Lesson 5: Advanced Transition Techniques Anyone Can Do

Lesson 5 Intro – Transition between songs

Greetings all and Happy Holidays!

Hope you get your fill of Turkey or Tofurkey – whatever you desire!  This intro will be removed later, but for now in case you run across this – enjoy our holiday spirit!

Last week I saw a concert of professional musicians – they were excellent musicians!

BUT, there kept missing the mark on one important area.

They were not connected to the audience. Now some of the clues for this are when you hear things like “we love you Portland”. Okay, that’s not “bad” and not a sure sign, but just a clue. Let’s get to the meat of the issue.

Their 3rd song was a great upbeat syncopated number that had everyone starting to move in their seats and a few folks even started standing up to dance (in a mostly ‘sit down’ venue). Then they went to this amazing slow deep song. The one that makes you look inside, remember, and… Then abruptly shifted to another upbeat tune with a reggae feel. WHAT?

The bigger PROBLEM here is that these highly skilled touring recording artist performers do not understand Transition. This is really a make or break it skill anyone can learn but no one talks about or teaches… until NOW.

First, let’s talk about the simple part – choosing the song order. There are a lot of factors here and we’ll dive deeper later, but for now we’ll be quick and say, you want to create a “contour” of “energy” that is easy for the audience to follow and flow with. I know there will be lots of questions on this but this is really the easier part that is covered in a lot of places, so I’m moving on to focus on the next part and we’ll cover this element in a later section.

Next, and what I feel is most important, is understanding how to take the audience from one song to the next.

NOT FOR PROFESSIONALS ONLY!

Does this topic sound exciting? Boring? It’s subtle…

Think about this. WHO DO YOU LOVE?

So with this image present we continue… this is not just for professionals. It’s actually more for every day singers. A lot of professionals eventually learn or figure it out, but most of us are casual to semi-pro singers and it makes such a difference.

Mastering this area can empower a mediocre skilled performer to outshine the superstars. Have you ever seen a band that was “so so” musically, but they had a “lead” who had such a rapport that everyone in the room was having a good time?

That’s part of it.

There’s another BIG part.

The skills learned to master transitions spill over to ever area of life.

You might be singing in a lineup of 10 other singers where you have no control over what happens before your song. You’ll see how to work with this.

You may be wanting to sing a sweet love song to your sweetheart while driving in the car – there are simple things that can empower your song to pull the best out of you and have your audience in the space to best receive the ‘gift’ of your voice and the music.

You might be proposing marriage or negotiating a business deal. The same skills apply.

This is a big intro for a link to a lesson… so, I’ll wrap it up here and continue on the website.

Note 1: this lesson requires feedback! I will answer questions! And I will ask questions of you.

Note 2: Update: you may know that I’ve been working on restructuring the websites for months and running into a lot of obstacles. It’s still a work in progress, so “don’t mind the dust” it’s fully functional, just not quite as pretty and organized as it will be soon.

All the Best to you!

Stephen

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LESSON 5 Starts Here

Based on the introduction and your life experience, tell me your thoughts on Transitions between Songs?

What have you seen that works?

What didn’t work?

How might you use this in your life? (yes, I know we haven’t covered the ‘how’ yet)

I’ll be here adding more all weekend responding and giving your the next pieces of this lesson as we interact….

Next… segment

Today we’re going to talk about one of the biggest challenges for Advanced singers, but it’s also a technique that can help singers at any level… so, I offer it to everyone.

The Problem:
How to transition from the current song/situation, to the one you are about to sing. This might sound simple, but consider these examples. Let’s say that you song is deep, emotional, moving… one of those tear jerker songs that reaches the soul of every listener – IF you sing it well.

  • The song preceding yours is sung by someone else and their song is high energy, stand up, tap your foot, dancing in the isles. You get the picture… now you have to help shift the energy of the audience to a place where they can receive the message of your song.
  • You’re at a gathering and asked to sing a song. You don’t know where everyone will be… maybe folks are scattered around the room talking in small groups… maybe a comedian just left the stage. Maybe it’s in the middle of a series of boring, or enlightening talks.
  • You’re singing to your sweetheart. Maybe you want to pop out the song at a special moment, while walking in the forest or along the waterfront… or while driving in the car.

As you can see the types of transition situations are endless… some might be easy and some are quite challenging (at first glance)… but, some people have the ‘secret’ ability to pull this off time and time again.

That’s what I’m going to teach you.

The question and answers are not trivial and go pretty deep. In fact, I’m creating an entire course just on this topic… but, I’m going to give you the core of it here. You might have paid $97 for this course, or received it as a free bonus for

Please follow this as it might be the biggest insight to singing, and doing almost anything in life that you have run across.

You won’t find it in any singing text book and unlikely you’ll see it mentioned at a master class for advanced singers (though I heard one master singer ‘hint’ at these ideas).

But, a few elite singers use this practice regularly. And, I expect most successful singers are using the technique whether they realize it or not.

Step 1: Find a good model to watch to open the door for understanding…

Assignment 1: write about what you are seeing/understanding about Transition in our blog section below.

Assignment 2: Find a good model to watch. Here are examples.

  • the Dali Llama
  • A good Preacher (not so much the firey, but the ones that set the tone so you’re ready to hear)
  • A top performer with charisma

An example of someone to watch… someone who projects a sense of Calm and Peace and perhaps Love.  Note that we will move to the qualities, but these will help us build the foundation of understanding what we are looking for.

I’ll give you specific video clips in a few days to check out on youtube.  I’m waiting because I want you to have the experience on your own rather than just taking what I hand over.  So, do this on your own.  You might go a different direction and that’s great!  You might blaze a new trail and bring fresh insight to our discussion.

For those curious about the plan…  Here’s an Outline of Lesson 5:

  • Watch people with great transition qualities
  • Discuss one aspect of what these people do –
  • Identify the main components/steps of Transition
  • Becoming masterful at each Step in Transitions
  • Tying it all together. Extending this technique to broader applications, such as entire performances, other areas of life, public speaking, promotions.

And if you’re getting to this lesson late we’ll have a break here so you can do your research before you go to the next sections.

FYI – this lesson will be interactive/live for about a week (through Dec 4). After that, I’ll still respond to comments, but those who are ‘on the ball’ will get the real time experience 🙂

Enjoy your discoveries!

Stephen

Categories: FREE.

Comments

  1. i’ve seen starting off moderately then build the tempo to a crescendo of fast numbers. then reduce the crescendo by reducing the selection tempos gradually from moderate to slow tempo selections. i have seen this type line up be very successful.

    what didn’t work was adding new material without testing it on someone first to get a responds.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Carolyn,

      Thanks for your comment.

      In the terminology I’ll use for this post, you are referring to the “energy contour” of the performance evening.

      Interesting use of terms crescendo outside of the context of a single song – interesting. I typically think of it as part of the phrasing within a song, but it does serve well to communicate your ideas.

      So – most of what you wrote is perfect for our discussion on the “line up” of songs.

      But, doesn’t particularly touch on the primary focus of Transition between songs – at least in the way I’m hoping to steer the conversation. Wonder if you might have more thoughts on this?

      I’m about to post a little more to the lesson that gives a little more background and direction.

      Thanks for being brave to be the first to post!

      Stephen

  2. Barry Thomas

    When our band performs it has been our rule of thumb to perform 2 or 3 upbeat numbers and then a slow song. Is that a bad practice?

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Barry,

      Great question. And it looks like we’ll spend a little more time on the ‘line up’ than expected. Your input helps so I might change the order of the program based on your question and Carolyn’s input.

      First – No. It’s not a “bad” practice.

      But, I’m making a lot of assumptions here. What is your “band”?

      HS Jazz/Marching?
      JS?
      College?

      or, tavern Rock Band or Country Music band?

      So if you had only 1 rule and no other insight, your formula of 2 upbeat then a slower song is an excellent starting point!

      I’ll leave the answer at this point and we’ll dig deeper when we get back into the more structured lesson.

      Thanks for your question!

      Stephen

  3. Juan Camilo

    Hey Stephen,

    I just watched the performance of one of my favorite Bands, Phoenix, in Lollapaloza.

    I saw 3 factors that seemed really important to making succesful transitions:

    – Pauses.
    – Body Language.
    – Letting the Energy Contour Develop for at least 3 songs.

    What do you think?

    Greeting from Colombia!

    PS: Thx for the videos man, it’s really great stuff.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Juan,

      Great eye!

      You’re hitting on exactly some of the big considerations.

      Now – let me ask you to “go deeper” – what might be going on behind that? What might the leader of the group be thinking? (you won’t know for sure, but feel it out… take a few guesses).

      You’re on the right track – excellent – A+

      And Barry, Carolyn you’re on the right track too. We’ll converge and go in different directions at times.

      Glad you are enjoying the Videos.

      All the Best,

      Stephen

  4. Isaac K

    Hi Stephen,
    I’m a singer-songwriter and I recently started performing at open mic nights to gain exposure for my songs. I must say it is fairly challenging to connect to an audience especially when they are drinking and chatting away. I’m certain these transition techniques/skills will be highly effective to get them to tune in. I’ve watched some videos of live performances and concerts of these successful acts and I’ve noticed subtle changes in their approach and delivery – I can’t quite figure out what exactly they are doing to warm up the audience and I’d like to learn these skills. I’ve heard that talking too much between sets is not ideal so maybe a little banter or anecdote might be good i’m not sure. I’m eager for this topic to be dissected meticulously. Many thanks!

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Isaac,

      Thanks for your input here.

      You raise an important scenario that is packed with “real life” experiences. I’ve “been there” with the open mics and singer songwriter world. So, I sincerely appreciate your thoughts and inquiry.

      Related to [this] lesson, we will touch on some of this. But, a lot of what you’re looking for may be outside the scope of this training. Be sure though we will have some tips that will work – some. But also know you’re talking of one of the most challenging areas to draw attention – eg, people are busy doing something else, and you’re there trying to pull there attention to the stage.

      I look forward to revisiting this question after we covered the main material of the lesson. Who knows? maybe we’ll uncover more than currently expected.

      Thanks again for chiming in. Great contribution!

      Stephen

  5. Barry Thomas

    I’m so excited to hear from you. I learned so much from the previous 4 lessons and the pitch perfect program that I got from you. You are an excellent teacher. I’m sorry I should have told you more about the band. We are a 50’s and 60’s rock and roll band . We’ve been together for about 20 years. When we play at a dance we try to see the mood of the evening and go from there. We do usually start with 3 fast and one slow and go from there.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Barry,

      Good to hear from you!

      Thanks for the kind words. It makes me happy to hear this work is making a difference.

      I’m really glad you shared this info about your band. Hummm… maybe we need to setup a community sharing center so we can learn more about each other. Not too far, but I’d love to know [where] see some video clips and if I’m ever in your area stop in and see you play. I get to travel a lot, so it’s great fun to check in with folks around the globe.

      Your contribution from a Band perspective –
      a) start with 3 fast ones, then a slow one
      b) try to see the mood of the evening

      Excellent! Thank you!

      We’re already seeing a pattern here about starting fast before going to slower ones – we’ll talk more about why (in case it’s not obvious).

      And, we’ll spend more time on this “mood” thing. It can be tricky. How does one do this? What are the cues? How do you know the mood? And, what songs do you have that fit? And if you’re accurate enough to understand the mood – where do you want to take it? Where will you LEAD the audience?

      Curious fund inquiries. Seems I just opened the door also into building an expansive repertoire that enables you to pick and choose where to go to support the evolving flow… assuming you’re not sticking with a canned line up.

      ok – enough for now.

      Thanks again Barry! Good stuff!

      Stephen

  6. Eliza

    I think that transitioning between songs is like tying a whole performance together. I like emotional connections, like an introduction to a song that means something to the group or to recall days that everyone in the audience could relate to with the upcoming song. Also, when there is a song that is very popular, usually an audience is very hyped up so it is good to continue the trend for a bit before changing rhythm. I even think that the banter helps to change the rhythm between songs and I have seen some singers actually allow audience members to sing with them making a memory for the person picked and entertaining the audience anyway.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Eliza,

      What brilliant insight!

      I’m staring to think there are a bunch of “ringers” in this group! There are actually quite a few voice teachers in here which is so helpful!

      Eliza you touched on so many aspects, I’ll try to stick with just one…

      Emotional Connections – Within Yourself, the Band (if there is one), and the Audience

      First off – when you dig inside and tap your own emotions, it’s like digging a well and hitting Spring Water. Now of course you may want to be a tiny bit cautious in some settings not to open the flood gates and break down in tears, for example… but – if you do, that’s REAL. It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve had to stop midway through a song and sit down for the night and ask someone else to take over. Thinking of a situation last year shortly after my father died and it was so intense that I’d not had time to grieve. So, there I was introducing a song, started singing it and it reminded me of my father… I “lost it” emotionally … or rather I “got it” – this is really life. Our feelings, our love is what [this] is all about it. So, I didn’t finish and the evening ended early.

      I hope that little bit might be of value to someone. we don’t have to be perfect and emotions are part of who we are and it’s okay to let them show. In fact we MUST Let them show!

      Usually what we’re looking for is tapping into that Spring Water of emotions that are ‘somewhat’ controlled… that is we’ve ‘worked with’ those emotions, we know their range and boundaries and how they can be expressed through the song we’re singing… anyone hearing, practice, practice, practice? And at the same time, practice gives us the foundation for spontaneity.

      Gonna jump/flip a bit here – And, we don’t want to be an emotional DRAMA Queen/King either. Enough said on that point.

      So, let’s get back to tapping into the Spring Water of emotions for a song. Yes, this is a source of beauty and energy that can flow through you and your voice and is a HUGE component of connecting with the audience.

      Eliza, I like that you noted all three – yourself, the band, and audience. Sometimes there’s a song that triggers emotions in everyone and we need to be conscious about how we tap that energy.

      This is really important because we most often think in these terms of a song that makes every feel good, or sad, or happy, spiritually connected, or just touches them in some way. There are songs and emotional energy that can take the evening in a very different direction. “What the heck happened?” as the energy of the room shifted in an unanticipated direction (sometimes sweet, and sometimes as much fun).

      Who are we as singers?

      Who are we and what is our role when we stand in front of a group of people to sing and talk?

      Are we Peace, Love, Harmony?
      Are we Fun, Enthusiasm, Freedom?
      Are we there to facilitate a cathartic experience?

      What is our message? What is our responsibility?

      Maybe we just want to sing a sweet song for our sweetheart 

      Thanks again Eliza. I look forward to hearing more from you.

      Stephen

  7. Gabriel Chaves

    Hi Stephen,

    Great tips!!! I’ve been singing in a choir, I’m a tenor, and I would like to know how to apply Transitions in a choir? Or is it just for the master teacher? Another thing is that I’ve heard that if you worry so much about what the audience think of you, you might fail in your vocal technique, as I’ve seen it in some singers.What can we do to fix that? Many thanks.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Gabriel,

      GREAT QUESTION!

      You stumped me! I’ll have to really think about this. I generally think of this topic when being solo singer, or in a small group where we are all inter-playing and leading the program.

      But, what about being a choir member?

      My first thoughts are this… (maybe I’m not stumped)

      The choir director is also directing the Transition. Your ‘job’ as a choir member is just like your ‘job’ as a musician in a group. You support the leader – whoever that is at the time.

      In a band, often a single person is the ‘lead’ for a song, maybe the entire program with the band backing, but it might shift from player to player. But, in Jazz for example, who ever has the lead at the moment is who you support… and, then in Jazz it really becomes a flowing dance between musicians, or it can when they play well together.

      So to quickly wrap up this point – pay attention to the choir direction. As best you can, ‘feel’ what he is feeling, follow his or her inspiration. Now there are times that a director doesn’t know where they are going and your role might change, but that’s another discussion of technniques.

      Worry about the Audience – CORRECT. DON’T THIS! 😉

      the point is not to WORRY but to simply attempt to
      a) understand where the audience is
      b) attempt to speak (sing) to the audience in terms they can understand

      If you’re singing and you can tell people are not “getting it” then you might change something… on the other hand you might [think] people are getting it and let yourself cut loose and leave the audience behind.

      Attempt to be aware.

      And an important reminder – we never really, for sure, know where anyone else is. We can guess… educated guess… and we might get better and better at this skill, but we never really know for sure. It can be helpful to accept this Humbling position – we do our best. Often we’ll hit the mark, sometimes knock the ball out of the park… and sometimes we strike out 😉

      (gotta get a good baseball metaphor in there from time to time 🙂

      Thanks for the great question! (I’m curious to talk with my choir director friends about an experiment to work with their choir members on this topic)

      Stephen

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Patrick,

      Great to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words.

      Next? Already? We barely started on this one!

      Actually this topic has the making to unfold into it’s own mini course.

      I have so many topics in mind – far more than this lifetime will allow. Lately I’ve enjoyed being more spontaneous and figuring out the next step in the moment. So, my response to questions today hint at several BIG new topic areas.

      But – Basics!

      Definitely want to come back to core vocal exercises. This discussion is vitally important, from my perspective, but we also need that core ‘work out’… so, expect a lot more vocal exercises in the next couple of months.

      Thanks for chiming in with the good vibes!

      Stephen

  8. Singing Coach

    Seeing the comments are not threading and replying beneath the original… will look into that and hopefully get it fixed soon. Will make it a lot easy to follow the conversation!

  9. jose gochez

    hi, my name is Jose, I am a biggener, and I am very interested in learning how to sing, I would love to become one of those solo singer playing the guitar, but I think I have a very bad singing voice, I am 50 years old,but I feel I can still do something. I had an accident about 7 years ago, which left me with a bad back, so for that reason I find it very difficult to find a job, and depending only on my disability check it not very pretty if you know what I mean, I have been taking your free singing classes, and I have noticed that there is a voice I can work with, thank you very much for your kindness of giving me the opportunity to learn how to sing, I look forward in continuing the classes and see what happens in the future. enjoy your holydays:)

  10. Marsha

    I sing as part of a worship team in our church. At first you might think that this venue is so totally different than singing to an audience or performing at an event. But as I’ve read through each of the amazing, insightful, and thought-provoking comments and replies, I realize that there really is a lot of common ground. First let me explain that we sing contemporary Christian music at our church in a congregation of about 150-200 people. We have a set amount of time at the beginning (approximately 20-25 minutes) of the service, and again (about 10 minutes) at the end of service. The “purpose” of our music and songs is to CONNECT with the congregation and to encourage them to feel free to enter into a place of real, meaningful, personal worship with their God, their Creator. Transitions are so important to us, especially with such limited time. We have found that starting with a couple of up-beat, energized, get up on your feet and out of your seat songs helps to pull everyone together (and wakes them up). Then we have about a 3-4 minute break where people greet each other, then we pull them back together with a couple of moderate songs, and our endings will depend on where the pastor’s message wants to go …. up-beat, or more quite, reflective, or worshipful. One of the struggles we seem to encounter in our song transitions is the key changes. For some of our musicians/singers, this isn’t a problem, but for others it can really be rough for them. We do practice before our services to try to work out some of the issues, but it’s still a problem. I think that all of us (musicians and singers) consider it a great responsibility, as well as a privilege to do what we do each Sunday, and we really do have some of the BEST singers and musicians. So sometimes it can be discouraging when we don’t seem to be connecting with the congregation, or they aren’t connecting with us. I am so open to any ideas or comments that could help us.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Marsha,

      ABSOLUTELY!

      Thank you so much for sharing this. Any church choir, or probably any singing environment can benefit from understanding what’s happening with their transitions.

      My girlfriend is one of 2 main singers in a small church (30-50 usual size) and I we often talk about the transitions. I often lead sessions in churches as well… I don’t want to say it’s more important in these environments, but in some ways it’s actually easier to talk about… there’s extra language and understanding that’s not always available in secular settings. At least in the way I think about it…

      Sounds like you have a great handle on this, so I’ll jump down to talk about an easy picking topic you raised.

      Key changes – sometimes I find that more highly skilled church musicians (or musicians anywhere) tend to work with more complex music, which usually includes more ‘interesting’ or ‘sophisticated’ chord progressions and resolution sequences.

      Notice this choice of words…

      Resolution… how is that related to Transition?

      Let’s jump to Jazz – it moves from tension, conflict, almost resolution, just to set up more tension to be almost resolved. For me Jazz is intellectually stimulating, but doesn’t touch my soul like other genres.

      This is just ME – some folks are just the opposite experience.

      Back to church – I’ve seen a lot of Ph D Choir Directors bring in complex music that is an achievement. But, in my opinion, it often does not serve the congregation so well. I’d rather hear that music in a concert setting.

      I’m jumping way out of my boundaries here and no nothing about your choir director. But, if you’re looking at transitions – you might want to look at the key change complexity as part of the decision for transitions.

      Lastly – I tend to mix up my music on the fly… keep about 200 songs ready at the finger tips and lips, and often for the transition, will change the keys so that one flows more naturally into the next.

      For example, if we’re in Cminor and I decide to pull in a substitute that is normally done in D or Dminor, I might move it down to Cminor… IF, I’m looking for an easy smooth unsuspecting flow into the next song… sometimes just hold the ending of the one song and let it gradually flow into the next without a break.

      Similarly, going from the V to I or tagging on an extra couple of chords, you can usually quickly bring in almost any other song with easy flow and only have to move it up or down a step. Of course with more chord changes you can bridge any 2 keys together, but it may not serve the Transition as well as doing the song in a slightly shifted key.

      That’s a lot easier than trying to move a 4th or 5th sometimes. of course if you’re in an Upbeat mode, this doesn’t matter as much… jumping from here to there is often not much more than any other ‘jump’ that you’re already doing.

      Can you tell I like to get on a roll talking about this? Is this too much? Should I tone it down? Maybe I’m putting too much out there. Seems it’s easier to just drop it in conversation than to formally present a lot of this. Your feedback on this is also appreciated – and if you don’t want to critique my commentary in public drop me a private note 🙂

      So, Marsha – hope some of that might be helpful and makes sense.

      Have a great Sunday morning!

      Stephen

      • Singing Coach

        ps: Marsha – thanks for reading all of the other comments before submitting yours. YOU ARE practicing one of the main principles in this Transitions Lesson… eg, getting a gauge on the audience (us) by reading what we are already writing.

  11. Hadassah

    Good Morning!

    I am a worship leader/choir director/voice teacher. For me transitions had never been an issue until recently. I would ask for the main topic of the message and have the songs go that way. When I do solo programs, it is much the same, choosing a topic and then lining the service up accordingly. Almost all of my transitions are done with scriptures that tie the songs together, although usually just in the choosing they are tied together. It is important to me that the verses used contribute to the scriptural basis of each song or song set.

    When I have done more secular venues, I still use a scripture to introduce and set the mood for my songs. People don’t mind because I am dramatic and I don’t preach. I let the songs do that. It is usually very well received. However, one competition I was in had no allowances for intro because the time restrictions were exact, and I had made the mistake of having the music edited to fit the exact time frame without allowance for an intro.

    One more thing I do is to fill long interludes. If there is a long lead-in or instrumental bridge in the song, I use scripture to fill that, too. It eases the awkwardness of not knowing how to behave when there are more than a few bars to wait for.

    At our new congregation, where I am only a sub, the main issue is that now I am working with dancers, too. I have to make sure the transitions and song orders accommodate their level of excercise and the necessity to not overwork or abuse their heart muscles. This necessarily means that the verses between songs cannot be too lengthy and that the program needs to start gently and end gently.

    Hope this is what you want to know.

    • Singing Coach

      Hadassah,

      Thank you for sharing this information. For those of you reading this who are not in a church setting, there are still lots of excellent points raised that are useful beyond a religious setting.
      For example, spoken words on a secular topic overlayed on an interlude can be useful… secular or not, this technique is useful even for giving directions to a group, for example the logistics or moving to the dining hall for the next section.

      Taking into consideration Dancers and their energy level is a bit more involved and close to the direction we’ll be talking more about.

      In short, we want to look at all factors in the current setting, take those in, and create a smooth bridge to the next section.

      Sometimes it’s as easy as taking a breath.

      In the case of dancers, I’m guessing you’d need to have some control over leading their activity – hopefully you can design repeated sections in the choreography so that you can lenthten and shorten the dancing based on what’s happening in the moment. Of course with some sets, you’re committed and it’s canned and rehearsed with no room for spontaneous modification.

      I’m curious to learn more about your use of dance in your congregation – if you have videos, please post a link, or send in a private message.

      Thank you for the great contribution!

      Stephen

  12. Marsha

    Thank you for such a well-thought out response to my concerns regarding key change transitions Stephen. Seriously, yes, you were on a roll. You gave me a lot of great technical information, and to be honest, I’m no where near versed or knowledgeable in music theory as you, so some of what you shared was a little over my head. But I LOVE that! It makes me want to continue to learn… lets me know I’m on the right path and in the right place. And I agree with what you shared on jazz, resolution and transition. I, too, enjoy jazz and all the places it can take you. My first love remains contemporary Christian – Chris Tomlin, Lincoln Brewster, Mercy Me, tobyMac to name a few. With all you have to do I with your time, skills and abilities, I am sincerely grateful for the time you took to give me such a personal, informative response, Stephen. I feel like we connected… and that’s what this is all about. Have an amazing day!

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Marsha,
      Thanks for your kind words. We ARE connected 😉

      Part of my hope is that these lessons continue and grow to serve us in more of a “community” environment.. not just buy this for $10 bucks and you’re done… unless that’s what you want.

      For me it’s adds a lot more to life to meet people, make new friends and share the essence of life.

      Only a little ‘roll’ this time 🙂

      Glad you’re feeling challenged and learning!

      Me too! (lots of new things coming that i’m getting to figure out).

      Blessings to you,
      Stephen

  13. Miki Brotzler

    Hi, I haven’t really sung in public so I haven’t (so far) had to put together a series of songs to transition to and from. However, as my area of interest is opera, I have been to several concerts.

    My most favourite was when Jonas Kaufmann came to sing a selection of songs. The concert started with an orchestral interlude, followed by an aria, then back to orchestra, aria, and so on. Sometimes the interlude was from the same opera that the following opera was from; other times it was at least the same composer.

    Due to the nature of the concert, there was much applause and going on and off stage by Jonas and the conductor so it wasn’t a very continuous transition from one piece of music to another – but I think the programming was such that it made it flow from one to the next even with the clapping in between. Jonas’ most loved arias weren’t at the very beginning, but interspersed during the concert. And he also kept one audience favourite for the inevitable encore. He left us wanting more – which is probably good marketing as we will no doubt attend future concerts of his, for sure. All in all good programming, and of course great singing.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Miki,

      Good observations.

      This type of setting is probably a bit more distant from where I’ll go with things, but still valuable to reflect upon. The classical opera world has so much “canned” format and often little room for more personal transition expression.

      My opera friends may be cringing at this! And to be fair, in some ways a more strict ‘expected’ formal structure you could argue that there is the highest most need for and ability to pull off beautiful transitions.

      It will be fun to look at these ideas again after the content of this lesson is complete.

      All the Best to you!

      Stephen

  14. Barbara

    Thank you for opening awareness on the subject of transitions in musical venues. This is a very important subject; one in which you have done a great job coaching. As a former church and present nursing home pianist/singer, I have seen how different types of music can have a powerful effect on environmental factors and people’s responses.
    Great work!

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Barbara,

      Thank you very much! Glad you appreciate what we’re doing here. Hopefully the next sections will take it up a couple of notches!

      All the best,
      Stephen

  15. Samuel Erickson

    I think that when your attitude is right then the facts don’t count! So if your attitude is right you will conciously transition in the right song because your internal guidance system or your green light, red light , yellow light will tell you what way to go, and even if it does not work out perfectly still can mean success! Because failure is just temporary defeat and when you know that you always get back up and fall again and again and again, but after enough times you will find the correct way because your gut intuition is always right, follow your feelings im talkin feelings that come from the solar plexus which is below your chest. a feeling above your chest is not a real feeling its a psycological reversal coming from your brain that causes you to feel things that are in effect not real and created by mysticism that you have not yet rid your self of! I am nit the best singer in the world but I know when, where,a nd who to play a song in front of and when, where, and who not to paly a song in front of by the the way I feel!

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Samuel,
      Sounds like you have a lot of this figured out. At least for the paradigms you work with for consciousnesses and awareness. I think you covered a lot of the basics beautifully.

      So, one thing I’m look at here is how to translate and speak in language that everyone can understand. For example, if i were to use the word Meditation – for some this is instant taboo. And i might really mean it in a way of “just calming your thoughts” – which would be ‘okay’ and accessible for most folks.

      My opinion is that attitude is very important, but the awareness (you refer to as green light, yellow, etc) is a bit beyond – though arguably may be part of attitude.

      I’m going to be very curious to hear your thoughts as we go through the rest of this lesson.

      Thanks for your note – i see a few more that i’ll get to soon.

      Stephen

  16. Samuel Erickson

    Practice doesn’t make perfect. Because if your practicing the wrong way yyour neveer going to become perfect. “Perfect Practice Makes Perfect”. very intresting.

    • Singing Coach

      Hi Samuel,

      Excellent point!

      Not sure if you were referring to part of my previous comment “practice, practice, practice” or just including this as a good general note.

      In case it was referring to the previous point, it might be helpful for to clarify… the “practice, practice, practice” statement, was in the context of being prepared with your repertoire – which requires practice, and a lot of it if you want to be able to spontaneously pull out a song from a list of 200.

      This context of “practice, practice, practice” is very different from the erroneous meme “practice makes perfect”…

      Thanks for dropping this in!

      Stephen

  17. Samuel Erickson

    You can become a great musician by doing the same thing a great musician teaches you to do. But you can also become a great singer or musician by observing another person that is a great singer doing it. Observing another person who is at a level of greatness in any profession is another way I have learned you can become unconsciousy competent at the talent or trait you are working towards. So basically if you want to be a spectacular
    musician you then must go find a spectacular musician and become his apprentice and learn from him through one on one communication and mentoring unless you will never become a spectacular musician. If you want to be the best you must learn from the best. and model your self after them and learn how to sing from them and you will then get that effect aswell. meaning you will then become a spectacular musician. So if you want to become a spectacular chef and learn how to cook a soufflé but your learning from a guy who fries eggs your never going to be able to cook a souffle in your life cause your teacher doesnt know how to cook one. Stephen seems to know some of the basic core fundamental concepts that I have learned about so I do think he has the knowledge and ability to make any person including you and myself a very accomplished singer. The true meaning of the word education is to pull out from within and to help release what is already inside you and the secret is learning how to release it from within. meaning you got it all you got everything you need. You can see the love and humility he has for helping others grow I mean I can feel the difference in myself and in my body, its like night and day! Thanks stephen you just helped me release that knowledge from with in! Now its time to start singing!

  18. Singing Coach

    Hi Samuel,

    Thank you for the kind words. I’m happy to hear this expression was a good point for you – and yay to singing!

    I wrote a much longer response, but think I’ll hold it for later.

    Part B coming in the next couple of days…

    Stephen

  19. Dana Ray

    Hi everybody!
    Here a contribution [as you request it in part B]
    The first part of making it, is to observe your audience; so, reading the previous comments, I have to say there’s great stuff Stephen [this homework prepare us to learn and practice what, where and how they’re done.]
    Now: let’s say transitions are those emotional “passagios” [roads] connecting two points, even if that only implies to vary a feeling intensity. So they’re not only between 2 songs, they’re inside any song too. As a singer you must play the feeling of what you’re telling on stage; we’re acting, projecting it using voice and corporal expression. These together will help us create the proper contour to transmit the message.
    As you say Stephen, you must be careful about tapping emotions. So here’s a quick review of how to do it!
    Basically, there’s two drama schools: form and vivencial.
    [The second, you know it well. Just remember your dog dying, then start sad singing.]
    Form is when you lie; you don’t feel it, but you make others experience it. In this case, you can use a closer emotion or sing certain tones [shades] to produce that reaction.

    Have you watch a really bad movie? Me, yes [too many, recently :s]
    And why are they so terrible? Because their transitions.
    Their scene’s dramatic tone [shade] is low, high or simply never tell us the right feeling. So you can end laughing for their misfortune!
    Now, imagine the plot of intensity versus time. Any great show, story, production… has a mountain form, which starts at (0,0) and ends any point above the middle.
    Finally, replace each scene with a song that matches with that mountain segment. Congrats, you have a concert.
    Now, if you coming from a place where you have no control over what happened before you, identify the “energy contour” and place it on the mountain. Here’s how easily we can take the audience up or down.
    If you have a recipe that works for you, that’s ok. Only consider to study the “steps” inside that mountain, in order to make a transition easier. You’ll find suspense works when taking up or maintaining a feeling.

  20. Shivani

    Hey Stephen!
    You are the man of your words. Right now I’m not able to keep up with the lessons because I’m in 12th grade so don’t get enough time. But I practice the lessons which you sent in the first 3 lessons and even that much of practice is making my voice abilities better. I was real bad at high notes but a lot better now. When I started my course here I thought this would b one more of those sites which promises too much and as time will pass I’ll stop receiving these lessons too. But that didn’t happen and all thanks to you man! M really looking forward to continue my lessons again as soon as m finished wid my high school.
    Thanks again!
    🙂

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