Voice Lessons to Go: Volume 1 – Vocalize and Breathe
Voice Lessons to Go: Volume 2 – Do Re Mi Ear and Pitch Training
By Ariella Vaccarino.
These CDs are designed to help improve your singing voice. For me, an untrained singer, they are just right. Each track is a minute or two of practice on things like scales, breathing, identifying higher or lower, and so on. Some of the tracks are challenging enough that I laughed aloud when I first heard them, and I still struggle on them after several times, but I’m getting there. Very enjoyable, and I’ll pick up the other volumes after I’ve developed on these. (Reviewed April, ’09)
Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art, Stephen Nachmanovich. Tarcher/Putnam, 1990.
When everything happens in “real time”, we have improvisation, whether it’s music or drama (or software!). Nachmanovitch explores the interplay of freedom and rules, of work and play, of practice and performance. Using art, music, and more, he leads us to explore creativity, in a touching and thought-provoking way. (Reviewed July, ’06)
Musical Improv Comedy, Michael Pollock. Masteryear Publishing, 2003.
This is a slim volume, about 100 pages, plus a CD. Being able to improvise songs on demand is a skill that appeals to me. This book certainly didn’t make me an instant musical improviser (far from it), but it does suggest a path forward. (Reviewed Jan., ’06)
Funny Noises for the Connoisseur, by Bart Hopkin with Ray Brunelle and Vincent Nicastro. Experimental Music Inc., 2003. ISBN 0-9727313-1-8. Book and CD.
In 60 pages, the authors explore a bunch of ways to make some very odd sounds. There are aspects of both custom musical instruments and sound effects in this work. The attached CD demonstrates them all. (Reviewed Sept., ’05)
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?, Pete Seeger. Lancaster Press. 1997. ISBN 1-881322-10-6
The subtitle is “A Musical Autobiography,” and that’s what it is. It’s chock-full of songs (both words and music) and reminiscences of a long life. It gave me the sense of another world just outside my understanding. (Reviewed May, ’05)
MouthSounds: How to whistle, pop, boing, and honk, Fred Newman. Workman Publishing, 2004. ISBN 0761134220.
I love books that are a smorgasbord, and this one certainly qualifies. Flip to any page, and you’ll find an interesting sound to make. Great fun. (Reviewed May, ’05)