Friday, December 14, 2007

Vocal Training. Singers, Public Speakers, Actors and All People must Communicate Clear Diction

Vocal Training Warrior: Vocal Training, Voice Lessons, Singers Voice Lessons, Speakers Vocal Training, Actors Vocal Training, Home Recording Studios, Quality Microphones, Podcasting, Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises, Clear Diction Exercises, Vocal Training Videos, Vocal Training E-books.

I propose a New Years resolution that will definitely change your life. I want you to learn to sing and speak with powerful and clear diction. Read on to accept the challenge!

Proper Diction is one of those subjects that is often misunderstood or ignored completely due to complete ignorance or cultural aversion. Yet, the mastery of performing powerful and clear diction is critical to how you present yourself as a competent citizen and educated professional in a highly competitive world.

The truth is, you can drive the greatest car, live in the biggest house or wear the finest clothes, but if you mumble your words and think talking in “cultural slang” is “to cool to get real and change” then your first impression with people will always be less than you probably wanted.

It is like a person with bad breath, dirty nails, soiled and wrinkled clothes or body odor. People will always remember these things about you and not the “flashy lifestyle.” Your presentation is very important and exercising proper diction should be high on your list of personal development goals.

One of the challenges in America is that, because we are such a melting pot of cultures, the overall “American Diction” has become very sloppy. Isn’t it true that you wish you had a dollar for every time you had to ask somebody, “Can you please repeat that?”

Let’s read the “official” definition of Diction.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diction, in its original, primary meaning, refers to the writer's or the speaker's distinctive vocabulary choices and style of expression. A secondary, common meaning of "diction" is better, and more precisely, expressed with the word enunciation — the art of speaking clearly so that each word is clearly heard and understood to its fullest complexity and extremity. This secondary sense concerns pronunciation and tone, rather than word choice and style.
Diction is divided into two types: Denotation is the literal meaning of a word. Connotation is the attitudes and feelings associated with a word.
Diction has multiple concerns; register — words being either formal or informal in social context — is foremost. Literary diction analysis reveals how a passage establishes tone and characterization, e.g. a preponderance of verbs relating physical movement suggests an active character, while a preponderance of verbs relating states of mind portrays an introspective character. Diction also has an impact upon word choice and syntax.
Diction is comprised of eight elements: Phoneme, Syllable, Conjunction, Connective, Noun, Verb, Inflection, and Utterance.

Don’t you hate some of these “High Brow” definitions?

Now it is time to discuss some solutions to our “Diction Dilemma”. First, let me remind you of something very familiar to you. The English Language when it is actually spoken by the English. That’s right, our former landlords across the Atlantic Ocean. Most people like to hear the English speak. Their diction, for the most part, is very clear. Proper diction is a part of their culture. I like to watch news reports from England. You will see somebody, for example, that looks like they came from India (there is certainly a strong accent in this culture). But, when they open their mouth and start speaking, they speak very clear English, the accent and all! This fact demonstrates great hope for anybody who wants to clean up his or her diction. If someone from India can completely change how he or she talks then anybody can.

There are many aspects of diction that can be discussed that need improvement. I thoroughly discuss these in the chapter on Diction in my e-book, Singing and Speaking on the Edge of a Grunt. I will attempt to simplify one of the obvious ones: Improper use or complete lack of Consonance.

The Consonances that get neglected the most are the ones at the ends of words. For instance, we may not pronounce the D in Made, the T in Flat, the K in Park or the CH in Latch. Go ahead and test yourself. Find something to read and read it out loud. You are probably like most people and you do not make the effort to pronounce these consonances. When you do not, your speech is sloppy and run together. We are so much in a hurry these days to get from one end of the sentence to the other, we forget about what we are saying. Then, we get irritated when someone requests that we repeat ourselves. Somehow it is their fault and not ours. Am I hitting any nerves? Good!

One important reason why Consonances are so important is simple physics. Lets take a Consonant like T. It does not matter if it is at the beginning of a sentence or at the end, the performance is the same as is its importance. Perform the Consonance T. You will notice that the tip of your tongue touches the back of your top teeth and, after you build up some air pressure, you let it all go and hence we have a T. The important aspect of this is that it is what I call an “explosive Consonance”. When the air pressure is released, the “explosion” moves a lot of air molecules a longer distance than if we just said the vowel “aw”. This being the case, the T will travel farther in the air. Therefore, it will be heard at a greater distance and your diction will be more powerful. If you are an actor on a stage all by yourself performing a monologue, the back row will be able to understand what you are saying more clearly. And if that is true then those closer to you will definitely understand you. This is always the result that clear diction will provide.

In private practice, one way I coach vocal students to accomplish this is to “get in character.” Simply pretend that whomever you are speaking to, act like they are all hard of hearing and your message is very important. When you do this, you will find yourself moving your lips, face and jaw to try to make your diction also clear by the actions of your body. I would say most of us have tried to speak to someone very hard of hearing or had to communicate across a distance with our facial expressions when we had to be quiet. This exercise will bring your body diction to its optimum potential. Add the clear Consonance to the mix and your will become a clear communicator every time.

To conclude, practice reading your Lyrics, Speech or Monologue slowly and with clear and articulate diction. Take your time. The goal should always be not WHEN we get to the end of a sentence, but HOW we get there.

I hope you enjoyed the article on Diction.

I also hope that you will click on the links below for a FREE Diction Video Lesson, FREE preview of my Ebook and a FREE Holiday Newsletter.

Goodbye for now!

Jonathan Morgan Jenkins/Vocal Warrior

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

History of Microphones, Sound Recording, Ribbon Microphones, Condenser Microphones,Telephones

Vocal Training Warrior: Vocal Training, Voice Lessons, Singers Voice Lessons, Speakers Vocal Training, Actors Vocal Training, Home Recording Studios, Quality Microphones, Podcasting, Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises, Clear Diction Exercises, Vocal Training Videos, Vocal Training E-books.

My last article, which received tremendous interest, was on the History of Audio Recording. I am grateful to all of you that read it and made it a great success. This article is no less important. We certainly can’t discuss the History of Audio Recording without also discussing the History of the Microphone. Neither can exist without the other. Together, let’s explore the birth and development of this incredible invention.

A microphone is, simply stated, a device that captures “waves” in the air created by the voice or any other noise transmitter and translates those waves into electrical signals. Another way to say it is to convert acoustic power into electrical power. After the sound waves are converted into electrical signals, to hear them again in an acoustic setting, they must be converted back to acoustic power through some kind of loudspeaker. It is amazing to think with all the technological advancements in the last 40 years, we still use this simple process on our stereo, computer or ipod.

Have you attended a concert lately? The relatively weak signal from a voice or musical instrument is created, changed into electrical energy by some sort of microphone, boosted through a series of power amplifiers and, finally, converted back to acoustic energy through loudspeakers. It is easy to sit, enjoy the music, and forget to be thankful for this amazing power that was created in our universe which we enjoy our entire day.

Let’s meet some of the visionary people who discovered and developed the universal principles that operate a microphone.

Johann Phillip Reis (1834-1874)

This German physicist designed a “sound transmitter” that employed the use of a metallic strip that rested on a membrane with a metal point contact that would complete a circuit as the membrane vibrated. His basic belief that, as the membrane responded to the increase and decrease of acoustic energy and bounced the metal point up and down with more intensity and increased the amplitude of electrical current, was brilliant. Unfortunately, this early effort was not developed enough to produce speech that could be understood.

Elisha Gray (1835-1901)

This American inventor would one day become one of the founders of the Western Electric Company. Gray’s design was called a “liquid Transmitter”. The “liquid” was an “acidic” solution. This was an incredible innovation. A diaphragm was attached to a movable electrically conductive rod that was immersed in the acidic solution. A second rod was fixed. With a battery attached, a circuit could be completed between the two rods. Acoustic vibrations traveling through the diaphragm caused the distance between the two rods to vary. The result was that this variance produced corresponding changes in electrical resistance in the acidic cell, changing the levels of current. These variations could be translated to a week audible sound.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)

Famous for his development of the telephone, he employed a similar device as Gray to produce the first transmission of intelligible speech over his primitive telephone. Most of us have heard of the famous words of Bell to his assistant, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.” The true inventor of the telephone, though, became a legal dispute between Bell and Gray. The courts remained neutral regarding their claims due to the overall poor quality of these early devices.

David Edward Hughes(1831-1900)

While Bell and Gray slugged it out in the courts, Hughes was diligently working to produce the first working microphone. Already a pioneer and patent holder in the telegraph industry by 1855, he designed a new kind of microphone by 1878. It was a completely different design that Bell and Gray. It incorporated the use of carbon granules loosely packed into an enclosed space. When the acoustical pressure varied as they traveled through the diaphragm, the electrical resistance that traveled through the carbon granules changed proportionally. The resulting sound was noisy and full of distortion but it was a significant step forward. Since early reports in the newspaper compared his device with a microscope, “ it acts for the ear much in the same way that the microscope serves the eye,” Hughes coined the current name “microphone” to his invention.

Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)

Edison took Hughes design and made it simple, cheap to manufacture, efficient and durable. He created a cavity filled with granules or carbonized anthracite coal packed between two electrodes, one of which was attached to a thin iron diaphragm. His refinements became the basis for all the telephone transmitters used in most of the telephones for the last century. Further, Bell Telephone and Bell laboratories are still incredible companies that continue to produce new communication technologies.

With the invention of the radio, new broadcasting microphones, like the Ribbon Microphone in 1942, were invented. The Ribbon Microphone originally employed the use of an aluminum ribbon that was placed between two poles of a magnet to generate voltages by electromagnetic induction. As the sound wave caused the ribbon to move, the induced current in the ribbon was proportional to the particle velocity in the sound wave. Ribbon microphones have historically been delicate and expensive. Today’s modern materials make present-day ribbon microphones durable enough for loud rock music and stage use.

An incredible step forward in microphone development occurred in 1964. Bell Laboratories researchers James West and Gerhard Sessler created the electroacoustic transducer, an Electret Microphone. The Electret Microphone was a type of Condenser Microphone that offered greater reliability, higher precision, lower cost, and a smaller size. It revolutionized the microphone industry with almost one billion manufactured each year. Further, during the 1970's, dynamic and condenser microphones were developed, allowing for a lower sound level sensitivity and a clearer sound recording.

Currently, microphones are so much a part of our daily life that we take them for granted. After writing this article, I have decided to put them on my list of things to be grateful for. Since I am a pilot, my safety is partially dependent on my being able to communicate on my radio. Guess what I use to talk on my headset? You guessed it, a microphone!

As for the future, many new and incredible innovations are being explored.

1)Laser Velocity Transducers
2)Optical Microphones
3)Direct Digital Output
4)Force Feedback technologies that are used in conjunction with an Optical Microphone

I hope that you have learned some important information about Microphones. As innovation continues at a rapid rate, the ones we use today may become a future exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution. Until then, they will continue to be an invention that taps into a universal principle that improves our lives.

The truth is, the universe is filled with probably billions of incredible things that we have just not discovered. As in the past, present and will be in the future, those that possess the faith and perseverance to tap into the universal mind are those that will discover and share the secrets of the universe with all of us.

Maybe you are that person!

Check out the latest Microphones at my web site and treat yourself for the holidays!

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Happy Holiday to all.

Jonathan Morgan Jenkins
Vocal Warrior

Monday, November 19, 2007

Home Recording Studios. History of Sound Recording, Digital Audio, MP3s and Multitrack Recording.

Vocal Training Warrior: Vocal Training, Voice Lessons, Singers Voice Lessons, Speakers Vocal Training, Actors Vocal Training, Home Recording Studios, Quality Microphones, Podcasting, Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises, Clear Diction Exercises, Vocal Training Videos, Vocal Training E-books.

Today, with the explosion of the inexpensive Consumer Electronics, some of the most incredible advances have been those in the Digital Recording Industry. This article documents the general history of Audio Recording.

The earliest record of an Audio Recording dates back as far as December 4, 1877. Thomas Edison became was the first to record and play back the human voice. The technologies that resulted in the phonograph were developed from the discoveries that he made developing the telegraph and telephone. His discovery came to him while he was experimenting with how a moving diaphragm linked to a coil would produce a weak, voice modulated signal. During this time he was also continuing his experiments with a telegraph repeater that was a simple device that made use of a needle to make indentations in paper with the dots and dashes used in Morse code.

These two innovative ideas were joined. He attached the stylus from the telegraph repeater to the diaphragm in the mouthpiece of a telephone. During his first test in July of 1877, he attempted success by mechanically pulling a sheet of paper under the needle, attached to the diaphragm as he shouted into the mouthpiece. Unfortunately, this combination failed to produce desired results. But, it did produce a vague recognizable sound that was the seed of faith Edison needed to continue fulfilling his vision.

During the following year, Edison and his staff worked with diligence to refine his invention. His first important discovery was to replace the paper with Tin Foil. This was appositive development and Tin Foil became the first viable recording media. A band of Tin Foils was mounted on a cylinder. The cylinder was turned manually with a hand crank during recording and playback. His first famous recorded words were, “Mary had a little lamb it’s fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went the lamb was
sure to go.”

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Early Techniques - 1890s to 1930s

In the era of acoustic recordings (prior to the introduction of microphones,
electrical recording and amplification) the earliest recording studios were very
basic facilities, being essentially soundproof rooms that isolated the
performers from outside noise. During this era it was not uncommon for
recordings to be made in any available location, such as a local ballroom,
using portable acoustic recording equipment.

In this period, master recordings were made by a direct-to-disc cutting
process -- performers were typically grouped around a large acoustic horn (an
enlarged version of the familiar phonograph horn) and the acoustic energy
from the voices and/or instruments was channeled through the horn's
diaphragm to a mechanical cutting lathe located in the next room, which
inscribed the signal as a modulated groove directly onto the surface of the
master cylinder or disc.

Following the invention and commercial introduction of the microphone, the
electronic amplifier, the mixing desk and the loudspeaker, the recording
industry gradually converted to electric recording and this technology had
almost totally replaced mechanical acoustic recording methods by 1933.

The next breakthrough was Magnetic Tape developed by German inventor Joseph Begun. Graduating in 1929 from the Institute of Technology in Berlin, Germany, where he penned the revolutionary research book entitled “Magnetic Recording”, during 1934- 35, Begun developed and built the world's first tape recorder used for broadcasting.

During the 50’s magnetic tape applications made further strides, especially in the application of the recording studio. The person whose research led to the first Multitrack Recordings was the legendary Les Paul, the man also famous for the popular Les Paul Electric Guitar.

Paul's multitrack experiments, begun in the mid 1940’s, progressed rapidly and in 1953 he commissioned Ampex to build the world's first eight-track reel-to-reel tape recorder, at his own expense. Due to his diligent efforts, Ampex Corporation released the first commercial multitrack recorders in 1955, naming the process "Sel-Sync" (Selective Synchronous Recording). Elvis Presley was one of the many early artists that benefited from this incredible advancement in professional recording.

Our next big step forward is the invention of the Cassette Tape. In the Netherlands, The Philips Company invented and released the first compact audiocassette in 1962. They used high-quality polyester 1/8-inch tape produced by BASF. Recording and playback was at a speed of 1.7/8 inches per second, incredible for the time. The consumer's demand for blank tape used for personal music recording was unanticipated by Philips. They became a large and profitable corporation.

With the development of the computer through the sixties, especially in the Nasa Space Program, many recording visionaries knew that the ultimate future of Audio Recording was not tape but digital. The first big advance occurred in 1967 when the first digital tape recorder was invented. A 12-bit 30 kHz stereo device using a compander (similar to DBX Noise Reduction) to extend the dynamic range. In the 1970s, Thomas Stockham created the first digital audio recordings using standard computer equipment, as well as developing a digital audio recorder of his own design, the first of its kind to be offered commercially. In 1976 he made the first 16-bit digital recording at the Santa Fe Opera on a handmade Soundstream digital tape recorder.

Bringing us up to present day, the MP3 Audio File is arguably the most important invention we enjoy. Mp3 files are the ones burnt on CD’s, downloaded on the net and commonly imported into your ipod or itunes. It was invented by a team of European engineers at Philips in 1991. Compact discs soon followed and the rest is history.

I was first introduced to Digital Recording Technology when I recorded and released my
first CD, WINDOWS, (click here to listen to clips) in 1993. I was fortunate to have a close friend that was a consultant for Yamaha and had a Digital Studio filled with the latest equipment, much of which were prototypes that he was helping Yamaha develop.

Since then, the industry has absolutely exploded. It is hard to believe that this technology that today is common in many homes and the standard in professional studios was only recently in it’s infancy. The greatest advances have not only been in the technology and the availability to the public. When I built my first digital recording studio in 1994, I was
very limited as to what I could buy due to the very high cost.

I recall the days when a top of the line rack mount synthesizer could cost you as much as 5000.00. After you added the computer, mixing board, keyboard and other necessary
accessories, the cost of a basic recording studio could climb to as much as 20,000.00 to
30,000.00, minimum.

Now, the costs of owning a digital recording studio are as low as 199.00. What if I told you I could sell you your own recording studio that you could use in your home, in your car, on a picnic bench, on a business trip or on vacation! I am sure you would be interested! At my web site, I sell Digital Recording Studios Complete Packages for under a 600.00. This is an incredible value to the consumer.

Please click here, Home Recording Studios, and see for your self.

I hope you have enjoyed ands learned some important information in this article. I write all the time so sign up and be notified of updates.

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Happy Holiday to all.

Jonathan Morgan Jenkins
Vocal Warrior

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Vocal Training. Discrimination of Women as Singers and Public Speakers through Vocal Music History

Vocal Training Warrior : Vocal Training, Voice Lessons, Singers Voice Lessons, Speakers Vocal Training, Actors Vocal Training, Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises, Clear Diction Exercises, Vocal Training Videos, Vocal Training Ebooks.

In this Blog I am taking a different path from Voice and Speaking Lessons and writing on the very interesting subject of Music History. Specifically, how women have been descriminated against through the ages, especially in the arts. I hope you will read this with an open mind. We are all responsible not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Discrimination and Human Oppression of any kind that has occured through world history and in our present world was and is one of the greatest failings of humanity. With the discrimination of African Americans usually taking up much of our attention in the news, an often overlooked subject is discrimination of Women through the ages, not only in society, but in the performing arts.

In America, when the word Discrimination is mentioned, the most common thought is that of the treatment of African Americans during the ear of slave trade. Negro Slavery, in America, was introduced by law in 1517. In 1442 the first Negro slaves were imported into Europe. They were taken from Africa to Portugal in ships of Prince Henry, the "Navigator." From that time there was little traffic in Black Slaves until after the discovery of America. When the great destruction of American Indians occurred by war, and disease, the importation of Negroes into Spanish America was begun in order to fill the void in the labor market.

Slavery as an institution ended after 345 years on Sept. 22, 1862. United States President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that he later called "the central act of my administration, and the greatest event of the 19th century." The proclamation promised freedom for slaves held in any of the Confederate states that did not return to the Union by the end of the year. Black discrimination in American Society, of course, has continued for many years with the last 30 years seeing tremendous improvement in race relations.

So, why am I talking about Black Slavery in a Vocal Training article? Because the word discrimination should also cause us to reflect on the Institutional and Cultural Slavery of Women that has occurred for, as far as we know, a few thousand years. Personally, I am more disturbed by this act than anything the African Americans had to endure. This is because it has been a worldwide epidemic documented from the beginning of human history and continues in full force today in many cultures. Even today, in many cultures, women are abused legally and forced to dress certain ways or they can be killed. Those who founded America brought with them these same ideas, often taught in their religion, and “The land of the free” was only really for men.

I have tried for years to understand this and have never been able to. I recall, when I was younger, having the same thoughts after being brought up in a “Baby Boomer” culture where society was taught “ A woman’s place is in the kitchen.” I thank God I do not think this way now. I believe that all people have a responsibility to be independent personally and financially. If you are a woman or a man that is expecting someone else to take care of you and not understand the absolute necessity of using your own brain, personal vision and spiritual power to “conquer your world” then you are a Slave to some degree. Just ask any woman who has been through a divorce, left to fend for herself and finds herself with no skills to make a living. This should never happen. She should have done everything possible to train herself and be independent even though she was married. The responsibility for not preparing oneself for life is, ultimately, always the fault of the individual.

Now I want to discuss the main reason for my topic. In the institution of Singing and Public Speaking, there has also been incredible discrimination through the ages. Especially in the Dark Ages during the Medieval time period.

Some of the earliest references in culture to women singing are in the Bible. Singing seems to have become a regular profession at quite early date among the Hebrews. David had his troupe of "singing men and singing women" at Jerusalem (2 Sam 19:35), and no doubt Solomon added to their numbers. Isa 23:16 suggests that it was not uncommon for foreign female minstrels of questionable character to be heard making "sweet melody," singing songs along the streets and highways of Judea. Nor was the worship of the temple left to the usually incompetent and inconstant leadership of amateur choristers. Talented women played their part in temple ceremonies.

The truly darkest days of female musical and vocal expression were the oppressive centuries of the medieval time period generally 500 to 1450 AD. This was an age where European males influenced by other European males hoarded what they perceived as power. Other voices of the time, specifically women, were silenced by politics and religion.

During this time, the composition and performance of all music, in general, was also extremely oppressed. (I will discuss this in my next article)

During the Renaissance when the Catholic Church decided, “God had changed his mind,” women did become more active in the arts but progress was slow all the way through the beginning of the 1,800’s. That’s 1,300 years of female oppression on many cultural levels as well as Music and Speech. Surprisingly, this action was created and supported by the Catholic Church. I am at a loss to understand how “men of faith” could be so immature that they had to do this to women to feel powerful and control their world. This is a question that we still ask today when we see women covering their heads and being submissive to men in the name of religion. Who can honestly accept the notion that God would be pleased with one of his beautiful creations being oppresed?

Due to the blossoming of Choral music compositions during the Renaissance that required music be performed at a wider range, during the Baroque period, from 1600 to 1750, young male sopranos and altos comprised about 70 percent of all Choral and operatic singers. These vocal parts extended the upper range of music. This can be compared to music played on the right half of the piano keyboard. Sadly, women were still considered a minority.

But, when these boys with a woman’s range faced puberty with their voice dropping an octave, a solution to keep boys in the female range had to be found. The answer? Castration, to prevent the hormonal change that occurs during puberty. (Is this what happened to Michael Jackson?) Since male sopranos in opera were a necessity, in Italy, 4,000 - 5,000 boys were castrated annually. (Ouch!)

During puberty a boy’s vocal chords enlarge and lengthen, caused by an increased production of androgen hormones. Castration prevents the necessary flow of hormones and arrest growth. Since the Vocal Chords do not grow longer, lowering their pitch, afterwards the castrato would have the high voice of a boy soprano, but the lungpower of a full-grown man. (Strange! That is kind of how ET lokked!) Castration was performed by cutting the blood supply to the testicles, or by amputating them altogether. (Ouch Again!)

Women, especially in countries where the Catholic Church dominated, were forbidden on the stage. (So much for women's lib!) The justification for prohibition against women singing in the church choir had its origin in the bible: "Let your women keep silence in the churches; for it is not permitted unto them to speak." (I Corinthians 14:34). (It appears that "God" has changed his mind!) Nearly every church choir used pre-pubescent boys to sing the high parts in choral works because women were also not allowed to participate in church services. (You've come a long way baby!)

It was not until the nineteenth century before women were regularly found performing in opera houses or in church music. From the early monasteries and convents in the Middle Ages, women and men were separated in a religious context. Women possessed no role in the mass setting, and this naturally extended to an exclusion from all church music as well. Politically they were inferior to their male counterparts, generally translating to women not owning property, voting, or holding leadership positions of any consequence within society. It is such a tragedy to realize all of the amazing female talent that was unable to express itself due to institutional, male dominated discrimination.

Fortunately, there has been tremendous progress made as women have been liberated to pursue Musical, Speech and Acting careers. Considering the female discrimination that still exists in many of the world’s cultures, I hope women will appreciate the progress America has made. We are not perfect but we certainly are world leaders.

Can you imagine never hearing a Beverly Sills, Diana Ross, Tina Turner, Leontyne Price, Billie Holiday, Bette Midler or Barbara Streisand? I sure could not. Yet, these talented women would have been told by those who claimed to represent God that their singing would be an offence to God. May we all honestly admit that God certainly restrained himself from throwing lightning bolts at these creeps?

I will end the article with my personal hope and prayer.

May every person, male or female, possess personal passions for all their goals and achieve every one of them so our world will continue to thrive through positive and not negative creative energy.


Since it is the Season for Giving, I hope you will consider giving my ebook Singing and Speaking on the Edge of a Grunt on sale for only 24.95 or my Zoom H-2 Personal Digital Recording Studio on sale for only 199.00. Record a song, speech, or music in full Surround Sound High Fidelity. Please check out these Revolutionary Products.

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Happy Holiday to all.

Jonathan Morgan Jenkins

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Vocal Training. Karaoke Singers, Public Speakers and Actors need the same Vocal Training.

Welcome back for more important information on Vocal Training, Breathing Exercises, Clear Diction Exercises and Vocal Coaching.

Attention ALL Vocalists!

The important word here is ALL. All refers to Singers of all ages and styles, Public Speakers who have a membership with Toastmasters Inc or specialize in Speaking at Corporate Seminars, Actors who need to project their Voice with Power and Clear Diction and Athletes who need to improve their Oxygen Intake for Optimum Physical Performance.

My experience with Professional, especially institutional, Vocal Training through the years is that the private instruction and lesson material is often taught in a very "Sterile" manner with little personality. Or it is taught by many people with no formal education that consider themselves Professional Vocal Teachers just because they have sung for a few years.

Anybody who has attended most University Music Programs knows that there has always existed a separation between the "High Brow Professor Crowd" and the "Amateur, Pop Music Crowd." I have experience in both fields. I grew up with parents that had a music store that catered to pop music and they also promoted rock concerts. I played hard rock in many bands.

Then, I challenged myself and got a formal degree with Music Teaching Credentials. I understand both sides of the "Vocal Music Educational Experience." Due to this real life education on both sides of the fence, I am able to teach effectively to both sides. Further, my vision is not limited to just singers. I want to teach ALL PEOPLE how to operate their voice in a powerful, controlled and effective manner.

Further, one of the greatest oversights in the Vocal Training Books, in my opinion, is that they are not marketing to "all vocalists" in one book. The techniques I teach daily and have compiled in my revolutionary e-book, “Singing and Speaking on the Edge of Grunt,”
( for Singers are the same ones I use for Public Speakers, Actors and even Athletes. My book can be on all three shelves and be one book.

Try this experiment. The next time you travel to a large bookstore, locate these three sections. Vocal training for Singers, for Training for Public Speakers and Training for Actors. You will find a fair amount of books on Voice Training in the Singers section. In the other sections, look through the books. You will find only a very small mention of the subject or none at all.

This is incredible!

The fact is that the same comprehensive techniques to achieve Voice Power, Endurance and Clear Diction are needed for all three disciplines. They are forever joined, and not separate.

My book was written to teach Singers, Public Speakers, Actors and People who talk, beginners and pros, the proper way to sing and speak. My successful techniques are in harmony with the basic functions of the human body. From my College Music Education Experience, my over 25 years of teaching private voice to Singers and Speakers, the 10 years that I directed a large Choir and the numerous vocal competitions I have judged, I have been amazed at the absolute lack of basic vocal training that I have seen.

I wrote this book to offer a manual to my own students and now I want to share my proven techniques to as many people as possible.

All my clients fully understand all the physical components of the human vocal instrument. Then they learn HOW to use them with power and confidence. Another example is my work with Athletes. My breathing techniques have helped many athletes to increase their stamina and overall abilities. Breathing correctly is important for everyone.

Readers of my e-book will further benefit from the following:

1) They will learn how to breathe correctly. This will be important even if they are not singers or speakers but just need to talk better.

2) They will be introduced to a thorough study of the three major body systems used to produce sound.
a) The Abdominal Muscles
b) The Larynx (vocal chords)
c) The resonating chambers of the neck and head

3) After a thorough understanding of basic function, they will learn how to coordinate these systems to produce powerful, clear and controlled sound.

4) They will learn the intricate aspects of proper diction and how to use the natural physical tools within their head to produce clear and powerful communication.

5) They will learn the secrets to proper interpretation during any type of vocal performance.

6) Ultimately, they will become confident and independent vocalists, able to teach others.

I can’t stress the absolute importance of the proper understanding of how your voice operates. Even if all you do is talk.

My revolutionary e-book is on sale for only 27.00. Clients pay me as much as 2,400.00 a year to get this information. Now that’s a discount! Buy it now and change your voice and your life!

Let me know how you are doing.

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Jonathan Morgan Jenkins

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oxygen - The Best Medicine / Blog #4

In my last Blog on 10/8, we continued our discussion of the importance of oxygen for, not only singing and speaking, but for overall physical health. It is a fact that, when many of us search for solutions to proper Vocal Training, Breathing Exercises or Remedies for Sore Vocal Chords, we have a tendency to think the answer is always something complicated that is hidden in some medical journal. Because of bad public relations regarding Natural Cures (there have been a lot of scams), many of us shy away simple solutions and search for a complicated answer. Maybe it is time to simply Breath Deeply every time we breathe and start with the solutions that are within our power to perform. My 25 years of teaching private voice has proven this on a daily basis.

I am featuring my final article on the absolute importance of breathing enough Oxygen on a daily basis to assure optimum health. Learn and live lifestyle solutions to health problems that are FREE before emptying your bank account on traditional health solutions.

How does our environment affect our Oxygen intake?

I was born in Santa Monica and raised in Southern California. In the early 1960’s, my family moved to San Clemente on the Pacific Ocean located at the very bottom of Orange County. The town’s population was under 5,000 and it seemed to be a million miles from Los Angeles with its smog filled skies.
With all the hysteria that currently exists on Global Warming and Polluted Air, let me tell you a personal story to prove to you how far we have come, at least in relation to the air we breathe. Often we do not hear the good news, only the bad. It makes better headlines.

During the summertime in Grade School, without cable television, video games, internet, etc. my friends and I spent most of our days outside riding bikes, hiking, swimming, surfing, fishing or playing sports. In other words, we were constantly exercising and breathing a lot of air. Further, overweight or obese children were a minority in my school. Gee! I wonder why?

This was also the time period before catalytic converters and emission controls on cars. Even with our distance from Los Angeles and Orange County only had a total of about 700,000 people (today, San Clemente has over 65,000 by itself), I recall numerous Smog Alerts and days when I had breathed so much smog that my lungs hurt and I had to go home and lay down.

Since I can’t recall a Smog Alert in 30 years and Orange County, by itself, now with over 3,000,000 people, it is obvious that we have made incredible progress in cleaning our air. Unfortunately, political agendas have a tendency of hiding the truth from the public. I am not saying we do not have work to do, but let’s celebrate the progress we have made.

That said, it is true that combustion, respiration, deforestation, and man-made processes have reduced Oxygen levels in our air. Further, any big city is going to have some levels of pollution floating around that you will breathe on any given day. And not only are we breathing pollution from the outside world, but also from the inside one. Indoor pollution and lack of oxygen intake can become an even worse challenge.

In our home, we like to keep the windows open as much as possible because we like to constantly have fresh air moving through the house. I can’t stand stale air. I think we have all had the experience of entering a home or building and immediately realizing that the air has not been changed in days. When that happens, I am always wondering "what" I am breathing.

It’s just common sense that when you are vegetate inside with all the window’s and doors closed, you are breathing in and out is what you or others have already breathed in and out. This can also lead to Carbon Dioxide buildup which most of us know can be deadly.

We are reminded of this at least once a year when some "bright bulb, rocket scientist" thinks its okay to use his barbeque or Coleman stove to heat up the house. Unfortunately, the consequences are often deadly. So, another free solution to increasing your Oxygen intake is to simply open up your windows and breathe deeply. Just make sure that there isn’t a giant diesel truck idling close by!

Hey sports fans. Here is another solution if you've got the bucks!

A common but expensive technique for increasing oxygenation levels involves the use of an incredibly complex device called a hyperbaric chamber such as those commonly used for treating divers suffering from decompression sickness.

The elevated oxygen saturation’s provided by hyperbaric therapies have been proven clinically effective in wound care, gangrene, carbon monoxide poisoning, certain types of cancers, speeding healing in burn patients, treatment of anemia, etc.

The chamber is actually a great big tank in which the patient is placed and then pressurized so that their bodies can absorb more oxygen. The increased ambient pressure elevates the partial pressure of oxygen in the bloodstream and can permit oxygenation levels equivalent to 140% at sea level. The medical community knows that when nothing else will help, Oxygen can come to the rescue and work miracles!

A great many persons, including Hollywood celebrities, routinely use such chambers for increasing their oxygen levels. The ‘rich and famous spend thousands of dollars and countless hours in these chambers. But don't you think there has to be an easier, safer and more affordable way to give your body more Oxygen?

As we have discussed in the last three Blogs, learn to breathe effectively on an ongoing basis, keep the air fresh in your home or work environment and do your best to avoid breathing around known pollutants.

More incredible benefits from Oxygen!

1) Improves chemical imbalances in the body.
2) Relieves headache
3) Accelerates healing time for injuries
4) Lowers blood pressure
5) Relieves stress and anxiety
6) Allows the body to direct enough oxygen to its primary functions without having to draw on valuable reserves.
7) Helps reverse premature aging
8) Relieves symptoms of PMS in women
9) Helps displace damaging free radicals
10) Helps neutralize harmful toxins in cells, tissues and bloodstream.

I hope these series of Blogs on Oxygen have taught you the absolute importance of using Oxygen in any healthy and balanced diet. You have the power to change your health and your life.

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Jonathan Morgan Jenkins

Monday, October 8, 2007

Oxygen - The Best Medicine / Blog #3

In my last Blog on 9/26; we continued our discussion of the importance of oxygen for, not only singing and speaking, but for overall physical health. It is a fact that, when many of us search for solutions to proper Vocal Training, Breathing Exercises or Remedies for Sore Vocal Chords, we have a tendency to think the answer is always something complicated that is hidden in some medical journal. Because of bad public relations regarding Natural Cures (there have been a lot of scams), many of us shy away simple solutions and search for a complicated answer. Maybe it is time to simply Breath Deeply every time we breathe and start with the solutions that are within our power to perform. My 25 years of teaching private voice has proven this on a daily basis.

The fact is that we can increase our body's Oxygen easily and naturally. Unfortunately, it is some in the Medical Community, Drug Companies and Sales and Advertising businesses that want us to think it is hard and only they have the answers.

For example; If we are overweight, obese and shortening our life, we are not informed how irresponsible we are for destroying our precious bodies, we are told “we have a disease that makes us fat” and we have an “excuse” for our “active chewing”. My mother, bless her heart, just lost a 3-year battle with cancer. Now CANCER is a disease. When we start referring to overweight people who constantly “graze” and get fat, we are not only telling them a lie that does not help them, we are also diminishing what a REAL DISEASE is. The ultimate answer is not diet pills, expensive clinics, gastric bypass surgery or making excuses. It is a consistent exercise program with a moderate, high protein diet accompanied by lots of water. Add a lot of healthy oxygen through proper breathing techniques and we get a simple, natural and low cost solution.

May I be blunt? The truth is, all through history, I never seen a picture of any overweight or obese people in a prison camp. Look at pictures of Senator John McCain and the other heroes in the Hanoi Hilton. Not an overweight one in the bunch. So, lets be real. Obesity in America is an avoidable epidemic. The math is simple. When you take in more calories than you burn, you will get fat. If someone needs counseling to help them regulate their food intake, that is fine. But, lets not start off on the wrong foot and call “chowing down” a disease. The only real solution is for everyone to respect their precious gift, their body, and fill it with healthy food all day long and exercise on a regular basis. Further, we must deep breathe generous amounts of FREE OXYGEN.

Sorry for the soapbox! I just have a "pet peeve" about being politically correct when great health is such a precious gift and so important.

Now, back to the important topic of Oxygen. Breathing is an act we can perform better that is important and FREE. Aerobic Exercise is any exercise that increases the level of oxygen in the body. This exercise, whether it is, walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, or swimming, conditions the heart and lungs to work more efficiently. When the lungs give our heart the oxygen it needs, it doesn’t have to over work, making it more vulnerable to heart attacks. Most fitness experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes a day, three to five times a week. I try to exercise at least 30 minutes every day. Trust me, I am just like everybody else. If I did not balance out my caloric intake with exercise, I would be big as a house. I would rather live in a house and not become one.

As I have taught in my Free On line Vocal Training Videos, deep breathing in a slow and relaxed way oxygenates and relaxes the body. Deep coordinated inhalation brings oxygen to the tissues, while deep exhalation moves wastes from the body. Without proper breathing coordination our built up tensions will cause our breathing to become erratic and shallow. By consciously replacing that habit by deeper breathing, we can bring partial benefits to both the mind and body.

Even our diet can help produce higher oxygen levels. A diet highest in oxygen is a raw food diet with a high concentration of fruits, green vegetables and sprouted seeds and nuts. This is largely because live fruits, green vegetables and sprouted/soaked seeds and nuts are composed of water, which are hydrogen and oxygen and mostly oxygen by weight. The green in the vegetable is chlorophyll, which is very close in atomic structure to human blood. Chlorophyll has a magnesium atom and human blood differs only with an iron atom. With the enzymes from raw food, the magnesium ion is changed to an iron one making blood able to transport oxygen for human use instead of CO2 for plant use.

Cooking can kill the enzymes are almost as important as oxygen and in some ways more important. Enzymes are excellent sources of both alkalizing minerals, which help your cells stay at healthy PH. Anti-oxidants protect our cells from free-radical damage. An oxygen-depleting diet would consist of one high cooked foods, red meat, sugar, saturated fats, white bread, processed and frozen foods, and carbonated beverages. Switching to an oxygen-rich diet often brings immediate energy and a more vibrant face, skin and positive attitude. Choose foods rich in chlorophyll such as dark green leafy foods like spinach, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae. Juice them for optimal results.

What else can enhance Oxygen? Stabilized oxygen electrolytes are sold as a liquid to be added to water by drops. The oxygen contained within the solution is released when it comes in contact with stomach acid and is then absorbed, acting as an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal substance. This is very expensive and inefficient compared to better breathing and increased raw live foods. It is better to do it for FREE.

Massage is another important therapy that increases circulation which results in more oxygen being carried to the individual cells of the body. Massage enhances all essential body processes by opening the passageways of liquid and energy movement within the body. This process also helps in the breaking up and elimination of toxins.

More benefits of increased oxygen.

1) Increases energy levels
2) Increases stamina and endurance
3) Enhances the absorption of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins and other important nutrients.
4) Rapid fatigue recovery
5) Lowers resting heart rate
6) Kills infectious bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites, but does not harm the "Good” microorganisms the body needs.
7) Relieves pain
8) Improves circulation
9) Sleep better
10)/Strengthens the immune system
11) Heightens concentration and alertness
12) Increases fat metabolism resulting in loss of body fat.
13) Calms the nervous system
14) Improves memory

Another Expert Opinion

"...Oxygen is ideal as the main ingredient in any life form with a nervous system. Oxygen's conductivity allows it to readily combine with conductive organic materials for transmitting nerve signals. The brain and nervous system consume far more oxygen in proportion to their weight than the rest of the body.
The constant firing of micro-electric impulses across the synapses requires a great deal of energy. If there isn't enough oxygen available for the nerve cells to fire dependably when needed, the brain can't help but function less effectively."

The Townsend Letters for Doctors

I hope your understanding of the absolute importance of Oxygen is increasing with my series of Blogs on the subject. Whatever we do in life, Oxygen is an important part of our daily health and success. We have one more Blog on this subject coming soon.

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Jonathan Morgan Jenkins

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Oxygen - The Best Medicine / Blog # 2

I last Blog on 9/17; we began a discussion of the importance of oxygen for, not only powerful and controlled Singing and Speaking, but for overall physical health. It is a fact that, when many of us search for solutions to proper Vocal Training, Breathing Exercises or Remedies for Sore Vocal Chords, we have a tendency to think the answer is always something complicated that is hidden in some sophisticated medical journal.

Because of the bad public relations regarding Natural Cures (there have truly been a lot of scams), many of us shy away simple solutions and search for a complicated answer. Maybe it is time to simply Breath Deeply every time we breathe and start with the powerful solutions that are within our power to perform.

The absolute truth is that Oxygen can be the major key element towards having excellent health! Do you want to rejuvenate their mind and body or are you facing a health crisis? I highly recommend learning all you can about the Power of Oxygen before you spend your savings on expensive medical solutions.

It’s a simple and indisputable fact that the miracle gas Oxygen is necessary to sustain a Healthy life! The human being can live for days without water, and weeks without food but without simple Oxygen, death begins to occur within three minutes. Did we forget that?

While our bodies require many nutrients on a daily basis, Oxygen is the single most important substance taken into the body. Since breathing occurs automatically, it is easy to overlook its existence and importance. When we eat, we have to buy the food, maybe prepare it and then chew it. If the food did not agree with our digestive system, we would revisit it while sitting on the toilet! If we are addicted to it, we have to work hard to lose weight. But, the most important nutrient, Oxygen, is often taken for granted as it is free and it's use occurs naturally.

Oxygen is a necessary component in every chemical reaction important to human physiology. It nourishes the cells, provides the energy needed to metabolize carbohydrates, allows chemical transport, breaks down waste products and toxins, regulates the pH of body chemistry, drives the desire to breathe, strongly builds up your immune system defense and fights hostile organisms. Oxygen is the undisputed king of body chemistry, and as such is your body’s most important nutrient!

Consider this, if Oxygen is extremely important for our health, and complete lack of it causes death, what does “partial oxygen” deprivation does? Research has shown that a virus, amoeba, parasites, fungus or bacterium cause about all diseases! Further, it is a fact that none of these hostile organisms can live in an environment with high concentrations of Oxygen!

Lets review the important functions your body needs Oxygen to perform.

1) Metabolize fat
2) Metabolize Carbohydrates
3) Regulate important pH Levels
4) Create ongoing Energy
5) Digest our food
6) Remove all forms of toxins from the body
7) Transport Gases across Cell Membranes
8) Manufacture hormones, proteins and other chemicals
9) Remove virus, amoeba, parasites, fungus or bacteria
10) Maintain a healthy and strong Immune System

What do the experts say!

"Oxygen gets rid of toxicity. Bacteria, viruses and parasites are destroyed in the presence of oxygen-especially cancer."

Dr. Alec Borsenko

"...Cancer has only one prime cause. It is the replacement of normal oxygen respiration of the body's cells by an anaerobic (i.e. oxygen deficient) cell respiration."

Dr. Otto Warburg: Nobel Prize for Cancer Research

"...In all serious disease states we find a concomitant low oxygen state. Low oxygen in the body tissues is a sure indicator for disease. Hypoxia, or lack of oxygen in the tissues, is the fundamental cause for all degenerative disease."

Dr. Stephen Levine - Molecular Biologist: Oxygen Deficiency: A Concomitant to all Degenerative Illnesses

"...The true cause of allergy is lowered oxidation process within the body, causing the affected individual to be sensitive to foreign substances entering the body. Only when the oxidation mechanism is restored to its original highest state of efficiency can the sensitivity be eliminated."

Dr. Wendell Hendricks - Hendricks Research Foundation

I hope your understanding of the absolute importance of Oxygen is increasing with my series of Blogs on the subject. Next time, we will continue this important discussion.

Please visit my Web Site for more info.

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Jonathan Morgan Jenkins

Monday, September 17, 2007

Oxygen – The Best Medicine / Blog #1

One truth about life and how we of the human race often view it is that we are more inclined to believe that solutions to health problems have to be difficult. It is our nature to look to books, doctors, drugs, etc, for solutions. I am not trying to say that these common types of solutions aren’t important. What I am trying to say is that we may be programmed to look for complicated solutions instead of simple ones that exist naturally.

As we know, there is the constant polarization between medical professionals as to what types of medical treatments are better, Natural or Medical. We, as consumers, are left in the middle wondering about the facts. The truth is, competent solutions to medical problems come from both camps. For example, I have met many a Chiropractor that was very dogmatic about their patients not using any drugs at all and vice versa for regular Doctors. Personally, I respect both. In fact, I would not go to any regular Doctor or Chiropractor that would not refer me to the opposite camp if necessary. Those that work together get my business.

That said, maybe the most overlooked natural substance for daily health is OXYGEN. We’re all aware of the fact that, without it, our life is very short. As a veteran vocal coach, I have heard the following questions from my students over the years.

How do I get breathing exercises to improve my voice?
How do I cure my sore throat naturally?
How do I find breathing exercises for tension?
Where do I find strange facts on abdominal muscles?
Where do I get vocal tips for live sound?
Where can find deep breathing exercises?
How can I cure my raspy voice after I stop smoking?
How about home remedies for sore vocal chords?

To answer these questions to a worldwide audience, I have written the powerful e-book, “Singing and Speaking on the Edge of a Grunt”. If you purchase it, I guarantee positive results in your voice in a short amount of time. It has been my experience in over 25 years of teaching voice that most people do not breathe correctly. When they breathe, their “shoulders” move up instead of their “belly” moving out. This means that they are getting about one third of the oxygen that is needed to get a full breath. It is a fact that a lack of oxygen will affect our health. When vocalize, though, we need as music oxygen as possible to perform with a powerful voice.

I have a FREE on-line video that teaches you how to breathe correctly. Click HERE to see it.

For the next few Blogs, I will be offering important information on Oxygen and Breathing. Here is some important information to start.

Oxygen is our greatest and first source of energy. It is the fuel required for the proper operation of all body systems. Only 10% of your energy comes from food and water, 90% of our energy comes from oxygen. Oxygen gives our body the ability to rebuild itself. Oxygen detoxifies the blood, and strengthens the Immune System.

Oxygen displaces deadly free radicals, neutralizes environmental toxins, and destroys anaerobic (depleted of oxygen) bacteria, parasites, microbes and viruses. Oxygen greatly enhances the body's absorption of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins, and other important nutrients. Oxygen enhances brain-power and memory. Oxygen can beneficially affect your learning ability. The ability to think, feel and act is all, dependent on oxygen. It also calms the mind and stabilizes the nervous system. Oxygen heightens concentration and alertness. Without oxygen, brain cells die and deteriorate quickly.

As we age, and oxygen deficiency increases, it takes longer to learn, and your retention span is decreased. We can live for weeks without food. We can even live for days without water. But we can only live for minutes without oxygen. Oxygen strengthens the heart. Increased oxygen lowers the resting heart rate and strengthens the contraction of the cardiac muscle. Virtually all heart attacks can be attributed to a failure to deliver oxygen to the heart muscle. Dr. Richard Lippman, renowned researcher states that a lack of oxygen (hypoxia) is the prime cause of 1.5 million heart attacks each year.

Research studies show that mild hypoxia increases the heart and respiratory rates; however, prolonged or severe hypoxia results in lung or heart failure. Maintaining proper oxygen levels in the body is a vital ingredient to health, vitality, physical stamina and endurance. You must have a means of replenishing your oxygen level. Researchers, scientists, molecular biologists, nutritional specialists, and others have reported health benefits from increased oxygen uptake. World-class professional athletes, universities, renowned fitness trainers, coaches, and "average" citizens have also reported experiencing many of these benefits.

Read what the experts say!

"...When the body has ample oxygen, it produces enough energy to optimize metabolism and eliminate accumulated toxic wastes in the tissues.
Natural immunity is achieved when the immune system is not burdened with heavy "toxic buildup”. Detoxification occurs when oxygen is introduced into the system".

Dr. Norman McVea

"...Insufficient oxygen means insufficient biological energy that can result in anything from mild fatigue to life threatening disease. The link between insufficient oxygen and disease has now been firmly established. The more oxygen we have in our system, the more energy we produce."

Dr. W. Spencer Way: Journal of the American Association of Physicians

"...The large majority of those infectious microbes that cause us so much illness and pain are ANAEROIC...a big word that means they live and proliferate best in environments where there is LITTLE OR NO OXYGEN".

Ed McCabe: Oxygen Therapies: A New Way of Approaching Disease

"...Lack of oxygen clearly plays a major role in causing cells to become cancerous."

Dr. Harry Goldblatt: Journal of Experimental Medicine

I hope the important information helps you. We have much to discuss on the matter and we will do that the next time we meet.

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Also visit my web site and purchase my e-book, “Singing and speaking on the Edge of a Grunt”. I guarantee Vocal Power results!

See you next time!

Jonathan Morgan Jenkins

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Independent Vocalist

When I was building my Web Site, the experts that I consulted with were concerned that I was focusing on two different products instead of one.

1) A Vocal Training ebook, Singing and Speaking on the Edge of a Grunt

2) The Zoom H-4 Handy, Affordable and Portable Home Recording Studio

They saw these two products as very different from each other and that I should chose one or the other or my new customers would be confused. Since I understand when new people visit your business on the net you do not have a lot of time to get their attention, I certainly do want to confuse anyone.

To solve this, you will find that my home page is completely focused on introducing and explaining the great benefits that any vocalist can acquire from buying my ebook, reading it and applying my over 25 years of experience to make their voice a powerhouse. My recording equipment still exists on other pages but the first goal people must accomplish is understanding how their miracle instrument (voice) works and how to use it properly.

Owning your own Home Recording Studio is also extremely important to your vocal education. The fact is, if you can’t hear your own progress on a daily basis, you will have no information to base your growth on. Solving this problem is critical to your success. If you can hear yourself perform, you will not be able to determine your own PROGRESS. Doesn’t this make perfect sense?

Most people are not aware that they can now own their own recording studio for 299.00. They still think that, to record, they have to pay 50.00 to 100.00 and hour to get a quality, digital recording. Let me assure you, the surge in technology in the last 15 years in the recording business has allowed the consumer to afford his or her own Home Recording Studio for pennies on the dollar.

I was first introduced to Digital Recording Technology when I recorded and released my first CD, WINDOWS, (click here to listen to clips) in 1993. Hard to believe that this technology that today is common in many homes and the standard in professional studios was only recently in it’s infancy.

I recall the days when a top of the line rack mount synthesizer could cost you as much as 5000.00. After you added the computer, mixing board, keyboard and other necessary accessories, the cost of a basic recording studio could climb to as much as 20,000.00 to 30,000.00, minimum. The High End Digital Recording Studio that I recorded Windows in had over 90,000.00 worth of top end electronic equipment!

Now you can buy a 4-Track, Digital Recording Studio for only 299.00. It is called the Zoom H-4. This versatile unit can be used to simply record a stereo recording of a concert, a speech, or any event you wish. Further, in 4-Track mode, you can multi-track record at home, at work, on a picnic bench or on vacation. When you are done with your recording, the included free software can be used to turn your recordings into MP3s or Wave files so you can burn them to a CD on your computer.

I have many Karaoke clients that use the H-4 to make their own Ten Song Projects to share with their family and friends, give away as presents or even sell them. They are so happy to now be completely independent. For what they used to spend for 4-6 hours in a studio, they now own their own studio!

Many people have a fear about learning new technology or software. As someone has owned a digital recording studio for over 15 years, I have had to learn many pieces of software and how to run sophisticated electronic equipment. I fully understand how intimidating this can be.

Since I am committed to my clients success, I have written an FREE 22 page Custom Zoom H-4 Manual to walk new clients step by step through the process on recording, imputing the recording into their computer, editing their tracks, turning them into MP3 or Wave files and burning them to a CD. I hear daily how this manual has helped many through the beginning process.

I hope you now have a better understanding of why I believe learning to improve your voice and owning your own recording studio go hand in hand with becoming an accomplished vocalist.

Please visit my Web Site for more info.

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Thanks for reading. See you next time!

Jonathan Morgan Jenkins

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Absolute or Perfect Pitch

Fellow Vocalists!

Absolute or Perfect Pitch has been a widely understood or misunderstood issue through the ages. Here is some valuable information that should be helpful for us all to get on the "same page" regarding the facts surrounding this issue.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Absolute pitch (AP), widely referred to as perfect pitch, is the ability of a person to identify or sing a musical note without the benefit of a known reference.


Absolute pitch, or perfect pitch, is "the ability to attach labels to isolated auditory stimuli on the basis of pitch alone" without external reference. Possessors of absolute pitch exhibit the ability in varying degrees. Generally, absolute pitch implies some or all of the following abilities.

1)Identify and name individual pitches played on various instruments
2)Name the key of a given piece of tonal music
3)Identify and name all the tones of a given chord or other tonal mass
4)Sing a given pitch without an external reference
5)Name the pitches of common everyday occurrences such as car horns

Individuals may possess both absolute pitch and relative pitch ability in varying degrees. Both relative and absolute pitch work together in actual musical listening and practice, although individuals exhibit preferred strategies in using each skill

CHICAGO (Reuters)

Musicians and singers work for years to develop their sense of pitch but few can name a musical note without a reference tone. U.S. researchers on Monday said one gene may be the key to that coveted ability. Only 1 in 10,000 people have perfect or absolute pitch, the uncanny ability to name the note of just about any sound without the help of a reference tone.

"One guy said, 'I can name the pitch of anything -- even farts,"' said Dr. Jane Gitschier of the University of California, San Francisco, whose study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

She and colleagues analyzed the results of a three-year, Web-based survey and musical test that required participants to identify notes without the help of a reference tone. More than 2,200 people completed the 20-minute test.

"We noticed that pitch-naming ability was roughly an all-or-nothing phenomenon," she said. That lead researchers to conclude that one gene, or perhaps a few, may be behind this talent.

Gitschier said those with perfect pitch were able to correctly identify both piano tones and pure computer-generated tones that were devoid of the distinctive sounds of any musical instrument.

She said people with perfect pitch were able to pick out the pure tones with ease. And they also tended to have had early musical training -- before the age of 7. “We think it probably takes the two things," she said. They also found that perfect pitch tends to deteriorate with age.

"As people get older, their perception goes sharp. If a note C is played, and they're 15, they will say it's a C. But if they're 50, they might say it's a C sharp."

"This can be very disconcerting for them," Gitschier said. The most commonly misidentified note, based on the study, is a G sharp. That may be because G sharp is overshadowed by A, its neighbor on the scale, they said. A is often used by orchestras in the West as a tuning reference.

Gitschier said she and her colleagues were focusing on identifying the gene responsible for perfect pitch, which will involve gene mapping. Then they will try to figure out what is different in people with absolute pitch.

"We'll have to play it by ear, so to speak," she said.

Linguistics of Absolute Pitch

Absolute pitch is more common among speakers of tonal languages such as most dialects of Chinese or Vietnamese, which depend heavily on pitch for lexical meaning. "Tone deafness" is unusual among native speakers of these languages[citations needed]. Speakers of Sino-Tibetan languages have been reported to speak a word in the same absolute pitch (within a quarter-tone) on different days; it has therefore been suggested that absolute pitch may be acquired by infants when they learn to speak in a tonal language(and possibly also by infants when they learn to speak in a pitch stress language). However, the brains of tonal-language speakers do not naturally process musical sound as language; perhaps such individuals may be more likely to acquire absolute pitch for musical tones when they later receive musical training.

It is possible that level-tone languages which are found in Africa—such as Yoruba,with three pitch levels, and Mambila,[16] with four—may be better suited to study the role of absolute pitch in speech than the contour-tone languages of East Asia. Further, speakers of European languages have been found to make use of an absolute, though subconscious, pitch memory when speaking.

Potential problems

Persons who have absolute pitch may feel irritated when a piece is transposed to a different key or played at a nonstandard pitch.They may fail to develop strong relative pitch when following standard curricula, despite the fact that maintaining absolute strategies can make simple relative tasks more difficult. For instance, transposition of music from one key to another may prove more difficult for an individual who interprets music as a fixed sequence of absolute tones rather than relative patterns of notes. Absolute pitch possessors have been known to find it difficult to play with an orchestra that is not tuned to standard concert pitch A4 = 440 hertz (442 Hz in some countries); this may be due to a perception of pitch which is categorical rather than freely adjustable.[43]

In conclusion

I know I do not have perfect pitch. At least I am not Tone Deaf. I would say that Absolute or Perfect Pitch might be one of those unique miracles in some gifted people. When I was a kid, I can remember that my older brother could send a bottle cap spinning through the air by snapping it between his thumb and middle finger. He could also spread his fingers apart, two by two, like Mr. Spock on Star Trek. I was never able and still can’t perform either of these important functions. Some people just aren’t gifted like others!

I got him back by learning how to fly my own plane to distant towns instead of sitting in hot, congested traffic! Ha Ha Ha!

See you next time!

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Jonathan Morgan Jenkins

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tone Deafness / The Big Lie!

Dear Fellow Vocalists,

Since I have been around all styles of singing since an early age, I could not begin to count the number of times I have heard someone say they are Tone Deaf after they are asked to sing solo or in a group. I am confident that you have also heard this said about others or even yourself.

Tone Deafness may be the most misunderstood term in all of singing. It is very unfortunate that many people think they have this condition. The truth is, very few people do and the mental barrier they carry around them keeps them from even trying to sing. This result is very sad!

After training voice for over 25 years, if anybody says to me “I am Tone Deaf”, I invite them to my studio for a free assessment. The results of those who accepted my invitation is that I have only had one person that ever tested positive for tone deafness. Even he was able to make progress over a period of time. I will tell his story in this blog.

Granted, I have had a few students that had a more difficult time singing on pitch, but I have always been able resolve these problems with hard work by myself and the student.

Following is the definition for Tone Deafness and an excerpt from my revolutionary ebook, Singing and Speaking on the Edge of a Grunt, located at my web site

Tone Deafness

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A person who is tone deaf lacks relative pitch, the ability to discriminate between musical notes. Being tone deaf is having difficulty or being unable to correctly hear relative differences between notes; however, in common usage, it refers to a person’s inability to reproduce them accurately. The latter inability is most often caused by lack of musical training or education and not actual tone deafness.

The ability of relative pitch, as with other musical abilities, appears to be inherent in healthy functional humans. The hearing impairment appears to be genetically influenced, though it can also result from brain damage. While someone who is unable to reproduce pitches because of a lack of musical training would not be considered tone deaf in a medical sense, the term might still be used to describe them casually. Someone who cannot reproduce pitches accurately, because of lack of training or tone deafness, is said to be unable to “carry a tune.”

Tone deafness affects ability to hear pitch changes produced by a musical instrument and/or the human voice. However, tone-deaf people seem to be only disabled when it comes to music, and they can fully interpret the prosody or intonation of human speech. It has been observed that in societies with tonal languages such as Cantonese and Vietnamese, there are almost no tone deaf people; a strong indicator that the ability to reproduce and distinguish between notes may be a learned skill.

Tone-deaf people often lack a sense of musical aesthetics, and much like a colorblind person would not be apt to appreciate colorful visual art, some tone-deaf people cannot appreciate music. Tone deafness is also associated with other musical-specific impairments such as inability to keep time with music (the lack of rhythm), or the inability to remember or even recognize a song. These disabilities can appear separately but some research shows that they are more likely to appear in tone-deaf people.

Tone deafness is also known variously as amusia, tune deafness, dysmelodia and dysmusia.
1) Amusia, the medical loss of musical ability
2) Absolute pitch, the rare ability to name a musical note when played or sung
3) Relative pitch, the normal human ability to accurately discriminate pitch intervals
4) Deafness, the inability to hear sound

With Tone Deafness clearly defined, let me share with you a case study I personally encountered years ago when I was attending college. One of my many odd jobs to pay for my education was teaching private guitar lessons. I taught this one young boy who was a complete beginner on guitar. As I often did, and still do, when guitar students learn a few simple songs, I challenge them to sing and play together.

This is a great exercise for ear training and performing more complex forms of coordination. It was not long before it was apparent that he was completely unable to duplicate any pitch. Without any training to fix this problem, I experimented and figured out a strategy to help him. He and his parents wanted him to be able to sing on pitch.

Here was my strategy. I concluded, without any medical training, that the message the brain was sending to the chords was scrambled, incorrect or both. He would hear a pitch but would always sing another. His vocal chords were not being stretched to the correct location. Here was my solution. Simply, I kept repeating the same notes I wanted him to try to duplicate each lesson over a long period of time. His progress was slow but he eventually was able to get a lot closer and, then, match the pitch.

After about a year of hard work, he was able to play and sing four simple songs. Maybe that does not seem like a lot. But, trust me, it was. Again, I am not making any medical claims. I was confronted with a challenge and used logic to figure out a solution that worked. It makes sense, though, that it did work. The truth is, whenever we are learning a new physical skill, it takes a while for learning programming to be completed. In his case, it was the nerves and muscle systems that operated his voice and it just took longer to accomplish.

As you can see from this actual story, it is possible to sing on pitch. If you are one of the people who is stuck in this rut, buy my affordable ebook or find another way to get yourself checked and begin to enjoy the miracle instrument you have been given, you voice.

See you next time.

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Jonathan Morgan Jenkins