Kenny G in concert

One of the highest selling artists of all time, Kenny G has single-handedly made the saxophone a hit amongst music lovers. Perhaps it is the raspy mid-tones of the saxophone that lend it an air of intimacy, or maybe it’s Read more

Splashy Fen is the ultimate Easter concert

It’s been going since 1990, and Easter 2015 will be the 26th year for the Splashy Fen music festival. I have yet to learn why the music event is called Splashy Fen, though I do believe that the farm it Read more

Oppikoppi, a whole series of concerts rolled into one

The small town of Northam in Limpopo Province comes to life every August. Technically it’s spring if you calculate that you are halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and you don’t factor in seasonal lag, but Read more

Richard Clayderman in concert

No doubt the mysterious Frenchman’s greatest gift to the world musically has been “Ballad for Adeline.” Composed by Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint in 1976, the co-writers could never have imagined how big the song would become, because disco Read more

Albert Hammond in concert

This is not a name that rolls off the tongue like Madonna or Michael Jackson or Elvis, but Albert Hammond has had an amazing music career anyway. A native of the UK, he has done a considerable body of work Read more

Mamma Mia! heads back to Jozi in 2015

The smash hit musical based on the music of those 4 Swedes (well, actually 3 Swedes and a half-Norwegian) returns to the Teatro at Montecasino in Johannesburg, for a limited season run from Tuesday 24 March 2015 to Sunday Read more

Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse is NOT too cool for school!

On 1 October the Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City hosted Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse in concert. It’s been 30 years since his hit “Burnout” tore up the charts, and, according to the write-up for his show, 50 years since Read more


The science of singing, part 3: the ear

Following goals and the voice, we have the ear.

A lot of people sing the tune (pardon the pun) that they are tone deaf.

Now many people will disagree with me – but the ability to recognise sounds at a certain frequency is actually a function of the brain. If people were truly ‘tone deaf’ then they would not have the ability to recognise and enjoy songs. If you turn on the radio, your dog does not start dancing to the tune because s/he does not recognise the sounds as a song. Read more

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The science of singing, part 1: goals

Okay, so now that we have established that singing is actually something that anyone can do, let’s see why I say that is the case. There are three elements that I want to discuss, which always relate to the way I assess voices when people start taking lessons with me. These three elements are goals, the voice, and the ear.

Let’s start with goals. As I understand it, it was Viktor Frankl, the psychologist who survived the concentration camps, who said that if the ‘why’ is big enough, we can endure almost any ‘how’ – so if the inspiration for wanting to sing is great enough, then the motivation to do so will be in place, and then the goal to become a better singer is there.

This has a lot to do with the 10,000 hour rule – the general rule of thumb that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become excellent at something. In the case of the voice, this relates mostly to getting the muscles to work in the right way so that enough breath is generated, because the simple truth of the matter is that it is unimpeded breath that is one of the key secrets to creating a great voice.

This in turn also has a lot to do with epigenetics and neuroplasticity – the idea that the brain and the nerves myelinate themselves in a certain way to strengthen the muscles and neurons, to enable you to become a great singer. This is what is so amazing about the human body. If you want to be a great singer, then the body actually facilitates that and strengthens the right muscles and the right parts of the brain, to ensure that your body is best equipped to get you to your goal. That is also one of the reasons why the human mind is such a powerful weapon, and can cause you to live a great life, or a life that can be hideously self-destructive.

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