Guest Blogger: Terri Brinegar is the author of Vocal and Stage Essentials for the Aspiring Female R&B Singer. Below is an excerpt from her blog.
I went to the blues jam a couple of nights ago and after I got through singing a customer of the bar came up to me and said, “I really enjoyed hearing you sing, but not only that, you are a great performer.” He said, “I like how you take command of the stage and direct the band.” I joked with him and asked him if he’d seen the TV show “The Dog Whisperer” and he laughed asking if I was the “Band Whisperer”. I said not the band whisperer but the “Song Whisperer”, meaning that I don’t try to control people and their creative expression, but I take charge of the song. There is quite a difference.
You see with controlling the band and letting them know who’s boss and telling them what to play and how to play it; you cut off someone’s identity, how they express themselves – and that’s never a good thing. People have a right to express things how they want to express them. But with controlling the song, I’m really doing everyone, including myself, a great service.
Let me explain: since we all have our own expression, there are many ways to interpret a song. For example, the song “Chain of Fools” has probably been played about a kazillion times. But it still will sound different with different players playing it. (Yeah!) But even with this song, which really just vamps (repeats) over one chord, there are some punches and stops that must be directed, or it could wind up being a train wreck. I’ve been in musical train wrecks before, and let me tell you, they are not fun. Everyone, including the audience, is uncomfortable when there is a musical train-wreck onstage. So someone needs to be the director of the band and the song. If no one’s in control, then it will be like a runaway train going where it will. So it’s your job as, not only the singer, but also the director of the song, to direct people on the arrangement of the song.
Keep reading this post on Terri Brinegar‘s website.
In Vocal and Stage Essentials for the Aspiring Female R&B Singer Brinegar shares with her extensive stage experience, her success as a bandleader to some of the greatest musicians in the world, her skills as a musician and songwriter, her training in classical voice, and her years as a vocal coach. Brinegar believes a strong foundation of vocal technique is necessity to success in any style of singing. She is probably one of the few teachers with both a classical background and years of stage experience singing blues and R&B. While there are many books on technique, few, if any, have been written with Brinegar’s broad and comprehensive take on the contemporary music industry.