eZINE 81 – A year of firsts
2016 has been a packed year with a new book, media appearances, television work, a new accreditation programme and a host of new events and resources. We’re taking a moment in this eZINE to share some of our firsts in the last 12 months.
We give you a headsup on the next run of vocal training Retreats.
And we’re starting 2017 with a Twelfth Night flash sale of our online voice training resources (all 27 of them).
We’ve done what?
The idea of this eZINE began when we were tidying up the Vocal Process wall calendar in preparation for 2017. The calendar contains all the Vocal Process events, teaching trips and group coaching sessions that keep us on top of the voice training world out there.
The year has gone by in such a blur that we hadn’t realised (until we read the calendar) how much has been happening. So here’s a breakdown of the firsts in 2016.
This Is A Voice book
The Wellcome Trust commissioned us to write the book back in August/September 2015. It’s rare for one book to cover such a wide variety of topics around voice use, and even rarer for just two authors to write about them. The Wellcome wanted us to cover Classical singing, spoken voice including techniques for giving speeches, vocal anatomy and physiology, warmups, mimicry, ventriloquism and beatboxing. We added contemporary singing techniques and we were off!
The book is already a bestseller and we’ve had some great feedback on the look, all the images (over 100 of them) and the exercises themselves. If you haven’t got your copy already, click here to find out more
Closely linked to the book are…
This Is A Voice online videos
Once the final draft had been submitted, the Wellcome asked us to guide them in creating a series of online videos showing some of the exercises in action.
Booking the actors proved to be a challenge, as no-one with film experience we could find had trained in all the skills we needed. We had just a day with the two actors to teach them the techniques to demonstrate the exercises for warming up, singing, tongue twisters and beatboxing.
The book launch led to…
Radio voice gurus
Radio presenter and singer Cerys Matthews invited us on her Sunday morning BBC show twice to talk about her favourite singers, calling us “the voice gurus”. Sometimes you say things live that don’t quite come out the way you intend them to. When Cerys was asking how you achieve the yodel/flip onset (which we describe in the book) Gillyanne summed up the technique as “do the donkey”. It’s a phrase that has followed us around ever since. Listen to us here
Jeremy appeared live on BBC Radio Two Drivetime as the voice expert for one of Simon Mayo’s Homework Sucks questions. Jeremy had just a few hours’ notice to answer questions on the loudest voice. Most listeners thought it was Sergeant Major Ronald Brittain but according to the scientists he was beaten by two women – Annalisa Flanagan (the word “quiet!” at 121 decibels) and Jill Drake (a scream reaching 129 decibels).
The Guardian invited us both to chat on their weekly Guardian Science Podcast in May. Even after more than 10 years of weekly broadcasts, our podcast How Do Human Voices Work is still in the top 100. You can listen to it here
The Financial Times Weekend Magazine gave us a 3-page spread which brought us new speaking voice clients from as far away as India. In the article we coached journalist and writer on rhetoric Sam Leith in voice techniques for giving speeches. You can read the article, together with the (rather horrifically extreme) photographs here
And we haven’t finished with the media yet. In June we joined…
We both received invitations to join the The Voice in its first incarnation on ITV. It’s a very intensive job listening to hundreds of singers. We separated to hear as many singers as possible, and worked in teams with a television producer and an A&R (Artist and Repertoire) representative from the record company. The team has a tv camera and monitor so that we can experience each singer both live and on screen – and yes, there is a difference.
We’re not allowed to discuss what goes on in the rooms so we’ll have to leave it to your imagination!
Two major events in 2016
In 2016 Vocal Process was validated as a registered Continuing Professional Development Provider by the national CPD Standards office. This means that we provide consistent, nationally recognised training. Every one of our day courses, workshops and Retreats is now eligible for CPD points – highly desirable if you want to get funding to come our training!
Our downloadable Webinars have also been awarded CPD points. Not only that, Gillyanne and Jeremy were both recognised individually as one-to-one mentors, which means you can now get CPD points for your private sessions with us (face-to-face or online). This is a huge achievement for Vocal Process.
Our new Accreditation programme began in late 2015. More practical than our previous programme, we focus on how to diagnose vocal issues, how to structure a lesson, the purpose of exercises, communication skills and breaking down the task of teaching and performing.
Assisted by our Accredited Associate teacher Anne Leatherland, we launched our first five Vocal Process Accredited Teachers in 2016. You can read more about them in the previous eZINE here. Distance is no object, as we have teachers on the programme living in Switzerland and Texas in the US, and the majority of the training is online. If you’d like to find out more about the process of becoming a Vocal Process Accredited Teacher and how it can enhance your career, email or call us – we’d be happy to chat through it with you.
We gave our first practical This Is A Voice Workshop, linked to the book, in Chester at the Hammond School. We took the audience through some of the exercises for speaking and singing, and Craig Faulkner, newly Accredited Vocal Process Teacher, led the group through the hover breath, the glide onset and the open throat.
Our second This Is A Voice Workshop was a choral day with Janet Lincé conducting, for 120 singers in Oxford. We coached the singers in repertoire ranging from the Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem to a gospel piece, ending with a complete run of Vaughan Williams’ Serenade To Music.
The following day Jeremy drove to Minehead to give a Musical Theatre
masterclass for young students in the south west of England. The repertoire ranged from Phantom of the Opera through Oliver and Mary Poppins to Heathers the Musical, Waitress the Musical and an Adele song. The day ended with a fun “quick-fire round” where each person sang for two minutes and Jeremy fixed a vocal / performance problem or suggested new repertoire to suit them.
2016 included bespoke choral coaching for Rhythm of Life chorus in Cambridgeshire in preparation for their concert (a very eclectic programme), and troubleshooting an equally varied programme with the RAC Club Chamber choir in Pall Mall, London.
We also ran a new event in Birmingham – Meet The Teachers. We took our group of singing teacher attendees through the practical application of vocal style features. Gillyanne presented her updates on voice quality and registers, and Jeremy introduced our latest resonance tool, vowel tuning in contemporary singing. We had small group discussions on everything from repertoire for kids to dealing with television singing competitions, and the day finished with a Round Table with all the Vocal Process teachers onstage.
In November we flew to Gothenburg to give audition training and masterclasses to the students at Dansforum, and to Stockholm to give pedagogical workshops to the teachers and teachers-in-training at Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut.
And we ran SIX vocal Retreats at our home on the Welsh borders for singers, teachers and speech therapists.
Publications and online presence
Gillyanne published a paper with Graham Welch in the Journal of Voice, based on information in her PhD: Can Genre Be “Heard” in Scale as Well as Song Tasks? An Exploratory Study of Female Singing in Western Lyric and Musical Theater Styles. The paper is available online with a subscription or university access here, and is in press for print publication.
Anne Leatherland wrote a new “Six of the Best” Report for us on Speech Apps. You can download it free here.
We launched our new Twitter chat time for like-minded singers and teachers. Currently at 8pm on a Wednesday, it’s a meeting ground for the vocally inclined. We have a starting topic each week, voted for by the participants, but the tweets meander around the subject like a determined riffer. Go to www.twitter.com and search for #VoiceHour or @VoiceHour to read more.
And Vocal Process offered up to £28,000 of sponsorship to Voice Messages Documentary, an exciting crowd-funded film on voice by 6-times Emmy winner Martin Zied. Check out Marty’s progress here
We’ve already started work on new resources, with new Webinars planned and two new ebooks almost completed. More news on those later.
We have two of our most popular Retreats happening in February.
The Singing Teacher’s Retreat helps you structure your teaching in a creative way.
And our detailed technique weekend Inside The Singing Voice: Vocal Technique Unpacked will give you real insights into how your voice works and what might be happening when it doesn’t.
We still have a couple of spots left on each Retreat so click on each link to find out more and book your place.
The Twelfth Night SALE!
As a celebration of the old year we’re starting 2017 with a Flash Sale of all our online voice training resources.
The top three Webinars downloaded in 2016 were Singing and the Actor Updates, Taking Chest Voice Higher, and Taking Chest Voice Higher – Mixing, and they are all included in the sale, along with 24 other Webinars, Lesson Plans, streaming DVDs and our new spoken voice package.
The sale goes live on New Year’s Day and is only on until Twelfth Night (January 5th). Every digital item is 40% off, so for example you can get one of our CPD Accredited voice training Webinars for just £16.20 instead of £27.
Click here to go to the Vocal Process store, but remember, you only have until January 5th.
Have a great New Year and we’ll see you in 2017.
Jeremy and Dr Gillyanne