Monday, September 12, 2011

This is Sparta!

As I enter into my third year of college and kick down the door of my concentration, I am finding that this, my friends, is the college life I have been waiting for. I just didn't expect it to put up a fight....

I worked all weekend on a project that I should have known about weeks ago. It sucks having to except our own faults. However, I sat on the library floor and got a bit carried away in the immense sea of singing and songwriting books. It was great.


The books I chose to really read through and focus on were On the Art of Singing by Richard Miller and  Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison. I liked both books so much. Especially my peripheral book by Pattison.

On the Art of Singing described how to use the voice, what the voice is, and why it works the way it does. I learned something really awesome about the bone in the human neck called the Hyoid Bone.

  • It's the bone that connects the "Terrible Triplets of the Vocal Tract". The tongue, hyoid bone, and larynx. 
  • It's the one and only bone in the throat. Whoa
  • And it's not connected to any other bones, just cartilage!
The main purpose of this cool bone is to protect the tracea, larynx, and vocal cords pretty much. It is attached to the bottom of the incredible tongue muscle - the strongest muscle in the body fyi - and has a lot to do with how sound is produced through our vocal tract and how well the tone, diction, and placement is. 

You can see the hyoid bone in the X-ray to the right. 
Plus... this bone has "horns". 
Pretty sick.

I have been singing with correct training for almost 9 years now and I love it. I know how to sing correct (not saying that I always do!), but I have improved my tone, breathing control, diction (that's another story), my support, and my vowel and jaw placement. 

Back to diction.... I have something called thrust tongue. I'm pretty sure the idiot that decided to name it that was laughing his ass off when some poor lisping tragedy was attempting to say it. What a d%@$. 

Yeah I have that, and it's not too noticeable. But I do struggle to pronounce certain consonants and vowels correctly and have to rearrange my entire mouth and tongue to pronounce a sound that three years of braces and mouth gear has prohibited me from saying with ease. 
Stupid dentist! My mouth was fine!

Anyway, the voice is a special instrument that must be taken care off because you can't replace it, or repair it, or take it out to soak for a while. 

See the gap?! Preposterous.

This was taken by a Montana Newspaper in November of 2009.... in Montana obviously. See the snow? But it was a great thing being asked to sing for the Montana State vs. SAC STATE football game! I really needed some Californians to talk Californian to.... Anyways, it's almost impossible to get good singing pictures because they come out looking crazy. 

Let me pick myself apart real quick. First of all, look at my fist. I can't remember if I was slightly straining (most likely, it's not an easy habit to get rid of), or if I was just freezing (approx. 10ºF)... 
Secondly, look at my vocal tract. You can see the muscles of my neck slightly tensed (I'm going to just say that I was singing the phrase "and the rockets red glare" because that's my power stance) and I am attempting to drop my jaw and flatten my tongue to produce the right, full A sound of "glare". 
Third, I am proud to say that my posture isn't so bad :) Nice and straight. 

The second book I chose was Berklee instructor Pat Pattison's Writing Better Lyrics and damn, the book was great. I love it. The Library can't have it back...
I was the first person to check it out anyway! 

The book talks informally about the art of songwriting, which is a serious concentration that I am looking into pursuing in my recording degree. Pat talks about how to be a better writer without selling short, avoiding clichés, finding structure, and the different kinds of rhyming. I am very picky about my writing technique and the things I write about. I know that I can make it work because my original music gets a lot of great attention on my YouTube channel... 

Just read this intro to the Avoiding Clichés chapter....
Sorry, I know the text is small. 
Seriously though. The sleeping puppy? I really didn't see that coming and I fell in love with this author because of weirdo stuff like this that catches me off guard. 

If you get a chance to read it, do it.


So, all in all, this was the first big ass assignment I have been assigned this semester and year and I kind of feel like I dropped the ball. 

Just want to say that Drew, you are scary when you look calm, but you sound mad....

Thanks for pushing us and pushing me to be a badass student. Today was a mess, but our talk made things a lot better. 

Alrighty, I'm about to make my way up to the music hall once again to record. Learn something. I really truly hope that I can play catch up in the next few days so that I can sleep better. I really hate dreaming of Firewire Drives not arriving in the mail. 

For anyone in school studying something you love, don't take it for granted. Work hard and literally plow through the doors of knowledge and education because we are the future. 


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