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Archiv

Archiv für Juni, 2012

Wise Guys – Germany’s top-selling vocal group is looking for new bass

by Eddi Hüneke, Wise Guys

you may or may not have heard of us, the German a-cappella band Wise Guys. We perform mostly in Germany; our current album “Zwei Welten” just entered the German album charts at No. 3.

Our bass singer Ferenc will be leaving us at the end of the year and we would like to ask you for help. Is there anyone whom you know who might be interested and suitable? Our genre is vocal pop and we need a full-time professional bass singer who can lay a reliable foundation as far as tuning and groove is concerned, and do a bit of vocal percussion too. Also this man would have to be prepared to move to or near Cologne, Germany, from 2013 (but the pay is quite good ;)).

We would really appreciate if you could help us at all. Thanks a lot in advance, best wishes to you all. Application details can be found under http://wiseguys.de/news/details/wir_suchen_ab_sofort_fuer_2013_einen_neuen_bass/, if you don’t speak German simply apply to bewerbung@wiseguys.de with a picture and a link to a recording of your voice.”

 

Note from the editor (FSt): The Wise Guys are a German vocal music phenomenon. Their marketing, fanbase management is as impressive as their touring and talent for “Ohrwürmer”. If you want to have one of the five best-paid and busiest a cappella job in Europe (and can sing like a real bass ;) – try to get this job!

There’s tons of Wise Guys sheet music available at www.acappellazone.com

 

Vocal Edu Series (3): Performance Coaching

by Marco A. Billep

Over the last few years I have been asking myself: Why do I have such a hard time explaining to people exactly what I do as a coach? The answer to this is actually pretty easy – most of my musician colleagues have little understanding about the meaning of the ‘mystic’ term PERFORMANCE!
This term is so vague to them, that most of the ‘nerds’ out there don‘t take it for real and consider it ‘peripheral’. But seriously…aren’t we a cappella musicians all a little bit ‘nerdy’? I always have to think again about explaining why it actually IS worth hiring a performance coach like I am. This is a new attempt to bring my work out of the shadow into the light and to make it a little bit clearer for you.

‘Performance Coaching’??? What is this? Do I need that? How is this supposed to help me now? This is just an extra expense and I still need to invest money into my equipment! Can’t I just do this on my own!? Why should I work with somebody who just tells me where to stand on stage, when I still have thousands of other worries with my band?

Performance-coaching… a ‘luxury-expense’?

These were the exact thoughts my band and I shared in the past. First we had huge ambitions in songwriting, arranging and rehearsing… but then? Most a cappella musicians have learned and studied to compose, arrange, and conduct rehearsals. But that doesn’t always mean they know what it takes to be on stage!

“That will do” was a common thought, but I should have known better, having studied dance and performance as well as singing at university. As if, after getting your degree, you would never need a singing teacher again. There are millions of bands out there, but only a few of them are able to thrill more people than their personal friends and families! Why is this? And WHO wants that anyway???

YOU DO!!!! Because you are going on stage and to all these contests to be SEEN and heard. Why else would you go on stage? To thrill and enchant the people who came to see you!

This is why PERFORMANCE is as important as the right note at the right time! Maybe even more important…! Great performances have already helped so many artists on stage cover a couple of wrong notes, but I’ve never heard anyone say “The correct notes enabled me to cover up my sh***t performance!”

Of course both of these things are connected to each other. The more the artist gets into his music, the better the performance on stage, and the better the performance on stage, the better the artist’s music and whole experience will be for him – not to mention for the audience! What is the difference between a famous or an unknown comedian? Definitely not his ‘jokes’, but his performance! This is exactly what I want every artist to think about before he or she goes on stage in future.

You can learn how to perform on stage just as well as you can learn to compose music.The actual performance must be rehearsed and trained just like learning text and music. And this is exactly the reason why PERFORMANCE COACHING is no ‘luxury-expense’ in your rehearsal schedule – it’s the best investment!

Of course the live performance depends heavily on the artist’s talent, just like the music. Therefore there are enough techniques for anyone to learn even a ‘minimal’ level of performance professionalism. Just like with singing coaches, dance instructors or music theory teachers, you can work with a proper performance coach who will teach you the techniques that can be used in any performance situation. These techniques will also go beyond the ‘personal experience’ methods sometimes used by untrained colleagues. It is one of the reasons why ‘outsourcing’ is so important during your rehearsal process, (Well, this is another topic to talk about).

With reference to performance coaching I would like to point out, that my experience has always been very positive when asking somebody who is not part of the group to consult me. It is a millions times more efficient and much better for the dynamics of the group as it helps focus the feeling within the band, instead of splitting it (e.g. because all of a sudden everybody knows best!). It can also give a lot of new input to your own pool of creativity as new ideas come from outside that might even inspire yours!

I also want to point out, that a performance coach is not a choreographer! Sometimes he can be both, but a proper coach tells you precisely where you are stuck, where you don’t work effectively, or how to focus ‘energy’ to be more creative. He helps the band to stand closer and to get closer to itself- to find its current core or identity.

In my case this often happens during my choreographic working process, but it doesn’t work the other way around! Even the best choreographer can’t help you to be better on stage if he doesn’t understand the band. He just provides you with a pattern of steps! Who and what is a good coach after all? – This will always be (except for the technical parts) a very personal experience! The ‘chemistry’ must fit! In general I can only say: A good coach uses the provided ‘human resources’ and ties them up, realises the potential of the group and helps to set it free. A good coach identifies the energy and structures within the band, respects them and helps to optimize them.

It can often take some time to get to know each other well enough and sometimes I also have my problems of empathising or understanding the spirit of a band. You must also be ‘let in’ (and this is for both – band and coach!).This is the reason why not even the best coach is always the best for every band!

Marco

www.MarcoBillep.de

Marco Billep is a Stuttgart (Germany) based actor, singer and performance coach, who’s worked for top vocal groups like Maybebop among others.  Here are some of Marco’s “mefacts” from his website:

Actors agency for film & media (Colombia): SITCO-ARTISTAS/DIANA CAMACHO // Actors agency for film & tv (Germany): HALL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP // height: 1,76 m  /  5´9″ // eye colour: green – blue // hair colour: dark blond // home(s): Stuttgart, Köln, Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover // driving license: car // languages: german, spanish (bilingual), english (fluently), french (good), italian (basic) // dialects: German “Hochdeutsch”, different german dialects, „german-turkish“ alternatively english  with german, spanish or italian accent //sports: fencing, tennis, american football, swimming, juggling, dance training (ballroom, latin, jazz, ballet, breakdance, hip hop) //instruments: guitar, piano, singing  (baritone) pop/musical/classic //qualifications: Universität der Künste Berlin (university of arts), diploma with honors, college scolarship of the artistic foundation “Günter-Neumann-Stiftung”, official coach of the “Chorverbandes Nordrhein Westfalen CVNRW” for a cappella bands, coaching stage performance and choreography

Slixs in Malaysia – We did it again!

by Michael Eimann, Slixs (Germany)

Packed with loads of good memories we are writing this report of a fantastic tour on the other side of the world…

It started in Malaysia‘s capital Kuala Lumpur with a very warm welcome at the German Embassy. Bavarian (ehm sorry….) , German ambassador Dr. Günther Gruber and his wife made sure the place was packed and everybody had enough German Beer after the concert, which was fun of course! We met so many different nations in just one room that night, it was fantastic!!! ((thanks!))

Another ‘local’ was taking good care of us throughout our stay in KL: Dr. Volker Wolf from Goethe Institut – you get infected right away from his charming soulfulness – he is a great source to hear and learn from about the country. Singing in KDU University was such fun, having a big party with all the students over there. After that travelled to Penang Island once again, to sing for the German-Malaysian Association, right at the famous Eastern Oriental Hotel, where Hermann Hesse back then had his coffee at the seaside..

Flying half around the world in this special case meant for us – meeting friends! Isn’t that cool? We met Paul Augustin from Penang Island Jazzfestival and jammed in a club with some of the Malay musicians we met at his Festival two years ago!

On we went – to Borneo Island, first stopping by at Riamtec College – and again – partying with 1500 students here…!

Then – finally – the concert we were waiting for all the weeks before: BORNEO Jazzfestival – it was a BLAST!! Imagine a crowd of 4000 people partying to a cappella music and rainforest sounds on the shore of the South China Sea… AMAZING!! We were overwhelmed by the vivid blaze of sounds and the exquisite variety of all the other bands that came from all parts of the world.

That’s what Ian Patterson wrote on “All About Jazz”, an international online music magazine: „There must be an unholy number of truly outstanding a capella groups in Germany if SLIXS was billed in the festival program as “one of the best” in the country, as witnessing their polyphonic acrobatics it’s difficult to imagine a more exciting, or fun a capella group.” Read the full review here.

We were honoured to be amongst such a terrific line-up. Thanks so much to all the great people there helping and making this beautiful Festival happen! Thanks to the people from Sarawak for the heartful welcome dance we all did together.

Early next morning we flew to Brunei, which was also really special: The rehearsal started with a cencorship meeting. Different country, different culture, different rules. We had fun with a lovely crowd in Brunei, and thank you, Mr. Domas from the German Embassy, it was great to get to know you and your family!

Again we experienced what might be the most important insight: Music is the language that crosses every (!) border. From colourful Kuala Lumpur over deeply traditional Borneo/Sarawak to the rich and strictly muslimic Brunei. And what’s more: The hospitality and warmness of the Malaysian people is incredible and we felt like home right away again!
Thank you Malaysia for a warm welcome! Terima kashi Malaysia!

Slixs is a professional vocal group from Germany. The group, formerly known as Stouxingers, frequently tours in Germany, the European countries and just returned home from their second trip to Malaysia. Be sure to check out their website and Facebook fanpage. If you have similar tour reports, send them to info@vocal-blog.net – it’s fantastic to learn more about global a cappella exchange.

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