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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-
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-
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
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,
Stop thinking! mommy magic: ways you can make
music and memories with your little ones!