Mastery is a Process

Written by on in Inspiration, My views

Consistency is key to mastery.

I learned the importance of voice practise sessions in mastering the art of singing many years ago. Learning this was and remains one of the keys to success for me: Vocal Consistency developed from regular practise, doing pre-performance warm-ups, protecting my voice from polluted air, resting sufficiently, etc.

As a practical example, say a glitch or broken string ruins a recording take (a recorded performance); the singer to be called back for future sessions is the one who can knock out multiple fix-it takes consistently, saving the music director/producer and other musicians from too many more takes to get the vocal part done precisely as needed. I’m not talking about robot-like repetition.

We have such as MIDI gear and hi-tech music computers to do that… to use pre-programmed beats, loops and so forth. The vocal nuances of humans are becoming appreciated more in light of the other technology… finally! This is why singing will live on, or so it seems to me, even while a lot of instrumental music seems at risk of being subsumed by machines. One thing about well-designed and -built machines: they rarely need a day off.

While from the audience’s point of view, being a “session recording artist” may seem full of glamour and creativity, it can also be a grind. So having the prior preparation behind you upon which to draw at crunch time to be able to “go for greatness” time and again can make the difference between success and failure.

Later this summer if I can, I plan to post up a few good well-tested warm-up exercises… and at some point maybe I will also post trchniques for range extension. However, breath control is at the foundation of all singing (and speech, by the way), so it will be the foundation of the exercises.

Much like acting, where the audience tends to recall only the most-recent success or failure, staying prepared by doing consistent practise is key. Likewise, sloppy preparation makes for sloppy performances, lol. Thank God, after many years of mastering my expertise, I have built up some modest confidence in my singing abilities.

This doesn’t mean I no longer need to rest and recuperate (as I’ve always needed to do), it means I realize that the growth process remains key to sustaining my instrument (voice) for use when I need it. My skills and knowledge have been tried and tested by some of the best. Thanks, God!

Working with superstars has opened my eyes to simple facts often overlooked by their fans: stars are humans too, with the pressures and joys we all face. They may be a bit more insulated by their PR teams from the onslaught of eager fans, photograpers/journslists, etc., but they each have their own personality and private life. I don’t mean that they are hiding anything bad, just to note that stars face everyday boring problems like roadway traffic, too. Not that they would refuse a bit of special treatment as most of us appreciate!

Still, I am eager to remain [as editor-in-chief of this publication] on point about maintaining a music career in Bollywood. Clearly one thing that works for me is consistency.

Linked at TOP (above) is a LinkedIn artcle that discusses the significance of working consistently. While there are surely some individuals with “God-given talents” at various levels of expertise, the vast majority of workers in nearly every field must work long and hard to first obtain and then to sustain and develop their abilities to modern high standards, pertaining to pursuit of a career, not only a job. It’s work.

At one time I considered medicine as a career (my grades were consistently good, lol), and if I keep pushing my voice to its limits, I may need a year or more off at a health resort to recuperate, or (God forbid!) a surgeon specializing in repairing vocal folds! That’s oddly consistent, lol.

I feel blessed in my own experience to have been taught the importance of mastering consistency in performance and pitch control, and therefore to have “developed those skills” to serve me when I am called upon to sing. Thanks again, Dad!

When a film music director is considering me for a song, they aren’t looking for excuses why I’m not prepared or too tired for another take. Rather, they expect me to do what I do, just as they have same hopes of all the other musicians.

My blog-site AntaraMitra.com (it’s more of a resource & guide for those interested in playback singing and my approach) may be of some interest to you if you’re pursuing a similar or related career.

However, at this point it is mainly (and will likely remain) more of a gloss, a guide, or simply one view in the direction of the art of playback singing. We’ll keep it FUN. I love what I do, don’t you? If not, maybe we should work toward making life more fun, I think. Work can be fun.

We will make every effort to remain on the consistent path of presenting varied points of view, opinions and techniques of playback singing. I neither present myself as tbe ultimate guru (ha!) nor pre-eminent authority on ANY aspect of music.

There are certainly acknowledged masters in nearly every part and phase of music authorship, development, practise and performance, as well as the various complex layers of musical and dramatic soundtrack audio.

We will instead touch on some of these without pretending to provide exhaustive materials (which are really the stuff of pedagogy or individualized training as promulgated by great teachers like my father).

However I want you, dear visitor, to know that the main purpose of this site is to provide a mechanism for our fans to be informed about our Bollywood work, and to network with us as we all love and celebrate great Indian cinema and the best music that forms one of its key components. I also want to share my work experiences with those pursuing their own dreams of singing careers, to help them make decisions.

For these reasons, we hope to remain consistent in our celebrations of the songs we enjoy. This is not primarily an opinion-editorial blog, although surely each of us is entitled to say what we think and believe to be important. I will welcome your feedback and fresh input; I hope that you welcome mine.

Finally, I want to clear up any confusion about sponsorships here. We are not (yet!) sponsored by Sony TV nor KKR cricket club. I simply feel that giving them honourable mention is appropriate because their key people have been and continue to be so kind to me. In this (which is obviously not quid pro quo, especially given the limited reach of my blog-site), I hope to remain consistent.

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