performer’s edge wiTh Tom JAckSon the voice box wiTh rAcheL FerGuSon Stop thinking when you’re on the stage! I mean it. If you’re standing onstage and thinking about what you’re going to say, where you’re going to move, what notes you’re trying to sing, what the lyrics are, how you look, you’re in trouble! Or here’s another one: there’s another singer or player in the audience, so you’re singing or playing to them. Or there’s a promoter in the audience, so you’re thinking about how they like what you’re doing. Well, if you’re thinking onstage, then you’ve already lost. Here’s the problem with “thinking” onstage. What are we usually thinking about? Ourselves! And we’re self- conscious. This happens almost every time I go to a show and I’m backstage. Inevitably the artist sees me and says “any last words?” And all I can say to them is, “Love your audience.” I can’t tell them to move over here, create a moment there… There’s no time for anything more than the best quick advice I can give them or anyone. Love your audience. So what does that mean? Well, it means you’re not “thinking” onstage. Because if you’re loving your audience perfectly, you’re thinking about them. In fact, you’re not even thinking about them—you’re just giving yourself to them. It means you’ve left yourself behind. You know the story of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve, created in the garden, running around naked—do you know why they didn’t even know they were naked? Because they were perfect, loving each other, loving God, not being self- conscious. That changed when they disobeyed and ate the fruit. They became self-conscious. Instead of thinking about each other, they started thinking about themselves, and they realized, “Oh my gosh, I’m naked!” We do the same thing onstage. Now I doubt you’re running around naked onstage, but we do it when we say… “Oh no, that person’s looking at me funny.” “How do I sound?” “How do I smell?” “How do I look?” “The guitar player’s looking at me weird.” We’re thinking… about ourselves. And it needs to stop. Tom Jackson, #1 Live Music Producer in the industry, helps artists develop their show into “unique memorable moments!” A Live Music Producer does onstage with the live show, what a record producer does in the studio. Tom’s Live Music Methods make your live show engaging, exceeding audience’s expectations and creating fans for life. 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 Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of the wonderful moms (and dads!) out there, and the little people who make you parents, I’d like to share some ideas for incorporating music into your child’s early months and years. Research has shown that premature infants who receive music therapy while they are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit feed better (thus gain more weight), have increased levels of oxidation and go home earlier than their peers who do not receive music therapy. But let’s assume we’re talking music with healthy, full- term infants and babies. Research shows that the voice babies prefer most is that of their mother… and babies don’t care whether their mommy has a voice like Amy Grant or Gary Bussey! Sing to your baby! Let him hear his favorite voice in the world! Not to worry Dads… your voice is one of your baby’s favorites as well! As Baby grows, music can be a wonderful facilitator for early language skills. In my “Rockin’ Babies” classes, I teach parents and their children (ages 6 months to two years) simple songs that incorporate basic signs from American Sign Language (ie. “Mom,” “Dad,” “More,” “Please,” “Milk,” “Dog,” “Cat,” etc.) Babies are able to learn these signs and to attach meaning to them; their communication skills develop earlier than you might think. Even if they’re not yet verbalizing their wants/needs, they can talk to you through signs at a very early age. Music with your baby can also be a wonderful time of socialization. Through music groups such as “KinderMusik” and my own “Rockin’ Babies” children and their parents have an opportunity to explore new sounds and instruments in a structured group, and to have interaction with other little ones and their parents. Sing to your baby. Play drums. Play shakers. Share the songs that you love with your child. Teach signs in conjunction with songs. Join a music class. These are just a few of the ways that you can enjoy music with your baby. For more information, check out my website, and also one of my favorite books for music with babies and toddlers, Baby Sing and Sign, by Anne Meeker Miller. Have fun! And Happy Mother’s Day! 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 Stop thinking! mommy magic: ways you can make music and memories with your little ones! m u s ic ia n s c o r n er 53 CCM