Organize Your Songs

Tie Charts Blog 7-19-16It’s time to make those lists AND make them work for you.

The first thing I say to students is, “List your favorite songs you have sung; then list songs you don’t know but want to learn.”

You have probably learned more songs than you realize. Listing them is a cool project that could inspire more consideration.

After the name of each song you could write what key/style/feel /tempo you like to sing it in.

After listing your keys, you might find that you’re most comfortable singing ballads in certain keys so your “money note” can help you really make the performance incredible.

When you get a list of songs from a bandleader, sit at the piano and experiment with the keys or tonal centers singing the melody, modulating up or down, to find your most comfortable key.

I sing “Misty” in Bb, Summertime in C, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…) in Db.

Once you know your best key, your artistry has begun.

The Basics

Remember: a singer can communicate on a musical level even without a prepared chart or sheet music.

All you need to know is the key and tempo of each song, then you can be off to a great start building and developing a versatile repertoire, and will never be at a loss for a great song to sing for any occasion!

The songs you want to learn are less of a challenge because you’ve already heard the melody.

If the song has been recorded, listen to many versions of it. Your perfect version is somewhere in the mélange of different other artists’ interpretations.

And remember, once you’ve learned a song, there is no version of it that you HAVE to do! Good luck organizing your repertoire!

Dottie West

DottieWestDottie West was a super hero type woman! She overcame so many dastardly odds to become the singing sensation she was. She had so much personality and was so smooth in her delivery of a line or a song! I found her enchanting to be around and was devastated when she passed!

When asked to fly to LA and sing with her and Kenny on the tour of their duet album, I was ecstatic! And while in LA, I was especially honored and thrilled to call my friend Denise Stewart (Denise S Bates), who was a fellow Fiskite, to sing the third part on the songs we were to perform!! That was something! we had a ball!!!!

Somebody Talkin’ About Jesus

I was recovering from a horrible auto wreck, in barefoot, following through with a show I’d been rehearsing for weeks before the wreck. I went on the stage at Exit Inn( Ithink, somebody help me! It may have been the War Memorial or some place like that!) When I had finished a horribly frantic over-done, busy set of maybe 4-5 songs, the emcee came out and said, “We’ve got a young lady who just came to town this week… she wants to have a career in the record industry. Why don‘t we help her get started with a nice welcoming hand?”

We clapped…

Out walked Kathy Mattea, guitar strung across her shoulder and under her arm. I’m still speechless in remembering that indescribable rich true gorgeous siren of a voice!!! Next thing I knew I was singing on her record(s)!! This is one of the opps Vicki Hampton and I got to be as creative as the artist, and it’s because Kathy had the chops to let us do our thing and still show totally OUT!!!!!!!

Berklee Presents the Fisk Jubilee Singers at Symphony Hall

The Fisk Jubilee Singers at Symphony Hall: A Tribute

Sunday / February 21, 2016 / 7:00 p.m.
Symphony Hall, Boston
310 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA, 02115, United States

(view map)

Fisk Jubilee Singers

Organized in 1871, the world-renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers have played an important role in introducing and sustaining the tradition of negro spiritual and black American religious music to the world. That music created the paradigm later followed by the blues, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, and the many styles of music derived from the African cultural diaspora in the United States, thus permanently altering the course of the world’s music. Composed of Fisk University students annually selected for the quality and unique harmonious compatibility of their voices, the Fisk Jubilee Singers was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest artistic honor, in 2008.

LEARN MORE . . .