DOG & PONY SOUND WEBSITE

Newsletter

Sept
2005
Volume 5 Issue 9
 
 

straight from the pony's mouth

PAL OF THE MONTH

Richie (aka Hound)

our pal
of the month


We feature a different Pal every month as a thank you to those special people who have shared their support and friendship not only with us, but with the entire community.

l check your pal status
l update your pal status
l past pals of the month

lYou can also update your pal status at any of our shows. See your host for a "We Don't Wanna Miss A Pal" form.

BIRTHDAYS

Happy Birthday to our
September Pals!

l3 Terry (Coyote)
l14 Lisa (STTW Lisa)
l
15 Christina (Mon waitress)


l
Add your name to the Pals Birthday Calendar
OBSERVANCES
Labour Day Sept. 5
(first Monday of September)
And every Labour Day Monday marks the DOG & PONY Sound Annual BBQ.

The full moon will grace us on Sunday the 18th.
A great night to come out to Swizzles to howl at the moon with Dog.

Sept. 22 - 1st day of Fall

...and now for some unusual observances:


September marks:

lADHD Month
lBaby Safety Month
lBackpack Safety America Month
lBe Kind To Editors & Writers Month
lChildren's Good Manners Month
lChristmas Seal Campaign Kick-off Month
(Sept - Dec)
lCollege Savings Month
lFall Hat Month
lIntl Gay Square Dancing Month
lIntl People Skills Month
lIntl Self-Awareness Month
lIntl Strategic Thinking Month
lLibrary Card Sign-up Month
lAlcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month
lMenopause Awareness Month
lMetaphysical Awareness Month
lBiscuit Month
lChicken Month
lCivics Awareness Month
lCoupon Month
l5-A-Day Month
lFood Allergy Awareness Month
lHome School Month
lHoney Month
lLittle League Month
lMushroom Month
lOrganic Harvest Month
lOsteopathic Medicine Month
lOvarian Cancer Awareness Month
lPediculosis Prevention Month
lPiano Month
lPotato Month
lRice Month
lSchool Success Month
lVery Important Parents (VIP) Month
lSkin Care Awareness Month
lSpinal Cord Injury Awareness Month
lOvarian Cancer Awareness Month
lPediatric Cancer Awareness Month
lPleasure Your Mate Month
lSea Cadet Month
lSelf-Improvement Month
lChildhood Cancer Month
l Healthy Aging Month
lShameless Promotion Month
lSouthern Gospel Music Month
lSubliminal Communications Month
lUnited Planet Month
lUpdate Your Resume Month
lHispanic Heritage Month (Sept 15-Oct 15)


Weekly Events:
lIntl Enthusiasm 1-7
l Childhood Injury Prevention
lSelf-University 1-7
lSuicide Prevention 4-10
lWaffle 4-10
lPayroll 5-9
lPlay Days 6-10
lBald is Beautiful Days 9-11
l Assisted Living 11-17
lHabitat for Humanity's
l
Intl Building on Faith 11-18
lEmerg. Preparedness11-17
lInvisible Chronic Illness Awareness: 12-18
lNo Bully Wk: 12-16
lLove a Mensch Wk: 12-18
lSubstitute Teacher Appreciation 12-16
lConstitution Center Constitution 13-23
lConstitution 17-23
lProstate Cancer Awareness 18-24
lBuild A Better Image 18-24
lDeaf Awareness 18-24
lBalance Awareness 18-24
lDog Wk: 18-24
lFarm Animals Awareness 18-24
lFarm & Ranch Safety 18-24
lHistorically Black Colleges & Universities 18-24
lSingles 18-24
lTolkien 18-24
lBaby Safety 19-25
lLove Your Files 19-28
lLunch Prowl 20-24
lReligious Freedom 23-10/2
lChimney Safety 24-30
lChristian Leadership 25-10/1
lAdult Immunization Awareness 25-10/1

Daily Observances:
lChicken Boy's Day: 1
lEmma M. Nutt Day: 1
lBison-Ten-Yell Day: 2
lNewspaper Carrier Day: 4
lBe Late For Something Day 5
lBuhl Day: 5
lLabor Day: 5
lDo It! Day 6
lGoogle Commemoration 7
lGrandma Moses Day: 7
lFeel The Love Day: 7
lIntl Literacy Day: 8
lWonderful Weirdoes Day: 9
lSew Be It! Day: 10
lSwap Ideas Day: 10
lPatriot Day: 11
lRemember Freedom Day 11
lGrandparent's Day: 11
lBoss/Employee Exchange 12
lVideo Games Day: 12
lFortune Cookie Day: 13
lSomeday: 15
lAnne Bradstreet Day: 16
lConstitution Day & National School Celebration: 16
lIntl Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer: 16
lPOW/MIA Recognition 16
lCitizenship Day: 17
lIntl Eat An Apple Day: 17
lTime's Up Day: 17
lIntl Coastal Cleanup 17
lWife Appreciation Day 17
lIntl Day of Prayer & Action for lHuman Habitat: 18
lWomen's Friendship Day 18
lWorld Priest Day: 18
lTalk Like A Pirate Day 19
lFamily Day- A Day To Eat Dinner With Your Children 20
lIntl Day of Peace/Opening Genl Assembly of UN 20/21
lPause the World Day: 21
lDear Diary Day: 22
lElephant  Appreciation 22
lHobbit Day: 22
lCentenarians Day: 22
lInnergize Day: 23
lFish Amnesty Day: 24
lKiwanis Kids' Day: 24
lSingle Parent Family 24
lGold Star Mother's Day: 25
lGood Neighbor Day: 25
lOne-Hit Wonder Day: 25
lAncestor Appreciation 27
lWorld Maritime Day: 27
lWorld Tourism Day: 27
lWomen's Health & Fitness28
lAttend Your Grandchild's Birthday Day: 29

NEW FEATURES
Now all of the registered users on our message forum can enjoy their own personal BLOG hosted on our site FREE.

You know Heinlein's excellant term "to grok" as in "the grok the fullness of..."? That's the beauty of the blog; musings and daily diaries, personal growth & sharing with others.

i love these blogs. i read all of 'em. i find myself drawn closer to various people. more interested. more captivated. more empathetic. i may not often respond but i see 'em, read 'em and enjoy 'em.

i'm amazed and delighted at how well and differently people express themselves. Some have taken to blogging when they have something to get off their chests. some are blogging regularily...i love 'em all.

i know we started our blogs a little late in life for some of you as you likely have a blog (or six) housed elsewhere...
but...i'd like to encourage all our members to put a little something together here (profile, interests, a few musings, stuff that you'd like to share). Ours is essentially a community that actually meets in the real world. The forum and blogs help to break the ice with people who you regularily see on the periphery but haven't yet gotten to know (or might not have previously known that you'd like to get to know better).

So take a wee bit of time and put a small blog together, maybe copy an entry or two from one of your other blogs here to save you the time.

We'd love to hear and see from you.

Adding your birthday to the
Calendar has never been easier. Simply add your birthday to your profile when you join the forum and it will automatically appear on the calendar each year.

You can also add special events such as your birthday party. Let us all know where and when you will be celebrating.

Our message forum is a great way to get to know the people you see at many of the shows. It is also the 1st place to learn about special events, parties, newest songs and what's happening in the community.

Drop us a line when you register so we can grant you access to the special areas for our local singers ...
"the PALS Zone".

We're always adding new photos to all the venue galleries.

Check out the ongoing antics of various friends inspired by our DOG & PONY Sound Logo:
"Living Logo" Series


... And our "Masterpiece Theatre" Dog & Pony Style: where we applaude the creative, the inspired, the wacky and the zany...various singers taking songs quite literally.

DON'T MISS ANOTHER ISSUE
Subscribe to the
DOG & PONY sound
Newsletter today!

Subscribe today!
WORLD NEWS
DOG & PONY'S
RECOMMENDED SHOWS
AROUND THE GLOBE
EXPLORE OUR
WEBSITE

 

 IN THIS ISSUE:

[archives]

l Special Events: Annual BBQ, Pump Idol Competition, Parties
l Venue News: News from your favorite venues
l Staff News: What's happening in the stables
l Pal News: Paws for thought, New Pal Cards
l Pal Stories: Personal Story Submissions
l Pal Birthdays: Pals don't get older they get wiser
l Song Library News: Newest Songs added
l Newest Web & Forum Features: Pump Idol Entry Forms
l Singing Tips: Un-training - Improve Your Voice
l What's The Deal With... The Palvelopes?
l Show Schedule: September 2005

As summer continues to wind down (Fall begins officially on the 22nd) we find ourselves winding up for another Annual DOG & PONY Pal BBQ. As always, the BBQ takes place on Labour Day Monday. [See special events for more details]. Then, shortly after, the kids go back to school. You'd think that would be good enough, but no, September also marks International Gay Square Dancers Month, Dog Week 18-24, Be late for something Day, Talk Like A Pirate Day, Wife Appreciation Day, Farm Animals Awareness Week 18-24, Fall Hat Month and Elephant Appreciation Day. What fun!

Following on the heels of another successful DOG & PONY Sound Singer Showcase,
September marks the upcoming 2nd Annual Pump Idol Competition with special guest host Jon Dore. Not only is this for a great cause but there are loads of fabulous prizes and terrific entertainment too! We're really excited about co-hosting this event with Jon again.
[See special events for more details].

Last month we introduced our new PAL Cards. Wallet sized cards to keep track of the paws you've earned. If you have sung at 2 or more DPS shows, ask your host for a "Pal Card" [see Pal News for more info]

Got Shirt? Got Pawed? Want Shirt?
Now available: 100% cotton, Navy t-shirts with "I got pawed" on the front and DOG & PONY Sound on back. Shirts are available at all venues. S,M,L,XL -$20 and XXL-$25


We've added another feature to our monthly newsletter: "What's The Deal With..?" . Each month we explain various conventions like our "Palvelopes", what they are and how to use them effectively, understanding our rotation system, libraries, disk numbering system, how our song request system works and various other FAQs.

Our message forum is a great way to get to know the people you see at many of the shows. Currently we have over 200 registered members.

The forum is
the 1st place to learn about special events, parties, newest songs and what's happening in the community the same day we do. I post the newest songs on the forum the day they arrive (although it may take several more days to get the information on the website or printed in the new additions songbooks).

Some areas of the forum are specifically for local patrons and are only accessible to registered users. Drop me a PM when you register so I can adjust your access.

DOG & PONY SOUND SPECIAL EVENTS

l

3rd Annual DOG & PONY
Pal Appreciation
Backyard BBQ

Monday September 5th  
3pm-10pm
Party at Biddy Mulligan's after the BBQ

Hotdogs, Hamburgers, fixin's & trimin's for all!
Bring your family, kids, spouses, friends
and a little something to share with others.

[contact for directions]  [BBQ photo gallery]

l
2nd Annual Pump Idol
Karaoke Competition with Jon Dore

Saturday, Sept. 17th 2005
Lieutenant's Pump
361 Elgin St.   ph. 238-2949


Loads of Prizes for many different categories including a DVD surround Sound Stereo System, Kayaks, and waaaay more! We will keep you updated.

Featuring: Canadian Idol's Jon Dore
Judges: Judges Cory Atkins (the New RO), Fateema Sayani (Ottawa Citizen) and journalist Gary Dimmock

This year we will be able to tell you the prizes and categories in advance. The song library is #33 and will be updated soon. Pledge sheets will be available at Lieutenant's Pump as well as online. We will announce when they are ready. Pledge sheets must be submitted the Wednesday prior to the event and a list will be posted online and at the event with the contestants and when they are expected to perform.

100% of the proceeds donated to
The Ottawa Regional Cancer Centre


Raffles, a 50/50 draw, a silent auction and contestants' pledges helped to raise over $6000 for
The Ottawa Regional Cancer Center last year.

[See photos, winners & prizes from last year]

VENUE NEWS

Venue Specific Special Events: Monthly Calendar

l
Sept. 10th - Hound fills in for Gator - VIP
l
Sept. 14th - Rodeo Roundup Karaoke - The LookOut
l Sept. 16th - Gator fills in for Kitty - Swizzles
l Sept. 17th - Coyote fills in for Gator - VIP


BIDDY MULLIGANS, 303 Bank St. is fun every Monday.

Hound is joined each week by a different co-host: Cougar (wk1),
Coyote (wk2), Kitty (wk3), Gator (wk4) & Beaver (wk5)

Great food, great service, and great fun! 9:30pm-1:30am every Monday! and now, Mondays feature ½ price pizza!
[map]
[photos]


BRIG PUB (Kanata)
501 Hazeldean Rd.
features Karaoke 2 nights a week!

Thursdays w/ Dog 9:30pm -1:30am
Fridays w/ Hound 10pm-2am

A fun room that often has more people partying than singing so if you like to sing lots, this is the place to be on a Thursday or Friday night!
[map]
[photos]


 

THE LOOKOUT, 41 York St. (Market) Join Dog for a great howl at the moon Wednesdays 9:30pm-1:30am

You gotta love the balcony overlooking the Market... oh the beautiful people!. Bartenders Matt & Donnie are always upbeat, quirky & fun. You never know what they'll do next.

Last month they held a Karaoke Beach Party. This month Donnie has called for a Rodeo Roundup...hmm.we're wondering who's gettin' hogtied.

[map]
[photos]


 

O'BRIEN'S, 1145 Heron Rd.
promises a rousing good ole Karaoke Party EVERY Friday & Saturday with the Dog 9:30pm-1:30am!

[map] [photos]


 

ROYAL BRITANNIA PUB, 1475 Richmond Rd. absolutely rocks every Thursday with "Super" Hound 9pm-1am.

It's just a crazy jumpin' hot night of music, dancing and fun!

Thursdays also feature $10 pitchers.

[map] [photos]


 

SWIZZLES, 246 Queen Street features Karaoke Tuesdays & Fridays with Kitty 9:30-1:30 and and Sundays 8:30pm -12:30 with Dog.

Join the Dusty Owl Poetry Group the 3rd Sunday of every month for a special featured reader & open stage 5pm before karaoke.

Last month we hosted a Pride Benefit "Kinky Karaoke" w/ Kitty
[map] [photos]


 

VILLAGE INN PUB, 313 Bank St.
is the original little pub with the big heart. VIP continues its deliciously naughty karaoke nights every Wednesday & Saturday
w/ Gator
9:30-1:30
[map] [photos]



STAFF NEWS

...live from the stables:
Pet the Dog Sundays at Swizzles, Wednesdays at The LookOut, Thursdays at The Brig Pub and Fridays & Saturdays at O'Brien's.

Bay with the Hound Thursdays at Royal Britannia Pub, Fridays at The Brig Pub and Mondays at Biddy Mulligan's

Tickle Kitty behind the ears Tuesdays & Fridays at Swizzles and the 3rd Monday of every month with Hound at Biddy Mulligan's

Catch Coyote howling with Hound the 2nd Monday of every month, Gator with Hound the 4th Monday of every month, Cougar and Hound the 1st Monday of every month, and Beaver and Hound the 5th Monday of the month at Biddy Mulligan's


Party with
Gator Wednesdays & Saturdays
at
VIP
9:30-1:30

[ Meet the entire stable ]

PAL NEWS

DOG & PONY PALS
Puppy Paw Pals have sung at 2 (or more) of our venues and have earned the paws for each venue
Pony Paw Pals support our singers by coming out to 2 or more venues to enjoy the show.
check your own pal status online
update your pal status

NEW Pocket Pal Paw Cards
now available at all venues

     All our hosts are equiped with:
Pal cards for 1-20 paws, 11-20 paws and 21-30 paws
Paw punches to punch your cards
(for the paws you've earned)
Pal list
(in case you forget how many paws you've earned)

(collect the whole set)


New 100% cotton, silk-screened T-Shirts
"I Got Pawed"
front breast/DPS logo back
       
Available at all venues
S,M,L,XL -$20       XXL-$25


Special Thanks to all of you for supporting our shows, our hosts and our company. We're proud to have been named Ottawa's Best Karaoke 4 years in a row! But we couldn't have done it without your support! 

PAL STORIES 

Personal Story Submission Via Website:

Biny the Beaver Shares

I remember clearly the first time becoming a musician appealed to me. I was in Grade 2, and I was visiting a friend who had just started taking accordion lessons. Cool. It wasn't long before I hit my first musical hurdle - how to play both hands together - the left pumping out a basic pattern and the right holding simple notes. My Mother sat with me for (what seemed like) hours counting and coaching while I sweated through "Over the Waves. She had taken piano when a child, and understood that sometime you just need to work at it. I went on to plunge headlong into music - guitar, keyboards and composition. I started singing, and my family cheerfully bore the brunt of yet another learning curve inflicted on the household. They thoughtfully provided blunt constructive kitchen criticism. It helped me improve.

I first became committed to the central tenant of my musical philosophy, "music is not a spectator sport!" when I was running my first church choir. People wouldn't join because they "couldn't sing." My comeback became a mantra - "You show up. Getting you to sing is my problem.” I think everyone should sing, and sing often. Singing somehow connects us to ourselves, each other and our collective journey. Ultimately, it isn't about how you sing, it's about how you live - and singing makes you feel more alive. Last and least, of course, singing is how you get to be a better singer.

I remember how I found Karaoke. My first wife and I had split - and pretending neon signs were interesting while I looked awkward in a single's bar was just wrong. Hanging out at Karaoke was the cure. I had something to do - I could read the song book. Cheer people on. Show off sometimes, and laugh at myself when I bombed. It was fun, and friendships formed almost automatically.

My daughters loved to sing, and it became a favorite outing, and a source of fond memories. My oldest, Beth, bringing down the house at eleven years old nailing Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On." Beth and Rachael winning a duet contest singing "Goodbye Earl."My daughter Brenda, who has cerebral palsy and faces many daily challenges, singing her favorite Shania Twain tunes at a kids afternoon hosted at Obrien's, grinning with delight and oblivious to all else.

On our first date, Wendy wanted to hear me sing, so I sang my heart out and we danced the late night away. Somehow, through a long line of Karaoke outings, we got married. Go figure.

Finding Dog and Pony was like Jim Belushi hearing James Brown in the Blues Brothers. They weren't my first Karaoke venue - far from it. By February 2002 I had 'done' Karaoke worldwide on business trips, not to mention taking in plenty of local shows. I had observed a wide range of quality and fun factor in Karaoke - so I decided to search out the best. Google turned up a review that gave them top marks, so I headed out to Obrien's to check them out, and have never looked back. I've admired their professionalism and wit, fun loving charm and enjoyed their genuine ability to make an honest connection. Years ago I wrote this testimonial:

"Simply put, the most fun, professional, put together Karaoke service I have ever encountered. Great sound. Professional handling of the rotation. Great selection. Warm relations with the patrons. Willing to go the extra mile. Best kit packaging of their 'book' for the singers. Great online support in their web page. 10.0 from six judges, and no media second guessing."

They're even better now! Being asked to be a Dog and Pony host is a wonderful compliment, and a challenging responsibility. It means I need to be as good at serving up a good time as they are. Man, do I have my work cut out for me!

~The Beav.

Submit Your Personal Story for Publication. Let us know what karaoke and community has meant to you.

LIBRARY NEWS 

Libraries OnlineWe add new songs to all our libraries regularly. Last month we added new songs to all libraries on August 3rd, 18th and 22nd plus over 100 new French Titles to library #42.
New to Library #42
New to Library #9¾
New to Library #33.3

[see more new additions here]

Join our message board to keep up on the latest news, weather & sports...uh...songs, shows & events.

Find Your Favorite Library:
Library #42 in use at: LookOut, O'Brien's, Swizzles & Brig Pub
Library #9¾ in use at:
Swizzles, VIP, Royal Britannia & Biddy Mulligan's
Library #33.3 in use at:
Brig Pub

What's The Deal With...

...The Palvelopes?
We keep boxes of our singer's envelopes at every show:

The envelopes bear the names of our regular singers and are filled with their personal selection of songs they sing as well as would like to sing.

Why?

Because it saves you time. You don't have to look up & write numbers out each time (which also helps to get your songs submitted quicker).

Because it saves important information such as the version of the song you prefer, as well as pitch settings that work for you.

Because you can save your "someday I'm gonna try this one" songs for that someday.

...and maybe - we'll save a tree in the process.
Yes it's a little more work for us - but we feel you're worth it.

How to get the most out of your palvelope:
1. Find your palvelope when you arrive at the venue.
2. Choose 1-3 songs you'd like to do
3. H
and your songslips AND your envelope to the host. That way, when the songs have been sung, the slips can be put back into your envelope for next time.
4. When you're ready to leave, retrieve your envelope and songslips from your host and file it back in the box. This is very important! The host now knows of your departure and can plan the rotation accordingly and you ensure you get your songslips back in your envelope for next time. This is a commonly missed step which results in one of the most common questions [see below].

Common Questions:
Q. Where's my envelope? I looked and it's not there.
A. Check again, this time check that the flap is not folded down. Many people unconsciously fold their flap down when they tuck their envelope away
.

Q. Where are my songslips? There are a bunch missing.
A. Remember steps #3 and #4. It's important to retrieve your palvelope & song slips to put back into your envelope.

* Remember it's your personal envelope filled with your personal songs. If you leave your envelope in a puddle of beer or fail to retrieve your songslips you'll find things missing.


next month: what's the deal with...the rotation?

SINGER TIPS 


"Un-training - Improve Your Voice"

by Mark Baxter

We all know of someone who has an incredible voice and never had a bit of instruction.

These people just open their mouths and it comes out great. Lucky for them. However, the common belief that some people are born to sing doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to sit on the sidelines. Anyone can improve the sound of their voice. My advice is to think of it as un-training.

Learning to sing is a lot like strapping on a pair of roller blades for the first time. Some people are fearless, or maybe reckless is a better word, and fly off with little regard to the laws of gravity. They immediately fall flat on their butt, laugh, and get right back up to try again. Most of us, though, would rather not spend the day bouncing on the pavement. We approach the challenge with one agenda: do not fall. This mind set dominates muscle behavior. As soon as we are hoisted onto a set of wheels, we forget how to bend at the joints. We shuffle along stiff-legged, clinging desperately to any lamp post, tree or person within reach. The irony is that we still end up on the ground. A rigid body, which reflects our fear of falling, causes a loss of balance. The inability to loosen up also prevents us from developing a feel for shifting body weight from skate to skate. So at the end of the day, both personality types have sore backsides, but the carefree people have at least learned how to roller blade.

Pay a visit to a maternity ward and it’s obvious that we are all born with the ability to produce sound. Crying is reflex behavior. Singing is crying -- minus the tears. Within a short time after birth, our personalities emerge and influence this basic instinct. Some babies cry louder and more often. As toddlers, we begin to experiment with different vocal tones and the responses they provoke. When two year-olds whine enough, they will either get another cookie or be sent to their room. By the time we reach six, the results of these experiments have heavily influenced our personalities. We establish core traits which stay with us a lifetime. If you doubt this, visit a senior's center and notice how much a bingo game looks like a kindergarten class. It’s not that the seniors are acting childish, it’s that they are being themselves, again. What this means to potential singers is that, from a very early age, we have trained our muscles to produce sound in a particular way. Your particular way may, or may not, interfere with singing. If it does, then you’ve got some un-training to do.

We often brace in anticipation of singing a bad note as if it will hurt our bodies. It won’t. A bruise to the ego and a bruise to the vocal folds are completely different things. Like fearful skaters, it’s the singers who fear a vocal slip that cause themselves the most problems. Perfectionists,introverts and people who pride themselves on having good pitch are usually the worst offenders. Ironically, tone, pitch, emotion and longevity all suffer due to the over involvement of protective muscles like the tongue, jaw and neck. A cautious attitude doesn’t even insure that you will avoid vocal strain. Like falling, stiffening your muscles because you fear injury often causes more damage than if the body was loose.

Singing is a balancing act. The expectation that notes should always roll perfectly out of our mouths, especially when we’re just learning, is absurd. But don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re finding it difficult to let go. It’s not your fault. Pressure is placed on us the moment we start to explore our voices. For some reason, children are allowed to be clueless on every instrument except the voice. Nobody rips the violin out of little Suzy’s hands as she saws her way through, “Three Blind Mice,” but heaven forbid if she’s out of tune when she sings the same song. Kids that struggle with singing in grade school are usually detoured into sports programs or given a tambourine. Wouldn’t it have been great if they did that with math? Later in life, the stigma of falling off pitch or hitting a crack silences many would-be singers.

Most vocal problems can be traced back to speech. As kids, we’re taught the meanings of words and how to pronounce them, but not how to efficiently use our muscles when speaking. This is expected to happen naturally. It usually doesn’t. Normally, emotions dominate our motor reflexes and shape the way we talk. Speech becomes an extension of our personality. You can tell a lot about someone by the way they talk, not what they say. There is a difference, though, between normal and natural. Natural is efficient; normal is what we are used to. Unfortunately, we are so accustomed to the way we speak that our trained-in tensions go unnoticed until we start to sing.

Sit at a piano or pick up a guitar and the instrument is ready to play. Musicians tend to take this for granted, but starting with a pre-balanced, consistent, instrument is a huge advantage when learning to play. Open your mouth to sing and any number of obstacles can compromise range, tone, volume and flexibility. In other words, in order to learn to sing, you have to build an instrument first. Most instruments we play today are the result of many years of refinement. As techniques for making pianos and guitars improve, their sound and ease of play improves as well. Instruments basically stay the same from day to day. This provides a great foundation for developing the skills need to play. We don’t have that advantage with our voices. Many things can interfere with the “playability” of our voices, from talking all day to tension held in the jaw. Since most of these are not genetic or “natural” limitations, they are removable.

It is vital that you allow yourself to sound bad as you work to improve your voice. Find a private place where no one can hear you; it’s hard enough to tune out your internal critic let alone opinionated roommates and family members. Your goal when vocalizing is to minimize muscle involvement -- no matter how bad it sounds at first. For this reason, it is important to distinguish the difference between sound and feel. We often say a note feels bad when it actually just sounds bad. Sounding bad is okay, feeling bad is not. Some people will put up with tremendous discomfort in order to make something sound better.

Singing should feel like nothing, like rolling down a stretch of smooth pavement. Correct notes are just as easy to sing as incorrect notes, so don’t add any effort when you want to sing something better. Cracks are simply a momentary loss of balance. They do not hurt you physically, so try not to wince if one zings out unexpectedly. To gain control of your voice, you need to learn to release your face, jaw, tongue and neck. Just like relaxing your arms and legs when skating, this usually creates a short term loss of control. Re-visit this slippery feeling until it’s trusted and you will be rewarded with effortless singing. The only difference between singing and roller blading is that you won’t have to sit funny while you’re learning. Think of it as un-training and you’ll have a big head-start on the process

Mark Baxter is a vocal therapist who offers private and video lessons. To contact him, call: (800)659-6002. Visit his website at: www.voicelesson.com

(reprinted with the kind permission of Singer Magazine)

SHOW SCHEDULES


Serving your singing fix 7 glorious nights a week!
  • Mon Biddy Mulligan's, 303 Bank St. 9:30-1:30am w/Hound & guest
  • Tues Swizzles, 246 Queen St. 9:30pm-1:30am w/Kitty
  • Wed The LookOut, 41 York St. 9:30pm-1:30am w/Dog
  • Wed Village Inn Pub, 313 Bank St. 9:30pm-1:30am w/Gator
  • Thurs Royal Britannia,1475 Richmond Rd. 9pm-1am w/Hound
  • Thurs Brig Pub, 501 Hazeldean Rd. 9:30-1:30 w/Dog
  • Fri O'Brien's, 1145 Heron Rd. 9:30-1:30 w/Dog
  • Fri Swizzles, 246 Queen St. 9:30pm-1:30am w/Kitty
  • Fri Brig Pub, 501 Hazeldean Rd. 10pm-2am w/Hound
  • Sat O'Brien's, 1145 Heron Rd. 9:30-1:30 w/Dog
  • Sat Village Inn Pub, 313 Bank St. 9:30pm-1:30am w/Gator
  • Sun Swizzles, 246 Queen St. 8:30pm-12:30am w/Dog

* No dogs or ponies have ever been harmed during our shows

© DOG & PONY SOUND WEBSITE
Phone: (613) 820-2600 - office hours 2pm-2am daily

[Baffled as to why you are receiving this newsletter and want to unsubscibe? click here]