Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
J. Nordstedt | Jersey City, NJ | 03/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Nothing is more frustrating than being in a band, knowing what you want to do, but being unable to get there--either because you're not warmed up, you damaged your throat the night before, or you just don't know what you're doing. This DVD will help you solve all of those problems!
I've fooled around with other kinds of vocal instruction, but they are all too clasically based. Melissa Cross get's it. She gets that rock is not supposed to sound like opera. She has found a way to apply traditional vocal training without altering the intensity and grit essential to rock singing.
She covers everything from breathing and talking to hitting your pitch and screaming without hurting yourself. If you check out the bonus features she even swallows a camera to show you how you can hurt yourself while singing.
When I first got the DVD, I was afraid it would be a bunch of people screaming because they couldn't be musical in their band. But it turns out to be anything but that. Its great to see all of these guys who sing some really heavy stuff challenging themselves to be more musical and more expressive without killing themselves or sacrificing their artistic vision. Only Melissa Cross could get these guys to do this.
If you are a rock singer (you don't even have to be a screamer--though screamers are welcomed) or want to be a rock singer, you need this DVD."
Excellent, with a few drawbacks
Michael G. Romano | Bend, OR | 04/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this DVD after hearing a great story about Melissa Cross on NPR a few weeks ago. The value of the DVD is excellent because you can actually see how the exercises need to be performed, as well as hearing them. I also liked watching Melissa because she's very colorful and dynamic, and it makes you feel like you have your own vocal coach. How someone can learn to sing from a book is beyond me. The DVD also features actual footage of vocal chords in action. Melissa apparently swallowed a tiny camera and sang the correct and incorrect ways. It's very interesting to see the theory in action.
The package also comes with an audio CD that features warm-up exercises in different vocal ranges. A very nice addition. The production value of the whole package is excellent. I have seem some obvious "vocal lesson" scams on the internet that look like they were produced in someone's basement in an afternoon. This package is very professional, and contains a lot of content.
The three drawbacks I have to this package (and the only two reasons I gave it four stars instead of five) are as follows: (1) There is too much promotional information on the DVD. Throughout the entire video, various band members interviewed in clubs and back alleys keep singing the praises of Melissa and telling you how great she is. I felt a little like, "Hey, I already bought the DVD, you don't need to sell me on it. Get on with the program!" (2) The video was a little too focused on death metal and hardcore garbage-disposal vocals. I was hoping there would be more discussion of the styles of say Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen, or Steven Tyler (Aerosmith). Although I can see that death metal singers are probably the most aggressive, they don't have a monopoly on singing with passion, "fire" and "heat" (as the video calls the techniques). (3) Ironically, The Zen of Screaming didn't cover as much "screaming" as I wanted. It seems like only the last chapter of the DVD really focused on what I bought the video for: How to sing aggressively without hurting your vocal chords. The vast majority of the video was spent on essential fundamentals (which were no doubt important), but I could have used another 10-15 minutes of discussion on how the "heat" and "fire" techniques really works.
Overall, I would highly recommend this program. Hopefully the minor kinks in of the concept presentation will be worked out in future editions.
Roberto Espinell | Queens, NY USA | 08/18/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD has helped me exponentially with my vocals. It covers everything that needs to be done to prevent damage to the vocal cords while using such aggressive techniques. The extra warm up CD is a definite plus.
The biggest issue that I have with it is the same that everyone else had. Too much self-promotion and brown-nosing. It's almost shocking how much time is wasted on this vocalist kissing up and that vocalist kissing up. I'm actually in the process of cutting up the DVD to remove all the excess.
But the tools that are given are worth dodging all the footage. I've reached levels that I never thought possible without constant laryngitis and a mouthful of blood. I've experienced both trying to reach even halfway to what I was doing. But now I can put out loud, long (my longest timed so far is 24 seconds) efficient screams with no pain and next to no damamge on my cords.
I like talking and now I don't have to worry about sounding like I've been smoking for 50 years in the future."
R. Haigh | Dallas, TX | 06/10/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"About a year ago, I had started a band with the intent of being the lead singer. After a few weeks, I discovered that I had a decent screaming voice, but then I got to thinking, "If I keep this up for more than a few years, will I begin to lose my voice? Permanently?" I started to look for things that might've helped me and this definitely helped.
The most important part of this DVD was Melissa Cross and her approach to all these different techniques, whether it be harsh singing or grunting/growling ("heat and fire"). With heavy metal and various types of music like it, the singing isn't always the most peaceful and delicate and as such, the approach most people would take to doing it would just be to scream their lungs out. But in this DVD, Melissa will take the most unusual ways of explaining how to do these different things that make it a whole lot easier.
The thing I liked alot about this DVD was how she emphasized the importance of the method you should take when breathing, pronouncing words and how to let air out when performing. The only drawback I found with this was that, when she explained how to do a death-metal growl/grunt/shriek, she only did it for a little bit at the end of the DVD.
All in all, I found this DVD to be a great help when learning to a scream without hurting my voice. The thing you need to remember is that it takes along time, repeating the exercises over and over, and not all at once. As long as you listen to what Melissa Cross says and you take your time, then you'll be able to get a pretty good screaming voice."