OVS Performers at the Algester Primary School Market Day – Saturday 3rd March, 2018

Well done to all the OVS Students who performed solo at the Algester Primary School Market Day on Saturday 3rd March, 2018.

A full 1 1/2 hour set of continuous music was performed from 3pm by soloists Lahaina Ahloo, Joshua Chillemi, Laurence Javillonar, Ainsleyy Maa, Brianna Patel and Brianna Pierre.  This was the first time I have only featured solo performances and something we will be doing more of.

The school hosts events once a Term and event planner, Jade has kindly invited us back.  This will provide a great opportunity for students to practise repertoire and hone their entertainment and stage craft skills.

Though the event had been postponed a week due to the wet weather and the day was extremely muggy with a quiet turn-out, it was a great opportunity to perform.  Regardless of how many people are in the audience or whether they are listening or not, always prepare well, present well and perform your best.

Nigel Lau – Placing 1st in the Brisbane Water Cube Cup to representing Brisbane in Beijing

📰  Congratulations and wishing Nigel Lau a wonderful experience in Beijing!  At just 12 years of age Nigel has been training, rehearsing and taking every performance opportunity to sing.  Last month, Nigel won first place in the Brisbane Water Cube Cup and is training in Beijing from July to August. Nigel will be representing Brisbane to compete with 74 performers from 6 Continents on the 8th August, 2017. 

The OVS Objective

The purpose of OVS is to provide equipment, resources, knowledge and practical experience in an educational, productive and comfortable environment.

OVS aims to provide a supportive and encouraging environment to assist people in their musical pursuits.

At OVS, you will be encouraged to be creative and uninhibited; you will be encouraged to explore your potential and grow in confidence; you will be encouraged to pursue what you are passionate about in life with enthusiasm and determination.

You can bring a song idea that you recorded on your mobile phone or scribbled onto a scrap piece of paper to OVS and experience it being turned into a fully produced and recorded song.

You can simply attend OVS to record yourself singing or playing an instrument and experience a project studio recording session.

The OVS teaching method is based on a mix of formal education and industry experience. The education you will receive at OVS is based on common sense – what works, what doesn’t work; what to do, what not to do – and the teaching style is based on what is relevant to the individual student needs.

Ofelia worked full-time as a vocal coach for Music Schools, Singing Studio’s, Performing Arts Academies, Talent Agencies and Colleges for 7 years.  After noticing a lack of equipment and resources that were provided to students attending such practices, Ofelia decided to design her own home studio in 2006 to be equipped and furnished with all the necessary tools which she believed beneficial to anyone attending music lessons.

Ofelia now only teaches exclusively from OVS where she is able to provide comprehensive tuition based on the students needs, vocal level and age at an efficient and effective standard.

Ofelia has taught children at the age of 4 to adults at the age of 77 and children and adults with learning disabilities and physical handicaps.  They all had two things in common – they loved to sing and wanted to sing better.

My Purpose as a Vocal Coach

My first note to vocal students and to those of you considering undertaking vocal instruction is that developing into a better singer is a lot more in depth than just singing songs.  It is the same concept as how you would go about learning to acquire any skill from learning to play a sport, drive a car, dance, play the piano etc.  Learning how to do something well involves regular practise and repetition, understanding and application.  Learning how to maintain good health is the foundation for anyone to thrive and is covered and encouraged at OVS.

It is a common misconception that I have come across many a time where after a student attends their first lesson they are surprised at how much is involved in acquiring good vocal technique.  Yes, there is a particular technique that a good singer is using while they are singing beautifully with seemingly little effort… it is similar to watching a swan gliding along the river ever so ethereally, until you put your head under the water and see their feet paddling.

In undertaking the instruction of a vocal coach, you are saying that you are willing to develop your skills as a singer.  If you are prepared to do this, then there is a need to be patient to learn and develop the techniques of skilled singing so that those techniques can permeate into how you sing a song.  I know a lot of people just want to sing and think that by singing in front of a vocal coach they will miraculously get better.  My job is to give knowledge and to explore your voice with you so that you can experience a greater sense of fulfillment when singing.  If you do not apply the proper techniques by regularly practising them, then your singing abilities will improve at a very slow pace.

Even if you are fortunate to possess a natural ability to sing, those skills will be limited without proper instruction.  Vocal techniques have evolved over the centuries and exist for a reason.  There really is no point in someone employing the instruction from a vocal coach if they are not prepared to devote the time in understanding the concepts behind using their voice in a skilled fashion outside of their lesson.  There is no such thing as an overnight success story… there are many years of work that precede achieving such glory.

I get great satisfaction out of seeing a student’s vocal skill improve and seeing them work towards a goal and achieve it.  My method of teaching is not based on one school of training… it is based on many including my own experiences as a vocalist and maturing human being.  As we age, our voice changes; everytime I perform, I learn something new… all this wisdom, experience and knowledge I endeavour to impart onto my students.

As a vocal coach, I am prepared to teach those who want to be taught.  I am not prepared to spend the time and effort on students who do not take their lessons seriously, are disrespectful, lazy or are here because their parents want them to be.  I will spend my time and efforts only on students who want to learn, improve and grow at OVS.  I provide the facilities, resources and opportunities to all OVS students so that can get the most out of their lessons.

I respect all who attend OVS and ask for the same in return.  Any student who does not fit in with the standards of OVS will not be tolerated.  If OVS decides to terminate the enrolment of a student, all remaining lessons on the term account will be refunded.

So, in conclusion, my job is to teach you good vocal technique in a supportive and enjoyable environment.  Your job is then to put these techniques into practise.

Learning a Song – An Approach

When learning a new song, consider the following seven points in your approach:
1. Song Lyrics
2. Melody
3. Song Structure
4. The theoretical implications of the song
5. The dramatic and emotional elements of the lyric requiring response from the voice and the singer
6. Music Genre
7. Personal Interpretation

1. Song Lyrics
Word processing or writing out the lyric of the song is an important step in studying the song. The following article shows you how to do this.

The lyric of a song is written with purpose and is sung by the vocalist so there is an expectation that it be sung clearly and with feeling so that the messsage or story of the song is conveyed, so pay attention to the diction and phrasing of the lyric. When it comes to phrasing, you can write your breathing marks on the lyric sheet using a tick or ‘. This is very good practise so that when you have your lyric sheet on a music stand and your are practising the song, you can instantly see where you are supposed to breathe without having to rely on your memory. By the time you can sing the song without the lyric sheet, simply by muscle memory, you will naturally breathe with the correct phrasing.

The importance of song lyrics can be dependant on the style of song. If you are singing a dance piece, the lyric will more than likely be less important than if you were singing an inspirational ballad.

2. Melody
The melody of the song is made up of phrases of pitch and rhythm. Listen to the song and break it down into sections. Learn the melody of one section at a time e.g. start with the first section of the song. If it is the verse, learn the melody of the verse first, then learn the next section until you have learnt the entire song.

3. Song Structure
The form and shape of the whole piece will be evident when looking at your song lyric sheet. Be aware of the flow of sections so you know what section follows what.

A song can contain some or all of the following sections:
– Introduction
– Verse
– Pre-Chorus
– Chorus
– Bridge
– Instrumental Interlude
– Tag/Outro

4. The theoretical implications of the song
Understanding the musical elements of the song helps not only assists you in learning the song but also comes in handy when working with other musicians.

Know the following components of the song:
– The key that you perform it in
– Your starting note
– How many bars before you start singing
– Consider having a chord chart or band charts for the song

5. The dramatic and emotional elements of the lyric requiring response from the voice and the singer
This is when you pull from your tool belt of vocal qualities and techniques to add depth, emotion and conviction to your vocal performance. You can use dynamic changes (singing softly or loudly), belt, various levels of twang, vocal fry, whispering, speech, vocal tilting, melismas and the list goes on…

6. Music Genre
The style of your performance is dictated by what music genre the song belongs or you are interpreting the song as. Contemporary genres of music such as pop, R’n’B, music theatre, blues, reggae, rock etc have a their own style which differentiates one from the other. Be aware of the stylist elements of the song you are singing.

7. Personal Interpretation
Your personal response to the piece is important because this is what ensures your performance is unique and worth taking notice of. If you are singing a cover, you can sing it exactly like the recording artist or give it your own interpretation. With us all being unique from one another, a singer will naturally add in their own style when singing a cover especially once they are familiar and comfortable singing the song.

Once you understand these elements, then it’s all about practise and repetition and ingraining the lyric of the song so you can confidently perform the song focusing on how you want to convey the song rather than worrying about what section is next or what the next word is.

APRA

If you are a music creator or music consumer, the Apra-Amcos website is one of those useful and resources websites to put on your Favourites list. On this website, you will find plenty of useful information relating to the music industry. Competitions, workshops and all sorts of opportunities are listed on the website so become a member and check in regularly.

APRA – Bringing music creators & consumers together

The Australia Performing Right Association (APRA) collects and distributes licence fees for the public performance and communication of our member’s musical works. The Australian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS) collects and distributes mechanical royalties for the reprodution of our member’s musical works.

Click here for more information.

Song Lyrics – Writing out Song Words

When learning the lyrics of a song, it is important that you word process the lyrics according to its structure. This will assist in the learning process and also in locking in the lyric and structure of the song so that you can eventually perform the song confidently by memory.

The components of a lyric sheet can include the following:
1. Song Title
2. Key
3. If the backing track ends with a fade, note it
4. Recording artist/songwriters
5. Song Structure sections - Intro (how many bars); Verse; Pre-Chorus; Chorus; Bridge; Instrumental Interludes (how many bars); Tag
6. Highlighted lyrics to indicate where the backing vocals are

Displayed below is a sample of a word processed lyric sheet of a song.

 

The Relevance of Song Lyrics

Song lyrics are a set of words that make up a song. The words are meant to be sung. The writer of lyrics is a lyricist or lyrist. The lyricist of traditional musical forms such as Opera, is known as a librettist. .

The lyric of a song is written with purpose and is sung by the vocalist so there is an expectation that it be sung clearly and with feeling so that the messsage or story of the song is conveyed.

The importance of song lyrics can be dependant on the style of song. If you are singing a dance piece, the lyric will more than likely be less important than if you were singing an inspirational ballad.

With contemporary music, there is the freedom of interpretation where the vocalist can vocal adlib adding embellishments such as melissmas, scats, trills etc… fantastic… but the body of the song remains. Have a look at the song “I Will Always Love You” written by Dolly Parton in 1973. In 1992 the song became an international hit with the version recorded by Whitney Houstin for the movie “The Bodyguard”. If you were to play the melody of this piece according to the original sheet music, it has fairly straight phrasing and little embellishment. Have a listen to how Dolly Parton sings the song. Then compare it to how Whitney Houston interprets the song. Vocally, there is an obvious difference but the core of the melody and essence of the song are fundamentally the same… the lyrics are the same, the structure of the song is the same, the chord progression is the same though Whitney Houston sings the song in A, and Dolly Parton in Ab.

I have worked with vocalists who give no importance to the lyric and pay little attention to knowing exactly what the lyric of a song is making up words, singing jibber and ultimately, giving little justice to the song. It would be disappointing for me to attend a live performance of Shirley Bassey, Tina Turner or Beyonce, for example, and hear them singing non-sensical lyric song after song… that’s unacceptable, unprofessional and displays a lack of discipline and at that league of entertainment, it wouldn’t happen.

As a singer who performs covers, a sense of responsibility and respect comes with singing other people’s songs. There is also a set standard that has already been outlayed by the recording of the song and if the audience is familiar with the recording, they have an expectation of what they want to hear when listening to another artist cover that song. If you were to perform a cover and make up lyrics etc, the audience will not appreciate this and a lot of people, will take offense. “What, does the singer think I’m stupid? I’m trying to sing along and they are singing the wrong words.” I have heard people in the audience listening to a singer and being displeased with the performance because the singer wasn’t singing the song properly in that they were either singing the wrong lyrics, singing out of tune or losing their place in song. In a karaoke or fun amateur singing environment, this is acceptable, but in a professional environment you would not expect to experience this. Of course, song paradys or spoofs are the exception.

In conclusion, what is the relevance of song lyrics? The lyric of a song is part and parcel of the song. The lyric of a song is just as important as the melody. People like to sing along; people take a message with them from the lyric of a song; people make their own interpretation of the lyric of song whether they relate it to their own experience or something else; the lyric of a song has the ability to evoke excitement, memories and all sorts of emotion. As a singer, one of our jobs is to sing the song lyric. Simple… know your song lyrics, understand the meaning and convey it in your performance.