Katy Bourne


Playing Well With Others: On Singers & Musicians

POSTED ON November 16, 2010 | POSTED IN: My Blog | 23 Comments

Over the past few weeks, I’ve observed a few disparaging remarks about singers out there on the social media playground. More specifically, these were remarks made about jazz vocalists by jazz musicians. It actually surprised me a little. While there is definitely a common sentiment that musicians look down on vocalists, I guess I’ve never entirely bought into that idea. That said, I’m more than willing to entertain the notion that I might be kidding myself. It certainly seems like something worthy of investigating here. Let’s have a look, shall we?

I guess the first question to ask is this: Is it true? Do musicians really believe that vocalists are somehow lesser entities in the jazz pecking order? I guess to answer that question, one would have to make the distinction between what a person thinks versus what a person does. With one notable exception, the musicians I work with have always treated me very well; they are friendly, supportive and upbeat. I feel respected and generally get the vibe that these musicians are happy to be playing with me. So if their actions are any indicator, then they have no problem with vocalists, or at least with me. They may be thinking something entirely different, but if so, they hide it well. With the one aforementioned exception, there was no ambiguity. The musician in question was, as the old standard goes, “mean to me.” He made sarcastic remarks throughout the gig, complained a lot and was uncooperative. Musically-speaking, it didn’t feel like we were a team at all up there on the bandstand. In fact, I not only got the feeling that this dude didn’t want to be playing with me but that he didn’t even like me. Needless to say, that was one long gig. As I look back on that now, however, I can’t say for sure if this was a musician/ singer thing or simply an unfortunate mismatch of personalities.  (It could have even been a bit of sexism, but that’s a topic for a whole other post.) I don’t play with this person anymore and luckily, he was my only overt experience of being treated badly by a jazz musician. But this is only my experience. I have definitely heard horror stories from other vocalists about musicians they’ve played with and how disrespectfully they’ve been treated on some of their gigs.

On the other side of this, it is fair to say that there are a few badly -behaving vocalists out there that make it rough for the rest of us to get respect. I’ve witnessed some shenanigans first hand. I’ve watched a highly skilled rhythm section chase a singer around while she randomly changes the key she’s singing in.  I’ve also observed these same lifesavers make seamless adjustments for dropped or added beats. I’ve seen plenty of singers get lost in the form. And one of the things that makes me cringe the most is when vocalists interject their own commentary during an instrumental solo. I find this especially embarrassing if there’s sexual innuendo involved: “Take me there, baby!”  Finally, I’ve seen a few vocalists (not many, thank God) who are downright mean to their musicians. There was a vocalist I’d known personally for a few months before I’d ever heard her sing. I finally made it out to one of her gigs and was mortified at how she was ordering her band around. Once she stepped onto the stage, she  transformed into some kind of jazzilla. I only have three words for these types: Don’t do that!

Perhaps what might be important to toss into this discussion is whether or not singers are considered musicians. My thinking is that if vocalists are indeed considered as musicians by instrumentalists, then these relationships are probably more collegial than adversarial. So, are vocalists musicians? My guess is the answer to this will vary, depending on whom the question is proposed.  I grew up playing alto sax. Mind you, this was marching band stuff, not jazz. A few years after I started singing, I began taking piano lessons. The whole point was to hopefully make myself a smarter and better vocalist. My goal was to learn as much as I could. Although I could already read music,  it was  through studying piano that I  really began to learn theory. Changes in my financial situation forced me to quit lessons, and I have to say that has been detrimental to me. I do have a keyboard; I can poke around on it and figure things out on new tunes I’m learning, for example. But it was the weekly lessons and decidedly focused practice that had the strongest impact on my developing musicianship. I have a daily vocal practice and am always trying to improve and learn. I don’t know at what point I am considered a musician. But even if we vocalists are not seen as musicians- and I am speaking only about vocalists that aren’t proficient on an instrument- does it matter? Are we any less worthy of respect?

I don’t claim to have any answers here. I think there are dump trucks full of gray area in this situation. This isn’t a black and white deal. I just know that when I’m trying to improve any relationship, musical or otherwise, then ideally the first thing is to have a look at myself and what I’m doing. With any luck, I can be proactive in improving things. In that vein, I’m going to toss out a few suggestions for happy singer-musician relations. Actually, these are things that I’ve tried to employ in my own trip. I  may very well be full of shit. That’s why I am asking for commentary at the end of the post. But for now, here goes:

(1)  Know your tunes. Know the form and what key you sing them in. Sure, if you’re blasting off with a new tune, you may still be figuring stuff out. But in general, know your music. This leads me to….

(2)  Have your book in order. Have your charts (in your key) put together in an organized and easy to read format. Have it with you on gigs. Yeah, we’re fortunate to have plenty of amazing musicians around town that can play almost any standard in any key. But don’t make the assumption that they can and they will. The book, the book, the book!

(3)  If you can (and haven’t already), learn piano. It made my understanding of the music so much more complete and definitely enhanced the adventure.

(4)  Ask questions. Be curious! I’ve been really fortunate to play with sweet men and women who are generous about answering my musical questions.  Most of them have had long careers, and their depth of knowledge is vast. I’ve learned a ton by just asking questions. It’s also a nice way to get to know the people you’re playing with. At the very least, don’t pretend to know something you don’t. It’s a really bad idea. My assumption is that the musicians I am working with know loads more than I do. With a very few exceptions, this assumption has worked well for me over the years.

(5)  Listen.

(6)  Take care of your musicians. Pay them well. Feed them whenever you can. Don’t ask them to load their gear into the club via a route that takes them past the fry cook. I’m not talking about ass-kissing here but simple golden rule stuff. And if you make it a practice to treat your musicians well, then generally speaking, they’re more inclined to be patient and flexible in goofy situations that are beyond your control. (weird club owners, dimly-lit bandstands, whatever…)

(7)  Don’t be a diva. Just don’t.

(8)  Keep a sense of humor, don’t take yourself too seriously and have fun for God’s sake! I think this is really, really important. Honestly, fun is the most important thing on a gig….at least to me anyway. It’s not about impressing anyone, or singing perfectly or wearing an evening gown that sparkles….it’s all about the joy of the jazz. I mean, isn’t that ultimately why we do this? Enjoy the people you’re on the bandstand with!

Again, I don’t even pretend to make these suggestions with any authority. I’m just saying what’s worked for me. As for what musicians can do on their side to make nice with singers? I guess I would ask that they be kind and not assume we’re stupid. As I said earlier in the post, I’ve been treated really well by the musicians I’ve played with, so I don’t have loads of comment here. But I would like to hear some.

The other night at Tula’s, I was sitting with another vocalist and mentioned to him that I was thinking of writing a post on the relationship between jazz vocalists and musicians. He gave me a worried look and asked me if I really wanted to “open up that can of worms.” I guess I don’t really see it as opening up a can of worms. That’s certainly not my intention. I think we’re capable of having a sane and respectful discussion here. With that, I invite and welcome your comments. The ground rules are these: be cheerful, be kind and keep a sense of humor. (If you want to comment anonymously, that’s cool. I think the blog allows it, but if not, shoot me an email and I will post for you.) Remember that the one thing we all have in common is a shared love of the music. Let that be our starting point……..

Comments

23 responses to “Playing Well With Others: On Singers & Musicians”

  1. Terry says:

    The voice is an instrument, like any other. There are ensemble players (back up singers, choirs) and there are soloists. In the intimacy of a jazz setting, I would liken the singer to one of the four instruments in a string quartet. Essential. Your post is well thought and on the mark, in my humble opinion. My addition to your list…Humility becomes us all. Keep swingin, babe.

  2. vocalist says:

    I think you are right on the money. Its worms, and the system is broken so much that I can’t afford to gig because of this golden rule. But I pay them well, be prepared and I have a Good gig. Are we musicians? Some yes, some no. But like everything else you can accomplish anything If you set your mind to it. Even earning the respect of your musician peers. Earning money on a gig when you’re expected to book the gig, make the charts, print the books, arrange and direct the music, pay the band and pay out of pocket for most of these things… that is another story.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the comment. I think the earning piece is significant and is probably a very good topic for another post. As you said, “Another story.” I’m not even sure what angle I would approach from but would like to think about it.

  3. Trish Hatley says:

    Wow Katy, interesting! Unfortunately, my take is different than yours. While I have been singing for decades and playing with some of the best musicians, I have found that to put it simply, the instrumentalists would prefer “No Singers”! I do think that there is as lack of respect in general. They would much prefer to play the music and create without having the vocalist in the way. The singer is the lead in the group and the musicians spend 2/3rds of their time backing her (hopefully). If the singer is gone, the whole show is them; all they get to create is theirs alone. It is not hard to understand how the rhythm section would enjoy carrying the show alone, we all like to do it our way.

    People are attracted to the language of music and so the singer lives…words are important! This creates a connection between the audience and the musicians. In performance I am into relating with the audience on a level that keeps bringing them back for more. I make them important to the show, so my singing is only a part of what I create. Being the front person is very important! There are few instrumentalists or singers that can do that!!! It would be fun to give the instrumentalist the microphone and tell them to front the show, they might get a little more respect of that job that needs to be carried.

    I have heard musicians complain about singers forever. I’ve witness the disrespect of their reactions on stage, flipping of their eyes, looking at each other, flipping their eyes. I don’t flip my eyes at them when their solo doesn’t quite make it! This gets observed by more than the musicians on stage. These horrible actions of talented musicians do not create a comfortable bandstand or a safe haven for stretching your wings.

    I was raised by parents that played music for a living, 6 nights a week! This is before the decline of music venues. I have watched musicians for so many decades I don’t even want to say. There is an absolute lack of respect for most vocalists…not all, no musician in their right mind would not have respect for the “Greta Matasa’s” of the world. Greta is a marvelous jazz instrumentalist that sings his ass off.

    One reason they get attitudes is that they have to back so many singers that are green or do not know what they are doing. To look at this differently, it would be like being a good tennis player and having to play with someone who has a hard time hitting the ball back to you, the game goes flat and it very hard work. It is terribly frustrating and unsatisfying. It would be cool if you could get a few musicians to write their thoughts and tell the truth. I am blessed to create wonderful jobs because I have a great following and I get to play with marvelous players.

    Generally speaking, I believe the truth is that the reason they are nice to us is that they need the gigs, sorry but I am really tainted on this thought.

    Trish Hatley
    http://www.trishhatley.com

    • admin says:

      I think you make some good points, Trish. We do have a different take on how musicians feel about working with us, but I know you’ve been in this business many years and respect your experience and insight.

      Interestingly, while I love singing and making music, I don’t relish the “front person” role, especially when it comes to being a chick singer. I hate the glam aspect-having to dress the part, look a certain way, etc. While I do love connecting with the audience, I wish there were a way to do it that would allow me to blend in with the band and wear what I want. Har.

      I think your analogy to a tennis game is spot on. Thanks for dropping by the blog!

  4. Great post Katy! I think all your points above are really sound observations and your suggestions are right on point. I think those suggestions are useful to anyone who wants to work well with other musicians. I strongly believe vocalists are musicians – in fact, they are the ORIGINAL musician! I mean come on…right!?! Before there were instruments and guitar slingers, etc. – there was – percussion/rhythm of the heart, body and life it self – and VOICE! We speak with music – music is all around us too because our entire universe is vibrating. So for me the questions come down to this at the end of the day:

    1) How do you view yourself? Do you believe you are a worthy and gifted human being with a voice?

    2) Do the musicians/people you work with have good attitudes and respect you just the way you are?

    3) And – do you have a desire to grow as much as possible in this life and think you can be open to receiving negativity, criticism, labels, etc. from the world at times?

    If you’re in alignment with your inner most desires/dreams and can trust your own instinct and abilities – you will go far in life. Sure there are schematics to getting on stage and working as a professional in the music biz, but what matters most to me is that I love what I do and that’s when I feel successful and let the non-constructive comments or vibe of others roll like raindrops off of me – if fact if I were to use that analogy I could even say that the raindrops clean me and reflect back to me a state of mind that I’d rather live, work and play in.

    You are beautiful, you are worthy, you are human, you ARE!

    Just my 2 cents 😉 Thanks for the fun discussion – I’m going to be posting things like this in the near future on my blog as well 😉 You’re inspiring me.

    Peace and blessings,
    Josh

    • admin says:

      Wow, Josh. Lots to think about here. I appreciate the joy and light that you bring to the conversation. I especially like # 1, because how we view ourselves is obviously going to impact how we interact with other people and also what we bring to the bandstand and ultimately the music. (Jason also touches on this in his reply when he suggests that singers should consider themselves as musicians.)

      I look forward to checking out posts on your blog. Let’s keep the discussion flowing!

      Big love.

  5. Jason Parker says:

    Of course singers are musicians!

    My take on the problem you talk about is that singing is something just about everyone thinks he/she can do. That’s not the case with playing the saxophone, drums, piano, etc. Because everyone thinks they can sing, often times people think that it’ll be easy to put a band together and play a show. So they call the best rhythm section in town, book a venue and warble their way through a set.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I think everyone has the right and should have the opportunity to sing if they want to sing. I don’t begrudge anyone their desire to perform because I know how exhilarating it can be! But if you do want to sing, please heed Katy’s advice above!!! Read her 8 tips. Read them again. Memorize them. And then get up on the bandstand and have a great time!

    I think one thing that’ll really help is for more singers to think of *themselves* as musicians. When I get up on the bandstand, I don’t think of myself as a trumpet player. Same with my band…I don’t think of them as the piano player, drummer, bassist, etc. We’re all musicians in service of the music. Of course, we all have to spend time learning our instruments. I spend hours each day learning how to play the trumpet. But all that stays in the woodshed, because if I think about playing the trumpet when I’m performing, I’m not thinking about making music, which is the ultimate goal. Same with singers. You have to spend time learning your voice, where it breaks, what register your comfortable in, how to sing in tune and in time, etc. But when you get on the bandstand, you’re a musician first! If you think this way, the other musicians will be able to tell and will heap the respect on you.

    My favorite singers are the ones who think of themselves as musicians first: Abbey Lincoln, Gretchen Parlato, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby McFerrin. When they perform the are part of the band, not “the singer out front”.

    We need more of this!

    • admin says:

      As I said in my comments to Josh, I think you hit an important point by adding that singers might want to start thinking of themselves as musicians. I guess in my own psychology and process, I’ve felt like I needed to earn the “right” to consider myself as a musician. But this has to do just as much if not more with my own personal standards and expectations of myself than it does other people’s approval. Other people’s approval (or disapproval) can fuck you up if you’re not careful in how you view it. I think as in all things, there’s a middle way: being comfortable with who you are and where you are (And as Randy Halberstadt says in his book, not feeling badly about where you are in your process of learning and growth.) with also trying to make positive, respectful and joyful connections with the people you’re playing with.

      I do believe it is incumbent on all of us to have our shit together, both musically and personally. I think this will go a long way in improving all of the connections we have with each other in this big, wonderful world of music and life!

      Thanks for your thoughts, JP! Love ya, kid!

  6. Jason Parker says:

    I’d also like to add that I love playing with singers. I think it makes me a better musician for a couple of reasons:

    1. As a melody player myself, I have to stay out of the way when the singer takes the melody. This forces me to find complimentary and non-obtrusive things to play.

    2. It forces me to use space so that I don’t step all over the singer.

    Thankyouvermuch.

  7. Kim says:

    Good points, all of the above!
    I was pretty shocked when I first came to Seattle to find out that
    singers were not paying themselves, only the musicians. And as an above post notes,
    said singers are wearing many “hats” in addition to singing, in order to make the gig work.
    I appreciate also, wanting to be paid for going out of the house,
    loading and hauling equipment, etc. etc.; and that some players will
    request a minimum “guarantee”.
    I’ve been singing professionally since 1980; and working with my spouse/partner
    who’s been a working drummer since before then. So we’ve seen the “rise and fall” of
    “local gigs” in terms of how many gigs there are and how much they pay (or what it costs YOU to have a “gig”).
    It’s a sticky situation.

    Musicians need to make the money, so they may take gigs w/ singers/players/band leaders that they don’t respect musically.

    I also remember that I was once “green” as a newbie vocalist, however; I went out there with many years of training (piano and clarinet as well as voice) before I did a gig.
    So, I have some empathy for the enthusiastic beginners out there. But not when I hear singers (or players) that aren’t ready to be on a professional gig; not prepared, not able to play their instrument/voice well.

    Singers, please study and practice, just as the musicians do.

    Ya don’t hafta be a “pollyanna”, just be a mensch.

    • Jason Parker says:

      Hi Kim,

      I’d like to point out that it’s not just singers who pay the band and sometimes don’t pay themselves. As a bandleader I know going into club dates that I may or may not walk out with any money in my pocket. Because I guarantee my bandmates a certain wage, and feel strongly about doing so, that means that sometimes I break even, or take a hit. But that’s part of the cost of doing business.

      No one makes a living off of club dates. If you’re looking to club dates to pay your bills, you’re going to be disappointed. I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to build up a casuals business that brings in enough money to offset the losses I take on club dates. The weddings, corporate events, private parties, etc. allow me the luxury of playing in the clubs, not the other way around.

      This is also why I’ve been able to keep a kick-ass band together for over 3 years.

      I wrote more on that subject on my blog. Check it out if you’re interested: http://oneworkingmusician.com/how-ive-kept-my-band-together-for-3-years

      Cheers,
      Jason

  8. admin says:

    Thanks for the comments, Kim. As I said in a reply to the vocalist above, the whole piece about money is definitely worth exploring in another blog. Obviously, as a working vocalist, I’ve given a lot of thought to the problem. I won’t take gigs that cost me money. But I do sometimes forget that in addition to the work that goes into practicing & developing the craft, I do an awful lot of extra for the hustle. Lots of work for ? As Josh said above, I guess it comes back to what value we put on ourselves balanced with the realities of working as a jazz vocalist in this town. (It would be interesting to see how vocalists fare in other cities. From the sounds of your comment, they do better wherever you moved here from.)

    I’m glad you came by and commented. Please come again!

  9. Katy, I commend you for peeling the layers of this particular onion! I think the aspects of interpersonal chemistry that make some musicians click and others clash transcend the roles of instrumentalist, vocalist, etc. There are just as many instrumentalists who diss each other as instrumentalists who diss singers, and vice versa. (The recent circulation of the videos featuring two robots talking about jazz comes to mind 🙂 However, as a singer/pianist, I second Kim’s comments re: vocalists clambering up onstage before they’re ready to hold their own in a professional setting. Jazz is complicated music – the expectation that one can take a few vocal lessons or workshops and consider oneself on a par with accomplished instrumentalists has always baffled me. I would argue that the goal of “the process of learning and growth,” is the honest enjoyment and creative satisfaction of doing the work itself, not merely “not feeling badly about where you are” within that process. Jason, your post re: “the luxury of playing in clubs” v.s the economic reality of working more commercial gigs speaks very concisely to the financial reality of being a musician. And yes, Katy, if you want to look at the gender issue in jazz, there’s some very interesting research and writing out there to serve as a springboard for exploration. This is why I love sociomusicology – questions concerning musical roles, musicianship, training, identity, economics, gender, and geography are merely the tip of the iceberg. Serious fun!

    • admin says:

      Hello Carolyn. Thanks for dropping by and for your thoughtful comments.

      Maybe you’re right about there being just as many instrumentalists dissing each other as there are instrumentalists dissing vocalists, but this post was prompted by some posts I’d seen out on Facebook that were specific to the singer-instrumentalist dynamic. Judging from the amount of traffic since I’ve posted this (The folks that took the time to comment are just drops in the bucket in terms of actual page views.), there must be something to this. But again, as I said above, I very well could be clueless here as to whether there’s a problem or not. I do think that you’re right-interpersonal chemistry is no small thing and most definitely plays a role here.

      After reading Kim’s and your comments, I am curious as to “when” a vocalist is indeed ready to get out there and step up on the bandstand. What are the metrics of “ready?” And I would clarify that in paraphrasing Randy, what I meant was that individuals who are putting in the time and doing the work should not feel the need to apologize for where they are in the process. I completely agree about the creative satisfaction and honest enjoyment of doing the work. I guess I thought that part went without saying.

      I’m really thrilled you dropped by the blog and appreciate not only your comments but also all the ideas you threw out there for future posts. Um, these could keep me seriously busy! Cheers!

    • admin says:

      PS-I’ve seen those videos of the robot jazzers. Very funny. “So killin’!”

  10. Hi Katy,
    None of these ideas are original–have at it! I think that solid musicianship, creativity, and honest communication go a long way toward building rapport between instrumentalist and vocalists. Likewise, I think they are major factors when it comes to being ready to perform in a professional setting. Also, at the risk of sounding like the semantics police here, I see a major difference between being happily absorbed in the process of learning, and merely not apologizing for one’s progress. Each perspective represents a different kind of nuance, energy, and performance subtext, particularly for singers. It sounds so lame when we try to analyze it, but all of us know it when it happens.

  11. I’m blessed to have never had a negative experience with instrumentalists treating my as an inferior musician, although I am aware that when I step on stage with people I’ve never played with before I am in a position of having to prove to them that I indeed am a musician. There is never an excuse for behaving poorly or forgetting professionalism and common courtesy, but I do think I understand a bit of what puts me at a slight disadvantage.

    Those of us who study and revel in jazz tend to be an educated and opinionated community. Truly listening to and absorbing jazz, to me, is a continual education of the ear, heart and mind. Most jazz instrumentalists, in addition to honing the craft of their individual instruments, are usually intimately involved in the theory and form of the music. I’ve listened to some jazz instrumentalists that may not have played my style or my particular taste, but in general I do not question their command and understanding of their instrument and music. I tend to be much more critical of singers. It is much easier for an inexperienced singer to take the stage and exist in the realm of seasoned musicians, granted the instrumentalists are considerate and flexible. I don’t assume when I see a singer on the stage that they are going to blow me away. However, I always give respect and am happy that all levels of musicians are welcome to participate and learn about the art form I love.

    That said, I am typically prepared when I gig. I know my tunes and have my books in order, although I feel that has more to do with professionalism than musicianship. I make mistakes from time to time. I have occasional bad notes and insecure moments. I have spent many years studying music of multiple genres and various instruments. I am not an expert. I still have questions and have volumes yet to learn. Even so, there is no doubt in my mind that I am a musician.

    To me, what defines a musician, in any level of experience, is their ability to communicate with other musicians and create thoughtful, engaging, evolving music; music others enjoy playing and hearing. Judgments and assumptions about what makes a musician or who is or is not considered a musician, in my opinion only hampers the musical process. Additionally, a true musician is welcoming and encouraging of anyone who wants to learn and share the special love that only comes from musical expression.

    Whether or not I enjoy a particular singer does not reflect at all upon my feeling that they have a right to be on the stage and share what is in their heart to share. Anyone who would deny someone of that experience is not a musician in my mind.

    • admin says:

      I like this….” a continual education of the ear, heart and mind.” Not sure I could have articulated that any better.

      The question of whether or not a vocalist is a musician was only posed in the broader context of looking at the relationship between vocalists and instrumentalists and what factors, both negative or positive, potentially impact that dynamic. I would agree that judging and making assumptions about anyone can hamper pretty much any process, be it a creative one, a work project, a personal relationship or whatever.

      When I mentioned having books in order, I don’t think it was a statement about musicianship. I was only making suggestions as to ways to make things easier (and thusly, improve relations with)for the musicians you’re working with. I make mistakes as well. I have lots of good nights but also some bad ones. I think the same is true for anyone, no matter their vehicle for delivering the music.

      Many thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts, Leah!

  12. Hi, guys. Thanks for the discussion, Katy!

    To my mind, calling oneself a musician, whether instrumental or vocal, has to do with a certain level of knowledge, proficiency and mastery. To me, to think of oneself or to be described as a musician is an honor to be earned. Just because I can put paint on canvas doesn’t make me an artist.

    There is no way I would have called myself a musician, even a singer, when I started this journey, even though I was up there at the jams making music…..sort of. I don’t have a music education, I wasn’t born with a natural wonder of a voice, nor did I take on learning to be a singer until relatively recently. (I haven’t been singing since I was 2!) Whatever distance I have come in singing, understanding and writing music is through excellent teachers, loads of reading, practice and self-study and the patience and support of many already accomplished musicians.

    I know I am not alone in saying that I am extreeemely grateful to have had the “schools” of Tula’s, Egan’s, etc., to give me the opportunity to grow as a singer, performer and, hopefully, a musician. (Can’t afford Cornish, although I wish!) I am grateful to the instrumentalists who have been so gracious as to accompany me (pun intended) on my journey toward becoming whatever degree of vocal musician I am now. It is a developmental process. And of course the journey only continues.

    If any of those instrumentalists rolled their eyes at each other behind me while I was finding my way, I didn’t know it, thank goodness! I certainly wouldn’t have needed that and still don’t. The challenge of all at once being the instrument itself, the player of the instrument, the actor portraying the character and emotion of the song, and sometimes the author of the music and story, all the while being up there as the primary focus of the audience’s attention, is no small feat. The musicians I know acknowledge that and have expressed great respect for singers who are continually learning and growing in all of those aspects.

    I completely agree with Katy’s suggestions for singers who want to develop the musicianship and performance skills that are respected by instrumentalists, the audience and fellow vocalists alike. Thanks, Katy.

    Oh, …..and I would be interested in hearing more people’s takes on the moooolah side of things, too.

    May the journey continue…….

  13. Stan Smith says:

    Looks to me like you’ve posted 8 points for ALL musicians to internalize. Thank you.

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Katy Bourne is a Jazz Singer and Writer.