Professional singer, actor, dancer, voice-over recording artist Philippe Hall joins Alexa on Singing Teachers’ Talk this week to discuss emotional layering, the most neglected skill in vocal training. How do you add those emotional layers into your voice and how do you teach others to do so? Listen in and find out.
- If you’re smiling your friend can hear that even on the other side of the phone, and when you’re miserable, they can hear it and ask what’s wrong.
- Perfect pitch singing is not necessarily going to hit you emotionally. It’s some of the breaks in the voice that can create and evoke that emotive response.
- Philippe wants singers and teachers to know that he wasn’t good at the beginning, The teaching he was getting was just “try emoting more”, he was hearing things that don’t actually tell you how to do it. That’s why he thinks a good vocal coach is so important.
- The real purpose of technical skills is to allow you to be free to layer your singing with emotion.
- Your true power is your uniqueness and your ability to communicate emotionally. Your voice can be part of your identity even while playing a role.
- One of the fourteen layering techniques Philippe teaches is asking yourself the question “who is singing, who is sending this message”. The answer will always be “I am” but it’s not limited to you. It can be you being anything you want.
‘Perfect pitch and perfect technique does not equal singing success’
‘You’d rather be making a performer who is making you feel something’
‘It’s sincere, emotional communication’
‘The brain doesn’t need truth, it just needs detail’
BAST Community Discount Offer Link (expires 14th November 2021): singingrevealed.com/bast_special_offer_emotional_layering
Alexa’s Performance Choice: Send in the Clowns from A Little Night Music performed by Judi Dench on a 1996 daytime talk show with Alan Titchmarsh: Judi Dench – Send In the Clowns, 1996
Philippe’s Performance Choice: I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables film 2012 performed by Anne Hathaway: Les Misérables (2012) – I Dreamed A Dream Scene (1/10) | Movieclips
How to Nurture a Singer’s Authentic Voice: An interview with Dr Trineice Robinson-Martin: basttraining.com/how-to-nurture-a-singers-authentic-voice
Dr Paul Ekman: paulekman.com
Singing and Teaching Singing by Janice L Chapman (3rd Edition)
Pamela Davis; contributing author to Singing and Teaching Singing by Janice L Chapman (3rd Edition)
‘To Be or Not to Be’ Sketch; Shakespeare Live! From the RSC, BBC: Hamlet with Prince Charles and Benedict Cumberbatch | Shakespeare Live! From the RSC – BBC
ABOUT THE GUEST
For the past 30 years, Philippe Hall has been in demand non-stop internationally as a professional singer, actor, dancer, voice-over recording artist.
He has performed in more than 80 professional productions in 28 countries, amounting to well over 3,000 performances, not including public & private concerts and corporate show events. He has lent his voice to over 200 games as well as various commercials & films.
He earned three degrees in three different countries from acclaimed institutions. BFA Music Dance Theater, BYU – USA. Masters of Music in Voice Performance Opera, Folkwang University of the Arts – Germany. Masters Voice Pedagogy Equiv. in Contemporary Singing Styles, Complete Vocal Institute – Denmark.
He is an authorized Vocology in Practice & CVT teacher.
Philippe is a sought-after speaker & teacher at international educational events for voice teachers & singers.
Link to podcast presenter’s bios
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Alexa Terry 00:06
Hello, it’s Alexa Terry here for you for your weekly dose of Singing Teachers Talk the podcast that brings you great interviews, insightful discussions and advice around the topic of singing and teaching singing. And for this episode, I’m joined by a seasoned performer, international vocal coach and the founder and creator of Singing Revealed Philippe Hall. Philippe, I’ve been really looking forward to talking to you about this particular topic. So thank you so much for joining me, how are you? How are things going?
Philippe Hall 00:39
Thank you, Alexa, things are going great. And I’m excited to speak with you today. It’s, it’s just such a wonderful, important topic. And it’s an honor, of course, to speak to the vast community. I’m very, very happy and grateful for the wonderful contributions that you’re making to the global singing community for singers and singing singing teachers.
Alexa Terry 01:07
Oh, thank you for saying that. What a good intro! Flying the BAST flag, amazing! So the topic we’re going to be exploring is one that we share a real passion for and something which you call the most neglected skill in singing, and you’ve created a whole course dedicated to this thing that you call emotional layering. So please, delve right in, tell us. What is emotional layering?
Philippe Hall 01:37
Thank you for this opportunity. Emotional layering. I’ve chosen to coin this phrase. Because you know that our voice is a multi-layered spectral frequency pattern, it’s got so many layers in it. And the reality is that there are emotional frequencies. Everybody knows, there’s been millions of dollars invested into it by business, if you are smiling on the other end of the phone, your listener can hear it. If you are not if you’re grumpy, and are in bad mood, why do your friends immediately pick up on that? They can hear it, we’re genetically hardwired to recognize this. And that’s why I call it emotional layering. Because that’s quite literally what we are doing is layering our vocal sound with emotion.
Alexa Terry 02:29
Yes, and I guess we don’t ever really think of it on that deep level. But we do it day to day, as you say, we’re doing it now, we do it when we’re talking to our friends, if you kind of want your husband to think you know, you want him to know that there’s something wrong, but you don’t want to tell him you want him to figure it out on his own. You put that little tone into your voice. And then he’s like, you’ve clocked on to that one.
Philippe Hall 02:52
There you go and it’s you know, and unfortunately most men miss that right? And then, I’ve been accused of missing it. No well, it’s just joking about it. But we all know it’s true. We all know it’s true. You know, and rather than call my course, singing, with emotion, or acting for singers or singing interpretation, these have all been used, right? And they’re relevant. That’s, that’s very important. That’s the process. And yet, this is the only course in the world dedicated to helping singers learn to sing with true emotion and develop their vocal identity. And I find that right there speaks volumes. This is so neglected. And yet everybody knows how important it is, you know, an empty voice and perfect technique are simply not enough for singing success. We’ve talked about this, and we should probably, you know, include our listeners now. But let’s talk about that. Would you rather hear a singer and watch a singer with perfect technique and perfect pitch, or somebody that is touching you emotionally, inspiring you, moving you, even though there are some mistakes, you know, it’s still the artist is still that singer that you want to listen to again and again. You love that their voice simply breaks on that note because it’s so real. So if it’s real, it’s powerful. And power in singing is not measured in volume. It’s measured in your ability to touch the heart of your audience and inspire them. And really, if we really look deep and ask ourselves why did we get involved in singing in the first place? Why? Let’s just quickly think about that for three to five seconds. Why are you singing today? Why are you teaching singing today? I would like to propose that it is because somebody somewhere reached out to you with their voice and touched your heart, and that was so powerful, that it motivated you, and you wanted to consciously or unconsciously, you wanted to do the same thing. You wanted to share that intense feeling, that intense moment. And many people because of one such moment, dedicate their entire lives to a career, and all they’re wanting to do is recreate that experience for their audience. This is the most powerful aspect of singing period.
Alexa Terry 05:36
Yeah, and I can tell you so passionate about and I love it. You had quite an extensive career as a performer yourself. So over 3000 performances across 80 productions in 28 countries. So was there a particular moment or show or event that highlighted to you this neglect, or need for more emphasis on this area?
Philippe Hall 06:06
You know, I’ll be honest, it’s been a learning process throughout my career. And I want singers to know, and I want teachers to know that I wasn’t good at this in the beginning. I really wasn’t. I struggled with it, because the information I was getting was not very helpful. It was simply, can you put some emotion into that? I don’t believe you, or you need to help me out here, you know, I need to feel, there is no soul. And that was really frustrating to me, and kind of locked me up more than anything else. Because I didn’t know what to do then. I felt kind of paralyzed like a deer in the headlights is like, ding lights on Philippe’s frozen, and now saying, What do I do differently? So I, you know, obviously researched acting techniques throughout my career. I’ve had many coaches, vocal coaches, I’ve studied in three different countries, bachelor, master programs, and I’ve been exposed to a lot of things and have used and tried lots of different techniques to help myself and make this happen. Find this connection. You know, I used to be a little bit shy about it and just watch these people and they looked, it looked so natural, it looks so good. And, and I’m like, how do they do that? Right? And then in the beginning, it was just so far away from me. So in this course, I’ve really tried to bring it, (and) simplify these these proven techniques, in you know, acting techniques, interpretation techniques, psychological, subconscious programming techniques, all of these things and put them in a package, so that a singer can just follow them step by step and get a very powerful result. You know, in the beginning of my career, yeah, I had my skills. I had my training, and I could sing really well. And I had some things going for me. But I experienced quite frequently that I was always the second or third cast. And I would comfort myself saying yes, it’s harder to find somebody that can play multiple roles, which is true, it’s easier to cast one person in the lead than find somebody that can actually cover three leading roles. But at the same time, I was in rehearsals, noticing that, hey, I’m singing much better than the first cast person. I’m actually dancing much better than the first cast person. Why am I not getting cast as first cast? And I was, you know, to be honest, in the beginning, a little bit bitter about it. A little bit jealous, and like this isn’t fair. You know, I have obviously got the higher skills that sounds so arrogant, condescending, it’s a little bit embarrassing, but it was what I felt. And I know that many singers out there go through the same thing. So what I want to tell you is that it doesn’t matter that you’re a better singer, it doesn’t matter that your technique is better. It matters how powerfully you can communicate your message to your audience. And if I look back, honestly, on every one of those casting decisions, that person in first cast could just do that more powerfully. And that was the difference. So I really started paying attention to that and spending more time on the preparation of the emotional layering. Then on technical preparation. It used to be you know 98% technique. Let’s prepare everything like we we spoke about earlier and then let’s try and put some emotion into it. Well, that’s way out of proportion. And if we’re honest in singing teaching, and I’ve studied in three countries and performed in 28. So I think I have a bit of experience in that, wherever you go, you have 99% emphasis on technical coordinations, which shouldn’t be completely neglected, obviously. But the real purpose they serve is to free your voice to communicate, and free it to be layered with emotional expression. And we only spend 1%, on the emotional layering side, on turning on the process. How can we really expect ourselves or singers that we’re coaching, to suddenly miraculously, just be able to do it? It’s not fair. It’s not fair to them, we’re doing them a disservice. And it’s not fair to us, if we don’t know how to do this. And I think that’s where the main problem comes in. Let’s be honest, most coaches have never been trained in this, they don’t really know where to start, you know, they can share some of their personal experiences. But is there a method behind that? Most singers don’t know what to do. They’re just told you need to connect your emotions. Well, that’s like saying, you know, you need to get a million dollars. Yeah, everybody wants it. But how do I do it? So
Alexa Terry 11:21
And let me know if you find out.
Philippe Hall 11:25
Yes, well, guess what, that’s all thing. If you want to make a million dollars, there are proven paths to do that. We just live in an era, an age of, you know, so much information. And that’s why I’m a fan of what BAST is doing. Because that’s my mission too, is to bring good, effective, proven techniques, quality information to share, and of course, attract people to that. So there is, there are very clear techniques that are not that difficult to implement. It takes some time, it takes some practice. But I show it in my course, every one of the 14 layering techniques I talk about, I include a before and after, and a process video. So you can literally see me work with a client in a half hour, 45 minute session, and you hear them at the beginning. Hear them at the end, clear difference, and then watch how we got there. So that’s really powerful. Because you learn and you see it’s real in somebody, even the first exposure to this. It gets and triggers a big difference. So let me just ask you a question. You said, very, very clearly you’d rather be watching a performer that’s making you feel something. Do you have does anything come to mind of any performance like that you’ve you’ve seen?
Alexa Terry 12:57
Yes, there is one very specific example I always give. And that is Judi Dench singing, ‘Send In The Clowns’ on the Alan Titchmarsh show, you know, like an afternoon show. She was on choosing ‘Send In The Clowns’ and it doesn’t matter. When I watch it, if I’m feeling great if I’m feeling sad, if I’m feeling hungry, whatever happens, that emotion that I’ve got at that moment, disappears. And I’m with Judy, and every time I’m left with the same feeling and that is of admiration. She’s a fantastic actress, her vocal, you know, if you if you listen to it, and it’s easily accessible on YouTube, I’ll put the link into the description as well. It is a masterclass in what I think we’re talking about. It’s touching, and I would take that every day over something that is emotionally empty.
Philippe Hall 14:03
I absolutely know what you mean. And that’s the kind of performance that just stands the test of time. Right? And it’s communication. That’s why it’s sincere, powerful emotional communication. And I love the performance that Anne Hathaway does of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ in Les Miserables, the movie. And if you think about how many women have sung that song over the past 30 years and how many people you’ve coached, maybe even on that song. She did it in a way that is so original. How do you find that originality? How do you find that purity? And my message is, it’s not coming through technical preparation first. It’s coming through the emotional layering preparation first when you’ve done that, now you know what you want to express. This is the key to vocal identity and authenticity. The truth is, no one in the world has experienced the same life experiences that I have, or that you have. And even if someone had experienced the exact same things, they would feel and think differently about that. So you have as a singer, the most original, authentic, creative machine, on the planet right in your brain, and it is you. So emotional layering is basically in very simply put, layering techniques, are to get you to ask the right questions that produce the information to program your brain with your brain only knows the information that’s put in. And I used to resent that thought a lot. Yeah, but it’s true. We only know what we see, what we hear, what we feel. And our reaction to that is individual, there’s your individuality. So we have the ability to program our brains with details that trigger a real, true, emotional response. And that is the essence of working from what I call from the inside out in emotional layering. So it’s, we have 14 different layering techniques. These are really very fundamental questions that create these background details. So I’m looking at you looking at me, you know, I have a brain, I know you have a brain, I don’t see it right now. But it’s there, you have a heart, lungs, I see this (gestures body), the outside of this image. But we know there’s so much more to Alexa on the inside. And your brain is aware of all the details and background information of your life, of this conversation. And that’s what your brains reacting to, we can do the same in emotional layering techniques, we just have to give the brain information that’s clear. The more details it has, the more specific and authentic and personal the reaction will be so really trust in the way you think and respond. Because that’s going to not only turn on the switch to your emotions, and allow them to flow into and layer your vocal sound, it’s going to help you discover your vocal identity, your true power is your uniqueness and your ability to communicate emotionally.
Alexa Terry 17:42
I think that’s a really good point with identity. Because especially in musical theater, when you’re given a person to basically step into their skin and their life. And I remember speaking to Dr Trineice Robinson-Martin about finding authenticity. And we have a podcast a blog, sorry about that, I’ll put the link in there as well. And she was saying how some musical theater performers were coming out of auditions into like the contemporary side of singing, not knowing who they were. And I feel like the way that you’re talking about your emotional layering course and and putting our identity into that means that we still can be this character, but not lose ourselves because we are sewing them together a bit like Peter Pan shadow, and we are still ourselves. But we’re that version, where we are that factory worker in 19th century industrial revolution, or we are that shoe factory worker in Kinky Boots, who’s a bit ditzy. So we have these different, like pick’n’mixes of ourselves that we can identify to become that character so we don’t lose a part of our individual selves. And actually, how that can contribute to enhancing the emotion.
Philippe Hall 19:11
Absolutely. You know, this is just a tip, a technique I’ll share with you. And then we’ll show how that ties in. So one of the most fundamental techniques, one of the 14 layering techniques I teach in this course to singers is asking yourself the question, Who is singing? Or who is sending this message? Now the answer is always going to be I am. It’s always you. Okay, but it’s not limited to you right now. Me, Philippe speaking with Alexa right now. No. I have a client who has determined for one of the songs he’s recording that it is him when he’s retired at 72 and looking back on life? Okay, well, how does the brain deal with that? It doesn’t really deal with it because you’re not 72 right now. So you have to start asking the questions to find the details of what does 72 year old Alexa look like? What does she wear? What’s her hair like? Does she what’s her favourite jewellery? What kind of perfume does she wear? What does she experience? How is she feeling at the moment? How is she feeling when she shares this message? So the layering technique, who is singing, who is sending, I put in a worksheet, the guide singer is really step by step into these exploratory questions. And that will allow you to create real detailed information for your brain. Yes, it’s fictional. But again, the brain doesn’t need truth, or it doesn’t have to be true or false. It just needs to be detailed information. So the more real you make it for your brain, the more powerful the reaction. So if you are playing Shrek in, you know, a musical or you’re even doing the voiceover for Shrek, well, you’re obviously not some giant green troll. Right? It’s obvious, everybody knows that. So how do you be Shrek? You’ve got to be you and create the details for yourself of what that means. What that is like, what that is like for your brain, what it smells like, what it feels like, what it sounds like, and just connect all the details. And suddenly, everybody believes you’re Shrek. You know, it sounds silly. But in theater in movies, the beginning of every piece is introducing information. Is pulling us in slowly, why we’re programming the audience’s brain with information. So at one point, hopefully quickly, they just sit back and relax and dive into this virtual world. We live in a virtual world right now, we’re not in the same room right now speaking, but it’s real. It’s so real for our brain, we can do the same with the emotional layering technique, and it will still be completely authentic and real, because it’s coming from your mind, you’re programming your brain and you react differently. So the opposite side of the coin, is just that if you don’t do this, everybody knows it’s fake, immediately. You can hear it, it’s there, or it’s not there. And that’s an important part of the course is to understand that human beings are hard wired, and genetically programmed to scan for emotional frequencies, you know, in whatever country you are in just by the sound of a human beings voice, if they’re happy, if they’re sad, if they’re in pain, if they’re in danger, if they’re angry, you don’t need to speak the language, you know it. And likewise, another part of the course is working from the outside in. Because there are some very powerful physical markers. And so in the course, I show people how to use the seven universal expressions of emotion. This is so fascinating. You know, Dr. Paul Ekman did research for 40 years. And it was Charles Darwin’s theory that inspired him to look into it universal communication. And what they found was that no matter where you’re at the biggest city, the biggest city jungle, or the smallest tribe in the most isolated jungle that they could go to, every human being uses seven basic expressions. And this has been researched for decades and decades, what I find personally, and why it’s extremely fascinating. What I why I chose to include this into this course is because you react, whether you want to or not. Now that’s crazy. It’s a genetic, it’s a pre programmed response. So we’re gonna do a little fun experience today. And even if you’re not, if you don’t see this feed, it’s all on audio. You’ve got to do this. Alright, so I get to see Alexa and you might not have anybody in the room with you, if you do, do it with them, if not, just use your own image. So I want you to smile and lift up your cheeks a little bit. And allow for a little bit of a squint in your eyes and just hold that smile. These are the physical markers of a real authentic smile. You got to lift your cheeks and squint your eyes a tiny bit, not like earn painful squinting, but just a little bit, get those happy lines, the crow’s feet we all don’t want when we’re older.
Alexa Terry 24:42
Philippe Hall 24:43
Make them happen. Keep your cheeks up and keep looking. Now I’m going to look at Alexa and she’s going to look at me and we’re going to keep smiling like that, at each other. And we’re just going to wait. Keep smiling everybody another couple seconds. Now look at yourself and look back at me or Alexa. And now relax. Don’t you feel a little bit lighter? Isn’t it much easier to smile now?
Alexa Terry 25:10
Yes, my face doesn’t want to get back.
Philippe Hall 25:12
I knowI It’s weird it’s like, oh, no, no, it’s hard to not to smile now. So you just activated the emotional chemical of joy and happiness in your brain, your brain did that, whether you want to or not, you just got to dose. And there’s so many studies, you know, the recent Harvard studies about about posturing and how that changes your chemical balance in your body. But these facial markers are so powerful. If you just did it, your brain activated the emotion. And the care, the opposite side is also true. Anybody seeing you make that expression, just the same thing happened in their brain, they’re feeling better. So working from the inside out, incredibly powerful, including the outside in to meet that, incredibly powerful. Now when somebody sees you, even a deaf person that sees you reacts.
Alexa Terry 26:04
Yeah. And it’s interesting that I’ve just been reading the third edition of, of Janice Chapman’s book “Singing and Teaching, Singing”, and in there, there’s a chapter written by Pamela Davis. And there’s just a little quote there. That’s just reminding me that and she says, There’s additional evidence that when we observe facial expressions associated with strong emotion, the observer simulates the expression, and that influences the observers, autonomic system,
Philippe Hall 26:33
That’s just a perfect example. You can’t fake this. You can’t fake it. Everybody knows. Everybody’s genetically programmed to know. So why would you try? And if you don’t know how to do this, you’re going to fake it. And that’s, you know, then you’ll have an empty voice, perfect technique, and it’s not going to get you anywhere. And that’s sad. Can I just say, I really passionately want to help singers everywhere. I have been in the vocal studio, a very famous singer, world famous bass, and he was an amazing singer. And when I first got there, everybody was singing in the masterclass, I tell you, I heard some of the most beautiful, unique voices I’ve ever heard in my life. And I remember this one alto, and I literally said to her, you have a gold mine in your throat, I mean, a gold mine. And you know, what happened that this unique golden voice quit. And that is so tragic for me. Nobody is ever going to hear that spectacular voice. And why did she quit, she wasn’t getting the support she needed. She wasn’t getting the tools she needed. She wasn’t getting the information she needed to make it happen. So she let go of her singing dream. And this happens all over the world on a regular basis. And it’s tragic, because it doesn’t need to. If you have the right information and the right tools, that’s all you need. That’s really all you need. And emotional layering is so fundamental. We talked about, you know, the process and you asked me a question, I think even before we started recording, I think is really fundamental. And just to be open and share, when I first was creating my my big course, “The Four Activities of Singing”, emotional layering was always part of it. And I always said, we need to release this first. And I didn’t get a lot of support for that. Because it’s not mainstream. It’s not what singers are out there actively looking for. Yet, it’s what every singer knows they need to be able to do. So it’s the same thing with teaching circles. You know, if a student comes with you, one of the first things they ask you for are exercises to develop their range or exercises to hit higher notes. And of course, the client is king, we give them what they want. But when you’re looking at a piece, and you do the technical preparation first, then try to add on the emotional layering, it’s not going to be authentic, and you’re going to be backtracking. Whereas if you really work on the text, the emotional layering and taking it apart, then you will discover your true desire to communicate and how you want to communicate this. This gives you all the pieces for the song. This tells you, you are telling yourself this sound needs to be soft and breathy because that’s what I want to communicate and this sound needs to be direct and clear and full of a metallic sound. So we know you just have head voice, piano and and mezzo forte you know “speech mode” I like to call it but but belt chest and if you are emotional and where did vibrato come from? It was originally because people were putting ah, emotion into it. The most every vocal effect was born out of expressing emotion. So when you do your emotional layering, it gives you your complete sound design for the entire song. And there are very clear techniques on how to produce each sound. Now you just saved yourself hours of preparation time. Now you know exactly where you want what, now you know, okay, in order for this sound to happen, I need to do these technical things. And even better than that, when you connect it, when you flip that switch in your brain, you tap into your subconscious, instinctive knowledge of sound production, I completely believe the brain knows exactly how to produce every sound you could ever want to produce. Almost every human being on the planet is walking around all day long, doing head voice, doing chest voice, doing runs, doing riffs, doing die hard, death, metal effects, you know, and belting and mixing all day long. And they’re not thinking about it, they’re just, the brain is thinking about it because they’re expressing themselves. So when you tap into that, you suddenly tap into your instinctive knowledge of how this sound is made. And I watch singers, and you can watch them in the course and the before and after videos, struggling with a note. And then they apply emotional layering. Now they’re through the whole high, you know, belt phrase, that zone that’s so tricky for women around a C sharp, you know, the chest belt, the head belt, how do I balance in there, and now they just sail through it, they sail through it. So everything about your techniques going to improve, you will know how to structure your song, it really, honestly, it can’t be overstated. The power of this,
Alexa Terry 31:38
It’s the change of intention, because they’re no longer aiming to reach for that note in belt. Their intention is to communicate that they’re brokenhearted or that, they’re excited.
Philippe Hall 31:55
Yes, yes, yes, it’s exactly that. It’s no longer a pursuit of something that’s technical that I don’t know how to do. It’s, I need, I want to express this and it just happens. It’s already there. You know, it’s so it’s really powerful. I have, I was going to share just this simple example, that the head of the school of music at the conservatory in Germany, that I went to, is a famous director and everybody wanted to work with him. And he would also work with singers in masterclasses from around the world, literally, on their audition pieces, on their arias in the in the opera. And he doesn’t know anything about vocal technique. Zero, zero, zero. And I would watch colleagues and other students work with him. And suddenly they would be hitting the notes they were struggling for. Suddenly, they would be able to hold out that phrase, that lasted for 30 seconds, you know, suddenly, their vocal quality improved. And he never ever used a vocal technique ever. So that was also a moment that I look back on where it clicked for me. To know it’s things you’ve been trying to do technically aren’t working, that you’re working for that. But as soon as you add this into the most important elements, suddenly, it’s like you unlock the door, and then you can go through. So again, I can’t say it enough, you know, we have this huge emphasis on technique. Believe me three modules of my four module course are dedicated to developing technique, it is vital for expression. But without and if we completely neglect the reason why we’re singing in the first place. technique has no purpose either. So it sounds like oh, my gosh, can’t believe you just said that. You know, we’re teachers who are always working with technique. I know, I’m sorry, I feel the same way. But if we forget this as teachers, we’re doing our clients a huge disservice we really are, we’re gonna send them out in the world. And they’re gonna get smacked with frustration and disappointment and criticism. And if we send them out in the world, and their technique isn’t perfect, and they’re communicating powerfully, they’re going to get fans, they’re going to sell records, their bands going to get booked, they’re going to be much more powerful in their form of expression, we can we will continue to work on the technique. And as quickly as emotional layering, does change things. It is also a skill that you will improve at. If you give it the time, it will just get better and better and better. It’s kind of like you are developing for your brain, little little things to hook into imagine as a climber. If you’re free climbing those guys are amazing and crazy, but they just go straight up the rock. Most of us are going to fall and die and a lot of them tragically meet their end as well. But the professional climbers that are doing it with you know, technical assistance and drilling in their hooks. What are they doing? They’re going from hook, to hook, to hook, to hook and that they get up the mountain every time. Because they’re there. They’re like security hooks. So as you create your emotional layer, and you’re creating for yourself, these little, little hooks that hook into that emotional production process of your brain and you’re just basically going from one to the next, to the next, to the next throughout your song. And I’ve had so many clients tell me that by focusing on those steps from the emotional layering process, they got up on stage and their performance anxiety disappeared. Because they weren’t focused on the technique “is this note going to work?”. They had clear points of focus on their communication. And then it’s becomes all about communicating. Communicating, this is what I want to communicate, this is how I want to communicate, this is who I am, this is where I’m coming from. And your brain goes into automated action, like you said, and the nerves go away, because it is a safety zone. It’s completely different approach to overcoming performance anxiety, it does not invalidate the others. But it really works. It really works.
Alexa Terry 36:13
I think that if we can, or perhaps if we talk about emotional layering, and that contextual side as a technique in its own right, that it actually can work alongside the vocal technique and development in tandem, and they go hand in hand. So they’re not one than the other they are, they are very much a together thing.
Philippe Hall 36:38
One of the layering techniques I have in the course is to showing you how to pay attention to parts of the composition and how they match up with your choices. That’s really, really important. And I also say, you don’t have to follow exactly what you believe the playwrights the brightest composer wanted, because they’re also another person, but they’re giving you very clear signals of the journey this person is on. And sometimes it’s fun to go against that. But 99% of the time, you want to stick with the guidelines, and just look at how your interpretation of that is. And that will if you have an original choice through going through your emotional layering techniques, and this this process, that’s wonderful, and it’s welcome, you are ultimately the artists on stage performing that piece. And it wants to be interpreted by you, but there’s so many clues in the dynamics, in the rhythm, in the phrasing, in the words themselves. You know, it’s amazing. Look how I said that, that is emotional layering in action, in the words themselves and look at the V and the Z, you know, I don’t do that on daily basis, you know.
Alexa Terry 37:56
There’s this such a fun sketch. I think it’s from the Royal Shakespeare Company, you may have seen it, where they take the emphasis of “To BE or not to be” and they put it on each word in the phrase “TO be or not to be”. And you see how much it changes the intention and the message of the phrase. And emphasis is something that I use quite a lot in the storytelling side of song interpretation, because it changes your bounce your rhythm. And I think, I remember when I was auditioning, and, you know, singers in the studio as well, you’re still in a studio space, sometimes it’s not the most inspiring of spaces that you’re in, if you’re auditioning in, I don’t know, in a room above. I don’t know, a coffee shop or something. And you think this isn’t a boat that I meant to be on. And I’m not feeling seasick. But with this emotional layering, I think that it can take you out of your, you know, your real environment, and put you into a place of imagined realism, which is what I like to call it.
Philippe Hall 39:06
Imagined realism. Yeah, virtual reality. This is one of my key philosophies. It’s not about there’s only one right way. There are many techniques that work. What’s always most important is that you find what works for you. And that is the most important thing. It needs to work for you. So you’ve got 14 layering techniques to choose from in the course, you have a detailed worksheet for each layering technique that’s going to walk you through, give you questions to get the process going and give you possible answers to make it quick because it’s important to just get it flowing. If you can’t come up with an answer. Pick one off the list, you know go right through then you’ve got the before and after videos, where you can watch the process, you can see the result, you can experience the transformation. And you have, I do a masterclass every month for everybody using the course. So you get to come on live, we’ll talk about it, talk about one of the techniques, coach, a few people live, you can ask whatever questions that was important for me to be there to have this personal connection. And in addition to that, you know, I want to hear about people’s experiences. I get to see it all the time. But it’s not, you know, this is designed for singers. But I know a lot of coaches out there simply… Okay… Yes, but what resources do I have? You know, I actually teach with my course, I’ll just put it up on the screen, you know, and teach with it. So it’s wonderful. A wonderful tool for teachers as well, for singers to have with them. It’s something I use all the time. And I see the results all the time, perfect technique and perfect pitch does not equal singing success.
Alexa Terry 39:09
Philippe Hall 39:13
It hurts me to say that, you know, it’s so bad because I’ve been a singer for so long. And I spent so much time developing my technique, it’s just because I’ve been through it. I’ve been the singer who had amazing technique, and was not getting the work that I deserved. I’ve been there and it’s painful, but it’s just simply the truth. If you can’t communicate powerfully with your audience, you will not build a following, you will not get cast, you won’t even be on the callback list. So when I started taking this deadly seriously, and started doing it all the time, I went from booking, you know, one in four, five auditions, which was already pretty good rate to one in two. And I’ve never not been on the callback list for about 12 years. It’s so powerful. Because if you, maybe you’ve been Alexa on that casting side of the table, I’ve been on the casting side of the table. And all you do, all day long is you wait for that person to come in and communicate emotionally. Whether you call it that or not somebody that shares an experience with you, someone that connects with you. There are unfortunately 1000s of brilliant singers, and the one that comes in and just connects with you. I can tell you, if you’re on the casting side, you are scanning your notes where you can plug that person in the show. And they are automatically on the callback list and you never forget that person, you look forward to seeing them come to audition in the years that come. It’s that powerful. So looking for an agent, you’re looking to sign a gig, you’re looking to sign a contract with a production company. You’re looking just to perform at a wedding and inspire people it doesn’t matter where you’re at. If you leave this out, you are neglecting your true power and you won’t communicate and you won’t inspire people with the inspiration that you were given. When someone touched your heart and made you want to sing. That’s what it’s all about.
Alexa Terry 43:01
Amazing. Oh, this is one of my favorite topics! Thank you so much for allowing me to immerse myself in it with you. You have been amazing and have kindly set up a limited time offer for our BAST listeners for your course. So we’ll make sure that is absolutely in the description. So go check it out now. But where can people find you and all your courses and everything about you? Where’s the best place to go?
Philippe Hall 43:27
singingrevealed.com. Singing revealed is exactly what I aim to do with singing for singers everywhere reveal how it works. So all our social media tags, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok (is) singingrevealed. Thanks so much for having me. Alexa,
Alexa Terry 43:46
Thank you it’s been an absolute pleasure! We can see the passion shining through so thank you so much it’s been awesome.
Philippe Hall 43:53
Thank you and warm hellos and greetings to all the BAST community all around the world. So grateful for everything you’re doing for the global singers in the global world of singing. Take care have a great day!
Kimberley Cartlidge 44:18
Kim here! If you enjoyed this podcast don’t forget to click that Subscribe, Like and Follow button so you never miss an episode of Singing Teachers Talk! Until the next one though. Happy singing and happy teaching!