Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vocal Resources- Volume 1

Hello all-

I've decided to post a list of great resources for the contemporary singer. They mostly cover vocal technique training but some also address style, performance skills, vocal health & maintenance, and creativity. These are among the products and sites I most highly recommend.

-"Singing For The Stars: A Complete Program for Training Your Voice" by Seth Riggs. This is a classic written by one of the biggest vocal teachers of the last 30 years who has trained the likes of Stevie Wonder, Prince, Michael Jackson, Tamia, Deniece Williams, Angela Winbush, Bernadette Peters, Bryan Adams, Luther Vandross, Ricky Martin, Cher, and Tina Turner. This is one of the 2 books that inspired me to teach voice.

-"The Rock N Roll Singer's Survival Manual" by Mark Baxter. The other of the 2 books that inspired me to become a vocal trainer. This is a unique book that is very detailed in its explanation of vocal anatomy and physiology but presents it in a way this is not intimidating. He does a great job of explaining breathing, support, resonation, and phonation for modern singers. There is also a complete section dealing with the psychological and emotional issues that we singers face. This is an awesome book that all non-classical vocalists and teachers should have!! This is the website of the leading company for vocal training programs founded by leading Nashville coach Brett Manning. The flagship "Singing Success" set includes 12 CDs, a DVD showing Brett at work in his teaching studio, and the concise booklet. The fantastic follow up program, "Mastering Mix", also has 12 CDs and is a powerful advanced tool. There are several other great products offered that I highly recommend. I am an affiliate and endorse these products.

-"The Ultimate Voice Training for Singers" by Billy Purnell. This 4 CD set is a top-notch vocal technique program created by the Riverside, CA based vocal teacher who, like Manning, was trained by Seth Riggs. Very thorough and highly effective! It is available through Billy's website-

-"The Total Singer" by Lisa Popeil. This set was put together by a leading vocal teacher and researcher based in Southern California. It is an innovative approach to teaching both technique and style. The program includes 2 CDs, one dedicated to exercises for pop voice technique and the other with classical vocalises. The DVD addresses the elements of singing such as breathing, support, registers, larynx positions, and vibrato as well as tips for various musical styles. A worthy investment!

-"Basics For Vocal Technique" by Cathy Segal-Garcia. This is a great little 28 page booklet that is easy to understand while being very detailed in its content. It's available at

-"Vocal Technique: A Guide to Finding Your Real Voice" by Dena Murray and "Advanced Vocal Technique: Middle Voice, Placement, & Styles" by Dena Murray & Tita Hutchison. These are the first 2 books in Dena's trilogy of books geared to the modern singer. This work is based on materials she used when she served as head of vocal technique instruction at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA. She takes some of the mystery away from the workings of the voice and then gives exercises to strengthen it and expand range.

-"The Contemporary Singer: Elements of Vocal Technique by Anne Peckham. This comprehensive book is based on the curriculum of the Voice Department of the illustrious Berklee College of Music, which produced such singers as R&B/jazz phenom Lalah Hathaway (one of my favorite vocalists in the world), passionate singer/songwriter Paula Cole, and in-demand backing vocalist Stacy Campbell(Janet Jackson, Pink, Tina Turner, Lalah Hathaway). It covers the anatomy of the voice, how to practice, registers, diction, vocal health, and performance tips. The CD gives vocal workouts for high and low voices as well as demonstrations of certain exercises. A well done book that should be in the library of the modern singer.

-"SING! The Vocal Power Method" by Elisabeth Howard. This is the updated version of the original "Born To Sing" program from Elisabeth and Howard Austin. It is very thorough set which clearly explains the elements of breathing & support, phonation, resonance, and registers before tackling the various vocal style: classical, jazz, pop, gospel, etc. Available with 4 CDs and a DVD, it is a worthwhile course to have.

Now before leaving you,let me remind of his point: NOTHING replaces the importance of having one-on-one training with a qualified voice teacher!! Every person is different and it is vital to have educated ears and eyes present to pinpoint the areas that need to worked on in each singer's technique. With that being said, the resources listed above can be of great benefit to those who are looking for tools to lead them to greater knowledge of their instrument.


Friday, July 1, 2011

And Now.....

July 1st......

For the past 2 years, this has been an important date. Big changes happened. In 2009, my roomie and best friend Eric flew to Chicago from Long Beach, CA to begin Operation: Move Earl to Cali. 4 days later, we would embark on the roadtrip from the only city I had known as home to my new life in SoCal. A major chapter for this then-40 year old.

Last year on July 1st, we moved out of the house we were renting with another friend to a great apartment on Redondo Avenue. It was my first taste of apartment living. We had a balcony facing in the direction of the ocean, giving us an incredible breeze. We had a garden which yielded tomatoes, rosemary, and basil. We lived across the street from a great rib/sandwich place- YUM!!!

Those who know me well know that I hated to leave Long Beach. I loved the people...the energy...the ocean...the opportunities. They also know how much I long to return. I truly feel that it's where I belong at this point in my life. There's much left undone. While I was there, I returned to my identity as an artist and fully accepted myself as a singer/songwriter. I started recording my CD. I started a community show choir. I got work with my roomie's nonprofit. I worked on the planning committee for the Long Beach Dance Festival. I got to be a part of great conversations for the purpose of building bridges between evangelical leaders and openly gay Christians. So many wonderful experiences, and I feel like I left so much unfinished.

My goal is to return to California by fall. Now, this is a bold desire, being that this is now July already!! But I'm learning to live life more boldly. I'm taking a chance on God!! There is much to get figured out. But I truly feel like I am called to be there to fulfill my destiny. I have gifts, abilities, and ideas that are uniquely Earl 4.2 and are needed out there. Gary is my hometown and I love it, but I feel like my home is out west.............