Year 1 KTVA Review
This is a chronicle of my amazing first year as a member of the Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy. I hope this encourages anyone reading this, whether you are brand new to singing or have been doing this for a long time. I look forward to what year 2 (and beyond) looks like.
Starting out, I had absolutely no previous experience singing, unless you count singing in the car and shower. I really enjoyed singing and, when I got the nerve, even liked singing karaoke. I bought the KTVA course in Jan. 2017. Thanks to the progress made in this course, my first live performance with a well-established cover band in town is Jan 27, 2018! Below are some notes taken from various stages of my first year journey on the KTVA program.
Jan 15, 2017 – First Time Volume 1 (recording) – You can view this on SoundCloud under the Scott Redwing Project (Lah Exercises 1 Hour).
Volume 1 (January to March - 3 months- approximately 60 hours of practice)
- I didn’t know how to burble. This was initially really awkward, but was encouraged to stick with it from both the KTVA videos and singers forum, and that it would come with time. It “clicked” around the 10-15th time through Volume 1. I stopped getting dizzy during this exercise around the 20th time, when I began concentrating on better support.
- The “pulling chest” exercises sounded really strange. My entire family cringed and ran to the opposite corner of the house whenever I get would get to the vowel modification exercises on Volume 1.
- My wife found a vowel modification “cheat sheet” downstairs. During this period, my entire family thought I was crazy for singing on my own down in the basement 5-6 times per week.
- I’ve now looked inside my mouth and the back of my throat more than I ever thought I’d do in a lifetime as I worked on my tongue placement. A large mirror was installed in my practice space in the basement. Keeping my tongue down was the most challenging part of this beginning phase, but is also the most important part. Around the 30-40 hour mark, it started to stay flat without a ton of effort. Unsurprisingly, as soon as this happened, my voice suddenly would not get sore after a long day of exercises or a night of singing karaoke! Go figure:).
- I posted on the forum my “lah” exercises at about the 50 hour mark (also posted on SoundCloud). The feedback says it was ok, so I practiced about 10 more hours (20 times through the exercises) just to be sure before moving to Volume 2.
Volume 2 - (April to June - 3 months – approximately 100 total hours of practice)
- I was on a roll with doing exercises at this point. The results were starting to really show now! My voice was getting much better. I could now sing songs that I could not previously sing. My chest voice range was growing by the week. My voice didn’t get sore anymore after long days of singing.
- My family stopped complaining about my bad voice. Even the kids started to do the lessons with me!
- I was so excited about all of this progress that I tried to do volume 3 too early. I would have been less fatigued running 40 miles that day. I took the next day off to rest my tired voice.
- I listened to audio and videos of the advanced level KTVA students for motivation to continue on. I was getting better, but they reminded me there’s a lot more to go.
Volume 3 Part 1 – (July to October - 4 months – approximately 220 total hours of practice)
- After volume 2 started to get easier, I eased myself into Volume 3 exercises. After a few times through, I could finally do all of the exercises to the end. Initially, I felt like I’d ran a half marathon after completing the volume 3 exercises.
- I quickly learned that cutting back the air helps this process tremendously. I don’t smoke or do drugs, but the example of holding your breath like smoking resonated with me and suddenly volume 3 became less of a mountain to climb.
- The greatest part of sticking with these challenging exercises in Volume 3 was the “exponential” voice growth experienced these first few weeks of Volume 3 exercises.
- After 3 months of these exercises, I was able to sing even more songs that I could not previously sing. Even better, I could do a lot of songs in chest voice. By this point, karaoke had become so much fun! An entire karaoke set up was installed in the basement.
- Speaking of karaoke, I’d been going out to sing karaoke quite frequently all year. Performing in front of people has become addicting, and getting better at singing only adds to this positive experience! I’ve played sports all my life (even played professional basketball in Europe) and singing live provides a rush that is better than any sports event I’ve participated in!
Volume 3 Part 2 – (November to January - 3 months – approximately 300 total hours of practice)
- I started to look for a cover band to join. I made some videos of me singing and posted them on Youtube (Scott Redwing Project). I live in a fairly large Midwest city in the US, but apparently there aren’t many lead singers out there looking for a cover band, because I quickly got an audition.
- Remarkably, I was invited to join a well-established cover band that I auditioned for. We have 20 gigs booked for 2018 (the first performance is January 27th). The other band members have been in a band for many years each. I do my best to pretend that I am a veteran, but am quickly exposed when I have to ask how to put in my in-ear monitors correctly.
- Now that I have a weekly band rehearsal, I’ve become quite sensitive about using my voice at my job (I’m a finance Professor). I actually bought a mic and mini speaker to assist my voice when teaching classes all day.
- I’ve also noticed that drinking alcohol dramatically decreases my voice quality. In addition to cutting alcohol way back, I’ve started to drink tea now instead of coffee, which is something I thought I would never type. This is hugely beneficial!
- I have also started to buy a lot of equipment. Now that actual gigs are looming on the horizon, I suddenly have an accumulation of lots and lots of cords!
- In this stage, the new challenge is to try to maintain the Volume 3 exercises and, at the same time, try to practice and rehearse songs for the band. I’m currently trying to figure out how much to warm up before rehearsals and gigs.
Moving Forward (Year 2)
- I am really excited to perform live. I’m sure I’ll lay some eggs on stage, but I look forward to getting better at performing live.
- At the same time, I look forward to the continued progress of building my voice through the KTVA program. Hopefully, my Year 2 in review will be just as interesting as this first year.