Musical Problem Solving in 10 easy steps

When practicing it is important to have specific things to focus on during practice sessions.

Quite often we go through a song, find challenging sections within the song, struggle through these, get to the end of the song and then go through it again.   This doesn’t achieve much as you continue to struggle through these difficult sections.

What you need to do however is to “chunk” the song into parts, and then focus on the parts that are giving you difficulty. Once they are resolved, then go through the whole song.

Below are 10 steps you can follow to help you with your practice:

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1. Listen

Listen to the performance of a piece or section of a piece.

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2. Diagnose

Where are the problems?

 

3. Choose

What should I fix first?

 

4. Isolate

Find the problem “bite” to fix in five minutes

 

5. Simplify

What can you do to get more comfortable with the problem?

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6. Repeat

How many times do I need to repeat this drill to get it right?

 

7. Connect

Place the corrected “bite” back into the section of music.

 

8. Generalize

Are there any similar problems in the piece to fix?

 

9. Retain

What do I need to remember to do in practice to fix this problem?

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10. Set Goal

What will you accomplish with this song in the next week?

 

Congratulations! You are now a successful Problem Solver!

50 years of The Sound of Music

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At the Oscars this year The Sound of Music celebrated 50 years.  I love the Sound of Music (I have performed twice in this show, once as Sister Sophia and once as Mother Abbess, and I have also helped with a performance last year with my daughter’s school. By the way, Rose also had the role of Sister Sophia). The music is simple but beautifully arranged and I like to use the pieces My favourite things and Do re mi when I begin young students with singing lessons.
It was an interesting decision that was made at the Oscars to allow Lady GaGa to perform a medley of the songs.  No one would think that this was her style of music.
Lady GaGa did train classically, but went another way obviously with her outrageous style of music and persona. However, I would have to say that she did a wonderful performance at the Oscars. Very tastefully dressed and she performed the songs with confidence and style.  Apparently she practiced every day for six months for this gig. (makes you realise it never ends, even for professional singers).
I have posted a video of the performance for you to have a look at.   What is your opinion?
I would be interested to know what you think.

An Overnight Success?

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A major dilemma I face with some students is that they come to me for singing lessons expecting that in a short time, maybe six months or even less. they will be on stage wowing them at a show like “The Voice” or landing that dream role in a major stage musical.  This however is an unrealistic expectation.

With most performers  you rarely hear about the months and years of hard work behind the scenes. You rarely hear about the major catastrophes followed by major miracles that brought about their success. You rarely hear about the hours and hours of grind.

If you don’t have realistic expectations, you can quickly get into the wrong state of mind. You’ll be thinking that to be a success in music you should be a star on stage in just months. Then you’ll give up way too soon.

This notion of overnight success is an urban legend, and very misleading. If you’re starting something new, expect a long and challenging journey. They say 10,000 hours to become an expert. If your worked on your skills for one hour a day that will take 27 years. That starts to put things into perspective, doesn’t it?

But that’s no excuse to move slowly. Many singers think they can achieve fame and stardom without the practice.  Put in the practice EVERY DAY and you will see significant improvement fairly quickly.

Usually what brings about an “overnight success” is that the person is willing to persist until they achieve the success they desire. This is key in achieving the results you want.

If you are curious about how I can help you to achieve the voice you have always dreamed of then just click here for more information.

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