Why you are most likely NOT Tone Deaf

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There is nothing more exhilarating for a singing teacher to help a student discover they can sing, despite protests from them that they are ‘tone deaf’.

The reality is, there is a very slim chance one would even fall into this category, with research finding that 1 in 20 people have tone deafness. That is only 4% of the population!

So what is it exactly and why you are most likely to not have it?  

Amusia, the medical term for tone deafness, is essentially a perceptual problem.

Studies suggest that while there are no anatomical differences between amusics and non-amusics, there are subtle differences in the neural connections within in their right frontal cortex, which may be the contributing factor for limited musical perception especially in terms of sequencing sound.

People with amusia cannot follow the simplest of tunes or tell the difference between two pitches, unless they are significantly far a part. Your non-amusic listener can hear the difference between notes a semi-tone a part while your amusic peep will hear it as the same note.  

Chances are, if you are experiencing poor pitch, you will know when you are not matching the note. And you can hear the difference between two notes, even if you are yet unable to sing them.

So, I can learn how to sing in tune?

Of course you bloody can! There are many (fixable) factors that may be affecting your intonation.

Oh, by the way, let me quickly point out the difference between pitch and intonation. Pitch is your understanding of sound, while intonation is the word to describe the act of making a pitch.

What can make your intonation suffer?

  1.  Singing in keys that don’t suit you.

Chances are if you are beginner singer and you try to sing along with Jessie J or Ariana Grande, you may find that you fall a little (or a lot) flat.  

Most pop singers are in keys that are way too high for the average person and even for some professional singers.

I have had so many students discover that they can sing their favourite songs if the key is taken down to at least a third or a fourth below the original.

       2. It’s difficult to identify a melody from all the bells and whistles you hear on recordings.

On the topic of pop singers, often the melody is so convoluted with melismas and vocal effects that it is difficult to identify the actual melody. Once this is simplified for the student, they are surprised by how good they actually sound.

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      3.     There are technical issues that need addressing.

There are various reasons for poor intonation caused by a lack of good vocal technique, however, a lot of it can be boiled down to poor postural alignment, inefficient breath support and management and tension of the vocal muscles. This is a big topic and really deserves another blog post to flesh it out. In the meantime, book in with a singing teacher who can give you a vocal diagnosis. Just know, that whatever is causing the problem, it can be fixed by doing targeted vocal exercises. These need to be done accurately and consistently in small focused chunks of time. Also, understand that it may take some time, so be lovingly patient with yourself and learn to enjoy the process.

     4.     You need more guidance in understanding the sequencing of sound.

Perhaps you come from a family who didn’t place a huge importance on music. Therefore, the radio or record/CD player was never on and you weren’t encouraged to take music at school. Or maybe you did come from a family of strong music appreciators however you still struggle to organize sound.

Again, a singing or an instrumental music teacher can help you develop this skill. I strongly encourage my students to take up the piano. It’s a great learning tool for developing pitch as the piano keys provide a strong visual as well as something to touch. Great feedback for the brain! There are also so many excellent resources and tools that can help you, from books, CDs, and even apps.

This is all great, but I really do think I’m tone-deaf.

Look, perhaps you do fall into the 4% of the population who are amusic. Before you write off your singing aspirations, however, how about you see a singing teacher or voice specialist.

If they too decide you are tone deaf, seek a second opinion.

And finally, if you are, don’t let it stop you from singing. I’m serious! Even if it means that your loved ones need to invest in ear plugs. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, deprive you of one of the most healing and joyful activities that human beings have the ability to do – making sound with your voice.

And finally, I leave you with this… A choir with a difference. [Click here]

Lots of love to ya!  

Mel X

P.S. Don’t be a stranger, if you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment below or email me.

P.S.S. Please share this with someone you know who may think of themselves as tone deaf but deep down really do have aspirations to sing. You may change their life.

 

Fearless Singer Presents... Singer Stories: Lauren Dawné

G'day mate! 

Have you heard of Kintsugi?!

It’s the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer. The principle behind this method is that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Being a recovering perfectionist, this resonated deeply with me.

It dawned on me that while we often strive for this false idea of “perfection”, we forget that it is our flaws and our past suffering that makes us who we are. We are shards of clay, held together by a shimmering golden light. We are beautiful pieces of art.  

To quote the late Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Speaking of shimmering lights, I would love to introduce to one of my dear students – Lauren.

She has overcome a great deal to be back singing again, after taking a 7-year break from music altogether. She is taking massive strides in gaining her confidence back and is dreaming big about a career as a singer songwriter. 

This is a part of a new a Fearless TV series - 'Singer Stories'. 

LISTEN TO LAUREN SING & WATCH HER STORY HERE:
 

Once you’ve had a chance to watch it, we would love to hear from you! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment below. 

If you think this would inspire a family member or friend, please feel free to share it with them. 

Lots of Love
Mel X
 

Can Yoga Improve Your Singing? Spoiler Alert: The Answer is Yes

Brisbane Singing and Yoga Teacher - Sarah Collyer

Brisbane Singing and Yoga Teacher - Sarah Collyer

Have you ever thought of doing yoga but the idea of floundering about with the poses in front of a group people puts you off?

Well you’re not alone mate! I’ve been there, many times over.

The thing is, the more times you go, you soon realize that the only person in the room judging you is YOU!

Anyway, I digress… I wanted to let you know that after months and months of not going to yoga, I finally forced myself to go on a particularly rainy night in Brisbane.

I drove through ridiculous traffic with a foggy rear view mirror (haven’t worked out how to use my demister yet), having near misses with buses, to finally arrive at the studio feeling pretty edgy, to say the least.

However as soon as the class started and we sang Gershwin’s Summertime as a group while doing gentle stretches, I felt the irritation melt away and I was engulfed by a sense of calm.

Singing? I hear you ask.

Yes, you heard right. I went to a singing yoga class. And it was AHHH-MAZING!!!!!   

My voice felt incredible after I left and I came out feeling like Maria in the iconic mountain top scene in the Sound of Music.

 Anyhow, to give you a better idea of the class, I had a chat with singer and yoga teacher Sarah Collyer in today’s Fearless TV episode. She is the master mind behind this genius concept.

 

Once you’ve had a chance to watch it, I would love to hear from you!

Is this something you’d consider incorporating into your daily routine?

How could you incorporate stretches into your daily singing practice?  

Please leave your comments in the blog post!

If you are keen to catch a class, it’s on Monday nights 6:30-7:30pm, 3/233 Albert Street in the city.

For more info, you can go to Sarah’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/breathebodymindandvoice/

 

  

HOW SINGING CAN HELP YOU BE BRAVE

Oh G'day!

Oh G'day!

I told my Fearless Singer posse last week that I would be making this blog post about being courageous and how singing can help us tap into that powerful emotional state of being.

Here it is!  I wanted to post it before my Courageous Masterclass that I held at the Happiness Hub in Brisbane last Saturday. But I’m glad I left it to divine timing because I have a lot more to say on the matter.

Last week, I filmed a little video of me riffing on the subject on what it means to be brave. I had started writing this post and then it occurred to me to put my money where my mouth is and do something that I find confronting.

I’ve never expressed this before, but I find that filming myself speaking is one of the most painful experiences for me, akin to watching Donald Trump’s hair blow in the breeze. Yes, it’s that eye-gouging with hot rods kind of painful.

Why? I’m a recovering perfectionist. Every little stutter or clumsy way of saying something, irks me to tears. Those videos I put out last year took me AGES to do! I would stop and start, throw myself on the floor in a fit before editing the dear life out of them. That’s why there a lot of unnatural pauses and weird facial morphing going on. *On a side note – I’m moving these videos from Vimeo to YouTube.

But I’m learning to love the fact that while I can be an incredible communicator that I’m also a little awkward and clumsy with my speech at times. I’m choosing to accept that this where I am at this point of time.

Also, my intention is always to serve. And if I keep aligning myself with this every time I speak, write, sing – it’s always going to be enough. Because…

Powerful Affirmation Time

I AM ENOUGH! Get this affirmation into ya, will ya! It’s super redic powerful.

It reminds you that wherever you are at this point of time in your life, whatever your skill set is: YOU ARE ENOUGH.

And mate – while you are not fixating on all the supposed shit things about yourself and your abilities, you are in a much better place to learn and improve upon your craft.

So how do we ingrain this belief into our being?

Try singing it! Seriously! I will play a riff on the piano or guitar and will sing ‘I am enough’ over and over again. You can also turn the affirmation into a beautiful art work and put it in a prominent place in your house so that you keep reminding yourself every time you look at it.  

Anytime a nasty thought comes up about yourself, others or the world – obliterate it instantly by taking a deep breath and saying ‘I am enough.’

Funny enough (see what I did there?), it’s about practicing it repeatedly so that it becomes a habit and you start viewing yourself and the world around you with a sweeter pair of lenses.

When you do this, you are connecting to a higher truth that trumps all trivialities and helps you become fully present. And when we are fully present – watch out – we are operating from an uber creative, powerful space. To everyone else watching you, you are being ‘brave’ but in fact you are just being more of yourself. Please take a moment now to let that last sentence sink in. That's right, bravery is the by product of simply allowing you to be more of yourself. 

Anyhow… here’s the video.

Also, here’s some pics from last weekend’s masterclass.

 

I can’t express to you how grateful and humbled I was to work with these eight incredible women. This masterclass was also a life changer for me. I’ve decided that all I want to do now is help people LOVE their voices. My tag line for the last year or so has been ‘Find Your Voice, Live a Life You Love’. I’m changing it now to ‘LOVE your Voice’. Why? Because ‘finding our voices’ is really about learning to love ourselves. It’s going straight to the truth of the matter.

When we shift our focus onto our strengths and love the shit out of our weaknesses, this is when we start uncovering our gems, including our unique voice.

By the way – one of the ladies of the workshop had a massive revelation and declared to the group and the Universe ‘I want to be heard.’  She is a very talented singer and has always wanted to study opera. She auditioned for the Conservatorium earlier this week to do an alternative pathway program and she was accepted. I can’t tell you how much my heart expanded when I heard the news. #superproudteachermoment

 

Anyhow - remember, YOU & YOUR VOICE ARE ENOUGH

Keep you eyes fixated on those grand plans of yours. They can happen.

 
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NEW YEAR, BIG CHANGES AHEAD

Happy New Year! I hope you got to have a lovely break and that you’re feeling excited about 2017.

I'm excited to be back in the studio next week to start Term 1 for the year and I am bursting at the seams to get into it!

Why? Well firstly, because I miss my students and secondly, because I did some life changing professional development work over the holidays, learning with one of the world’s most renowned voice teachers - Jeanie LoVetri. After doing a week of intense training, I am now certified to teach Somatic Voicework ™ The LoVetri Method.

I will be writing a more detailed blog post about it, but I can tell you now that it is steeped in vocal science and soul.

It blew my mind and I am so excited about seeing my students get results with this new approach.

Fearless Singer Scholarship

For the first time I will be offering a fully paid scholarship to study with me over the term.

To apply, all you need to do is tell us in 200 words or less what your Musical, Creativity & Life Goals are for 2017 and why!

Please save and share this photo below on Facebook or email this to anyone you know who is interested in lessons. The lessons can be done over Skype/FaceTime so feel free to let people outside of Brisbane know.
For impartiality, there will be an independent panel judging the entries.

New Term Deal

To the celebrate this new term, I will be offering the 1hr lessons term (10 weeks) package for $600, saving $260.

There will also have the option to do two part payments of $350 each, which is still saving you $160.

This offer will end next Saturday 28th January.

With the installment plan option, be sure to click on the link in the description, do not use the shop payment button. Also there will be a $20 Payment Processing fee.

Price Structure 2017

After the 28th, the term packages will still be discounted at 10% but will need to be paid in full by Saturday 4 Feb 2017:

10 X 1hr Lessons - $774

10 X 45 min Lessons - $580.50

10 X 30 min Lessons - $387

The casual rate will stay the same as last year. This is to be paid for prior to the lesson via the online scheduling system.

 1hr Lesson - $86

45 min Lesson - $64.50

30 min Lesson - $43

Other exciting news:

-       The Studio will be having two concerts per Semester, with dates and venues coming soon.

-       There will be Fearless Singer workshops being taught by myself as well as other voice and personal development teachers as well as musicians, which you can attend throughout the year. The first one is the Courageous Singing Masterclass on Feburary 18th. More details here. 

-       There will also be a Fearless Singer Choir.

There are so many exciting changes this year! It’s going to be super fun but also very busy! Did I also mention that I’m doing further study at Uni this year? Yes, that’s right, I am a glutton for punishment!
 

Let's do this!

I’m committed more than ever to helping you get results this year. I can’t tell you how much I want to see you succeed. Whatever your goals are, I want to see you make it happen.

I believe that you can achieve greatness (whatever that means to you) and that you have been put on this earth to use your talent for the betterment of others. You have your own unique voice and song to share with the world. You can also use it to create a life you love.

Please don’t miss out on the opportunity to save a shizzle load of money with the term pack deal! Remember the deal expires next Saturday 28th January 2017.

 

Also, try your luck with the scholarship!

 

Lots of love to you

Mel

P.S. You can read about Jeanie’s work here => http://www.thevoiceworkshop.com/

What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?

 
 

Every now and then, I go off course.

When this happens life becomes a monotonous blur of ‘to dos’ and going through the motions.

I get dizzied by my efforts to ‘make things work’ and ‘keep people happy’ that I lose a sense of myself, my passion and purpose.

With 2016 drawing to an end, I’ve been asking myself a lot of questions to make sense of where I am and where I’m going.

Funnily enough, I have never really taken the time to answer this big pearler of a question and I have to say, the answer brought me out of my self-imposed fog.

‘What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?’

I have to say, it’s so funny how we transition from the mentality of ‘what can I get’ to ‘what can I give’.

In my teenage years right through to my twenties, achievement looked like accolades, being on the property market, making six-figures, jet setting across the world as a famous singer, being married to Leonardo DiCaprio (happy to say, that ‘13-year old girl dream' is over!) and the list goes on.

Now I did achieve some of those things in my twenties – I was making pretty good money and was climbing the corporate ladder - but I couldn’t shake the feeling of 1. being miserable and 2. still feeling like a loser.

I also changed my life completely at 27 years old to study music full-time and become a professional singer and singing teacher.

But it wasn’t until launching my business this year - Fearless Singer - that I truly felt excited and in alignment with my life goals.

You see, I come from a long line of entrepreneurs from both sides of my family. My Dad’s side are Greek migrants who built successful cafes in regional Queensland from very little in the form of money but did it with resilience, resourcefulness and generosity. In fact, they didn’t just build cafes they built warm welcoming hubs for the community. My Dad himself has always been in business and has the amazing ability to ‘dream big’ and see it through.

My Mum comes from a dairy farm and a long line of clever, hard working food producers. Mum changed her life and ours for the better, when she decided at 38 years old to finish her senior certificate to go back to study full-time at university. To pay for her uni fees, she bought and sold antique dolls and bears. She had a little shop in Rounds Arcade in Bundaberg called Toy Zone (named by me).         

So working for myself is a massive achievement. And I must say that after going solo in business, I have an enduring respect for business owners and freelancers.

Because… it’s pretty bloody hard at times.

One of my biggest discoveries this year has been that even when doing something that you love full-time, you will still experience the ‘cons.’

You can also get quite disillusioned and exhausted by it all, if you let it.

But what is supremely beautiful about these ‘cons’ is that they teach you so much about yourself and help you become even more ‘you’. Because the more years I have spent on this planet, I now realize that becoming ‘more of yourself’, IS the ultimate life goal.

The reality is that being uncomfortable forces you to go deep. It makes you ask probing questions, like, ‘why the feckle are you doing this?’ It teaches you to think and act creatively, to learn how to lovingly conquer that voice in your head that says ‘you’re a dick’ and to keep moving forward.

More importantly, it teaches you how to access that infinitely wise source that is always within you.

So go ahead and ask yourself now: ‘What do you want to achieve in this lifetime?’

I bet the answer will surprise, delight and perhaps make you slightly uncomfortable but inject you with a huge dose of love at the same time. I also promise that if you are feeling overwhelmed by life at the moment, it will remind you of the bigger picture.

This is how I answered and I have to say it floored me in the most loving and grounding of ways possible:  

“All I want to do in this lifetime is to make people believe they can sing and are top notch human beings who can do or be anything they want.”

So that’s my message. And if people start believing in themselves after being in my presence, that makes me pretty bloody happy.

P.S Registration closes tomorrow (Fri Dec 9 2016) for MY 6-Week Singing, Musicianship and Mindset Program. It will be your chance to work with me before I start scaling back on my one-on-one sessions.

More info here: =>

http://bit.ly/6weekprogram_FearlessSinger