Scat!: Vocal Improvisation Techniques + CD (Anglais) Broché – 1 mars 1999
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The big benefit and treasure of this book is the accompanying CD though. However, I do have two complaints: 1) it still purveys the "I'll do it and you copy me" approach and you just hope somewhere down the line, everything will come together 2) some of example melody lines he's flying by in lightning speed(I had to get a wave editor to slow down some of his jazz runs). The benefits: This CD is indeed great for loosening up your vocal chords, lips, nervousness and perhaps just to loosen up your entire 'soul' before a gig. I've been working with this book/CD for over six months now and have noticed a more relaxed approach to my melody lines in practice or performances after warming up with the CD examples.
The last part of the book covers vocal drumming for the Bobby McFerrin/ rap beat boxer types. He does an impressive job with the examples but it was only amusing at best. I feel that it takes a little too much real estate in the book and CD though. Again, I felt that he doesn't properly explain how this section connects with the rest of the material.
Overall, I am thankful that I ran into this book though for the sake of finding something to counter balance the regimen of scales and typical vocal exercises. I do know that I am a more confident improviser and not afraid to stretch out the melodies because of Stoloff's material. Recommended but be creative how you practice the material!
Stoloff writes in a logical manner, explaining ideas before presenting them musically. He begins with rhythmic etudes, helping the student to develop their swing and accents and syncopation and triplets in a vocalist-friendly manner. These first 4 etudes should not be skipped over, since they are the foundation of the rest of the book.
From here, Stoloff adds syllable warmups to get the mouth working around this more rhythmic craft of using "nonsense" syllables rather than words. The progression then leads us to increasingly more difficult melodic patterns that continue to build on the rhythmic skills from the first section. And rather than just presenting random patterns, he is helping the ear learn the differences from a straight to a swung feel, and from "Latin" to Funk.
We are encouraged to think like an instrumentalist. Of course, there is much left out of this book, as far as jazz theory, and many vocalists are not going to fully understand the logic behind the study of II-V and II-V-I patterns. But since that is not what this book is about, I give a pass to the author for not including it. The student should become familiar with basic jazz keyboarding skills so that they can accompany them-self, and should understand modal ideas from at least a theoretical perspective. It is rather important to practice these exercises within the context of the chord changes.
The section on melodic embellishments is perfect in that it starts with short one-measure licks which are presented in sequence. Practiced at length and until a level of fluidity is reached, the vocalist is provided with brand new colors with which to paint their musical landscape.
From here, the author presents skills such as bass-lines, with which I might have started, but he does present them simply and clearly in conjunction with a melodic line. And the book is summarized with a close look at specific styles such as blues, "rhythm changes", and even vocal percussion.
The recording is easy to follow and good-quality. It provides guidance for the student when they aren't sure which direction to go in.
I would recommend that this book be used in conjunction with an excellent coach or teacher. It is not really the kind of book that a beginner, without basic musical skills, would be able to self-teach with. But for anyone with basic to advanced skills, it is highly valuable. All voice teachers should own this book, no matter their preferred style.
Singer. voice teacher. musician. music lover. lover of God. worshiper. student of life. perpetual explorer.