High notes can be too much of a good thing (or bad thing)

High notes can be too much of a good thing (or bad thing)

 

Aaaahhh yes,The high notes. It’s the thing we all want more than anything else, isn’t it ? Certainly, extended range is really important for a singer to have. The more the better. The more notes you have access to the more versatile you are as a vocalist. It is indeed very, very important as a singer to be able to take your song to a climax by nailing that high note. And I mean really nailing it, not screaming it.But when it comes you your upper range, there is definitely truth in the phrase “too much of a good thing.” High notes are a lot like riffs and runs. They’re not easy to do, so people who find themselves blessed with that ability often to do way too much of it.
You’ve heard the singer who goes way up into the upper range for that high note, and you think “go head, SANG!!!” But then they spend the rest of the song up there and never really come back down (turn to yo neighbor and say ‘he right!’) Five minutes later all you want them to do is STOP singing.Why is that? Because like everything else in singing when it’s overdone, high notes become very tiring to the ears when given in massive doses for extended periods of time. After a while even the clearest highs will sound like not much more than yelling to the audience.

Highs, like riffs and runs, are most effective when they are used as exciting moments where you build your audience up into a frenzy. But you must also allow them to come back down. Otherwise high notes can very quickly become very monotonous for the listener if not tempered with lower register singing.

We’ve all had that instance where someone is talking to you, then their voice gradually starts to fade into the background noise. You don’t even realize you’re not listening anymore. The same thing happens in a way, when you stay in your upper register too long. For Gospel singers this tends to happen in the “vamp”, or “press” of the song. That’s when the singer goes to that high note and kinda sings everything on that note from that point on through to the end. Aside from getting monotonous to the listener, it’s also quite a strain on your voice.

Instead, try moving around a bit more in the press. Don’t go that high note and stay there. Use it more as an accent, making your delivery more like conversation.

Take Care!

 

 

Just launched: Free 5 day vocal training course!

GiftHey gang,

One of the things I’ve been praying about with my business and my ministry is to really get it out there on a bigger scale. Simply put, I just want to touch more people with the gifts and talents God has given me. I’ve come across many people in this line of work who are really serious, dedicated servants of God who want to give Him their best. But they didn’t have the money to take private vocal lessons with me. Still others have found me on YouTube, My Space and other online social gathering sites, and wished they could study with me.
Well I’m proud to announce that for the first time ever I’ve put together a free video vocal training course and I’m giving it away absolutely free. Free vocal lessons? You bet. These videos are high content videos which include things I teach in my private vocal coaching sessions. Early feedback on these lessons have been great, and I couldn’t be more excited. After all what good are any of our gifts if we don’t, every now and then, simply give it away without cost? I don’t know about you, but I feel most fulfilled when I know I’m really walking in my calling and it’s blessing people.

This course, in addition to being free so anyone can have lessons, this course will afford me the opportunity to bless people all over the nation through the videos in this free course.

You can get your free vocal lessons by going on over to the home page and fill out the form. And be sure to tell as many of your friends and loved ones about it as possible.

See you then.

Ron

So you want a full time music ministry? 2 things you’d better learn quick

So you want a full time music ministry? 2 things you’d better learn quick

You’re passionate about your gift. Nothing makes you feel like ministering to God’s people in song. You feel like it’s what you were placed on this earth to do. And you believe that God wants you to do it full time. Sound about right? You’re not alone. There must be thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people just like you. And yet dispite being incredibly gifted and anointed, the vast majority of singers and musicians who have a dream to one day do it full time never achieve that goal.

There are many, many variables, reasons, obstacles that keep people from achieving this goal. I suspect there are as many of them as there are people. But two of them are so common that I believe they affect the vast majority of well-meaning talented believers. This blog isnt’ meant to be an exhaustive study on the subject, but I do want to touch on them both enough to perhaps make you think.
So let’s start with the obvious. In order for one to do anything full time one has to make a full time income from it. Which brings us to the first thing you MUST learn to do if you ever hope to be full time in your music ministry.

Charge a fee.

First of all, I already know every one of the 10 or 20 things that just ran through your mind when I said that. I know the culture in our churches and the unwillingness some people have to pay. I know that many people still see it as wrong for a believer to even ask. I’m not here to defend or debate any of that, only to point out a few things that I hope will give you a different perspective.

1. Love offerings does not a full time income make. You can’t live off love offerings. Besides, if we’re going to get technical here, love offerings are against the law last I heard. But that’s another subject.

2.If you believe God is calling you to full time ministry, then you must believe He has thousands of people earmarked for your gift to bless. If you believe that, then you have a moral obligation to charge for your services. As obvious as this may sound, if you don’t charge for your services you can never expect to grow your ministry past occasional engagements for love tokens. That means that you’ll never walk into what you believe God has called you to do.

Treat it like a business.

Another one sure to leave a bad taste in the mouths of many, but no less true. Contrary to popular belief, a ministry can be a business. And a successful one has to be. And any business owner will tell you that no business will ever be a success without investing money into it. You must invest first in yourself. Your craft. So that when you do charge you don’t have to do it in some shy, apologetic way. Every serious singer should be taking vocal lessons. Every serious musician should be constantly honing his craft.

But it goes way beyond that. Every business needs paying customers. And to get them the business owner must do marketing. I had to learn myself though, that marketing is a learned skill. Too many of us just throw ideas against the wall and see if anything sticks. I did it for years. But I finally had to realize that I didn’t know what I didn’t know.

When I set out to find that out, things started coming to me that seemed to be just what I need. I heard one business coach say “when the student is ready the teacher will appear”. And I certainly found that to be true.

Look, I know the thought of all this is overwhelming. It is for most believers who want to do something real with their ministry. To touch more lives on a bigger scale and still keep it all about God. After all, that’s the real reason most Christian artists avoid doing those two things, isn’t it? And that’s why many of us hesitate to ask for a fee or market ourselves. True enough, you can’t go out there as an unknown just starting out and expect to command a fee. You definitely will need to do many free engagements, participate in local events that invite local artists, build a reputation and a following.

But the first step to growth in your ministry is to get rid of the belief that it is somehow wrong for you to promote yourself and treat your ministry as a business. You need to understand that this is not only ok but something you MUST do in order to achieve your primary goal, which is to minister to God’s people on a bigger scale. If you really feel called to this then failing to do so is really depriving many people of your ministry that may have otherwise been touched by it.

Growth on that scale will come with operating costs that must be met regularly, or you can’t continue to minister. This simply can’t be done depending on the occasional love offering.

I won’t pretend the process is easy though. Or immediate. You’ll need to really do some research and learn a lot about marketing. You’ll need to be out there in front of people performing a lot more often; many times for free as you build a reputation and a following. You’ll need to find groups and organizations that help people like you with the process of growing their ministry.

But the first step to doing anything full time in ministry is to get rid of old beliefs we’ve all grown up hearing and accepting as truth. Ministry, in order to be effective and reach the masses, must incur expenses, and those expenses must be paid in order for you to continue to minister to more and more of God’s people. Ministry and business can and must co-exist.  And if you want to do ministry full time you’ll need to get very good at finding a healthy balance between both.

 

 

 

2 simple tips to instantly improve your breath control

Deep breathFinding yourself running out of breath more and more when you sing? Do you get the feeling you’re gasping for air?

In a nutshell, insufficient breath control comes from bad technique. When you take vocal lessons your vocal technique improves , so you’ll usually see an improvement in your breath control. But often you can make some very simple changes and see an improvement almost right away.

 

1. Stop Holding Your Breath!

Very recently, with two separate students, we were working on a song in our voice lesson after having warmed up and gone through our normal vocal exercise routine. Both of them were really having trouble just finishing simple phrases without becoming winded and out of breath. These are phrases they were singing in a very comfortable area of their range.
I had them sing the phrases a few times, checking for all of the proper positioning and vocal techniques I had taught them. They were doing everything by the numbers, so I began to look deeper. Then it hit me. ” Do you realize that you’re holding your breath after you finish phrases?

“I’m what? Holding my breath when?!”

” When you finish a phrase,” I explained, “you hold your breath right up until the very slpit second you need to start the next phrase. Then you take this really quick gasp of air. That’s why you’re always winded. You’re not breathing!”

In both cases my students were completely unaware that they were doing this. Chances are you may be doing it too. It’s very common. Here’s what I told my students to do.

“You need to take full advantage of spaces between your lyrical phrases where you have an opportunity to breathe. As soon as you finish the last word of your phrase, start drawing in a very controlled, natural breath for the next phrase. This way you’re not starting lines already out of breath.”

“Try that line again, this time use that full space between the first line and the second line. Take a nice deep breath just like we’ve learned. Allowing your stomach to inflate, not raising your chest or shoulders. Let the diaphragm work. Go ahead.”

“OMG, that’s such a difference!”, was the answer I got from both of them after they tried it.

So now you try. Remember, in the average song you’ll have at least a second or two between one phrase and the next. Use that space to inhale for the next phrase. But don’t HEAVE! Proper breathing is done with a relaxed abdomen that rises as you breathe in and gradually falls as you exhale.

2. Breathe Where It Makes Sense!

Once you’ve made that adjustment, start looking closer at your lyrics and where you’re choosing to breathe. Often singers are simply choosing awkward places in the lyrics to try to take a breath.

Frequently you see singers taking quick intakes of air between words in the middle of sentences. These are not only awkward places to breathe, but you have almost no time to do so. So again, you’re gasping for a quick breath instead of a nice, relaxed inhale. If you pay attention to the natural flow of the lyrics, the most natural places to take a breath will start to become obvious. They will be the spaces you hear between one phrase and the next.

I hope you enjoyed this little tip! There’s so much more to learn about how to use your voice properly though. You can start with my free 5 day vocal training course. Get it when you join my mailing list below.

 

See you soon,

Ron Cross

 

What do you do when the song gets old?

I have to be honest with you. I’m not sure many people really know what they’re asking for when they’re seeking God for a hit song. A song everyone wants to hear you sing, everywhere you go. Sounds really glamorous doesn’t it? Well, as someone who has been there, let me tell you it isn’t.

I was asked to lead a song a few years ago that I liked ok enough, but I didn’t have a real spiritual connection with. It didn’t really resonate with me deeply. But it was churchy and up-beat, and I was a good fit for the lead. Besides, there was really nobody else at the time that could, so I stepped up to do it to keep us from having to scrap a song that everyone in the choir wanted us to do.
Well, I gave it my all and God came in and really blessed. And then something happened I wasn’t prepared for. The whole congregation fell in love with the song, especially the pastor. You see every time we did the song we were guaranteed some high-spirit churching. So for the next couple of months at least ( it felt like a couple of years) that song was requested at least 2, sometimes 3 times a month. And each time they expected me to do everything I did the first time I sang it.

It got to the point I was just really sick of doing the song. I still can’t bring myself to do it when they ask occasionally. But this brings up a pretty serious delimma, doesn’t it? I mean after all, this isn’t just any music, this is the Gospel we’re talking about. Songs might get old, but the Word Of God is timeless..right? The message doesn’t get old.

Still though, this is a very, very real issue that should concern you if you’re a serious vocalist working toward a full time ministry. You’re definitely gonna have to sing songs again and again again; unless of course you don’t plan on having any hits whatsoever.

How do you deal with that? What do you do when the song gets old?

Honestly, there’s not much you can do. And that is why you must never allow it to. How do you avoid that? By very strictly and adamantly avoiding singing any song that you don’t have a strong spiritual connection to. Any song you’re going to sing must resonate with you on some level. There has to be something in that song that is for YOU.

When you’re singing a song that ministers to you on a deep personal level, that song will never get old. Because first of all, it will always speak to you that way, even if your situation changes. In that case the message goes from “where I am right now” to “where God brought me from”.

But the most important reason of all to make sure you do NOT sing songs that don’t resonate with you on a deep spiritual level, is because if you allow yourself to do so, then every time you sing it you’ll be singing from a place that isn’t true, honest and authentic. And no matter how many accolades you’re getting, that’s gonna get old real quick.

So no matter what the situation is, if you’re serious about your ministry as a singer, you must say NO if you don’t feel it. Yes, that’s gonna be irritating to some people sometimes. Yes it’s gonna put your choir or praise team or group in a bind sometimes. But this is simply NON NEGOTIABLE as a Christian or Gospel singer. You have to sing from a real place. If you don’t, you’re just performing. And that gets old.

Take care!
Ron Cross