Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More about Singer's Salon!

SO much going on! Wendy Parman Voice Studio with Deagan Music (Maggie Dahlberg) will be hosting a new Singer's Salon on the second Sunday of the month starting Nov. 15 at 7:00 p.m.(I trust you saw the flyer on the home page). The idea behind the salon is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for singers of all kinds, genres and range of experience to come out and get in front of an audience to perform. It will be run somewhat like an open mic and will feature Maggie on piano accompaniment. (And who knows? Maybe The Red Apples will put in an appearance...) I will be featuring one or two singers as well, to get things going.
The atmosphere is one of encouragement and excellence. We all need more of that. The space is intimate and BYOB, some refreshments will be offered and a very small cover to offset the costs. ($3) Bring your friends and make some new ones! Also don't forget to bring sheet music in your key! If you like of course, you may accompany yourself on guitar, piano or whatever works. The studio will be set up for a variety of instrumentation, but the emphasis in on singing!
I would like to encourage folks to call (773-474-8471) or email (either from this site or and sign up in advance so we have an idea of who and how many are coming. But you can also just show up.
We SOOOO look forward to hearing the many interesting singers, actor-singers, singer-songwriters, scatters, rockers, classicals and what-have-you, share their talent with everyone!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Singer's Salon

Vocal Performance Workshop and Deagan Music are pleased to announce we are starting a Singer's Salon. This will be an opportunity for anyone to come and sing for an audience of their peers in a supportive environment. Stay tuned for more details! It's going to be fun!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What kind of singer am I ? and other irrelevant questions...

Maybe I shouldn't say irrelevant, but sometimes I think we all worry about this too much. If you have good singing technique and a healthy pleasing voice, are you really limited to one (or two) genres of singing? Granted one needs a feel for any kind of music and it's pretty hard to teach that one. But many musical sorts of folks are fully capable of "getting" many and maybe even all types and genres of music. Different voices are clearly suited to different types of music, I'm not going to argue that one. Case in point, I am not a big fan of Rod Stewart singing standards. He certainly has a great pop/rock voice, but crossing over into the Great American Songbook is just not anywhere I need him to go. (Not that he cares what I think, I'm sure his bank account has more to say about that then any music critic). Same with many classical singers taking on pop songs-"Gag" say I, for the most part. Two totally different sounds, both of which I lovingly embrace as a listener, that sometimes just don't mix well.
However all of that being said, I myself am a genre buster. Two weekends ago, of a Saturday night, I sang a gig with my roots band, and the next afternoon, (!) I sang at a benefit for Jaroslaw Golembiowski's Chopin Society at the Chopin Theater. We performed several of our original songs which, seem to breach a murky gap between art song, theater song and European cabaret. I've only recently been back to performing this sort of thing, and I'm not going to say it isn't a bit challenging to go from one to the other in a given weekend. (The main challenge being that I was exhausted from singing a long couple of sets the night before into the wee small hours...) But I feel good about my ability to get inside of a  rockabilly tune or a Lucinda Willliams ballad one night, and switch to a highly cultivated art song based on very personal poetry the next day. Not to be braggin' on myself, just to be sayin' if I can do it, so can others!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The blog in blogger

I am trying the new blogger interface and not sure how I feel about it. I like the various views and interesting way that people can sort through stuff on your blog, but am missing my comments, followers and connections to my other web links, like facebook and my webpage and band page.Those all seem to be gone with the new interface....Wha??? Maybe they are still working on it, or am I missing something?
I am also struggling with the concept of the mishmash that is my blog. Singer stuff, singing teacher stuff poetry and song? Maybe it's all too much... But the thought of managing more blogs is somewhat daunting. What say you readers? Should I be separating this stuff? And how are you going to tell me without the dang comment box? HELP!
 In the meantime, stay tuned, for a discussion about diction in singing! So many vowels, so many consonants!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Diction and stuff!

I've been having an interesting discussion with some of my students about diction in singing. There is a great deal to discuss when it comes to this question! There are various points of view about diction for classical as opposed to "pop" singers, as well as recording versus performing live. I'm not sure I agree with some of the prevailing wisdom out there about this either. For instance, I have heard opera singers sing vowels, pop singers sing the consonants." Pish. All singers must sing the vowels first and foremost! Yes even pop singers. Why? You can't sustain a consonant (ok you could sustain a voiced consonant technically, like the sound zzzzzzz)! We sing ON the vowel. For singers, obviously the vowel is where sound is actually produced. Duh you say. 
Now what about WORDS? Yes yes yes!!!! What could be more important for a singer? We are the poets of the music world. We speak the sentiments that the songwriter wants to say...maybe we are the songwriter. Even more connection to the text in that case, but it shouldn't matter. Unless the singer is scatting or using sounds in a purely playful way (ala Bobby Mcferrin for instance) he/she is obligated to make herself understood. But how?
The tension that exists in the singer between singing on the vowel and making the words clearly understood is resolved by singing the consonants clearly but in a relaxed way. Overarticulation is not the answer. Often times in fact, when singers try to hard to use "good diction" they end up sounding just bad and the words aren't necessarily any clearer anyway. Befriend your consonants. Don't beat them to death with your tongue for God's sake. Clarity does not mean tension in the tongue lips or jaw. (OH NOOOOOOoooooooo!) Be thou nice to thine singing parts, and in turn, they wilt oblige you in singing with beauty and clarity.