
3. Relax- Stay calm while you’re singing or performing. The mouth is wide open and keeps on smiling while singing.
4. Stand properly- You see beauty pageant like Miss Universe, Miss World and etc, look at the position of their feet. They do it because they feel relax. So, when you perform you have to imagine as Miss Universe Contestant. This is a kind of joke but it is true. It will add confidence as a singer and performer to stand properly.
5. Microphone position- Let your mouth control the microphone. Wherever your mouth the microphone is always there. 1inches is the distance of the microphone when you sing middle key. When it is higher key keep it 2inches slowly distance. Or search for American idol winners (Carrie Underwood-country singer, Kelly Clarkson- Pop rock, Jordin Sparks-PopRnb) and observe what their microphone position.
6. Water- Is great to drink after singing.

Don’ts;
1. Laziness- You think you are good enough to perform without any preparations and you only drink water after singing. It is not useful if water only because you need to get wet of sweat first.
2. Do short cut- To sing a song without vocal warm up is a very dangerous idea. Your voice is not staying longer time it will surrender after 4-5 song performances because your throat is not well prepared.
3. Feel Pressure- You will feel scared to perform a song if you are lazy and do it in short cut. You are pressure because you are not preparing for the fight.

Tips: If you are serious of your singing career practice this at home. When you plan to sing with your videoke, karaoke or minus one cd do the above things to do’s. It is really wonderful to hear if you see great results.

Thank you very much for your time my dear readers… God Speed to all!