Thursday, April 1, 2010

Advice to American Idol Kids

"What is man but his passion?"

Robert Penn Warren

Moon man on a palm trunk

"I've always thought respectable people scoundrels,
and I look anxiously at my face every morning
for signs of my becoming a scoundrel."

George Bernard Shaw

"I'd rather have roses on my table
than diamonds on my neck."

Emma Goldman


One of my college classes that has stayed with me
is a class that I took on Rock & Roll.

I thought it would be an easy course
because I lived through most the history of Rock.
I got the music in me!
Heck, I was even at Woodstock
(click HERE to read about that.)

When the professor offered extra credit
to anyone who would get up
and dance the "Twist"
I twisted my way to those extra points!
The kids in the class already knew
that I was an old weirdo.
(And that was even a few years back! :)

Of course, I learned all of the things that I DID'NT know!
Like those swooping, wavering notes beloved of Gospel, Soul and Rock?
I learned that there is a name for that.
That is called a:

Definitions of Melisma on the Web:

Gregorian chant?!

Those contestants on American Idol sure love those melisma, don't they?

Well kids, what I want you to know
is that you have to
your melisma!

You gotta build up to them.

They only refresh the ear
and exalt the spirit
when the come AFTER something,
something relatively straight-forward and excellent,
like a well-done presentation
of the basic song itself.

It is the build-up,
the change,
and not mere VOLUME
that gives those vocal
swallow swoops
their majesty.

You need to know the rules,
like any artist must,
before you can break them
to release the creativity
that is yours alone.

Great songs have a sway,
a motive force all their own,
an inertia,
internal guidance,
and a drive
that no amount of
vocal swooping
can replace.

First, (please) just sing the song well.

Then you can make us HEAR and FEEL
the note you extend like a wailing soul,
the beat that you skip.

Make us wait for it,
long for it,
STARVE for it!

Then come in like an insinuation,
make it look hard!
Make us wonder if you have it in you.
Make us hold our breath,
make us BEG you for it!
Then let your voice loose;

Then let your talent soar
and we will ascend with it.

Take it from an old weirdo!

ALOHA, cloudia