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Singer Songwriter & Vocal Coach, Lizanne Hennessey - Voice Coach


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How are music-related reality shows destroying our relationship with music?

Hi all!
You all know which shows I'm talking about...

I am doing some research into integrating music and singing into our everyday lives, and find myself 'stuck' on singing out loud.

I'm a singer, I also give singing workshops, voice lessons and direct a children's choir. I was an 'in the closet' singer for years, all too aware of the voice being the most personal, vulnerable instrument there is.

In my experience singing with kids, I notice that something happens to kids after +/- 10 years old. Either they begin to lose their uninhibited musical nature and become so embarrassed about singing that nothing comes out, or they have so much confidence about their (mediocre) singing ability that they are convinced they will 'be famous' some day with as little effort as possible.

Music, particularly singing, comes naturally to us. It's a genetic tool. Whether we sing 'well' or not, is to me irrelevant. What's important is how music is used as a form of expression.
Commercialism, ratings and insane amounts of money have created a different kind of incentive to make music, that has nothing to do with music as a form of expression.

I have my own ideas about how music is suffering from these shows, but am curious about what you think.

(Any known TED presentations or talks related to this topic are welcome!)


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    May 4 2013: I think I know what you are talking about Lizanne.
    I am out of touch of popular music or industry labeled music for long. But by no means I am out of touch with music and musicians. When my son picked up my old Hobner guitar and strummed its strings, life for me came through a cycle of sorts :) At 18 he sings his heart out when his young mind needs inspiration. So there is more to music than labels have us to believe.
    You are a musician so you must be knowing how primal, visceral music can be to human mind and body. I keep listening to very talented yet unknown musicians from all across the world ; some become famous, some not so but I can hear music's call to us transcending cultures and borders.
    Have you heard this young man Shankar Tucker? Here is a story of an all American boy falling in love with musical inspirations of a very different culture and a journey into unknown. For us listeners, this is such a blissful gift! I cannot but feel elated when clarinet, essentially a French instrument, come alive with Shankar in traditional Indian raga movements.
    I would like you to 'watch' Shankar's music :)
    I wanted to recommend vocals too but since language may cause problem, thought better.
    Btw, I shall be keen to sample your music as a fellow TEDster :)
    • May 4 2013: Wonderful, Pabitra! Thank you so much for sharing this!

      There are amazing things happening in music all the time - what bothers me is how much emphasis is placed on the commercial aspect of music, instead of the creative learning process like you describe. It thrills my heart to read about your son singing his heart out!!! Please share what inspires you vocally - in my book, language plays no role in vocal expression!

      I work a lot with kids and voice, and so many of them are determined to do an audition for one of these shows. The kids who want this most, tend to be those who are either over-confident or have no confidence at all about their singing abilities. They are looking for justification, an ego-boost, which they believe can only be provided by a TV show jury, rather than through themselves. The jury is holy.

      If you'd like to hear what I do, here is a link to my music: http://thisislizzard.bandcamp.com/
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        May 4 2013: Hi Lizanne, it's a great relief to know that you don't have a handlebar mustache :D. You seem to have an impressive collection of music, which I am still checking out.
        In a way, yes I think reality shows and industry labeled music are altering our relationship with music, if not destroying it altogether. There are several such shows one gets to see in YouTube. Sometimes after watching those, I feel that our personal stories with music are losing out to the glam and glitz of instant stardom. Music always remained very personal to me.
        However, I also see some talents who make their mark in those shows.
        I am old fashioned in my taste as I like trained musicians compared to the natural talents and like music with pure notes and soulful lyrics. I mean if it's a song, I like vocals to be sharp and moving.
        So, if one tries to make a career in music there is no shortcut to training and practice. The reality shows don't seem to uphold that.
        Thank you so much for sharing your music with us :)
        • May 5 2013: Pabitra, this really strikes a chord with me:
          " I feel that our personal stories with music are losing out to the glam and glitz of instant stardom."
          I agree! Music is becoming less personal, when it is one of the most personal forms of expression there is, singing could be argued to be THE most personal, in fact.

          And, no, I agree, there is no shortcut... but these shows tell us there IS.

          And, you're very welcome! There's really only one thing better than making music, and that's sharing it. :)

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