Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Stay Motivated when Training Your Voice

{Published in Business Times Newspaper 15-21 May 2015} Procrastination is inevitable, as it were, especially when you’re training on your own—without supervision by a tutor. Nothing is easier than losing interest in your training. Once you begin to skip training a couple of times, before you know it you’ve skipped so many vocal training sessions that the thought of getting back on track in itself sends you right back into procrastination, so much so that if you’re not persistent in your resolve to get back on track you’ll probably never go back at all. In this article, I will offer quick and simple tips on how to self-motivate into pursuing your goals without ever falling off the wagon again.

The secret to staying motivated is to consider what you’re doing as YOUR journey into discovering yourself AND your voice. With every exercise that you do, stay alert and tuned to your senses so that you can actually FEEL the progress you’re making. Believe me, every vocal training session—whether you’re doing it alone or with a teacher—gets you closer and closer to discovering more about your voice than in the previous session. This is how to stay motivated. It may sound a little simplistic, but when you begin to think of your training as a journey into yourself, you’ll never get bored. If anything, you’ll be looking forward to your sessions with every passing moment.

Another simple trick is to change your exercises and their durations more frequently. For example, you may choose to train for an hour one day and only for forty five or twenty minutes in subsequent sessions. It helps to keep your training more interesting. Variety is the spice of life, as they say. It works every time.  And if you find you don’t have an hour to spare, simply shorten your session—but do SOME training. So stay focused, and be blessed with a beautiful voice.

I offer FREE vocal coaching via WhatsApp. Download FREE MP3 to vocal exercises here!

Thank you for dropping by,


JOETT
Vocal Coach
Need Private Singing Lessons? Click Here!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

How Mayunga Beat Contestants from 12 African Countries to Win Airtel Trace Music Star Singing Competition


{Published in Business Times Newspaper 1-7 May 2015} Trace TV aired the Airtel Trace Music Star Grand Finale on Saturday April 18th and I’ve never seen such drama and tension in singing competitions before. Priceless! But the purpose of this article isn’t to talk about how the competition went, I’m sure you can follow that up on YouTube. In this article I want to spill the beans on HOW Mayunga beat all these other contestants from all over Africa hands down, to walk away with the prize.  It wasn’t pot luck. It wasn’t JUST talent. And it certainly didn’t happen by accident. Do you want to know what went down? Read on!

While training Mayunga for the Kenya Grand Finale, he mentions… “The Ugandan singer is so good; and the Nigerian girl is amazing.” I could see he was a little uneasy. And I said to him, “I’ve watched videos of ALL the winners from the rest of Africa, and you know what? YOU have something they ALL don’t have. You have the training.” And I went on to say, confidently, “YOU are going to win this competition!” Well, he didn’t believe me then, but he does now.


Three songs were required for the Grand Finale. My song selection therefore was More Than Words by BBMak (which he’d sung at the Tanzania finale), and Michael Jackson’s One Day In Your Life… a very big and difficult song. Mayunga asked me if he could sing My Baby You by Marc Anthony. I asked him sing it to me, and I immediately agreed to let him do the number. What had become very apparent to him was that although he’d been singing the song for a while—long before Airtel Trace Music Star came to town—AND knew the lyrics, he admitted he’d never been able to scale the high notes and that it was, back then, all a bit of a struggle. Previously, he said, he would shout his way around the song. Well, evidently, all the vocal training to this point had paid off. But we had a lot of work to do to refine his voice for the song. And so I sought to train him specifically to sing the Michael Jackson song One Day In Your Life—because it was way harder—and assured him that when he’d mastered Michael’s song, Marc Anthony’s would be easy.  What I gave Mayunga in training I have never given ANYBODY else. My reputation was riding on this. We had to win this competition. Period!

I decided to compile a special combination of sixteen vocal exercises that lasted exactly forty two minutes. In the first segment, the voice got a gradual warm-up that then lead on to an intensive vocal agility workout and concluded with a very specific vocal mix exercise. All of which I compiled especially to help him navigate One Day In Your Life with precision, pitch accuracy and control reminiscent of the King of pop Michael Jackson. I will hand this to Mayunga, HE really works hard. On the last day in training he left my studio at 22 minutes past midnight and he was flying out to Nairobi at mid day. I remember him say, “and people think singing is easy?” I simply quipped “well that’s what they think, but now you know what it takes to sing to an international level!” So in essence, and let this be a lesson to all of you, if you want to learn to sing, you have got to put everything you’ve got into honing your craft. I’ve come across way too many people who are so casual about this, it’s annoying. Mayunga is SO refreshing and a joy to work with because he WANTS to do this in earnest. And he brought home the trophy because he put EVERYTHING he had into this AND followed my instructions to the letter. That’s what it took. Watch Mayunga in training Part 1 to 4 here, and Part 5 to 9 here.

Thanks for dropping by my blog, and please share!


JOETT





Monday, April 20, 2015

Mayunga Beats Contestants from 12 African Countries to WIN Airtel Trace Music Star 2015

When I heard the news the night he won this competition, I was THRILLED. I hardly slept at all. I kept going over this in my head, and the more I thought about it, the more I began to reflect upon how this came about in the first place. How I pitched my way into Airtel Trace Music Star was SO déjà-vu. So uncanny. When news of the competition was flying about on TV and radio, I picked up the phone and rang Anethy Muga, the marketing person at Airtel, and I told her quite frankly... "if you want Tanzania to win this competition, you need me. I must come on board. I am your man!" I remember she asked me, "but who are you?" and I replied, "my name is Joett, I'm a vocal coach, and I am the best!"

She took me very seriously, she contacted Trace in South Africa, and then sent off my profile. When TRACE Managing Director East Africa Steve Agutu came to town, we had a meeting and there you have it... I was on board as judge AND vocal coach to the Top 5 Tanzania contestants! And what's even MORE unbelievable is when I was training Mayunga for the Kenya Grande Finale, I told him on numreous occasions, that he was going to win this competition... and he did!

I really want to thank Steve Agutu, AND Anethy Muga for believing in me enough to entrust me with the job. What a happy ending. We certainly should do this again next year.

ABOUT THE JUDGES

Akon: Akon’s shimmering, soulful voice has propelled countless hits across genres—from pop and R&B to hip-hop and dance. In addition to his own chart-dominating singles «Smack That» and «I Wanna Love You», he’s made a staggering 300 guest appearances for icons including Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Lil Wayne, R. Kelly, and Eminem. With over 35 million albums sold worldwide, five Grammy Award nominations, and 45 Billboard Hot 100 songs under his belt, he’s simply unstoppable.

Lynnsha: Lynnsha is a multi-platinium artist from the French Carribbean. She started to sing at 7 years old and debuts her career as a chorist for major Afro-Caribbean artists. In 2004, her first single “Rendez-vous” met great success. She was featured in «Secret Lover» with Wyclef Jean, and with hottest French singers such as Passi and Admiral T. Lynnsha collaborates with Craig David on “Walking Away”. She reached the top of the charts with “Maldon” featuring Fanny J and Louisy Joseph.

Devyne Stephens: Devyne Stephens has amassed a very impressive track record and list of accomplishments. He has created mega-stars and has had an undeniable footprint on the development of some of the biggest entertainers of our time including such notable artist as Akon, R Kelly, Usher, Mary J Blige, Mariah Carey, Lady GaGa, Gwen Stefani, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Pink, Sting, Ludacris, Ciara, TLC and many more. Devyne has been referred to at times as the “Berry Gordy” of his generation!!


JOETT
Vocal Coach/Private Singing Lessons
Online Singing Lessons Course

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Where to Find Inspiration to Develop a Soulful Voice (Part 1)

In case this hadn’t crossed your mind, a soulful interpretation of a song comes from within. A tone that touches the soul of another person is perhaps the most wonderful gift from God that only you, the singer, endowed with the gift of voice can deliver. The definitive school of soul music that has inspired a multitude of genres and transcended generations in the last half a century—the way I see it, goes back to the 1970s. And if you really want to know, the record label that brought us the greatest soul music of all time in that era was Barry Gordy’s Motown Records. In this article, I’m going to give you some tips on the music you ought to be listening to IF you want to ignite that soulful flare from within. Learning from a stable of legendary singers like 70s Motown pre-computer, pre-auto tune productions will have you experience your growth possibilities as a singer take on a whole new dimension.

In my first installment, looking at my own definitive 70s Motown record collection, I draw inspiration from Stevie Wonder with Signed, Sealed, Delivered; Detroit Spinners with It’s A Shame; Diana Ross – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough; Marvin Gaye – Abraham, Martin And John; Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye – Stop Look And Listen; The Supremes – Stoned Love; The Commodores – Brick House; The Commodores – Flying High; The Commodores – Zoom and last but not least, Thelma Houston – Don’t Leave Me This Way.


I will be listing more Motown material in my next installment, but for now, what I’d like you to do is to run a search for these songs online to get a feel for the way songs were delivered back then—with so much passion, so much soul… and be inspired to develop your own soulful style by learning from the greats! 

I offer FREE vocal coaching via WhatsApp. Download FREE MP3 to vocal exercises here! 



JOETT
Vocal Coach, Dar es salaam.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Diary Of A Vocal Coach: Training Sessions Part 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9




Training session na Mayunga (mshindi wa Airtel Trace Music Star Tanzania), nikimuandaa kwa shindano la Airtel Trace Music Star Grande Finale litakalo fanyika huko Nairobi, Kenya tarehe 28 Machi, 2015. Kijana wetu yuko vizuri, tumpigie kure.

JOETT
Vocal Coach/Private Singing Lessons
Online Singing Lessons Course

Diary Of A Vocal Coach: Training Sessions Part 1, 2, 3 & 4






Training session na Mayunga (mshindi wa Airtel Trace Music Star Tanzania), nikimuandaa kwa shindano la Airtel Trace Music Star Grande Finale litakalo fanyika huko Nairobi, Kenya tarehe 28 Machi, 2015. Kijana wetu yuko vizuri, tumpigie kure.

JOETT

How to Quickly Fix Tricky Pitch Segments of a Song

{Published in Business Times Newspaper March 27, 2015} If you’ve experienced pitching difficulty when trying to deliver a song, you will appreciate what this article is about to deliver—some handy tips on how to fix tricky pitching issues that oftentimes serve to torment and frustrate the singer. Common hurdles are the low notes that sound rather muddy, and the high notes that sound rather pinched or strident—OR weak and unsavory falsetto. The thing about it is if you’re a musician worth your salt, you will know when your vocals just aren’t sounding right. So let’s go over the common complaints afflicting the singer, and what you can do to quickly fix these seemingly insurmountable shortcomings in your vocal range.

 I will begin with the high notes and take you down to the lower register. Let’s say you’re finding it difficult to hit a clean and crisp high note without resorting to a lighter-production falsetto tone that, unless you’re doing it for special effect, doesn’t sound quite right. The reason is simple. When you get to a certain octave, what is happening is you’re disconnecting. And here’s a quick solution: try to imagine a straight line that goes from your chest to your head. The quick-fix way to align your vocals to travel in a straight line is to simply hum your way up. Take a deep breath, and then begin by humming the melody of the song in your speaking voice (the low note) and push that up into your upper register… into what we call the ‘head voice’ (you’ll feel the resonance in your head). And if you begin to disconnect on your way up, lean forward as you approach the top note. Repositioning your posture by leaning forward alleviates the gravitational pull to allow the muscles surrounding your larynx to stay relaxed and to not interfere with your tone production. That’s all there is to it. With the help of special arpeggio exercises, try to practice the hum—daily if you can—to improve your tone production and chest to head voice connection. Once you get the hang of this, there’ll be no need to lean forward. Hitting the highs will come naturally. Use the forward lean strategy only as a short-term solution to help you stay connected.

And what about the low notes? Begin your hum at the bottom of your range and as you approach the top note, lean forward to prevent you from reaching or having your larynx muscles recruited to produce the tone (as when this happens it causes strain). On your way down, gradually begin to tilt your trunk back to the erect posture as you did at the beginning of this exercise. Keep working your way down the scale into your chest voice as deep as you can go. If you do this correctly, you’ll find that your voice in your lower range is now crisp and clear. If you’ve had voice lessons before you’ll be well aware of how this feels. Download free mp3 to arpeggios and descending scales here.

JOETT
Vocal Coach/Private Singing Lessons
Online Singing Lessons Course