It took me a couple of years to finish this. This is normal for technique books because you tend to read a bit then want to spend a long time gettingIt took me a couple of years to finish this. This is normal for technique books because you tend to read a bit then want to spend a long time getting to grips with the thing you've just learned before moving on to the next thing. Also with this book, there was a lot of information on how to improve and implement all sorts of different approaches to my singing and speaking, much of which was not really relevant to me. I tended to think "ah, that's a good idea, I should have a go at that but not right now, I'm a bit busy right now, maybe later" and so the book would sit on my shelf in a half-read state for months at a time. So if you read it then i would advise you to skip over all the helpful suggestions that aren't actually central to your own goals.
Overall though, as a technique book I would have to give this top marks. I've read two other singing books including Singing for Dummies With Audio CD and with those books I learned a little but only saw minimal improvements. I never got past the point of thinking that my singing sucked, that i didn't enjoy singing and didn't want to practice. Also, the problem with the aforementioned book was that there was too much information and it was all presented as being equally worthwhile, so you might end up spending time on advanced techniques without having grasped the fundamental techniques. The strength of Roger Love's book is that he focuses on a couple of very basic techniques. Before you learn anything else he gets you to learn diaphragmatic breathing. Once you've grasped that he moves on to middle voice which is explored through three sets of scales that you need to practice regularly.
Those two techniques are the pillars of his approach and they are so easily comprehensible and so necessary to making a good sound that I'd say it's impossible not to reap significant rewards from working through this book. You don't get the problem with other books of skipping around lots of different aspects of singing technique and not really picking anything up. You focus on the one or two most important things and that way you improve.
I have to say, whilst the breathing technique stuff was somewhat helpful and illuminating, I didn't find that it gave me the revelation that I was hoping for. My breathing technique has subsequently improved a lot by doing this Indian vocal practice called "karaj Saadhana" (look it up).
The chapter on middle voice was where the revelation occurred. Middle voice wasn't something I had ever grasped before. I had read about it in other books but not really understood how to implement it into my own technique and so I had just gone on singing in chest all the time. Consequently my functional singing range has expanded enormously since i started using this book.
There's one other bit of advice he gives that I have found helpful which is to imitate other singers in order to develop your own singing style. I could never sing vibrato before but with his explanation of the technique and by imitating other singers who can do it I think I now have a pretty good grasp of it and do it as a part of my natural technique.
There are parts of the book that are a little extraneous. The book is aimed at singers and speakers so if you wanted to improve just one of those two skills then obviously about 30% of the book (the part dedicated to the skill you aren't concerned with) won't be especially useful to you.
In conclusion: I read two other singing books before this and saw minimal improvements. I read this one and saw immense improvements. I've gone from being a pretty crap singer to being a pretty good singer. There can be no higher praise for a singing technique book....more
This was not one of the most compelling spiritual texts that I've read, in fact, black elk didn't really strike me as an especially enlightened figureThis was not one of the most compelling spiritual texts that I've read, in fact, black elk didn't really strike me as an especially enlightened figure or anything, i think he was simply revered among his people for his visions.
I very much enjoy the native american outlook, their style of expression, their wry humour, their refreshingly unpretentious outlook etc. So I enjoyed reading this on that level. There is something undeniably compelling about black elk and his (to western readers) totally idiosyncratic perspective. I suppose this narrative speaks to me without really revealing anything to me. My feeling is that with Native american literature, what we get is a whiff of a very rich and profound culture which sadly (unlike christianity, hinduism, buddhism etc.) struggles to convey its key concepts through literary means. You can pursue their spiritual notions through books like this but I'm not convinced that you'll ever really find them. Put your books down and fast for five days in an isolated wilderness and maybe you'll start to get half a notion of what the Native Americans were all about....more
I wouldn't say that I have any strong feelings about this book. I was very eager to listen to it but as is always the case with Neil Gaiman things, thI wouldn't say that I have any strong feelings about this book. I was very eager to listen to it but as is always the case with Neil Gaiman things, the reality of actually reading/listening is pretty underwhelming. There's always something very insubstantial and forgettable about his ouevre. Whilst it was nice for me to familiarise myself with this mythological cycle and whilst i enjoyed the stories, I wouldn't say that it's one of my favourite mythological traditions and Neil Gaiman is not an especially compelling storyteller.
It's worth a read/listen for people who want a brief and accessible introduction to this important literary canon but I can't really recommend beyond that......more
Does a good job of introducing you to the principles of Wicca and how it works. Makes for a good introduction or a quick and enlightening read for theDoes a good job of introducing you to the principles of Wicca and how it works. Makes for a good introduction or a quick and enlightening read for the casual reader. On the other hand Cunningham doesn't really come across as an expert in any field besides Wicca, which is by its very nature a bit of a phoney subject. To call it a pseudo-science would be rather generous. Really he comes across as a bit of a dweeb who has a great interest in this non-subject. Well, good for him....more
Well, I didn't enjoy this. It wasn't badly written but it wasn't well written either. The characters were all well thought out but also a bit flat, deWell, I didn't enjoy this. It wasn't badly written but it wasn't well written either. The characters were all well thought out but also a bit flat, developed up to a somewhat perfunctory level. Let's just call it a middle-brow piece of fiction.
There were lots of things that sort of bugged me about the fantasy elements, the dynamics of the haunted house, not so much that it didn't make sense, more that I didn't really understand the laws and the background behind what was going on a lot of the time. This isn't bad per se, it just allows you to get the feeling that a lot of what is happening is just meaningless filler, which is unfortunate.
Overall though my main impression of this book was the sheer ugliness of it. Gross images. An unpleasant premise. Even the characters were sort of ugly inside, weak, arrogant, self-centred. It's a miserable world created by a miserable writer. The truth is that it's a horror novel and most of these criticisms could be levelled at practically every horror novel. Admittedly I simply don't like horror, so it would have been best for me to not read this book in the first place.
Horror fans might like it. I'd advise other readers to avoid it....more