It’s been a long time between drinks for Brisbane’s The John Steel Singers. There had been whispers, nay legends, surrounding the quintet’s blessed return; a make-shift studio on the Sunshine Coast, late night dazed recording sessions and the courageous rescue of an abandoned organ. It seemed a new musical offering was on the cards. Now, the jubilant ‘Singers confirm a sophomore release in 2013, unveiling a sneak peak of what’s to come with track ‘State Of Unrest’ - marking the band’s first musical utterings since 2010.
What’s more, The John Steel Singers will be taking their latest wares on the road, with a handful of East Coast shows in September to coincide with their performance at industry conference BIGSOUND.
‘State of Unrest’ brings with it an audio/visual sensory delight with the video appearing on Youtube this morning. Street track, teaser; call it what you will, but one thing’s for sure - The John Steel Singers are back and fans best keep their collective ears to the ground, with the album’s first official single set for release in the coming weeks.
triple j Unearthed winners Baptism Of Uzi will join The John Steel family in Sydney and Melbourne, warming the stage at Goodgod Small Club on Friday, September 12 and Northcote Social Club on Thursday, September 26. Rounding out the bill in Sydney is local four-piece The Fabergettes and swag-rock co-op Dirt Farmer in Melbourne. Babaganouj and Rolls Bayce are on board in Brisbane for a special hometown show at Alhambra Lounge on Friday, September 27.
Tickets are on sale this Thursday, August 22. ‘State Of Unrest’ is the first taste of The John Steel Singers’ long-awaited follow up to debut album Tangalooma (2010).
THE JOHN STEEL SINGERS
THE STATE OF UNREST TOUR
Presented by Mess + Noise
Tickets on sale Thursday, August 22
THU 12th SEPTEMBER – BAKERY LANE, BIGSOUND, BRISBANE
Tickets available via http://www.oztix.com
FRI 20th SEPTEMBER – GOODGOD, SYDNEY
with Baptism Of Uzi and The Fabergettes
Tickets available via http://www.moshtix.com.au
THU 26th SEPTEMBER – NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, MELBOURNE
with Baptism Of Uzi and Dirt Farmer
Tickets available via http://northcotesocialclub.com
FRI 27th SEPTEMBER – ALHAMBRA LOUNGE, BRISBANE
with Babaganouj and Rolls Bayce
Tickets available via http://www.oztix.com
FeedbackMarkdave (29 September 2013 11:39:21)
? What qualifies you to diegase with anything that is said? Are you singing well? Is it working for you? The answer to this is a definite no. I do not say any of this to be picky. But think about it. You are seeking help because things are not working. One of the worst things I have seen (and more often than you can imagine) are students coming to a teacher believing they know everything. They know they cannot sing, or sing as they would want, but they are alreaady so much in the know that they resist anything they are told. Now there is nothing wrong with thinking things through, striving to find answers to the questions, or even attempting to figure out why things are as they are. That is a GOOD thing. The problem is when you feel your conclusions, which are not working for you and producing the results you want, qualify you to disagree or dismiss what someone who has had years of experience has learned. Now I will say, NO SINGER KNOWS EVERYTHING, but singers who have sung a long time do know what they are doing (even if many can't express it well; not all good singers make good teachers). Be willing to open your mind and learn. If you approach a singing class with the attitude well, I think things are this way, and I will decide if what I am told fits my view then you are not approaching a class with the desire to really learn. You want to learn to sing so you can sing your own compositions (a very good and excellent reason to sing) but are you letting your pride as a composer interfer with your needs and lack of knowledge as a singer? It is a thing to consider. I have written in this site about what makes a good teacher, and the types of teachers there are, what they can give and what limitations they also have. But I have not commented on what makes a good student. I believe your post is a perfect time to address that. NOW PLEASE, don't think I am finding fault with you, for I am not. I just noticed these facts, you being quite willing to disagree with someone as if you know more, when the reality is you don't know enough.A good student will listen and learn. They will not come to a class with preconceived ideas of what is right and wrong. Even if you have read a million books on singing, that hardly means you fully understand what is even being said in those books. Terms change with time and with societies. What something means (like the coupe de glotis) can mean very different things to different people. Even the author of that term realized what he meant to say was being grossly misinterpreted in no time flat. To prepare to be a good student, you must first throw aside ALL thoughts of fame, fortune, and career. Yes, that may be your goal, but at this point, it will only cloud your ablity to learn. Seek a good teacher. Go see what the various teachers in your area teach. Judge them, not on how you think things work, but on the results of their teachings. Are their students singing well? Are they producing a good sound? Do they sound like themselves or like copies of each other? Can he express what he wants them to do clearly (you must sit in a class to know this)? Does the teacher understand what it is you wish to accomplish with your studies? OK, now you have found the ideal teacher. What makes you the ideal student? Firstly, the desire to work and to learn. You cannot go to your teacher and believe you have the right or the qualifications to instantly begin questioning what he is telling you. You are there to learn, not to teach, and not to debate. You are not above the basics, so don't rebel when he makes you work at them a long time. You are there to learn your craft, which is singing. You may have a voice, even a nice one, but it has not reached its protential, and in fact, if you are untrained, it is unlikely you even know what your real voice range, or fach, is. You may think you are a tenor or a bass, but when the voice begins to actually develop find out that you are not at all what you thought you were. If you rebel at this point because you WANT to be this or that range, then you are allowing your preconceived notion of what you SHOULD be interfer with what you are. If you have a good teacher, he will not be training you as anything, not a tenor, a bass, or a baritone. He will be simply training your voice, teaching you how to use it, to develop the sound, and help you sing freer. What range you actually are will come much later as you sing. Your voice will gravite to what is most comfortable for it.If your teacher gives you exercises dealing with the use of the tongue, vowel production, scales until you could scream Do them! That is the only way the voice will develop the strength, not just the flexibility, to sing. There is no such a thing as learning to sing in five easy steps, nor can you really learn to sing from any program on tape. No one can hear you sing and monitor if you are achieving that sound correctly or just imitating what you hear doing all the wrong things. Understand that fact, and accept it. Learning to sing well takes TIME. It is not something you can do over night, nor is it something that always moves forward with a constant progression. One will hit plateaus where nothing seems to be happening. That is the result of the fact you body and its muscular development has not moved forward as quickly as your understanding. It must be given time to catch up. After listening carefully to your teacher, following the advice you have be taught, take a moment to evaluate your progress (you cannot do this normally until after a good 6 months to a year of study; the only exception is if you are feeling really tight in the throat, the sound is feeling more and more restricted, and what range you did have is decreasing; these are warnings that something is not right, either you are not understanding what you are being taught get clarification, or the teacher does not know what they are doing get a new teacher). If you have been progressing well, and you have noticed your voice really begin to bloom into something wonderful, but at this point in time things seem to be at a standstill, then be patient. You need not run to a new teacher. Like said earlier, you have plateaued because your physical body has not yet developed enough to produce the sound you want. As it develops, you will once again move forward. Such plateaux can last up to 6 months.If there are things you are not understanding, do ask your teacher. You are not there to be some puppet or some creation for some Svengali, you are there to learn, and eventually become able to monitor yourself during your own career (teachers do die). But do NOT approach the question with a sense of arrogance. You are not the teacher, and what you think is a correct conclusion may be so wide of the mark it isn't funny. Allow your teacher to explain WHY things are done as they are done. Don't dismiss that knowledge just because you think you know better. If you knew better you would be doing not studying.There is nothing wrong with asking questions until the answers are absolutely clear. However, this is where you should have set up your rules (the teacher will share their rules of study right from the beginning, and so should you). Make it a rule right from the start that if you do not understand something you will ask about it. But again, don't ask as if you know everything, rather simply ask for clarification so that you can fully understand. There is nothing worse than working with a student who THINKS THEY KNOW EVERYTHING. You give them advice, explain why things must be as they are, and instantly they edit what they are told accepting this rejecting that, all because it doesn't fit their personal view of what things aught to be. That student is NOT there to learn. They really are being quite insincere about learning to sing. All they want is someone to be weak willed enough to second all their false conclusions. WHY does this happen? Because of ego. Such students usually are failing terribly with any attempt at a career, but they haven't the guts to face the fact THEY are the cause. They haven't the skills, they don't know what they are doing, and they simply have a too high-minded view of their talent. It is everyone else's fault they are not progressing and learning. It is the managers faults they won't take them on. It is the theatre's fault they won't hire them. It is everyone else's fault that no one wants to listen to them (especially when their singing is the most painful experience you can imagine). The one thing they have not accepted is the fact they must accept their faults in order to change them. Teachers figure out quite quickly when they have such a student. These students don't question so as to learn, but are constantly striving to show up the teacher, striving to prove that their ideas are better than the old fashioned things they are learning, and they also NEVER practice anything they are told, but do things on their own time exactly as they want to do them. Good teachers will dismiss such students and send them on their way, for both are wasting their money: the teacher is wasting his time and effort on a student that is unwilling to learn, and the student is wasting money on a teacher they (the student) feel knows less than they do.Sadly, this latter kind of student these days is the NORM. So many students think they can sing. They have sung a song or two in church and mommy and daddy think they are great (as do their friends), but in reality, they have nearly NOTHING of value to offer. They have no technique, not understanding, no musicality even, yet feel there is nothing they have yet to learn. They imitate other singers passably well, especially they faults, but they have no understanding at all of what they are doing or why. They squawk in front of a microphone singing some karaoke club singing only partially in tune, and think they are the next American Idol. And they actually blow everyone away with their LACK of talent and ability, not by what they do have to offer. They then descend on the teachers with the attitude of teach me to sing, I have time for three lessons. They won't listen to reason or to what they are being told because they think they know it all. They question what they are being taught, because it doesn't fit what they think they know, and in their eyes, they are experts, even though they know absolutely nothing. They constantly tell teachers Oh, don't turn me into an opera singer and have this silly idea that somehow what they want to sing doesn't require anything to really sound good, and that singing country, gospel, rock, what have you, is somehow above all the understanding of just how the body works that they would learn from a teacher. Though many singers in those fields DID begin singing with no training, after numerous operations to remove nodes, they all usually ended up seeking real vocal teachers, not coaches, to fix the problems and teach them what they didn't know so as to prevent problems from returning in the future.So every student must decide right from the start:1) Do I really want to learn how to sing?2) Am I willing to do what is needed to accomplish that?3) Can I take instruction from a teacher who knows what they are doing, or do I think I know so much I don't have to listen?4) Am I willing to do all those boring scales, all those other boring things, breathing exercises, etc. to learn HOW to do what it is I want to do?5) Will I pay attention carefully during a lesson (record it if you can) and practice exactly what I am told to do?6) Will I put career and fame out of my head and concentrate on the project at hand, learning to sing?7) Will I allow myself the chance to actually let my teacher teach me?8) If I don't understand, will I learn to carefully question or ask about what we are doing so I can learn, and so it doesn't sound like I am challenging my teacher's understanding?9) Can I really be honest with myself when it comes to my faults, and understand that only by accepting them will I be able to fix them?10) Can I accept that 99% of what may go wrong will really be my own doing, either because I am not doing what I am told, or I do not understand what I am being taught, or that I simply am too impatient with the process?11) And then will I rejoice in the fact that 99% of what is going wrong IS my fault and therefore I have the power to fix it, to make the changes necessary to make things work, and to move ahead?A good singing student will also find the joy in singing, even when things are tough, and they do get tough. A student/teacher relationship is not heartless and cold, even if you never actually become friends in the traditional sense (and you shouldn't become friends and buddies, that destroys that division that is so needed so as to give the correct deference needed to the wisdom of your teacher). There is much give and take in it. But remember, you are the student, and hopefully your teacher is a master of what they are teaching. Approach being a student as a blank page. Don't come as an encyclopedia wanting to impress. Teachers are more impressed by your ability to grow and learn, than by your ability to spout off axioms and cliches. Any good teacher would want you to succeed, even if your goal is as simple as singing so the neighbors don't call the police. Trust in that. And any teacher who is out only to add you to a list of others I have created is in reality not a good teacher at all. A teacher really feels a deep glow inside when they see their students move ahead, and if they actually become successful with a wonderful career, a good teacher rejoices in their hearts with you. Learn humility, as that is something that will take you very far, not just in the learning process, but in the career as well. Yes, you must develop confidence, but you don't need arrogance. You must know your mind and your goals, but you need not have them written in stone. And you will need courage, a great deal of courage, for even as a student, you are putting your very soul out there to be accepted or rejected. Never forget that. Once you have mastered being a great student (which takes time, one learns it as one learns to sing) you will eventually learn to become a great performer and musician, a real singer who can touch the hearts of all those to whom they sing. I wish all well who read this blog, and I commend Simon on his questions and his willingness to say what he thinks. That takes courage. I commend him on knowing what he would like to do, and that is to sing well enough to enjoy the act of singing. How many approach learning with even that much thought out? Believe me, not many. Now for those who many think, including Simon himself, that HE is the inspiration for this comment, that I see him as that horrible student I described, I DO NOT see him that way at all. He just simply inspired me to write about being a good student, for it is something that is seldom talked about. And since being a good student is actually even more important in some ways than having a great teacher (as I said before, we never learn all there is to learn from one person, but usually from many) it is a goal that all those truly wanting to learn should fix, whether it is for singing, or any other endeavor one is seeking to accomplish. Thank you all for reading, and thank you, Michael, for tolerating my comments, which really DO go beyond the bounds of correctness. This is, after all, your blog, not mine, and you are the master here, not me. I only hope that all those who read this blog really take the time to learn, not just answers to their questions on singing and the mechanics of it, but also the mechanics of how to learn itself.
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