Thursday, December 3, 2009

How to Build a Natural Voice from your CORE

Here is an excerpt from my latest Vocal Training DVD, Building CORE VOCAL POWER™, a companion to my audio program, "Practicing C.O.R.E. Vocal Power" It's a great Christmas gift. Visit for more information.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Can Deaf People Learn How to Sing?

Dot Teaches Hearing Impaired Student to Sing!

(Click HERE to listen to Before & After Audio Tracks!)

When this young man called me, and asked if I would work with someone who was hearing impaired, I thought "Well, why not?" If what I knew was true about pitch issues, and, like Arthur Joseph taught me, "singing has more to do with the brain and muscle memory than hearing," and "less than 2% of the population is 'tone deaf'," then why can't I teach this guy to sing?

So, we set forth on an amazing vocal journey. This young man who loved to sing, but had to use a hearing aid and read lips to get by in the dance industry came to me with a whole new set of challenges most people would never imagine. If I played a note on the piano or sang a pitch, he thought he had no idea what the note was, no concept of where it was or how to reproduce it!

Ben pic quoteBen was one of my best teachers. He was consistent, determined and hard working. He even got an acting agent while he was studying with me and landed a national commercial played during American Idol! He wasn't going to let anyone tell him that just because he couldn't hear, he couldn't sing. Like everyone, he loved how singing made him feel. But you can imagine how scary it would be to sing and think, "Okay, I already have hearing issues. What if I sound horrible? How will I ever really know?"

On top of that, I eventually discovered that we had to take out his hearing aids, (which I didn't even think he had at first) because the frequencies were interfering with the correct notes. Ben had to learn first to TRUST that he could do it. KNOW how it felt when it was open and free and LOVE his voice. He had to believe in himself, and that didn't happen overnight.

Click HERE to read the entire article and visit

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Was Michael Jackson Vocally Empowered?

It’s interesting. Everyone is thinking about Michael Jackson, now that he is gone. It’s hard to believe he passed away just 15 minutes from my home. When a student first told me she heard it on the radio prematurely, at 3:15 p.m.....

TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE by Los Angeles Vocal Coach Dot Todman, and learn more about empowered Vocal Expression,

Visit and become a Member (FREE) today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What is a Real Singer, Anyway?

“We were exploring, creating, manifesting and becoming! This is how we learn. What makes us think we shouldn’t do this in more empowering ways as adults?”

Do you remember when you were little and you looked up to an adult or older person, and thought, “I want to be like that!” Then you imagined what it would be like to be that person. You may have even acted it out with your friends or by yourself in front of the mirror! Didn’t we all play “doctor & nurse” when we were little, or other games where we became our favorite roles of interest? When we were children, did we say, “I am not a doctor, and I do not have a degree, so I must pretend” or “I am too little and I will fail!” No! We just became a doctor and embodied the idea of one as best as we could comprehend in that moment. We were little and we knew we’d get bigger some day. We imagined what we wanted to become, and were completely present as we committed to our own magical world. We were exploring, creating, manifesting and becoming! This is how we learn. What makes us think we shouldn’t do this in more empowering ways as adults?

How did we lose this ability to just completely surrender, and fearlessly “become” whatever we wanted at any given moment? Somehow, over time, with school and grades and competition, we learned that there are levels, and some are “better” than others. We learned to judge others and ourselves, and our value, oftentimes was based on a letter in the alphabet. Eventually, most of us stopped playing those games we played as a kid, and learned to “get in the real world” and prove ourselves. Soon the world became a much more serious place and there were expectations and more important roles placed on us. We learned over time, to put more pressure on ourselves.... I think you see where I’m going with this.


I get calls all of time from people who initially tell me, “I’m not a singer” or “I am a Singer,” and once they believe they’ve finally earned that yearned for title, they continue the same dis-empowering behavior by creating endless levels for themselves within the realm of “singer.” It never ceases to amaze me how we continue the same patterns of always trying to be somewhere, instead of enjoying where we are, now.

A student who recently told me he does not yet feel comfortable with the title of “singer,” had a very logical definition of what a singer is when I asked him. He said: “Someone who is admired, has a magnetic personally, is able to express their emotions musically with feeling, someone who is a story teller, someone who is skillful with words, someone who can make music with their voice... I’m not there yet, because my voice is not exactly the way I want it to be... to the level that I would like to be...I’m still getting comfortable with the growth and learning process.”

Well, that’s pretty fair, isn’t it? Let’s take a logical look at what we want to be, and then we can’t necessarily lie to ourselves and tell ourselves we are better than what we are. We have to be honest and know that we’re not there yet. So we can’t have that title because we don’t deserve it yet. Do we?

What if the belief in the gap itself, created the gap?

To read more, visit

Follow Dot on Twitter

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dot's American Idol Recap - 5/12/09 Season 8; Season Finale - Free Vocal Tips - Top 3

Los Angeles Vocal Coach Dot Todman shares insights about stage presence and Artist Awareness, from tonight's American Idol Top 3 episode, with Danny Gokey, Kris Allan and Adam Lambert, and predicts who will go home Thursday! Visit and login to find out!

Do you plan on auditioning for American Idol? Get's Dot's "Building C.O.R.E. Vocal Power" DVD, a companion to her Practicing with C.O.R.E. Power. CD that will help you improve your vocal confidence, range and power. Available May 21st! Login at to receive a 20% discount!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Los Angeles Vocal Coach Dot Todman Will Teach You how to Build Your C.O.R.E. Power!

American Idol Fans.... you can go to my website for notes on tonight's show, but this video will share 4 Integrative Vocal Steps All Empowered Singers Must Know!
Then you can Win at American Idol or do whatever you want with the knowledge! Enjoy!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Dot's American Idol Recap: Top 5 with Jamie Foxx - Free Vocal Tips 4/28/09

To buy Dot's Warm up CD, visit
Los Angeles Vocal Coach Dot Todman advises the Top 5 American Idol Contestants and provides secrets to singing with an empowered voice. For more notes and advice to Idol Contestants, visit

Kris Allen: The Way You Look Tonight
Allison Iraheta: Someone to Watch Over Me
Matt Giraud: My Funny Valentine
Danny Gokey: Come Rain or Shine
Adam Lambert: Feelin Good

Want to read what Hollywood Vocal Empowerment Coach Dot Todman Said about each of the performances? Login at

How Artists Step Up Their Game

(Every week of American Idol Season 8, Dot has been taking notes, giving written advice to each contestant and filming instructional vlogs!

We said goodbye to Matt G this week, who was just beginning to tap into this.

The great lesson of this week had to do with everything we have been talking about since day one of my Idol Vlogs and Blogs!  Poor Randy just calls it "singing," but at the end of the day, he too is looking for the whole authentic picture. This week, in my humble opinion,
American Idol had the BEST MENTOR of the season - because Jamie Foxx challenged every singer to get the singers to find a connection to the words, because obviously they can all "sing."

In addition, all five performers already have the first TWO of my Artist Awareness Components figured out. They all know their best vocal QUALITIES (for the most part) and they all know how to EMBODY what they have to offer in the right song choice. So the last component I've been mentioning all along, is SUBTEXT: commit to what the song means to you, and tell a story. Remember, the audience cares about how you make them feel when you sing!

Did you notice how Jamie Foxx focused on SUBTEXT the entire evening with every singer, and did you see how much each singer grew in their performance from last week?

Actors know about subtext, because they have to bring so much more to their words than just the word written in the script, and they have to do this from a real place.  They learn to tap in to the ENERGY of the meaning of that word.  Jamie Foxx is not only an extraordinary actor, but an award winning singer.  Now, does it make even more sense as to why?  He knows the secret behind how to Connect Authentically to a song!

Again, it's called SUBTEXT and in order to do it at the deepest, most powerful level you have to know who you are first. The deeper your connection to yourself and your
feelings, the more powerful you can convey what you are feeling to others. 

Jamie Foxx challenged each singer to get in touch with what they were feeling.

With Allison, he told her to think of her family while singing "Someone to Watch Over Me."

Kris, was already present during his performance with Jamie, and Jamie told him so.

He told Matt  "My Funny Valentine is a big song, so have a thought for each part."  That was great advice!

With Danny, Jamie got right in his face and showed him his walls and made him deal with them to bring out his vulnerability. And the key to EMPOWERMENT is VULNERABILITY.  He described Danny as channeling and embodying what he felt!  Hey - has he been on my site cuz those are totally Dot words already!

With Adam, they were both on the same page, and he tapped in and knew Adam was committed all the way through.  That's it.

So, from here on out, the competition gets more interesting now, because we're dealing more with how well each artist is committed to the message of the song they choose, than anything (assuming that they have figured out how to choose the right song!


LOGIN at and CLICK HERE to read more of Dot's reactions to Wednesday night's  show, featuring Jamie Foxx!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Dot's American Idol Advice 4/21/09

Los Angeles Vocal Coach Dot Todman highlights her top 3 and honorable mentions from Disco Night. Dot's C.O.R.E. Power Video download Coming Soon at

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How To Empower Yourself As A Singer

(Want to read Dot's Latest Idol notes from April 21st? Click Here)

Have you been watching American Idol? Many people are upset about 24-year old Lil Rounds, who obviously has an amazing voice; a thick, rich, deep, full, velvety voice, able to powerhouse when desired. She started off the competition strong, belting out songs like Mary J Blige’s "Be Without You," but from there it just seemed to go downhill for her—according to the judges.

Is it true that lately she has even been wavering in pitch as well as her song choice? Why has she been receiving such harsh criticism for a lady who can obviously sing, but just can’t seem to figure out songs that suit her? Finally, last night, she made a wiser choice, but was it enough to save her?

For over twenty years as a pro singer and Vocal Coach, having gone through my own vocal journey and witnessing many as well, I can honestly say that Lil is no different than most people, whether they are professional artists, or just your average person who likes to sing. Being an empowered singer boils down to one thing: OBJECTIVITY, and most people struggle with this very thing.

In order to understand your own vocal journey, it’s important to look at why people make the choices they do. Before pointing our fingers at Lil, let’s see if we are guilty of making the same mistakes.

For example, notice how you answer any of the following questions:
1. When was the last time you accepted at the heart level, a complement about your voice without trying to downplay it?

2. Can you personally identify what is unique and amazing about your voice and be 100% sure about that?

3. Can you remember the last time you tried to make an excuse about your voice, just before you sang?

4. Do the songs you enjoy singing or writing, bring out the best in your voice?

A trap I see many artists fall into is that of self-indulgence. You ask them, “What kind of music do you like to sing?”

Common response: “EVERYTHING! I like to sing all kinds of music.”

Result for Artists: A lack of success.

Why? Not because they didn’t pigeon-hole themselves into a category—it’s beyond that. The truth is, they really do love every kind of music, but what they don’t realize is what they have to offer as a singer.

For example, a very, very thin person may like to wear many styles of clothing, but generally speaking, not everything is going to look “good” on them. If a thin person were to wear vertical pin-stripes, they tend to accentuate the thin-ness, which could essentially backfire. We would see a very thin person looking even thinner for no good reason, and just ask, “Why?”

On the other hand, if that same person wore big, bulky, baggy clothes, then she’s hiding what she has, and it’s not even clear what might be under all of that bulk. People become suspicious, “What is she trying to hide?” She also loses touch with her own figure over time and forgets that she has access to other choices of clothing.

Why not just get something that fits?

A good fit won’t be obnoxious and screaming for attention, and it won’t be under-rating itself. It will just be WHAT IT IS. We have to know our size in order to know what fits. We must be wiling to look in the mirror and see the naked truth of what we are, because everybody else can see their version of us anyway.

Empowered singers are just being what they are and accepting it, every step of the way.


The good news is “There is NOTHING to figure out... only to realize.”

Most singers tend to think they should be very critical about their voice.

“The only way I can improve is if I can find out what’s wrong with it and fix it!”

When singers “Realize” what they have to offer, and how the actual process by which a voice evolves and gets better, they stop fighting that old losing battle of trying to fix themselves. They begin to recognize that there is no “battle” anymore, except the one that used to go on in their own head.

Empowered Artists who make the fastest growth do the following:

1. Take an honest look at your beliefs about your voice and see if there are limiting ones. If there are, make the choice to change that. Need help? Click Here.

2. Start noticing what is great about your voice. If you don’t know, then do the following:

a) Record yourself when you’re just goofing around singing, not “trying” to sing.

b) Listen with an open heart

c) Notice how it FEELS to sing

d) Ask people whom you trust (except your mother and most family members).

e) Use my Integrative Vocal Empowerment System that will help you experience the great power and qualities of your voice in a deep way. It begins with purchasing my Practicing with CORE Power CD, or studying privately with me by calling 310-497-6193, or over the phone, or online via Skype.

(*Note: If we need to notice what is right about our voice in order to choose the right song to bring out more of those great qualities, then how is picking our voice apart going to help it grow? Picking it apart has the exact opposite effect. It stops our voice from growing and makes us rigid, unsure, cautious and too mechanical. Sound familiar?)

The most empowering thing an artist can do is to know and love their voice.

Believe it or not, in 20 years of teaching hundreds of thousands of people, I have never met a person whose voice did not have something great about it. If you are still struggling with your “inner critic,” then click here to read about How to overcome the Inner Critic.

3. Find songs that allow you to EMBODY your great vocal qualities. For example, if I have a low, rich, full, exciting voice, then I would want to find songs that I could pour my energy into and that suited my exciting personality. I wouldn’t pick a song in a high key that was slow and operatic in nature, because that’s not my personality or gift. As your voice evolves, so do your choices, but start with what you know. This process is something that needs to be explored with each individual artist.

4. When you sing a song, do it with COMMITMENT to what it’s message means to you. (Subtext).

So, this coming week, if you do watch American Idol, let’s see if Lil has finally figured out what makes her great as an artist, and if she picks a song that does this. If she does the four things I listed above, she will remain in the competition. If not, this could very well be her last week on the show.... but life does not end after American Idol! It’s just a show already. Thank goodness we have our entire lives to evolve and realize our greatest gifts that are already within. Keep singing and shining like a Superstar!

To Read Dot’s latest Vocal Advice for Lil Rounds and the Idol Contestants, Login and click HERE

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

American Idol Recap 4/14/09

To read Vocal Coach Dot Todman's notes on each performance, visit

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Dot's American Idol Advice 3/31/09 Top 100, Free Vocal Tips

Los Angeles Vocal Coach Dot Todman Discusses Top 8 American Idol Constestants and provides free vocal tips for

Adam Lambert, Anoop Desai Lil Rounds, Kris, Allen, Matt Giraud, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, Scott McIntyre.

Paula Abdul Randy Randy Jackson Ryan Seacrest Simon Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi

Get singing lessons and free vocal tips from Dot Todman by visiting

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Idol - Country Week - notes

Every week, I take notes on American Idol Contestants, offer them advice and create videos for them after the show, which I post on my website and on Youtube.

I've decided to include some of my notes on my blog. You can read the rest of my advice to EVERY CONTESTANT since this season has begun, on my website!

Lil Rounds

Says she’ll hold back on the r&b cuz it's country week.
Martina McBride – Independence Day

Randy Travis slowed it down a bit. Interesting tip.
My Reactions – Okay girl, take it away! There we go, by the end of vs 1, you’re telling a story now. Keep telling the story cuz you know you got the voice... so it’s about taking the audience on a journey. How do you feel about what you’re singing? A nice solid full, dedicated last note. You did good my sista. I’m not so thrilled with the song choice though, but hearing you singing it was a treat.

Randy –struggled at the front for him – didn’t feel comfortable for him. Was “all right.”
(Lil – don’t worry about answering him or standing up for yourself. I’m glad you didn’t do “I will Always Love you.” Everybody does that song on Idol.)

Kara – we all know you’re a great singer so it’s about you doing what you felt and that’spart about being an artist – gave you props.

Paula – said vocals were spot on, hair, make up and clothing and the only thing – 1 verse would have went better....

Simon – it came over that she was forced to sing a song somebody requested and felt uncomfortable. I disagree with Simon. Said it just wasn’t you. He’s WRONG and I believe it's a stereotype. It's about how committed you are to each part of the song.

My Advice – they all need to be more patient. It wasn’t about cutting out a verse, it was about your commitment to the part of the song that should build. You kept it a little “even keel”instead of building in intensity as the song went on into the chorus. They wouldn’t have felt that way if you were COMPLETELY PRESENT as you sang, so next time, just stay committed to the song – and yeah you could have picked a better one, but honey, you sold it to me! You always provide excitement and satisfaction when you sing!

Adam Lambert
Johnny Cash

My comments– I like what you’re doing with the song cuz you’re making it yours. Yeah baby. I Loved it. So dramatic. LOL. Dat’s hawt!

Kara – all a little strange – got the drama she loves from him and eyes. Strange but... she liked it. Confused and happy.

Paula – Says you stand out and you are true to who you are as an artist – Although it’s country music week – great choice of song, liked sitar, Not sure if you're a quick study and born natural and raising your own bar each week. (Excellent comments Paula)

Simon – (is gonna rip on it)... yep. He said, “What the hell was that?” Says people are throwing their TV’s out the window. Said it was "indulgent rubbish." Said it was horrific. Not it wasn't!

Randy – Greatest thing about it was CURRENT, YOUNG, FRESH, HOT!

My advice –Yes, Randy and Paula are correct. (never listen to Simon. He just pretends to be an idiot). Sweetie, part of me wants to just see you win already. Because you are a true ARTIST and you know how to use your voice and you know what is unique about it. Just get over the relaxed tongue thing. There are moments when you’re singing that I feel like you’re in a vocalize. I know you’ve had vocal training and that’s fab. When you practice, make your drills.....

Click here to read more.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

How to Define Yourself as an Artist (Letter to Tatiana Del Toro)

Read Dot’s Exclusive Letter to Season 8 American Idol Contestant Tatiana Del Toro. This letter is meant to empower all artists who are learning how to step into their power. Let’s learn and grow from one-another!

Dear Tatiana,

I know you are probably very confused, discouraged, overwhelmed and saddened by your recent “departure” from American Idol. I want to write this letter to you, because believe it or not, my heart goes out to you. You are in the process of defining who you are as a human being, and when you’re in a show as big as American Idol, you’re not only dealing with your every day personal concerns, but all that energy and pressure from all of the millions of watchers, friends, and family. Everybody is giving you advice, telling you how you should act, think, feel, and what to say. Some are trying to help you, and others hurt you. It can be a very difficult process. This is why it’s so important to know who you are and LOVE who you are.

It appears that over the episodes you have been featured on, you have changed dramatically, from a gitty, flighty, emotional girl, to a mellow dramatic girl, to a girl with a thick accent. Well, maybe all of these are aspects of you, but I’m here to tell you and others, that it is important for YOU to define who you are. People don’t respect someone who appears “lost,” no matter how badly you want something. You have the determination and quite a gift, but somehow, you haven’t found a way to really make that work for you yet, because you got lost in the confusing energy of other people. Now it’s time for you to learn how to “OWN your energy.” You’re not the only one on this Season’s Idol who got lost in trying to DEFINE YOURSELF as an ARTIST. But you were the most interesting one! And I knew they would bring you back because of that. I believe that you have something very good, and once you choose to define what that is, you just may make an even bigger, better mark in the world. The reason why so many people talked about you isn’t because you are a bad person, it is because you remind us all of our own weaknesses. We’re all connected, and you my friend, have made an impact. So be proud of yourself. You got much further than many of the others. And I don’t believe it was because of your laugh. It has more to do with the fact that you can sing, and you were “interesting.”

The things you did right:

1. You always had a song under your belt – great repertoire.
2. You showed great passion and determination.
3. You trained your voice and worked hard to sound great.
4. You took care of your outer appearance and looked great!

The things you still need to learn:
1. How to Connect Authentically to who you really are.
(When you do this, there is no “competition.” It is just an adventure. You feel happy, at ease and accepting of what is. Scotty MacIntyre gets this on some level.)

2. How to define yourself as an Artist. Know what you have to offer.
(When you do this, you choose how you want to feel and own your own energy. You recognize your inner power and you don’t try, you trust.)

3. How to recognize your amazing qualities as a human being!
(When you do this, you always have your own back. There is no despair, striving or failure, just life lessons.)

4. How to be PRESENT.
(When you do this, there is no past – worries, there is no future yearning. There is just what I call, the “Wowness of the Nowness.” That amazing feeling you get when you belt out your favorite song and no one is around, and you feel so alive. You’re not judging yourself. You’re not even trying, you’re just BEING. You showed us glimpses of this in your first stage performance, and it shocked people. Learn how to stay in the moment and go with it.

You do have a gift, my friend. I hope that you continue to sing, and let this American Idol competition empower you. I have a feeling it will. Just spend time alone, with yourself. Sit quietly and just breathe. When thoughts come up, don’t judge them. Just breathe. Over time, you will feel better. Life goes on my friend. Yes, people will talk about you, but remember something; It’s none of your business what other people say about you. It is your business HOW YOU CHOOSE TO SHOW UP IN THE WORLD! Keep on SINGING honey chile and best of luck in your vocal journey.


Dot Todman
Hollywood Vocal Empowerment Coach
(To read Dot's advice to all Season 8 American Idol Contestants, Become a Member and Click HERE)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is It Really Empowering to Be a Critic?

These Kids on American Idol really have a lot of pressure on them to suddenly take singing, which they love to do so much to a whole new level - A GLOBAL ONE. Not only are many of them learning as they go, but they get to be watched, by millions of people at the same time.

After watching tonight's episode, I just had an even deeper feeling of compassion for all of the singers - even the crazy ones like Nick Mitchell, aka, Norman Gentle (who is actually quite a smart fellow).

I know there are a zillion people out there blogging and vlogging about Idol, making judgements on everything from their voice to what kind of pants they were wearing. There's a part of me that just cringes, because I do feel this can be so destructive in building an nurturing the most humanly divine instrument there is. Our voice is connected to our Mind, Heart and Body, and because of this, it's the most vulnerable thing on earth to sing. Keep in mind too, that the way we judge others always reflects back on ourselves. How do you think and feel about your own voice?

I've been working with singers and teaching since the mid 80's, when I was a kid, and I think I have been in just about every position imaginable - from feeling completely humiliated on stage to feeling like an empowered, connected diva. It's taken me a long time to figure out how to build my own voice and even though I was born with a natural talent, I learned that owning my self esteem played a HUGE role in how effectively I sang. The more I learned how to connect to what I liked about myself, and accept where I was at in that moment, the more I was able to grow. My 6 years of Higher Education and 4 Degrees didn't teach me that. Neither did the 20 plus years of teaching. Actually having to endure and overcome pain, trauma and conflict in my own life did. I know if it were not for the people who reached out in compassion that believed in me, I would not be where I am today.

I mention these things because we all suffer and have to endure pain. And we all know it's how we choose to use the "stuff" we go through, that will make or break us. We can use our experiences to have more compassion and love for others.

How does this become music? Take a look at Danny Gokey. He's the perfect example of channeling his experiences into his vocal expression. Danny's wife just passed away 7 months ago and it left him traumatized. Taking the ENERGY of what he felt, connecting his heart to it and using it to move forward in a positive, passionate way inspired many. That takes courage, will power, and confidence. Through it, we heal. Now he says he's on a mission. I'm excited for him because that boy, along with many of the other contestants, can saaaaang!

Have you ever wondered why you are addicted to American Idol? Or why you're not? Interesting thing to think about - isn't it? Some people can't stand the show - I used to never watch it myself because I couldn't stand the criticism... but now I know I have a way to reach out to the contestants, and I'm so glad about this!

We never know what others have endured in life or what brought them to where they are now. Whether we have a "Hollywood Story" or not, we're all humans, and humans grow from love and respect. Beautiful voices come from a passionate, connected heart. So, my message today is - the next time you watch American Idol, or listen to anyone sing, for that matter, try and hear more of where they're coming from. Listen to their energy and find something you like about it. This will help that person to grow if they are receptive. See how it feels to come from a deeper place from within yourself as you listen, and know that they are opening up themselves on some level. Appreciate that - because some day, it just might be you, and wouldn't you want the same?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dot's American Idol Blog - Episodes 8 & 9

Well this week, I enjoyed Idol, but I have to say, there sure was a lot of DRAMA, which makes for good reality TV!
Truth is, the nature of the Music industry can be very dramatic...nonetheless, I’m interested in the stuff beneath the surface, so I'm not going to mention the obvious here.

Isn't it amazing to see what people do when they’re under stress? Hopefully after viewing these episodes, we can recognize that this show is not just about finding pure talent, is it? Stress has a way of pointing us to our weakness.
Watching how these singers responded in the situation of being forced to co-operate, learn and come up with something to perform in a group, as well as let their light shine was something to learn from. I asked myself the question after certain people got cut - "why?" Then I rewound my tivo and watched more closely.

Some of the people who got cut were not quite present, or let someone else get the best of them. This wasn't always the case, I'm sure, but the parts we were allowed to see showed groups that had obvious conflict and obvious synergy.

If you want to know more specifics about why I thought some of the contestants got kicked off you can go to the Members section of my website, click on Dot's Idol Vlog and Dot's Idol Notes.

In the meantime....
Let's address how to help you as singers get through Hollywood week next year.
It’s always easy to point fingers at other people and see the obvious - but what would YOU do in those situations?

HERE’S THE KEY to becoming an authentic, empowered singer:

Recognize that SINGING IS NOT about you, it’s about how your energy allows others to feel.

After watching the show, you can ask the following questions and write about them in your vocal journal.
1. How do you feel about yourself?
2. How much are you willing to allow your true VULNERABLE self to feel comfortable around others?
3. How much are you willing to SURRENDER to the moment and let go - while staying connected to who you are?

It’s easy to point fingers - but look at the people who made it through and think about if you have the characteristics beyond talent, such as: flexibility, kindness, drive, stamina, focus, presence, authenticity and diplomacy. If not, how will you develop these traits?

Well, it certainly doesn't mean that every person who made it to the top 36 is a fully developed masterful human, and that the people who got cut aren't, but I guarantee that having these traits will help you win as a singer, and keep you sane as a human being!


Get on a regular routine of inner-self improvement. If you don’t know what this means, visit my website at There's a lot of great info on there, from vocal health and well being, to the psychology behind great singing and how to master the mind. You can also get my "Practicing with C.O.R.E. Power CD", which teaches you how to center, breathe, resonate and enjoy the sound of your voice, as well as warm it up properly.

After watching this week's episodes, can you deny that there's more to making it, than meets the eye? I'm not saying that Idol is a true representation of the Music Industry, but one thing is very true about American Idol: the people are real souls, and their talents and spirits are evolving under a lot of pressure, and that aspect can be very true to the Music Industry. At the end of the day, it's about personal choice. Do you choose to believe you can do it and are you willing to believe in yourself and work towards your dream, no matter what?

These are some things for you to think about. The next time you have a stressful situation, or someone behaves in a way you wouldn't want them to, think about how you can effectively deal with that stress, and get the coping skills to stay sane, happy and balanced in an ever-evolving world.

To read Dot's Exclusive Notes on American Idol Contestants she took while watching the show, click here

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dot Todman shares feelings on American Idol - Episode 5 - 1/27/09

I watched Idol tonight and I agree with Randy that it was just "weird." I'm truly hoping that the show gets better, because I know there are so many talented people out there who deserve a shot at getting discovered, but tonight got a little carried away - did it not? I don't blame any of the contestants.

They had some real talent on there this evening, however, they didn't show the best excerpts in my opinion. I mention Sharon Wilbur, Julissa Veloz, Joshua Ulloa, Jasmine Murray, Anne Marie Boskovich, T.K. Hash, and Michael Perrelli. I have constructive notes for every single contestant who has appeared on American Idol this season, on my website. I wish I could say more but until the show gets into the performance segments, I may hold off blogging about it. This season is going to be quite different than the past. There will be younger mentors and each week won't have themes as before, but top of the chart hits. It will be interesting to see what unfolds. Something I liked about the show in the past, was that it brought at least three generations together. The singers for the young kids, the older, more experienced mentors for the parents. My mom had no interest in the show, but when I told her Barry Manilowe was on, she was all over it!

I began directing choirs in 1984 and first taught a voice student in 1989. I went to school and studied and had to overcome my own vocal challenges. I have learned over this time, that singers are more than just the sound and tone you hear coming out of their mouth. It's the most vulnerable of all arts because singing is connected to your soul. I believe in giving constructive advice, building people, and helping them reach their vocal potential and I have seen many so called "rejects" become professional singers.

We now live in a much different world than when I was a child. With the advancement of the world wide web, there way more opportunities out there for singers to find success. American Idol is a wonderful route for some, but to all those who got discouraged, hold your head up high, believe in yourself and don't give up. I say find your true voice, get the right training and keep singing! If you need support, tools and even a reality check, then visit my website: I'm currently taking submission for my "Dot's Idols Around the World" series. You can submit an mp3 and get constructive advice from me about your song. Learn more by clicking here, and have a fabulous Idol Season!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Become Your Own Idol – Get the Inside scoop!

As the Idol Season emerges, everyone is thinking about singing – how to do it, and considering their own potential. Shows like American Idol give us a peak into the making of Superstars (along with the normal Hollywood stints, of course).

I’ve decided this year, to Blog and Vlog (video feedback) about Idol, but instead of ripping the singers apart, I’m going to be helping them! That’s right! As you can imagine, many of the more challenged singers are led to believe by the judges (before they get to Randy, Paula, Simon and Kara) that they have great potential. Then, they are given the truth, in front of millions of viewers. After getting humiliated on national television, they leave, feeling helpless. As a vocal coach, it’s easy for me to point out not just what they’re dong wrong, but what they’re doing right, and how they can in turn, learn to sing better. That is the information I will be providing for you, so – even if you’re not an Idol fan, you can still learn a few things from watching the show or not and then tuning in to my Vlog which you will find in my Members Only Section. Along with my Vlog, I am also sharing copies of my rough notes I took during the show and an audio version of some highlights every now and then. When you view my Vlog, you will see an archive of my videos from every season as well as Special Segments like “honorable mentions” and others. The cool part is that IT’S ALL FREE! Learn what you can online, and if you’re local, come to my Vocal Empowerment Workshops or sign up for private lessons!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dot's American Idol History

I've been teaching for several years, but still, every lesson I teach is another learning experience because I believe humanity is evolving, shifting and realizing there is more than just the "outer" layer of who we are. Sure, you can sing a note, you can look great, but what does your spirit feel like?

As a Vocal Empowerment Coach, I'm interested in evolving the whole package. With popular shows like American Idol that have just begun (Jan 13th) their 8th Season, we'll see what Hollywood has to say about that. It would be nice if the standards got a little higher. I used to hate that show and purposely avoided watching it, but in 2007, I was at my Dad's house, and he was watching it on his 12 x 6 foot screen TV, so I had no choice. It was the beginning of a new season. I hated each moment of Simon Cowell's scornful, abusive, destructive words. In order to keep the show entertaining, I felt like they were just exploiting people, making most of them look stupid and ignorant. They'd show the odd talented person, but knowing what I know about the industry (because I work in it and almost every day for me is similar to "Idol Auditions"), more people can actually sing, but think they can't. This show was making it look like the opposite.

Just when I was about to stop watching, something seriously changed. I saw Melinda Doolittle audition and she touched my spirit. Suddenly, I began to care, because I experienced a talent that ignited something in me when I heard her sing. I continued to watch the show because I wanted her to win. That's how I got addicted to American Idol, and now I do believe that indeed, it is one of the most brilliant shows on television. I mean—it has to be if they got me to watch!

Low and behold, during that same season, Idol Chat called me to appear as a Celebrity Vocal Coach, to give advice to the contestants on their show. I was floored and quite happy I had been watching that season. I have to admit the day it aired, I was not feeling very well at all...but one thing I tried to instill was to KNOW YOUR VOICE, which really translates into "know yourself."

That was in 2007. Now, 2 years later here we are again. Another season emerges with a whole new format—not as many auditions this year.... and now I've got a full-blown website, which is reaching out to people who want the whole package. People who know that great sound comes from something much deeper within the human soul. Because, when we sing, we are sending out our energy—bigger vibes of who we are. If our thoughts about ourselves are not positive, everyone can sense it when we sing. Oh how interesting it all is.

This year, My goal is to provide useful, constructive, EMPOWERING information for the contestants on the show, the viewers (fellow singers and future contestants) and the judges! That’s right. Like most people, I agree with the judges sometimes, and other times I don’t. At the end of the day, it’s about respect. If I see anyone get dissed badly this season, you’ll be hearing from me! My standards: give people constructive tools that will help them get better. These are human beings here, and singing is the most vulnerable of all arts. Sometimes I wonder how many people had to go to therapy after auditioning for Idol. Scariest part for the contestants after signing their life away, is that they never really know who or what they’re going to put on the show. Makes sense why it’s the most popular show on television. People want to see themselves, their friends, family...go on a journey! Well, let’s all go together this season. If you have questions—write me. I’ll do my best to answer them. You’ll get more on my website if you’re not here yet.

Not only will I be writing vlogs, but I’ve got free advice on video, audio and blogs to come. I’ll be posting a lot up on youtube, but also on my website

DOT ON YouTube!
Click Here to view Dot's Idol Vlog from last night's (Jan 13, 2009) American Idol - Season 8 - Episode 1!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

FREE Vocal Tips for Reaching Your 2009 Goals!

Dear Dot,
"I want to make 2009 a better year, but every year I fall into the same rut. January I stay on top of my game and it just goes downhill from there. How can I reach my vocal goals in 2009?"


In my last Vlog, entitled, "Beliefs About Your Voice" I spoke of identifying the limiting beliefs we have about our voice. I also taught on my Singspiration page how to "fire the inner critic" and develop "vocal gratitude." Now it's a new year. A time to let go of the things that aren't serving us, and create what we want, keeping in mind that, "no good can come out of negative thinking-only the same." It amazes me how negative people's thoughts are about their singing.

The reason why most people's New Year's resolutions don't work is because they try to unrealistically change the effect, ("I want to be a rockstar") instead of changing the cause, the inner core beliefs that enable their behavior. ("I don't feel like practicing every day because really, I don't have what it takes to be a rockstar.")

What were some of your beliefs about your voice? Did you write them down? Are you willing to take the next step and create new "inner divine" beliefs that will help you achieve your goals?

Throughout the years, I've heard everything from:

"I should be famous by now!" to "Trust me, my voice is probably one of the worst voices on the planet."

Now is a time for us to decide how our beliefs are serving us. How do they make us feel? Are they really helping us and bringing us closer to our goals? Are they really true? What kind of empowering beliefs can we replace them with in order to help us achieve our goals?

The system I created for singers works because it helps them learn how to approach each day, releasing everything they don't want to bring into the day, and thinking about what they do want to create. This is pertinent for singers to know and practice, because before a singer performs a powerful song, they must have a plan. If they haven't planned what they want to CREATE during that song, then their mind will just "default" to whatever they're used to thinking about. Many people zone out when they sing: sometimes they get self-conscious and nervous, and sometimes they deliver - exactly how they wanted to or even better! Obviously practice plays a huge role in the process. But if every time we practice, we're stressed out, and our underlying core belief is that we're no good, then we might be setting ourselves up for failure.

Wouldn't it be nice to just open the mouth to sing, and have it feel like a natural part of our amazing expression? Wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to go into "singing mode," but our voice was free and open because we are authentically free and open and have changed our limiting beliefs about our voice to empowering ones?

An experiment

1. Take one limiting belief you have about your voice and replace it with a new empowering belief. You must agree with this new belief at least 50%. (We have to be realistic here!)

Old Belief:"My voice is flat and dull sounding"
New Belief: "I sing with ease and power."

2. Don't try to change how you sing or do anything unnatural. Every morning, say your new empowering belief with a feeling of conviction, as if you embody this desired skill. Imagine what it would be like to "sing with ease and power."

3. Monitor your thoughts throughout the day if you default back to the old negative thought, kindly replace it with the new one and don't beat yourself up for being negative.

4. Reflect about what you experience daily in your vocal journal.

5. Be sure to complement your positive thinking with the right kind of vocal exercises. If you haven't bought my "Practicing with C.O.R.E. Power" CD yet,visit my website for more support.

6. Practice this for one month. In a month's time, see if anything has changed for you. Feel free to write us here at and share your experiences with us!

I've had nothing but success practicing this process and watching my students grow from it as well! Remember:

"We can only receive what we can conceive."

We sing because it is FUN! Singing is to tell a story, share our energy and hopefully take people on a journey that touches them forever. What kind of journey would you like to create for yourself?

Are you ready to ALIGN with your INNER DIVINE and REFINE in 2009?

I certainly hope so, and I will be cheering you on, providing you support and more interactive tools along the way!

May you have a happy, inspiring, productive New Year!

Sing to me soon!

Dot Todman,

Vocal Empowerment Coach

Dot's Voice Studios
Los Angeles, CA
"Empowering Voices Everywhere"

SINGERS - want to fill out a Special Goal Sheet designed by Dot for 2009? Become a member, login and click the 2009 goals link!

Related Articles:
"How to Overcome the Inner Critic"
"How to Create Inner Vocal Gratitude"