eZINE 82 – Reddit, apps and workshops
The last six months has been packed with new things for Vocal Process including Reddit, apps development and several workshops around the country. We sent out the last eZINE in January and it’s now August, so in this roundup of events we feature our first Reddit AskMeAnything, the new App, our This Is A Voice workshops around the country, hosting the Twitter #VoiceHour each week, and our varied Voice Training Retreats.
Reddit experts of the day
On June 30th 2017 we were the Reddit Science experts of the day. Each day Reddit Science asks one high-profile person or group to be their Ask Me Anything expert. Reddit Science has over 17,000,000 subscribers, and there’s usually only one AMA expert worldwide each day, so we were thrilled to do it. Just to put this into context, previous Reddit AMA experts include several astronauts, the team leading the Large Hadron Collider research project, and Barack Obama.
The questions start arriving up to 5 hours before your allotted live time, so we started preparing our answers at 1.30pm – we still hadn’t finished by the time we went live at 6pm! There are some fascinating questions on voice, voice science, vocal physiology and vocal technique, and we were able to answer most of them in depth in our 2 hours online.
The Reddit Science AMA thread is still live, so if you want to find out our advice for singing and whistling, keeping a healthy voice, watchpoints for the adolescent male voice for school conductors, or thoracic versus abdominal breathing, check out the thread in the link above.
The 1 Minute Voice Warmup App
In January 2017 we met up with husband-and-wife team Garry and Sam Brady. Garry and Sam own www.Speechtools.co, an app development company specialising in vocal and therapeutic resources. In fact, we reviewed their app Voice Analyst in our Six Of The Best iOS Apps Report (you can still download the free Report).
We decided to build a brand new app with exercises for healthy speaking voice. Each exercise would have a 1-minute video to follow. There would also be a longer instructional video for each one to help the viewer learn the technique and understand the purpose of the exercise.
We included exercises under the five headings we thought were the most critical for healthy voice use: Breath control, Releasing tension, Tongue exercises, Clear speech and Interesting voice.
Both of us wrote the scripts and Jeremy recorded the voiceovers. We realised that we needed some strong visuals that were both anatomy- and icon-based, but couldn’t find any existing drawings that worked for the app’s look and content. So Jeremy, who doesn’t consider himself a sketcher at all, drew all the images you see in the app. He’s pleased with the results!
And this week the app received a great review in ComputerActive, the UK’s biggest computer magazine!
Twitter and #Voicehour
A few months ago we started hosting #VoiceHour on Twitter. Each Wednesday between 8 and 9 we invite singers, teachers and voice geeks to join us in chat, gentle debate and photos of larynges (and cake).
It’s been a brilliant way of getting to know fellow voice nerds, and the chat has been wide-ranging, funny and deep. Each week everyone gets to vote on what to talk about, and there have been some great topics chosen:
We started with Classical versus contemporary, young voices, vocal care, dealing with ageing voice, vocal myths, being self-employed in the performing arts industry, oddest place performed, warmups, favourite vocal exercises, songs to live your life by.
More recently we’ve chatted about best aids for teaching voice, voice qualities in pop, what is good diction, and a lively topic – when is belt not belt?
To read all our Voicehour tweets just go to www.Twitter.com and search for #voicehour. Join us live at 8pm on Wednesdays, and remember to include the #voicehour in every reply (or we don’t get to see it).
See you there!
This is a Voice Workshops
We gave another This Is A Voice workshop in June, this time in Burton upon Trent. Vocal Process Associate Teacher Anne Leatherland organised a day for us to work with teachers, singers and students from all over the Midlands and Northeast. Anne also did an excellent job teaching two of the topics on the day.
Each This Is A Voice workshop is different, so on this one we focused on healthy speaking voice, classical singing and contemporary singing. We also worked in a feature on vocal physiology (or as we call it, which bits move where).
Jeremy gave a demonstration of singing the same phrase with 6 different tone onsets/offsets and then taught the group how to start and finish notes for classical and contemporary singing.
We had so many people wanting to sing in the masterclass session that we had to put their names in a (literal) hat. We drew four people who sang music from Waitress, Guys and Dolls, Bare and Aladdin
We’ve run several very successful Retreats this year including Inside the Singing Voice – Vocal Technique Unpacked. This is the course where we spend a whole day exploring breath (flow, amount and speed) and apply it to different singing tasks. Then we experience different vocal tract settings and apply them to personal voice use. You can see some of the amazing feedback on our homepage here.
The ADVANCED Retreat takes you into 20 different vocal settings based on modal and 20 on falsetto as described in Gillyanne’s Keynote video for AOTOS “After Estill: a conversation we need to have”. We also explore how subglottal pressure changes with various mixes, with pitch change, volume and in articulation.
And more – we think about how range is managed in different vocal settings, how the techniques of ‘vowel tuning’ and ‘pitch centres’ can help us change sound quickly and easily – and we help you to identify your personal ‘defaults’ as well as challenges.
This is a terrific course for teachers or performers.
On the Singing Teacher’s Retreat we go in-depth into teaching, communication and building lesson structures. You discover what an exercise is and what it does (and doesn’t) do. We analyse favourite warmups and vocal exercises to find the most effective versions, and we target vocal problems (on our first STR we gave solutions to over 100 vocal issues).
Click on each link above to find out more about the Retreats, then come and join us for some focused, personalised voice learning!
Jeremy and Dr Gillyanne
PS We’ll be sending out another eZINE very soon with a roundup of new voice science developments from our time at the International Congress of Voice Teachers (ICVT) in Sweden. There’s some fascinating voice work happening in Australia, Scandinavia and the US on harmonics, contemporary commercial voice training, gospel singing and the role of the singing teacher in the voice clinic, so keep your eyes peeled!