Your Voice & AI – Tools to enhance your singing, teaching & vocal analysis

In the second episode of this special tw0-part interview for #ThisIsAVoice podcast, the dynamic Karen Michaels is back with us in the studio, diving into the topic of how to find your own #voice as a singing teacher or vocal coach.

In This Is A Voice Season 8 Episode 3 Karen’s sharing valuable insights on branding, ideal clients, mission statements, and core values. The key is not to get stuck in the planning phase for too long; take an hour to jot these down and move forward (preferably with a friend and a glass of something nice). Social media and advertising may seem daunting, but remember, you can adapt and change as your business evolves.

We also discuss the evolving nature of education for singers and how voice teachers are now guiding their students to discover their own unique voice and artistic identity We’re talking about some fantastic AI tools for singers and teachers.,, and Erol Singer’s Studio are changing the game, providing new ways to practise, analyze, and enhance your singing.

Lastly, we explore the changing world of technology and how it impacts our lives as musicians and educators. Be sure to check out Karen’s one-on-one strategy sessions and newsletter for valuable tech tips, and check out Jeremy’s article. All the resources mentioned in the episode are in the notes below. Thanks for tuning in, and remember, your voice is unique, so let it shine! 🌟🎤🚀

  • 0:00 Finding your voice
  • 3:43 Jeremy’s favourite clients
  • 5:07 Karen does a shoutout
  • 6:55 Teaching songs we don’t know
  • 8:21 AI tools – EVITA
  • 11:15 AI tools – MOISES
  • 12:32 Erol Singer’s Studio
  • 13:37 Your artist versus your librarian
  • 15:31 Humanity’s job
  • 17:23 Singing teacher’s job is changing
  • 20:38 What Karen loves to do

This Is A Voice podcast Season 8 Episode 3

Your Voice and AI – Tools to enhance your singing, teaching and vocal analysis

[00:00:00] Jeremy: This is A Voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher. Hello and welcome to This is a Voice, Season 8, Episode 3.

[00:00:26] Gillyanne: The podcast where we get vocal about voice.

[00:00:28] Jeremy: I’m Jeremy Fisher.

[00:00:29] Gillyanne: And I’m Dr. Gillyanne Kayes

[00:00:31] Jeremy: And she’s back. We have dragged Karen Michaels back into the studio.

[00:00:35] Gillyanne: So what should we talk about next?

[00:00:37] Jeremy: The thing that I want to go straight to is finding your own voice.

[00:00:43] Karen: So fun.

[00:00:45] Jeremy: Can we talk about that?

[00:00:47] Karen: Absolutely. So obviously we’re speaking about this in not our singing voice, but our actual, our content voice, right?

And so I would say that you definitely want to make sure that you’ve done the work in your business. You understand your branding, you understand who it is you are speaking to. That’s called the IC, right? The ideal client. You understand all those things. You’ve written a mission statement. You’ve written a value statement.

You’ve heard me say that many times. already, what are my core values. I’ve written all those down. Now, I don’t want you to do what things like I do, which is I take weeks to write all those things. And then it prevents you from moving forward. So friends, you have one hour to write all of those things out. Okay. Think about the colors you like. Think about the clients that you love. And guess what?

If right now you think your perfect client is 13 to 17 year olds who are working to get into college, let’s say that’s your IC. And then in two years you’re doing that and you’re like, you know, I have a couple of college age, I really love that. Guess what? It’s your business. Change that. Move forward. It’s okay.

It’s my business coach, Michelle Markwart Devaux of the Speakeasy Cooperative. The best thing she has ever said to me is, it’s your business. Make adjustments at your will, at your decisions, right? I can change my mind whenever I want. But, to begin, just get those things written down. What is the most meaningful thing to you?

To impart your voice technique knowledge, to impart how to sing, how to front a band, to how to get into a specific college, how to book a show, whatever your thing is, just write all that down. And then I want you to get a friend. Don’t do this with your husband or wife.

Just no, go get a friend. And then I’m going to recommend a glass of wine, but please carry on with whatever it is you’d like to drink and tell them this story as if you’re just saying it. Let’s see Gillyanne, so my, okay, I love pinks and greens and some reds and I love teaching college age singers and how to front a band and use a microphone because that’s what I love and I love this kind of repertoire and I really only want to work like Monday through Thursdays and my core value is that everyone leaves with a song in their heart. Done.

Just practice saying that out loud. So it doesn’t feel weird because guess what? All of this stuff, social media and advertising, and we’re not used to doing this, friends. If you think, gosh, I can’t do that. That girl, she’s, she likes all that stuff. No. I like technology. I don’t like doing any of the stuff either.

Maybe I like writing. I’ll say that. I like writing.

[00:03:42] Jeremy: It’s very, because we still do that. We still do exactly what you just did. In fact, we did it a few weeks ago when we were asking each other what we want. And we do this regularly with Vocal Process. Vocal Process has actually shifted slightly many times during the last 22 years.

Yes. And we were having this conversation a few weeks ago and I said the thing I absolutely love doing and the thing that I’ve loved doing all along is coaching college age musical theatre students and also the people who’ve just left college. That’s my absolute favourite area to work with and that’s in musical theatre or contemporary commercial music.

So we’re actually talking 18 to 23, 24. Sure. But I also work in the classical world and in the classical world I like them slightly older. So it’s like 25 to 30 something because of the way that a classical career develops. Ironically, those people are probably in the same point in their career but because of the way the Vocal demands are that they are slightly older.

And it was so fascinating because we just started doing a series of online masterclasses for musical theater singers and college people and post college people. And it is one of my absolute favorite things to do. So we shifted, we moved the company so that we could increase our aim there. And we started doing the masterclasses online for precisely that reason.

[00:05:07] Karen: Wow. And friends listen on a side note, aside from social media, if you are a singer or a voice teacher, and you have the chance to talk to these people and work with these people, and you’re not taking that chance, you are remiss. I tried to think of a nice word. I was thinking of other words.

[00:05:25] Gillyanne: You’re missing out.

[00:05:26] Jeremy: Preach!

[00:05:27] Karen: Yes, because I am it’s a crazy life to me that I get to help you with your marketing and do all that fun tech stuff I love. And then we talk about voice and piano and I’m like, wow. Thank you, Lord. I’m having such a great time. And your knowledge is truly, it is so vast and over so many years that the depth and the breadth of knowledge that you bring to the table in this day and age is what I think is, makes you so stand out because you have so much behind you to help us look ahead at what’s happening.

Who could have imagined 25 years ago a show like SIX. And that’s, that show is on my brain because I have a friend who’s, she’s the assistant conductor. And then I have a couple of girls that are very close to getting cast that I’m very hopeful for. And the music is so demanding and so far from, what, The Sound of Music, what’s happening, right?

Thank God for me. It’s just, it’s a beautiful, fabulous sound. And who could have imagined that? How could we have prepared for that 20 years ago in college? No way. We couldn’t have, so that’s what I love about what you all are doing is that you have your, so much of what you know and bring to the table too is timeless information That will carry on for many years to come.

There’s no doubt.

[00:06:47] Jeremy: Thank you. I think it’s so interesting as well, because sometimes we don’t realize we know what we know until somebody asks the question and then we’d go, Oh, that.

[00:06:54] Gillyanne: And also, to be fair, if somebody does bring something from SIX or, a pop song that’s just been released, and we don’t know the genre, we have to sit down and listen to it, I will sit down and, just play and sing through it. Maybe I don’t have the the kind of timbre or vocal style that some people have, but I have to get to know it that way. So we have to do our homework, we don’t sit there thinking just because we learned all this stuff years ago, we know everything.

[00:07:23] Jeremy: Okay, so I was doing it this morning with an avocational singer.

Yes. And she said, oh, do you know Beyonce’s Renaissance? And I went I’ll listen to it right now. And we listened to it together, one of the tracks.

Oh, that’s so fun.

In, in the session itself. And we listened to the first half of the track and I went let’s make those sounds. And it’s so interesting when you listen to somebody that you, somebody whose voice I know fairly well, but I hadn’t heard that track.

And you go right, let’s analyze what she does. She does this, she does that. That’s how it’s going to work on your voice. Start here, do that, add this. There you go. That’s the sound she’s making. And it was so fascinating. We do this all the time. I love doing that. I love taking a recording of somebody, analyzing the sound, working out what they do, and then working out what the person in front of me needs to do to make that sound.

And it probably isn’t what Beyoncé is doing, because it’s a different instrument.

[00:08:14] Karen: It’s a different instrument.

[00:08:16] Gillyanne: That’s a very happy place for you.

[00:08:17] Jeremy: I love doing that.

[00:08:18] Gillyanne: Very happy place. Yes.

[00:08:19] Karen: Oh, that’s so fun.

[00:08:21] Gillyanne: Since we’re talking about singing, Karen, one of the things that you said you’d share is perhaps how you use AI tools in the studio, and how you think other singers and teachers can be using it.

Could you give us a few heads up on that? Yes.

[00:08:38] Karen: There is a our very own Oren Boder, I’m not sure I said his name, did I say his name right? That’s right. Rayvox, at Rayvox, has, go get on that waitlist, y’all. It is so cool, it’s called, and I believe that’s the webpage as well.

And I am chomping at the bit for this, I’ll be very honest. Because, I feel that as a voice teacher, when people come into the studio, we’re going to work on something particular, right? An audition, an assignment, I’m in a show doing this and it’s not working, or I need to do it better, or whatever it is, all of those things.

We’re working at something particular generally, right? But I always tell them, friends, in the between time, That’s when your voice actually gets better because I’m just assuming that you are practicing and doing the work, right? And I, and so I call myself sometimes the voice babysitter. You come in and I’m like Hmm, this, this, right?

So this app, I think the Evita.Ai has a really strong possibility for that in between time.

[00:09:45] Gillyanne: You’ve seen the same as us. I spotted it right away. I thought, Oh my God, you can upload your lesson content to there. And then you can pull out the things that your student needs to do in between. Also. Can I say, and I’m sorry, I’m interrupting your thought because I can see you’re as, as enthused as I am, for a teacher to actually understand what they are doing and their process.

That is super powerful.

[00:10:15] Jeremy: And we haven’t even talked about the repertoire lists in there.

[00:10:19] Karen: I know because I know I don’t even know everything that’s in there, but all I can say is that, and again, this is the, here he is using this for the good, and friends do not fall into that trap I guess I’m getting replaced.

That is, I’m going to call BS on that. I’m going to call big fat BS on that because once again, in the end, A robot will not be able to replace what I did the other night playing piano and singing for a group right by the Sphere, by the way, in Vegas. So cool. It was amazing. I’m looking out the window and thinking, okay, God, once again, I need to get on my knees and make sure I do good stuff this week.

Uh, you know, But here nobody can do that. Karen, it’s the Karen version, right? Or the whoever’s version. But to enhance what we’re doing and to learn to do it better. Why wouldn’t we use these amazing tools, right? I was telling you earlier, the other one other app that I’m, that I’ve just started to use is called Moises.

I believe I’m looking at the, yes. And that is an app where you can take out any piece of the track, the drums, the guitar, the voice of any track. So I did it. I did it one time already. I haven’t done it too many times, but I’ve done it one time completely with an Ella Fitzgerald track. So I’m singing along with the Duke Ellington orchestra.

And of course, having listened to her, it’s just like when a trumpet player transcribes the riffs, right? You do that to learn, not to copy. So here I am singing with that track and practicing that. And plus crying because duke Ellington. Imagine you could do that with a Billie Eilish track.

I can practice piano the way, listen to what Finneas is doing, her brother, right? Listen to what Finneas is doing. And then what’s the Karen version of that? Or, Oh, how cool he did this turnaround, whatever it is, right? You can practice in ways that we could never practice before. It is absolutely an incredible tool, and the last one I’ll talk about, I’m not sure it’s available in the UK, I’ll have to look at that, and I’ve had it a long time.

It’s called Erol Singer’s Studio, and you sing, you hold your phone, or you can wear headphones, and when you sing the pitches, it shows a wave file. where your voice is. Are you dead center? Are you sharp? Are you flat? Are do you waver? Which is obviously the norm, by the way, because sometimes I want to throw my phone across the room that it’s not, it’s telling me I’m not singing dead center.

What are you talking about? Of course I’m singing dead center, but that’s a fantastic app again for self self practice. And these are the kinds of things we want to share with our students. So that they’re, they also need to take responsibility. It’s their voice and their body. I, as a voice teacher, I always say, I can’t go in, I can’t go in your throat and go, okay, go over there and move this over here.

It’s so beautifully unique, our instrument. And so we must use these tools to figure out how to make either the sounds we want or the sounds that are acting and storytelling choices are helping us make. And why not use every tool at your disposal?

[00:13:37] Jeremy: I wrote an article about, this, about exactly what you’re talking about called Artist or Librarian.

And it’s really interesting because I reckon that everybody has two parts to their brain or two areas, if you like. And one is the librarian who takes facts and information and techniques and shapes and rhythms and plots them and sorts them all out so that they’re instantly categorizable, they’re instantly available.

And it’s the artist who goes in and goes, don’t care what it’s called, I’ll have that that, and that, and then produces art. You need both. You need, definitely need both. What I’m so fascinated by now is it’s like your librarian just got plugged into the mains. Yes. Oh, I love this category.

Because there’s so much more that the librarian can take in to categorize. Or there’s so many more tools that you can use to help the librarian categorize. But your artist is still there. And your artist just goes, don’t care how it got there, don’t care what it’s called, let’s play with it.

[00:14:38] Karen: Nice. I love this analogy.

[00:14:39] Jeremy: And the thing is, it’s like my usual instruction when I’m teaching somebody a new technique or we’re experimenting with new riffs or whatever it is. It’s good, here’s the pattern. Here’s a good, very good. Now make it work. And make it work is bring your artist in please.

[00:14:55] Karen: Bring yourself to it.

[00:14:57] Jeremy: Bring yourself to what we’re doing because yourself is unique.

[00:15:00] Gillyanne: And to go back full circle and to talk about AI. Actually, what Karen is suggesting and what we’re doing when we’re using it and we’re using ChatGPT is actually that. It’s not, no one will ever be able to write anything novel again.

Of course not.

We’re actually feeding our creativity into that and managing that and bringing something new. Do you see how I’ve got to that point?

[00:15:31] Jeremy: There is something that I think we’ve got to remember, which is about humanity in general, which is humanity in general will always extend boundaries. It’s almost like that’s our job.

[00:15:46] Karen: Right.

[00:15:47] Jeremy: So it doesn’t matter how full AI gets and how many things there are. We are always going to be able to extend the boundaries. We’re always going to find a new use for something.

[00:15:56] Gillyanne: So we’ll expand to meet it.

[00:15:58] Jeremy: We absolutely will.

[00:16:00] Karen: Yes. Absolutely. Who could have thought that? To me, the human voice would be making the sounds, the kind of sounds that I dreamed of as a kid, and now, girls are mix belting up to, it’s crazy pants, right?

And it’s because brilliant people like you have figured out some of that mechanisms, right? And then you’re teaching us and then we’re figuring it out and it’s funny I was one of my kids came in and she was like the new Billie Eilish song.

What was I made for? You know the Barbie song and she’s like that breathy and this and I said, oh that’s like Norah Jones and she was like who? What happened? And I was like, Oh gosh. Okay. So let’s have a little, okay. So yeah, I love Billie so much. She didn’t think of that first, but I’m glad that you think so.

And but of course the way Norah does it and the way Billie does it still unique. And I was showing them and I told her the way you’re going to do it. She said is it weird to do that breathy copy? And I’m like, wait. You’re emulating. You’re using it as influence. You’re trying it out. No, it’s not copying because quite frankly, Billie can’t copy your voice either.

Have you ever thought of that in reverse? The star can’t copy your voice as much as you think you can’t copy theirs. And why do you want to? Just be influenced by that sound and make that sound your way, right?

[00:17:18] Gillyanne: That’s a really nice way of handling it, particularly with, younger singers.

I think that’s lovely.

[00:17:23] Jeremy: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the job of a singing teacher is sort of changing. Mm hmm. Tell me more. Well, It’s like your job is to help the singer find who they are.

[00:17:37] Gillyanne: Mm

[00:17:37] Karen: hmm.

[00:17:38] Gillyanne: You’re not training them now in the way that you know.

[00:17:43] Jeremy: Oh yes, education has changed.

[00:17:46] Gillyanne: You have a trained voice, people used to say.

Or they’d say, you’re a good singer, you should train.

[00:17:52] Jeremy: Yes.

[00:17:52] Gillyanne: What the hell does that mean?

[00:17:53] Jeremy: Education has changed. What the This is really good because this is reflecting on how education is changing. Yes. Because now, education for people, particularly people, growing up in this era now is about choice. It’s about finding what you love.

It’s about fitting things together that haven’t been fitted together before. It’s about having a vast range to choose from. And I think people are more, particularly the kids who are growing up now, are much more used to having a vast range to choose from. We’re not. Mm. I think anybody who gets to our age just wants it all to be straightforward.

[00:18:29] Karen: I love that.

[00:18:30] Gillyanne: Could we have a nice cup of tea after?

[00:18:31] Jeremy: Nice cup of tea would be lovely.

[00:18:32] Karen: Yes. I love that. And you know what’s funny? Meredith Colby and I were just chatting about this that the whole voice technique teacher, it’s really coaching. Obviously, there is technique to things, for sure, of course, and we as teachers, we’re, I believe, we are obligated, in a sense, to have some, at least at the bare minimum, some working knowledge of anatomy and things like that, right?

[00:18:59] Gillyanne: Absolutely. Agreed.

[00:19:00] Karen: But. But the, but with this, the way that we are fed information and the way we listen now, what we slow, and I often slow down the YouTube videos and then we wear headphones so you can hear that, like when they gasp or whatever it is, it’s just fascinating. And even 20 years ago, you couldn’t hear those things.

Not only that, they were editing them out. So Cause they’re all right. I’m sure you’ve had this too. The students are asking, where do they breathe? Oh baby, they’re breathing or they’d be dead. Because they’re, the studio is taking it out, and then once you say that, then poof, the biggest light bulb.

But the great thing about that is as we’re helping people to find their artistry, I’ll tell you what, what is a really interesting prompt that I used with Chat GPT. Analyze this voice. is the funnest. So you put in the YouTube video and you ask it to analyze the singer. What are they doing?

What’s happening here? What are the instruments? I think it’s this, am I missing any? I have asked those questions and and I’m like, what? A xylophone is in there? And then I’m like listening crazy, you know, or whatever.

[00:20:13] Jeremy: I love that.

[00:20:13] Gillyanne: We are going to do this as soon as we’ve finished.

[00:20:16] Karen: So fun. And use different ones.

Use Google Bard, use Bing. See what’s coming out of there. Yeah.

[00:20:23] Jeremy: Just so that people know, just right now, go to chat.openai.Com and type in that question. Here’s the YouTube link. What is this singer doing?

[00:20:32] Gillyanne: I love this.

[00:20:33] Jeremy: I love that.

[00:20:34] Gillyanne: It’s fabulous.

[00:20:34] Karen: So fun, right? Oh my gosh. I could talk about this all day.

[00:20:38] Gillyanne: So Karen, is there anything you’d like to flag for our listeners about, stuff that you’re doing, either your your own performing or, any aspect of what you offer as a social media non-guru?

[00:20:53] Karen: Oh, thanks. Yeah. My favorite thing to do, and I think it’s because of the way I handle my voice studio is to do one off sessions where I help you create a strategy for your performing, or your students, or your studio.

Or yourself, and I help you create an entire strategy that, you could use it for the whole year, quite frankly, best case scenarios, generally three months at a time, but that’s my favorite thing to do. I’m happy to put together a little offer for the podcast listeners. So I’ll send you that.

Thank you. Yes. Absolutely. Pleasure. And it’s so fun. I have. Obviously because of my knowledge I have a piano, a Tony award winning pianist right now that I’m helping with his album. A local act here in Vegas who is, they’re just changing venues and so, and they’re doing a big opening night splash.

Obviously I have a lot of voice teachers and and then single performers, I love working with people, making sure that they know, do the behind the scenes, do a get ready with me to share a rehearsal moment and. It’s those non curated, non super produced moments that always do the best because people are, we’re so lucky to be in this industry that’s interesting to the rest of the world. I’m like, really, I’m just sitting in my studio, practicing a song for the 80th time, because I can’t get that damn note. And, but that is what’s interesting because, people just don’t do that. They don’t realize often the amount of work we’re putting into a song, the amount of effort.

We’re doing the kind of studying. I still study with my beloved Jimmy my teacher, these are important things that people are just interested to know and it’s stuff you’re doing every day. So that’s the kind of thing that I love talking about and helping people find that. And then I would just love it if you could, if people would get on my newsletter, I have a paid version and a free version.

And really the paid version is just about supporting the amount of work I do, because I’ll be honest, it’s about 20 hours every week of research, social media research. And I don’t even send the newsletter every week because I’m compiling what I believe is most important. It’s not just a laundry list.

And and of course this week is, I am going to laundry list all the amazing things about the new iPhone and about the new iWatch and all that it does. Are you getting a new iPhone? Yes, I am. I am getting the new one. I have been such a good girl. This is a 12 people. Oh my gosh. That was like so cray-cray, right?

And she is fully paid off and ready to go. And I will, I’ll show you this. Look, how fun is this? This is the very first one.

[00:23:30] Jeremy: Can I just say that you’ve done an amazing job on your marketing with an iPhone 12?

[00:23:35] Karen: Thank you. Yes. The things that are coming, because I’ll be honest friends. The majority of my work is on my phone.

Like I didn’t even have a desktop until three months ago. I had a laptop.

[00:23:48] Jeremy: Amazing.

[00:23:50] Karen: And then my iPad, of course, I really don’t do any content creation on that. I’m, if I ever have another one, I will. But all of my music programs Forscore, Moises ai, iReal Pro, Musicnotes, all of those programs live on my iPad, and that’s strictly for my studio.

And guitar tabs. Oh my gosh, what would I do without guitar tabs? I dunno. But yeah, I and by the way, if you have tech and you’re like, what do I do with it? That’s also one of my favorite sessions because I can show you how to use your phone, what apps I use, how exactly I use them and how, I can travel with just this.

[00:24:31] Jeremy: That’s just the iPhone

[00:24:34] Karen: And no other device.

[00:24:35] Gillyanne: I think some of our teacher group would love to know more about this. You did do a fabulous session for our Registered Teachers last year. Thank you for that. But I think they’d be very interested in hearing your insights into tech that can be used to make our lives easier as teachers.

Yep. Oh, we’ll have to make a plan around that.

[00:24:57] Karen: Okay, that sounds fun. Thank you.

[00:24:59] Jeremy: So we should come to a stop now. We should. We should. Okay. Because we have been keeping you and it’s so interesting to hear you talk about all sorts of things and I, I love all this stuff as well.

[00:25:09] Gillyanne: I know I’ve learned a lot.

You do. Yeah. Loads.

We’re gonna have to say goodbye to you. Thank you so much for being a guest. It’s been brilliant.

Thank you for having me as. Always a pleasure. I love saying, it’s quite cheeky, isn’t it? See, I had to do one little tiny bit of an accent, just so you know, I’m listening.

[00:25:28] Jeremy: So we’ll see you again. Thank you, Karen.

This is A Voice, a podcast with Dr. Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.


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