performer’s edge wiTh Tom JAckSon the voice box wiTh rAcheL FerGuSon I talk a lot about creating moments for your live show. So what is a “moment?” It’s that connection with an audience that is emotional—where the lightbulb goes on for them. Some people call it an “ah-hah” moment. When you’re driving down the road listening to music on the radio and something touches you, really moves you, it causes you to go and buy that CD or download that song. You want to re-live that “moment.” You want to have that “moment” at your disposal any time you want. It’s the same thing with your live show. Sometimes you play a song, the planets have aligned, you can actually hear the monitors and after the show people come up saying, “Where’s that song? That song about that thing?” And really what they’re saying is “Where’s that song that made me feel that way?” That’s a moment! Since it’s easier to describe a musical moment, I’ll start there. Audiences don’t understand musical things. So you have to make it easy for them. A simple way to do this is to find something in the song to develop. Usually I look at the intro, the solos, the bridge or the outro. I start by stripping a part down to a simple rhythmic or vocal groove and then invite the audience in by laying that groove or line down so that it’s in its simplest form—not a complicated riff or anything. Then we begin to build that section out. We start layering on top of that simple foundation and develop it so that the audience can see and experience the process as we build it. The beauty of this for both audience and artist is that you can build it differently each night if you have the musical skill to do so. (This is where spontaneity comes in.) And if you don’t have the musical skills or are still developing them, you can still do it. You just do the musical moment the same each night and the audience experiences what they think is spontaneity! So listen to your songs (over and over!), look for sections to develop and get creative! Tom Jackson, #1 Live Music Producer in the industry, helps artists develop their show into “unique memorable moments!” Many successful artists have learned from Tom: Taylor Swift, Jars of Clay, Jordin Sparks, Casting Crowns, Francesca Battistelli, Gloriana, and other acts you admire! For more info, go to I’m so glad to be settling into a new year and I hope that you are too! I usually eschew New Year’s Resolutions; preferring instead to make it through January as healthily as I can, then to evaluate what changes I’d like to make, or goals I would like to set for myself in February. And that’s where we are now… One of my goals for 2011 is to be actively involved in my church choir. I joined this wonderful group last fall, but due to extensive travel and prior commitments, I wasn’t able to be as consistent in my attendance and participation as I would have liked. It was a shame, because in addition to the opportunity to worship through wonderful music, I also had to put building new friendships and relationships with my fellow choir members on hold! So here’s to 100% choir attendance in 2011… so far. Although most church choirs and worship teams remain volunteer organizations so that many can participate, there are still easy things you can do to honor your commitment and make the most of your time and of your contribution. First, attendance… Your choir director/worship leader can only do so much; if you’re not there to take the direction, you’ll miss out on important information. With attendance also comes attention. We’re all very busy and have a million other things to juggle, but for the 2-3 hours that you’re in your choir or worship team time, please REALLY be there! Put the smart phone away, turn off that internal list of everything else that’s going on and give your attention to your leader. Finally, you have a responsibility to take care of your instrument (your lovely voice!). Next month I will go into greater depth regarding vocal health, but for this month, let me just say: HYDRATE! Drink water. Lots of it. And not just during rehearsal or before performances, but all day, everyday: for the most comfort and efficiency of your voice, hydration is key. Be a responsible choir member and drink your water! I look forward to continuing our discussion on vocal health, but until then, I encourage you to be well and to remember the One for whom you sing. Rachel Ferguson, MM, MT-BC, NICU-MT, is a Board Certified Music Therapist and the Founder of Whole Note Music Therapy. She is also a vocalist and teaches voice lessons. She lives in San Diego, Calif. For more information, visit IT’s The “ah-hah” m u s i c i a n s c o r n e r CCM 51 CCM 51