Is Voice and Music Separate?

Some people might find that my concept of separating the voice from music in learning to sing rather strange, controversial, or maybe even downright blasphemous. However, even though both processes can and are used together a lot, the fact remains that they are still separate entities. Professionals have been developing them separately all the time, although some might realize it and some don’t.

For example, professionals such as speakers, lawyers, actors, etc need to learn how to master their voices. They need to be able to do inflections, create tension and resolution, use different pitches, tones, effects, etc. But they do all this without using the harmonic and melodic laws as those found in music. Interestingly enough, the techniques that these master vocalists use can very easily be applied to singing in a musical context, given enough time and practice.

That’s interesting, but how can it help in the practical sense? A few ways:

1) Debunks the myths about singing: singing used to be a “gift”. You either have it or you don’t. And people who do have it flaunt it with such authority so that the “have-nots” would just drool at the apparent “gift” which was not bestowed on them. Well, once you realize that singing is nothing more than controlled talking, you’ll be free of these limiting beliefs. You can even apply it to other areas of life: painting is controlled writing, and.. I cant think of another example right now, but you get the point. The trick is not to have a “gift”. The trick is understanding the simple mechanics that make something work, and applying yourself to it until you reach a level of mastery that’s so enjoyable to the audience that it seems like a gift from The Creator himself.

2) Eliminates roadblocks from the learning process: most singers are taught early on to simultaneously develop their voices and ears using scales, breathing techniques, trills, bends, etc. Nothing wrong with them, but they are useful when you already have a voice that works in the range, tone, speed, etc that you want it to. Learning scales and learning musical structures at the same time is like teaching a baby the steps to a waltz. What the baby needs is fully functional legs first. He can decide later if he wants to use those legs to run, dance, jump, whatever. If he decides to learn the waltz, he’ll then train his legs to the specific steps to that particular dance.

3) Takes the pressure off of the ‘sound’: because we are not concerned about the sound in the musical context, we can be more relaxed and explore the voice further. You’d be surprised at what your voice can do, if you let go a bit and hear it from a perspective other than repeating notes and sequences. When practicing with scales, your attention is divided between two things: the actions required to produce the sound, and checking to make sure the sound produced is the “correct” …

Should Kids Know the Truth About Money?

With all the buzz about Wall Street, job losses, and the world economy, I thought that when I asked a teenage friend of mine how her father's business was doing, she would respond with a qualified answer. I was surprised to hear her say, "Oh, I do not know. I do not understand that stuff …". I noticed she was wearing trendy clothing, had a new "iPhone" and a designer handbag, so I figured her father was probably doing alright. Or was he?

It's nice to extend the naivete of childhood as far as possible, but when it comes to adolescents, is it really best to keep from them all the details about our finances, or should we initiate discussions about current events, the tough times people close to we are going through and, sometimes, tell them an "acceptable" truth about our own money situation?

As a child, I was kept in the dark about money until my late teens, if you can believe that! I had no idea what my parents earned and just knew that if I asked for $ 20 to buy something, I could probably have it. I'm embarrassed to admit that I did not even consider the origin of money; I just thought of it as a never-ending flow of funds that came from parents to pay for things that kids needed.

In reality, we were poor. Although my mother had a job, my two older sisters (and a few aunts) were the ones who helped out on occasion to keep our bills paid. But I did not know that. The day I came face to face with my delusions about life and learned "where money comes from" was the day after my mother passed away.

I had just graduated from high school and I remember feeling scared and stupid when faced with questions like, "How do I pay the bills?" and "Where do I get an apartment?" – things that were really never explained to me. I was very sheltered, and this method of childrearing, although I'm sure a choice made by parents with good intentions, did not really protect me from anything. Rather it shielded me from learning how to take care of myself, which I believe is a priceless gift and the duty of all parents to their children.

So could now be the perfect time to talk to our kids about money?

Although we may want to protect our children from knowing too much about the hardships of life, sometimes this is a golden opportunity to teach them about earning money, planning for the future, and appreciating what they already have. I'm not saying we should alarm them to the point of making them worry or feel insecure, but I am a big believer in letting older children in on the workings of the household finances and what they can do to help out.

The greed of the past two decades did much harm by positioning the "Haves" front and center, …

Gift Ideas For Him – Over $ 50

As a man get older it gets harder and harder to think of gift ideas for him. They have everything, want nothing or expect you to come up with a fantastic gift idea all on your own.

When his birthday, Father's Day or the Holidays approach, it's always a good idea to drop a few minority hints just in case, for once, he's actually thought about it and has some ideas on what he wants for a gift. If that does not happen (and it will not most of the time) here are some gift ideas to help you.


A watch is a classic gift idea that will always be well received. If he's already got one, do not worry. You can always get him one for special occasions, or for a particular activity. There are watches with timers and step counters for running, watches with radios in and, of course, the diver's watch, which can be used for diving and general swimming – or for just looking cool! Another option to consider is an old-fashioned pocket watch, particularly for the older gentleman.

Solar Charger for Gadgets

This is a fantastic gift idea for someone with lots of gadgets. There are a number on the market and they are getting cheaper all the time. After only a couple of hours, they can completely charge a cell phone, iPod, GPS etc. Perfect for the car, the frequent traveler and the student that forgets to pay their utility bills!

Digital Camera

Unless you know exactly what he wants you have to be careful with a keen photographer. However, for the social photographer the perfect gift idea is a digital camera. You can get a very good camera for under $ 200 and he will, of course, have great fun just playing with it!

Coffee Maker

There are a number of coffee machines now on the market that do more than just filter coffee. They can make lattes, cappuccinos, hot chocolate etc. They do not have to replace your regular coffee maker and are great for when you have guests.

Beer Kit

For the man who prefers beer to coffee, why not get them a home brew kit? These have gone in and out of fashion over the years mainly because to took a long time to make, it was very complicated and, depending on the brand, it tasted like …, well, not very nice! It has much improved nowdays with some kits only taking two weeks, instructions have been simplified and there is much wider range of beer types available.

Gift Cards

People tend to think of gift cards as a cop-out. However, for those men that are really hard to buy for, a card for a store they will always use will be appreciated. Home improvement, sports, outdoor and electronic stores are all good choices. Another way to show you have thought about the gift is to suggest what they can buy with it. They may not use your suggestion, …

What Are The Perfect Gifts For Single Moms?

Single moms, like the rest of us, enjoy receiving gifts. Whether it is Christmas, a birthday, Mother’s Day, or a gift as a token of love, gifts have a special place in their lives. Some of them might joy musical gifts such as ballerina music boxes, musical jewelry boxes, wooden keepsake boxes, and other music boxes. However, not just any type of gift will do! They are certain types of gifts that single moms will appreciate more than others. Let’s discover what they are.

First, here is what to avoid: purchasing hats, scarves, expensive bottles of perfume, and other pricey items unless they are items she truly desires. Some people think these types of gifts will be greatly appreciated since she could not afford them herself. For the most part, this is not the case. Most single moms will, of course, be gracious. However, in their heads they likely are thinking, “I could have used the money it cost for this gift to pay my car payment or get my car tuned up!”

Seriously, what are the perfect gifts for single mom’s? Many times it is simple as just taking some of the stress and pressure off. They need someone to take the kids for a few days so they can rest, nap, get a manicure, or spend time with a girlfriend.

What would really make her happy is for someone to pay her electric bill for one month. What would make her smile is to give her a babysitting coupon for a few Saturday nights. She really would like to relax and have special mom time by someone taking the kids for a day or weekend. These types of thoughtful gifts single moms’ love.

If a single mom has experienced participated in activities that would invoke special memories with family and friends, and there are lots of pictures that have been taken, gifts such as a scrapbook of memories, or a video of these special events would bring a smile to her face.

If you have a number of single mom’s for friends, you’ll notice a common thread. They may not need help and would not ask, but if help is received, it would mean so much to them. So, instead of giving expensive and pretty gifts, thoughtfully think about what would make life just a little easier. What would take some of the pressure off and bring relief? These types of gifts are the perfect gifts for single moms!

Copyright 2006 Monique Hawkins…

Wedding Favors: Beyond the Ordinary to the Extraordinary!

It is customary when attending a contemporary wedding for the bride and groom to offer wedding favors to their guests. Typically, these token gifts are a stem flute, a picture frame, a spotted votive, or some other favor which has been associated with the couple's name and their wedding date. As thoughtful as these gifts are, just how often do you think they will be used? Instead, a year or two after the wedding ceremony they will likely be boxed up and sent to the thrift store or shelved away in a kitchen cabinet and forgotten. Certainly not what you envisioned after putting much time and thought into selecting favors that proclaim your love for each other. Do not despair, as there are wedding favors available that go beyond the ordinary … to the extraordinary! Let us take a look at what some devoted couples are selecting for wedding favors that are treasured by their guests.

Put away the pilsner glass and do not even think about giving your guests the "two peas in a pod" salt and pepper shakers as favors. Cute, but entirely forgettable! Instead, consider gifts that not only signify your love for each other, but help to build up the relationships of others. Whimsical, yet practical, these extraordinary gifts will be used over and over again and surely will be the talk of your reception. Some currently wanted wedding favors include:

Magnets – Incorporate the words to your favorite song, poem, or saying right on an attractive magnet that will find its place on a refrigerator or other conspicuous location. Remind your friends of your love for them and their deep, abiding love for each other.

Card Games – Why not give your guests something that can promote strengthening of their marriages and / or family ties? Life's Treasured Moments and Straight From the Heart is a pair of resourceful card games mean to help couples connect with each other and are useful in preserving family memories down through the generations. While telling your guests "thank you" you are also helping to build up relationships, the cornerstone of every successful marriage and family tie.

Wedding Poster – Some couples enjoy sharing their picture along with a poem or saying on a framed poster suitable for hanging. A touching gift for the immediate family or something you can consider giving to each of your guests.

Marriage Survival Kit – Did someone say, SOS? Every marriage goes through its challenging times and every bit of encouragement is needed. So, what better way is there to remind couples of their persevering love for each other than to offer a marriage survival kit to them? Suitable for hanging, these kits contain useful and fun reminders to keep couples focused on maintaining a strong relationship. A star is included to encourage couples to keep a twinkle in their eyes; a toothpick is given to remind them not to be "too picky" with each other; and more. Fun little reminders to help …

Twilight Gifts – You Will not Believe How Many Choices Are There!

If you have a teen girl, you will likely want to give them something related to Twilight, as it is all the rage right now, and what better time to do that then Christmas? No matter what merchandise they have for this, you can still find plenty of gifts out there with this theme to help you out with this!

Scene It! Twilight

Twilight fans will love this type of game. This is a DVD game that allows you to quiz yourself on what you know about the Twilight series of films. You can play this game in several different ways on many different consoles, like the PC, the Nintendo DS, and the Wii. You can do a lot more than just trivia with this; just watch all of the movie clips and listen to all of the music from this amazing series. The rest of the family can join in on the fun at Christmas!

Twilight Skins

You can deck out all sorts of devices with Twilight skins to show your love for the series. This way, your mp3 player or cell phone, or even portable video game consoles can be adorned with your favorite character, or just the logo of the series!

Twilight Accessories

Quite a few Twilight related accessories are available, far too many to name off in this article alone without leaving some out. You can find rubber bands, bracelets, jewelry and the like, all related to this lucrative and well known fantasy series. Twilight bags and bookmarks are available for their schoolwork!

Twilight Posters

Your kid kindly loves posters, and if they are a fan of Twilight, they will welcome a poster of their favorite character. At the same time, you can do a lot better than that and do a stand up poster of the characters that they love from the films! Edward, Jacob, and the rest of the gang are all available in life size stand up cardboard posters!

Twilight Dolls

Due to the popularity of Twilight, you can find action figures that will match every teen girl's preference for the characters. Anyone from Victoria, Edward, Bella, Jacob, and Alice can be acquired in doll form! If your daughter has some already, but not all of them, you can complete the doll collection they've started.

Twilight Soundtracks

You may want to expand your teen / tween's music collection with music from the Twilight movies, in the form of soundtracks from the films. You can get either a CD or MP3 version of the soundtrack songs, and they are easily available due to their popularity and the hit tunes that are featured on them!

It is easy to pick from the great variety of options that teens and tweens that love this trendy, popular franchise can choose from this year! No matter what they already own, you can be sure to get them something that they do not have; just do your research and find the Twilight gift that they will absolutely love this …

Your Shopping List For Bridesmaid Gifts

A wedding would not be completely possible and, most of all, successful if not for some ardent supporters. One of them will be your bridesmaids. They are more than just a bunch of girls who will walk down the aisle with you. They are there to offer you support during your wedding ceremony. That is why, it is only right that you think about getting bridesmaid gifts.

  1. Bridesmaid bags. What kind of lady does not easily fall in love with a bag? Surely, whether you are having a tote, handbag, shoulder bag, or even a traveling one as your bridesmaid presents, it will certainly be appreciated by the girls. You can also add some personal touch to your bridesmaid gifts by using using their names as brand tags.
  2. Bridesmaid jewelry. Diamonds will always be a girl's best friend. If you have a very small number of bridesmaids and they are all special to you, you can purchase even just a small-carat diamond earring or necklace. However, if you are on a tight budget, any funky or lady jewelry will still be suitable.
  3. Bridesmaid apparel and shirts. It would be fun seeing "Maid of Honor" all across the tees and blouses of your girlfriends. Your bridesmaid apparel does not have to be costly. You can just purchase plain-colored shirts and ask someone to print the words all across them. It does not only make a very unique gift, but it is also extremely useful to your bridesmaids.

Neverheless, if you want to be on the safe side, you can simply ask them about their ideal bridesmaid gifts. This way, you are sure that your presences will be appreciated and suit their personality and preference. You can also have a good idea on how much you would likely spend for presents to your bridesmaids. …

Surprise your Loved Ones with a Birthday Gift Basket

Age does not matter – whether you are turning five, fifteen or fifty, your
birthday is always a good excuse to go out and have a good time.

Throughout the year, you would surely know someone who will celebrate his or
her birthday. Deciding on what gift to buy can be tough – especially if you
do not really know the person well.

For example, if you knew that a neighbor – who thoughtfully looks after
your pet while you are out of the house – is about to celebrate his
birthday, you may not have an idea of ​​what gift to give as a token of
appreciation for his kindness.

If you have a co-worker who could use some cheering up on her birthday, what
gift should you give and how much should you spend?

It is pretty easy to think of a present for a close friend or a relative
because you would basically have an idea of ​​the items that they would like
to receive.

If you are having a hard time thinking of gifts for a person who is about to
celebrate his birthday, what better way is there to surprise him than by
giving out a personalized gift basket?

'Birthday Gift Baskets for Him and for Her'

Gift baskets make great gift items. If you were invited to a party and you
do not have an idea of ​​what gift to give, just ask if the celebrant is male
or female, and you can easily put together a gift basket that would suit the
occasion perfectly.

Here are some his and hers birthday gift baskets that you can wrap in a

1. That's so sweet!

An elderly aunt, a niece or a nephew, and even your snappy next-door
neighbor would certainly appreciate a basketful of sweets. Chocolate chip
cookies, candies, brownies, pretzels, candies – anything sugary and crunchy
can be included. Wrap them up with a small stuffed teddy bear or a couple of
balloons and you can send the celebrant a perfect birthday treat.

2. Romantic Dinner Basket

You can buy a bottle of good vintage wine, some cheese, dark chocolate bars
and potato crisps to make a birthday gift basket for a good lady friend. You
can even throw in the wine opener and a couple of romantic candles for good

3. Especially for you

Your best friend celebrating his or her birthday shows only the best gift
from you. If your best buddy is a coffee aficionado, throw in some cinnamon
sticks, assorted gourmet coffee beans plus a mug to make him the perfect
birthday present.

If your girl friend likes to knit, sew, paint or cook, make a gift basket
with the items that she can use for her hobby. A chocolate addict descriptes
nothing but the best box of dark chocolate bars, melt-in-your-mouth truffles
and a handful of candy bars.

These gift baskets can be pre-ordered, or you can put them together
yourself. Just let your imagination run …

Five Reasons to Use Photography for Gift Giving

Personalization. In my opinion the first and biggest reason to use photographic gifts is the personalization that it affords the giver. I’m not talking about just giving someone a photographic portrait of yourself, although that is an excellent and very personalized gift. How about giving that special person a coffee mug or t-shirt that has their favorite (or yours) on it? The idea is to give them something that is as useful as it is artistic.

Exclusivity. By using a photograph that you have made yourself or that you have purchased from an outside source, you are offering the recipient of the gift something that can’t be bought at a department store or, for that matter, even at a jewelry shop.

Individuality. With the artistry of the photographic image, you can tailor a suitable gift for anyone on your gift list. Do you have a friend or relative that likes to cook? Give them an apron with a photograph of a cake they’ve made. Have a person on your list that likes dogs or cats? Give them a coffee mug with a photograph of a favorite animal. Is one of your special people a nature or outdoors lover? Give them a framed print of an especially favorite scene or panorama.

Decorative. Imagine how good you’ll feel when you visit someone that you sent a photographic greeting card to and they have it displayed on their desk when you arrive. Think of how good you would feel when you are complimented on your “good taste” in art.

Useful. Photography as “art” is a given, but you can use that art to create gifts that are useful as well as attractive. Consider giving a grandmother an attractive refrigerator magnet with a portrait of the grandkids on it or a favorite pet displayed there. Give your children a t-shirt that has a favorite scene displayed on it. Do you know someone that is a bird watcher? Give them a coffee mug with a photograph of a Northern Cardinal on the cup.

These are just a few suggestions on how you can use your (or someone else’s) photographic talent to create gifts that are sure to be treasured by the person that received them.

The list of possibilities for photographic gifts grows constantly as new uses for our artistic talents expand. I have already mentioned a few items that may be created but here are a few more in case you need help. Do you know someone that is a card player? Give them a deck of playing cards with scenes from a vacation they (or you) especially enjoyed. How about giving your favorite cook an apron with a picture of one of their specialties on the front of the apron? There are an awful lot of people that enjoy assembling jigsaws and one of your favorite photos might be just the thing for them. How about a beautiful nature scene that you admire? Have a photograph of the scene printed on canvas and …

What to Give That Special Someone For His Or Her Birthday?

Happy Birthday is a statement we say to special people in our families or our lives', to celebrate the addition to an additional year of life. Do not you love birthdays?

We are told from our young childhood that birthday's are utmost importance. We know this by the numerous depths of birthday parties that are given to us by our parents and families, from our toddler age years to our teenage years. This is a very special day for us to show our sincere love and support for the people that are close to us and that matter to us. But, what do we give this person on this very special day?

I recommend a luxury timepiece or wristwatch. Some might beg to differ, but this is a timeless gift that has surpassed hundreds of gift giving. With a luxury watch as a birthday gift, your loved one will feel as if your gift given surpassed all their gift expectations.

What type of luxury watch?

When considering a luxury watch as a birthday gift, always consider the birthday individual's style, taste, class, hobbies, etc. Consider if he or she is a creative person, introverted or extroverted, flamboyant or conservative, aggressive or passive or plainly reserved. Often, individuals buy and wear items such as watches and clothes that express their individual and unique personalities, make-up and style's.

When you purchase and give a gift to an individual that expresses their true personality, it shows the individual that you sincerely put your full heart and mind into purchasing their gift. It let's them know that they are as important to you as your gift states. A gift given expresses to the gift getter the amount of your love, care, interest and concern. Giving a luxury watch as a gift, screams, love, care, interest and concern. It is a tangible expression of one's love, one to another.

There are many different types of luxury watches available. The gift-buying search can be somewhat intimidating, especially to unknowable watch seekers. With brands ranging from Citizen to Rolex, from Zenith to Cartier and prices up to the thousands, one should be informed while gift shopping. You can find many quality, luxury brand watches at huge discount, value prices. I encourage all to do precise research into the brands interested and pricing. Online watch dealer's provide the best discounts and bargains, sometimes offering up to 70% off this timeless timepieces. So, on your next birthday shopping trip, squeeze in a luxury wristwatch as a great gift. …