MISSION ACCOMPLISHED [Singing Blogrimage Day 30/30]


VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Talking about the end!

CHALLENGE UPDATE:
  • Last band practice before the show on Thursday
  • Finished the 30 day challenge!
THOUGHTS:

It is finished. It feels great to finish what I started. Though the true concert finale is on Thursday, I have been faithful to the 30 days.

I've learned a lot. I learned about the work, the components and the techniques of singing. I don't feel like I have mastered any of these things, though. My mistakes are more obvious to me, but I am also a more confident singer now.

The singer I was 30 days ago is long gone.

Thank you for everyone who has supported me in this challenge! Singing is vulnerable and difficult, but I felt the support of great people.

Special thanks to Jen McClure for coaching me. Special thanks to Amreitha for helping me all along the way. Special thanks to the Jennings brothers and the Fernandez brothers for being in the band and spending late nights in practice!

If you're thinking about becoming a singer. Practice a lot, and practice correctly! Learn the basics and get them into your muscle memory. It's a fun and challenging experience--totally worth it!

-Pradeepan


FINAL LESSON [Singing Blogrimage Day 29/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

The last voice lesson. Working on the Doxology. Adding the harmony from Amreitha.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • Last lesson
  • Memorizing lyrics
  • Memorizing Melodies
  • Getting the songs down for the recital

THOUGHTS:

Wow. Final lesson. This month has not flown by, but it does not seem like it has already been a month. I've now lived in Michigan three months (as of yesterday), and 33.333333% of that has been this singing BLOGRIMAGE.

During our last lesson, Amreitha attended and sang a harmony for the Doxology. We all worked on the song order and tweaked my voice.

They both said that I sound like a much better singer than I did 30 days ago. That's encouraging. I do feel more confident for my concert. I'm excited!

Tomorrow, we have our final band practice. I hope everything goes well and I can nail my parts down!

So much to remember. Lyrics. Timing. Breath. Jaw dropped. Posture. Breathing through Diaphragm. Consonants. Vowels. Etc.

I'll get it all.

DOX [Singing Blogrimage Day 28/30]


VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Trying to work on the doxology and sound better! Not sure that I am.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:
  • Worked on Doxology
THOUGHTS:

The BLOGRIMAGE is almost over! Worked on some singing today. Still memorizing everything. Had a great Easter. We dumped thousands of eggs on kids from a helicopter--so sweet.

Worked on some of my songs today. Still not sounding exactly like I want, but I'm feeling a little more confident. Hopefully that confidence carries through into Thursday!

MEMORIZE THIS [Singing Blogrimage Day 27/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Showcasing the recent song I memorized.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:
  • Memorized "Great is the LORD"
THOUGHTS:


Here we are in the nitty gritty of performance time. Getting the songs memorized. Running through them and developing my muscle memory is all part of my daily routine now.

I think I have a good pace and all the songs will be ready to go. Most likely, I'll have a cheat sheet in case my nerves kick in.

I think memorizing the lyrics will allow me to sing more confidently and focus on pitch. That's the plan anyways until the concert!

TROLLING [Singing Blogrimage Day 26/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

This is what I want to sound like on Thursday.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:
  • Cancelled Voice lesson
  • Practicing breathing and melodies
THOUGHTS:

Didn't do much singing, but I launched my wedding site! Check out www.theJeevaWedding.com. Also, I watched the Hunger Games. There was some singing in that.

We're in one of our busiest times at the church, so I haven't been spending a lot on singing. Tomorrow, we're doing a huge outreach. Today we had a Good Friday Service. Sunday, we have an amazing Easter Service. I'm in the office 12 days in a row, but I love what's happening!

I'll keep singing.

WELL DONE [Singing Blogrimage Day 25/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

This is the melody I am obsessed with.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • Final touches for the concert!

THOUGHTS:

The concert is so near, I can taste the nerves with the nerves in my mouth. Hopefully all this mouth sensitivity will increase my singing ability.

Well, this is my favorite intro so far in this 30 day journey.

Props to all of you have stuck with this year's BLOGRIMAGE. Not a lot of people--I'd say 90%--stick with the program. It's a real joy to look back and know that you were faithful to do something that you may not have felt like doing all the time. Again, well done!

I need to memorizing like crazy! The day is coming near, and I will sieze it. 

MICHAEL W. SMITH IS DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!![Singing Blogrimage Day 24/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Singing the troubling melody from "Great is the LORD," by Michael W. Smith

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • Learning the pesky melody!

THOUGHTS:

I'm feeling pretty good about memorizing the songs, but this melody stills snags my progress. I'm excited to sing it. The band and I have a special arrangement that nobody is going to want to miss.

The concert is right around the corner. To be honest, I'm pretty nervous. People are coming specifically to hear me sing! They're going to want to see improvement, even if its only 30 days of improvement.

Watching a bad singer is awkward for everyone. If I'm bad, at least I'll know that I'm better than I was a month ago!

Well, the show must go on. Regretfully, I watched "Toddlers and Tiaras" today, and one girl got nervous before the show. She ended up doing really well! Perhaps, I can follow in her footsteps. Actually, I really don't want to follow in the footsteps of a 3 year old pageant girl named "Paisley."

ONE MORE BAND PRACTICE [Singing Blogrimage Day 23/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Instrumental of a song I'm singing. It's an instrumental so I can practice singing to it.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • The band has pretty much learned all 5 songs!

THOUGHTS:

The challenge is coming to end. I only have one more practice with the band until the final performance. There's not going to be a ton of people at the final concert, but it's still going to be a lot of fun. It's definitely going to be packed enough for a small coffee shop.

The show is at a coffee shop in Downtown Brighton, Michigan.
 It's called TWO BROTHERS. We're playing their Thursday, April 12th at 8pm.

Come on by. I really need to practice hard core. I need to memorize all the lyrics and the pesky melody lines I keep messing up.


FINDING THE SWEET SPOT [Singing Blogrimage Day 22/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Singing  a sweet sweet melody. I like the way my voice sounds.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • Voice lesson
  • Made progress finding my voice

THOUGHTS:

I definitely fell like a better and more confident singer today than when I started. Today, I booked my concert venue, and completed my third to last voice lesson.

As I sang one of my pieces for the recital, I started singing a little high and breathier for a breakdown in the song. My coach smiled and urged me to stop singing. She said, "What is that? You have another singing voice." She loved this smoother, breathier voice and said it was warmer than any of my other "singing voices."

Other people have complimented me when I sing in this warmer style. I think it's my sweet spot. This is my strength zone, and I want to develop it. Her words boosted my confidence and confirmed the encouragement I've heard from others while in the sweet zone.

Hopefully I'll remember how to sing like that!




BLACK KEYS [Singing Blogrimage Day 21/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

40 Minute Set of the Black Keys Performing.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • practicing vowels and breathing

THOUGHTS:


The Black Keys are an amazing band. They're pretty popular right now, but they've been going strong for more than a decade. I wonder what this guy sounded like when he first sang.

His style in the first song his relaxed, and almost suave. He's got that "cool guy leather jacket" thing going on.

My goal isn't to be famous like these guys. In fact, I don't think I ever want to be a touring musician, but I love music culture. I love going to venues. I love performing for live audiences and getting a positive response. Well, that's happening next week.

LET'S BE HONEST [Singing Blogrimage Day 20/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Freestyle singing about my diet cheat day.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • light singing--no real progress

THOUGHTS:

I didn't really sing all that much today. What I did do was eat. I am on the "slow carb" diet, and have a cheat day once a week. So, Amreitha and I ate really well, and satisfied all our carb cravings!

This doesn't really apply to singing.

At one point today, though, while making smores in a restaurant called, "Cosi," Ben Block and I sang a worship song called, "LORD, prepare me."



MY NEXT GIRL [Singing Blogrimage Day 19/30]


VIDEO COMMENTARY:

This is how I'm learning the Black Keys song. I'm trying to get the timing, melody and tone down. This video is a little pitchy and not quite the tone I want.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:
  • learning songs for the concert
THOUGHTS:

The concert is coming up, and I don't feel all that ready. I need to memorize all my songs, and become a decent singer in a relatively short time. Lately, I've been very busy between preaching, editing for my photography business and having a life. This has caused my vocal practice time to dwindle a bit.

I am, however, getting more and more comfortable with singing. Singing songs often feels right in my throat. It feels like I'm hitting the right note and able to project well. Watching on video sometimes confirms this or shows me great need for improvement. It's interesting how we have blind spots and sound differently to ourselves than the world hears. 

BROWNFOLK SONG [Singing Blogrimage Day 17/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Brownfolk song--a band I played mandolin and sang for in Minneapolis. We practice it for the first time in this video. This song was written for an acoustic set. It's fun to see it take a new dynamic with a full band. I don't have a mandolin mike, so I'm awkwardly playing the song while trying to sing. It's not the best vocal performance, but it helped get the band on the same page.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • Nailed down some more songs for the recital

THOUGHTS:


These last two days have been pretty big. We had an all Denim night in our young adults ministry last night. Tonight, we had a car give away night and I think about 50 people became Christians in our church services. Preparing for nights like this is such a privilege, but doesn't leave a lot of room for singing.

I did, however, sneak in some singing time this afternoon. I practice the Black Keys song called, "My next girl." I really love the groove and the vocal style. It's going to be fun learning and playing this with the band!

BAND PRACTICE II [Singing Blogrimage Day 16/30]




VIDEO COMMENTARY:


Footage of the band practicing

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • Second Band Practice
  • Getting comfortable with breath support
  • Feel like vowels help me sing more powerful
  • Not tipping head upward to hit high notes


THOUGHTS:

The second practice went really well. One of the band members said, "I can really hear an improvement in your voice already." That's really encouraging. We worked on a song I wrote, and we weren't sure if it would mesh with the band. At first, it seemed like a totally different style, but  by the end of the practice we thought it really worked.

I am trying to be more confident when I sing while remembering to do all I am learning.

So, during the songs I concentrated heavily on my voice (instead of entertaining), and experimented with different ways to sing. It was a lot of fun. Glad to be doing the BLOGRIMAGE. 

HALF DOXOLOGY [Singing Blogrimage Day 15/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

Voice lesson. Working on the Doxology song. Want to sing this song Acapella with Amreitha for the recital. We worked on finding the right key for me to sing.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:
  • Added Doxology to set list
  • Getting more comfortable with lifting the soft palette 
  • Learning what it means to have a "full" voice
THOUGHTS:

Still caught up in this full voice battle. Realizing that different voices carry different levels of "full." I watched the voice tonight, and different artists sang well, but ranged in the richness of the voice. I think a big part of having a good voice is singing a lot and getting comfortable with what you got--that is, learning how to use it.

For today's lesson, I worked with my coach to evaluate different singers. We identified different factors that I liked and compared it with the voice I have now. She says I have a big range, and have about three different voices that I can work with.

Also, for me to sing with my soft palette up, I need to pretend to be an opera singer. Then, I bring back my voice to something less boisterous.

DON'T CUSS AT MY LADY [Singing Blogrimage Day 14/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:

This is a recording on a song I wrote for  a band in Minneapolis called, "Brownfolk." For my recital, I am singing this song with a full band. This video serves to help the band practice and discover parts for it and also help document the Blogrimage.

CHALLENGE UPDATE:

  • Picking the brains of singers
  • Singing with my diaphragm
  • Working on pronunciation
  • Trying to discover a "full" voice


THOUGHTS:

The full voice is hard to understand. Some people have really full and rich voices. It's like they have great acoustics in their voice. Last night, I asked a high school girl to sing for me and her voice was so full. I have no idea how to get that, and people who have it don't know how to teach it or what I'm talking about.

I want a full voice--at least the option of it. I feel like my voice is too thin. I asked Jen Forsthoff, a worship leader at Cornerstone Church, how her voice is so full. She's been singing so long, she doesn't even think about it and didn't know how to replicate it in me. That's a little discouraging, but I'll keep on searching! The hidden full voice will belong to me!


CONSONANTS [Singing Blogrimage Day 13/30]


VIDEO COMMENTARY: 

Sang a new song on the Mandolin. Not sure I applied my skills (it's late), but I'm not sure if I didn't either (it's late).

CHALLENGE UPDATE: 

  • Talked to a good singer about techniques
  • Consonant Revelation

 THOUGHTS: 

 I'm trying to plan out what my concert will be like on Thursday the 12th. It's coming soon. As a part of the recital, I want to do an acapella song--most likely the doxology. Still trying to get a venue for the show as well.

 As I practice and think more about singing, I'm seeing the reasons for some of the things I'm learning. For example, singers should not pronounce "ee" sounds like in cheese. This closes the throat and restricts open singing. Not only do I understand this now, I can feel it in my throat.

 Other things, like pronouncing Ts, I'm not sure how it impacts singing. One girl showed me her voice today and I loved how full her voice is. She keeps her soft palette up and doesn't really know how to sing otherwise. I want my voice to be full too! Still moving forward!

MANDOLIN AND PITCH [Singing Blogrimage Day 12/30]



VIDEO COMMENTARY:
9am Vocal lesson. Working on the Michael W. Smith song. Improving my breath support, consonants, and dynamics.
CHALLENGE UPDATE:
  • Lesson
  • Muscle memory is kicking in and things are feeling more natural
THOUGHTS:

In today's lesson, I played Mandolin and sang, we watched videos of my past performances and we worked on the Michael W. Smith song. 

My coach thought I sang well in the videos and my live folk stuff was really good. That was encouraging, but when I hear myself sing, I don't think it sounds good. I'm not saying that in an insecure way. I hear pitch issues (going to flat or sharp). I hear a tone I don't like or a breath that doesn't last that long. 

Some stuff does sound good however. I think that the more I sing, and then listen to myself sing, the more I'll improve. I love getting the instant feedback that technology provides us with. 

I want to get one of those programs that visually shows your pitch.

-Pradeepan