Monday, November 15, 2010

The Do's and Don'ts of a Good Vocal Coach: How to Find a Suitable Voice Instructor

"Knowledge is power. You guys all deserve to study with a great coach who can help you take your voice to the next level, but many of you don't know what that *really* means. It pains me to hear horror stories about coaches who caused students to get vocal nodules, or others who were mentally and emotionally abusive. Hopefully this video will help you be wise in your choosing and you will find a great match. Remember, you're worth it! Hopefully these tips are useful. Share your favorite vocal coach story with me in the comments and feel free to ask any questions!"
- Dot Todman, Los Angeles Vocal Empowerment Coach

1. Someone who connects with you. They understand you and what you're about
2. Someone who cares about your goals and listens to you.
3. Someone who knows the physiology of the voice and helps achieve proper technique.
4. Someone who assesses you and give you honest feedback.
5. Someone who can educate you about all aspects of your Vocal Heath. (mental, emotional and physical).
6. Someone with a Reputable Website!
7. Someone who understands body language and stage presence.
8. Someone who will bring out your Authenticity.
9. Someone who encourages you to get through your walls or "blocks."
10. Someone who makes it fun!


1. Someone who name drops to get your money (it's different if you ask them.)
2. Someone who preaches their way is the only way or the "only method" that works.
3. Someone who has bad vibes, or gives you a feeling that you are not "safe" around them to grow as a singer, actor or speaker.
4. Someone who encourages you to push your voice.
5. Someone who wants you to mimic them only & is limited in style & genre.
6. Someone who does not know how to give you the genre or style you want.
7. Someone who laughs at you (not with you) in a negative way.
8. Someone how denigrates you.
9. Someone who reflects back negativity (which might be your own.)
10.Someone who rushes you or makes you feel rushed and not *present.*

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

American Idol, Season 9 - Recap from a Vocal Coach's Perspective

American Idol, Season 9
April 6th, 2010
Dot’s Accompanying Notes to Vlog

It was another Idol edition tonight and now that it’s top 9, things are getting a litter more interesting. Tonight Idol had some interesting surprises from the Didge to Bagpipes. One contestant pulled off the stint without upstaging themselves, but the other did not.
I’m sure you can guess who that was?

Ellen Says playing the digeriedoo is very difficult, but did you guys know that the didge is a great instrument for singers to play, because in order to play it, you do one of the most important vocal exercises there is!

And it involves a breathing technique that is also ideal for singers to get maximum support.

I was disappointed at first when they didn’t have a mentor, but that certainly didn’t take away from the entertainment value of tonight’s episode. We got to hear about what the other singer’s thought of each contestant. What a great way for us to get to know them better. Instead of just hearing about what their Mom and Dad said.

1. Aaron Kelly started off the night with “The Long and Winding Road”
Aaron you have such a great voice, but tonight, it actually sounded like you had a block in your throat chakra and solar plexus while you were singing. For those of you who don’t know what that means – he was just blocked and not as powerful as usual, and sorry honey, but I got a bit drowsy and for once, I agreed with Simon.

2. Katie Stevens sang “Let it Be” and I loved this because you were committed to the song and it was an honest, simple performance. I think you outshone Siobhan tonight as well. I actually really like you Katie.

3. Andrew Garcia – you sang “Can’t Buy Me Love” and I was so excited when you said you were going to sing this because it was a great song choice… but it was in the wrong key. Not that you couldn’t hit all the notes, but had it been 1.5 steps higher, you would have really sailed through it and grabbed me with that tone and energy in the sweet spots of your voice. That’s something Casey has down. He always chooses the right key for his songs. Learn from him and do the same. Truth is Andrew – you are one of my favorite dudes on this show and you did well tonight, but I was a wee bit disappointed because I totally LOVE the energy and tone of your voice and usually feel you. Tonight I didn’t as much as usual.

4. Michael – the best part was seeing that pic of you when you were a little boy! OMG HOW CUTE WAS THAT! So – in the past, I have never really disliked any of your performances. I enjoyed last week, but this week when you sang “Eleanor Rigby” I thought it was FABULOUS cuz if I were to sing that song, I would have done something similar to make it mine, so I really FELT your interpretation and I LOVE how present you can be with a song and just tell your story. It’s great!
TIP – watch your body on stage. Be more grounded. You have so much energy and you’re so big that you kind of need to just ground. Feel free to walk around if you like, in a grounded way, but you tend to work upward with your energy when you sing, making you look borderline awkward in your body. Simple fix. Connect to your feet more. I’ve got a great exercise for that on my CVP CD and you or anyone who feels awkward on stage should do it.

5. Chrstal Bowersox
How come you ddin’t play the didge and sing? That would have been rad.
Okay – I thought your performace was fun – but you seemed quite a bit nervous at the start of your performance. This is the 2nd week I’ve noticed this.
However, you NEVER disappoint. That didge is pretty powerful eh?
You wanna know why Ryan said it was distracting at first?

When you play the didge, you can feel it’s vibration in your body.
Back in the day – in Australia only men were supposed to play it – not because they were better then women, but because they needed it more.
I happen to have 3 of them. Wanna know why?
Because like I said earlier, they are FABULOUS healing instruments. You benefit from them when you play them and are in the presence of one being played.

Listen while I demonstrate in the video
It makes you feel grounded when you do it.
OMG – what does grounded mean? There’s that word again.

Visit and get my CD and it will help you be more grounded.

When you do a lip trill, it traps the air on both sides of your vocal folds and creates .. massage… This balances the vocal folds.
It also make you more grounded.
But if you don’t know how to do circular breathing, then you can only sustain as long as your breath lasts.
Circular breathing –
Bubble while breathing in.

6. Tim Urban
You’re just a cut boy and “All my Lovin” was a great song choice. That’s it for you. You fall into the Sanjaya and Jason Castro bracket, where people just love you cuz you’re you. I like your positive attitude though. Keep it up. It was fun to hear from the other contestants about how you really are a genuine guy.

7. Casey James
Sang “Jealous Guy”
You keep growing on me every week. You always have a strong connection to your song and that is most important. That makes you authentic. Just keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t change a thing… even though Kara encouraged you, which is great and you know she wants you BAD – just keep being true to your gift and keep picking songs that you can Connect Authentically to. (Sound Familiar students? Yeah – my students hear me say this all the time. I’m glad Idol is echoing what I teach – sometimes.)

8 . Siobhan Magnus sang “Across the Universe”
I’m sorry honey, but I’m just not in your world. I don’t know what the hype is about. I like the fact that they say you’re weird, cuz I can relate to that, and you have vocal talent, but I have no idea what you were doing tonight and I guess you’ve won over all the judges because no one said anything bad about your performance.
Good for you then. I am always the queen of positive feedback, but for me, this was the weakest performance of the evening. I got all sleepy. The thing is – this performance showed nothing of what America likes about you. They like that you’re kind of quirky and different and you can “scream” and stuff and that you wear those “nerdy” glasses. Not to say you should do that every week, but I’m just not feelin’ you over the past few weeks at all. However, you were committed to your story tonight, which was great – vocals were weak. I would not have chosen to keep the lower in your head voice. What were you trying to prove by doing this? Are we supposed to care? Sorry honey.
Tip – next week, do something quirky and wild – without screaming, but just committed to the message.

9. Lee Dewyze – well, at least people wil remember your performance of “Hey Jude”, but you let a man in a quilt upstage you. What was that like? LOL.
Should have had him on the stage with you and then maybe give him a solo and then have him join you. But the entrance thing was just a TRIP! LOL! It reminded me of back home in Canada though. You can really hear those bagpipes from miles away. Hmmhmmm. You sang great though and looked much more confident, as Ellen pointed out, but because of the bagpipes, I can’t really remember your performance. You deserve to be in the spotlight honey! No more stints like that unless you do it like a pro.
Advice – Watch the movie “The Secret” So you can stop saying you’re going home and be more positive okay sunshine Dewyze!

f you want to learn how to breathe, center, tone and warm up your voice safely, buy my Practicing CORE VOCAL POWER Cd, and DVD visit http://www.core vocal for more info
Or for my first reaction rough notes!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

American Idol - Season 9 - March 3rd, 2010

What do the American Idol Judges Mean?

I have been holding off on writing for a while - for many reasons - mostly because I'm working very hard on getting together materials to help singers do all the things Randy, Ellen, Kara and Simon are trying to explain on the show - in their own "unique" way.

In the past, when there were only three judges, it was easy to guess what they'd say. Randy took a more "middle of the road" stance. Paula was always sweet, gentle and empathetic and Simon acted like a mean, beyond brutally honest borderline abusive opinionated tyrant. The characters balanced themselves out. Then, last season, Kara came in and seemed to fall somewhere between Paula and Simon with even more constructive advice for the singers. By the end of the season, her new energy fit it. Now we have lost Paula, and gained Ellen who provides a whole new perspective and we try to adapt to the fact that this is Simon's last season. We secretly wonder who will play the tyrant next year. Will it be Kara? Well, amidst all the shifting roles, we have different views, ideas, and opinions and a whole new energy. My heart goes out to the contestants because it can be very confusing hearing much of the same thing expressed differently along with conflicting opinions and views. At the end of the day, how do they make sense of what all the judges mean? Which one should they listen to?

I will take the liberty to translate what might seem like a very confusing and conflicting year so far for many.

But first, my take on the judges:

Randy: In his mind, he knows exactly what he's talking about, but it is usually not very constructive and is narrowed down to a few phrases which I will later translate. He provides us with the producer's perspective in his own unique hip way, but up until recently, he has been less opinionated. This season, we are seeing a whole new grumpier side of Randy. Tonight was a good example of what I mean.

"It wasn't good. I didn't like it. You didn't bring anything to it. It didn't work, was tough, excruciating, pitchy, not right, no connection,” to give a few examples. The only two singers he didn't say anything negative about were Crystal Bowersox, (As Long as I Can See the Light) where he exclaimed, "You are the truth", and Siobhan Magnus (Think - Aretha) "That was dope! You slayed it!"

Ellen: Although I am admittedly, an huge admirer of Ellen Degeneres, I panicked initially when I heard some of her initial comments to the singers. I was afraid she would be too harsh and come off as "uneducated." But after watching each episode - even though she isn't a "singer" (neither is Randy or Simon), she is a comedian: confident and masterful at being grounded, centered, and knowing how to win over an audience. Singers certainly have something to learn from her, as the mental clarity and balanced mind-body connection one needs in order to tell a story/joke/song is essentially the same. She's been very fair with the singers and gives useful comments with a true performer's compassion, clarity (for the most part) and musical appreciation. (You don't have to guess what she means. For example, when Randy says, "that was pitchy" he is usually referring to 1 of 4 things on his list. Ellen is clear in her delivery. "I loved it... have fun, etc.") She provides an important perspective for the singers, because through her, you get to hear what many non-singers at home might think, with a comical edge, from someone who knows show business. She has actually given some constructive advice this season as well. I don't always agree with her, but I know she's coming from a very centered and valid place. (Yeah – I know she said Katelyn was playing a guitar tonight when she was really playing the piano –and that was my favorite performance, but she saved herself fast, and I’m letting it slide. LOL)

Kara: Has become my favorite judge this season, because she is a singer, songwriter, performer and knows her instrument. It is evident that she talks the talk and walks the walk. In my opinion, she gives the performers the most constructive advice and their ears should certainly perk up when she speaks, because she truly sees their potential and provides excellent suggestions. For example, she advised Lacey Brown to sing "Kiss Me", and this week, she did a much better performance with this song, Even though the song was better for her voice, Kara pointed out her strength (great tone) and still encouraged her to "step it up now" and "get back in the playing field." This means she better own who she is. (see below). If you listen carefully to Kara, she may make a few left brained comments about "pitch" (which everyone seems to be doing this season and it's getting on my nerves), but she always comes back with useful advice. She even said something this evening, that I tell my singers all of the time, "Stop trying to be perfect and commit to the meaning of the song." YES YES YES! Thank you Kara!

Simon: Tonight he secured his famous spot as being the last judge, but by the time he got his turn to speak, just about everything had already been said, so all he could do was either take it to a whole new level of cruelty (which he did a couple of times with Haley Vaughn and Didi) or just "strongly agree" or "disagree" to add surprise element. It seems to me like it's almost harder for him to stay in character because the other judges have been very unpredictable. Randy was the grump this evening - having the least amount of pleasant things to say than all the judges! It almost looks like we’re getting a nicer Simon these days, as he usually agreed with Kara…What?

One thing I do not appreciate is him and Kara talking during the singer’s performances. That simply just needs to stop already. How rude!

So - what do those poor contestants do with all of the conflicting and confusing messages?

After watching American Idol for a few seasons and getting a feel for what the singers are doing when the judges make their comments, I will make an attempt to translate their judging jargon, and then summarize.

When Randy says, "It was Pitchy" he is pertaining to one or more of these 4 things:

1. It just didn't feel right to him because you weren't connected to the flow and energy of the song.

2. You were not present with the song and committed to your message.

3. He didn't like the way you stylized it and your vocal runs may have been rough.

4. The notes you were trying to hit were not correct, so you were either slightly too high or too low.

When Ellen and Kara say "pitchy" they are referring to number 4. When Simon says "pitchy" it usually means he just didn't like it and has nothing to do with pitch.

When Kara says "Step it up" she means - Bring on the star quality! Know who you are as an artist. Define yourself, your style, your energy, your presence, give yourself permission to shine and become a star so you can compete with the stars. Know what is

good about you and find ways to share it.

When Simon and Randy say it sounds too “Karaoke” it is their way of saying you don’t sound like a real live performer, it lacks originality and is not of a Pop-star quality.

When Randy says, "It wasn't good." It means he didn't feel it. It is simply his opinion - which really is not very constructive.

When Ellen and Kara say, "You had no connection to the song," it means you did not take the audience on an emotional journey because you may have been worrying about pitch, control, lyrics, etc, and it took you out of the present moment and into your head, which means you became too self-absorbed.

When Simon says, “That was self indulgent” he means what the paragraph above says, along with the idea that you seem to unaware that you are self-absorbed.

When Simon says, "Be more confident" he means the same thing as what Kara says when she says, "Step it up."

When Randy says, "It was dope man, you slayed it" that means he liked it. Again, this is his opinion.

Okay! When it boils down to it, they're all simply saying one thing -

"Know and Love who you are while creating a safe space to let your soul's voice shine as you tell a story, in your own unique way."

At the end of the day, you can’t base your self-esteem on what a judge or anyone else says. You can simply learn from it and do your best to discover yourself in the process. I say, keep singing if you love to sing. Whether you're in a show, learning how to sing, auditioning, preparing - whatever it is you're doing on your vocal journey... if you love it - JUST SING! Don't take it too seriously. Have fun- and remember singing is more than just hitting all of the right notes - isn't it! Learning how to sing is a journey of discovering self-empowerment. Your voice matters!

Dot Todman
Vocal Empowerment Coach

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vocal Coach Dot Todman gives American Idol Season 9 Febi 3rd Advice to Contestants

Dot provides useful tips and reflections for American Idol viewers and contestants.

American Idol - Season 9 Episode 5 & 6 Public
Tuesday, February 02 - 2010
Dot Todman', CAPTION, 'Edit', BELOW, RIGHT);" onmouseout="return nd();"> Edit
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Live Rough notes from Dot Todman on American Idol

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

A selection of random auditions from all over and a bit of a recap.

Different Versions of this song throughout the world. Shall I do a Jamaican Version?
LOL. Maybe? Let me know eh?

Jessica Furney, 20
She auditioned Season 8 – I remember you - you are in my notes from last year! Search yourself on my site! How is your grandma doing?
Still gorgeous voice. But watch your jaw sweetie.
Nice commitment to your message and nice levels! GOOD JOB! You have improved from last year… but how can you still be 20? Auditions from last season were in 2008. LOL.


Amanda Shectman
She can do high larynx voices
Dot – your voice is lovely. Nice mix of soul, good tone, commitment to message, but you zoned out a bit, that’s all. They talked about CONNECTING! This is a C.O.R.E. Vocal Power™ word!
How do you do this? Ahhh... visit and I will explain this.
I know Simon will say yes. OMG – they put you through so much suspense but we all knew you’d get in. OMG – I love how dramatic you are. It’s like a Tatiana Del Toro from last year without the laugh. LOL. But they are making it overkill for Hollywood.
It sounds like you know what your authentic voice is, even though you can create many voices... at least I hope this is the case.

They’re talking about people hiding behing their instruments

Lee Dewyze
“Ain’t No Sunshin”
Nice voice. Nice tone, but not fun?

Crystal Bowersox, 23

Nice red-head with dreads.
Guitar as part of her instrument but didn’t use - of course - they're not allowed to.
Sweet tone.

"Fake out" guy in a purple shirt. We never even heard him sing!

There were a lot of singers who made it.


OMG – they showed the guy who I made a video about who cried wearing a scarf... what was your name again? Argh! Now I have to go through my videos and find out!
They should be putting NAMES up there on the screen. How rude. Come on Idol. You guys are getting lazy!

Lacey Brown, 23
“Some Where over the Rainbow”
Interesting variation on the melody of the song…
She makes it!

Stephanie Fisher
7 is your lucky number - 7th attempt to audition.
She is star struck on Victoria Becham
“Fever” oh. It’s a bit pitchy honey. This means you’re not hitting all the notes.
Tone is weak. Just do more vocal drills and learn to access the part of your brain that will help you it the pitches better and stay present.


Adrian Chandtchi, 17
6 foot 8 tall.
Loves to swim
Wow – what an interesting Spirit this young man has.
“Blonde Zillah” they call him.
I like him. Your speaking voice is interesting. Already I am curious to find out how you'll sing.
“Can’t Help Falling in Love”
OMG – Kara says, “there’s like a small school boy trapped inside of you” and Simon quickly retorts, “Either that, or you’ve eaten one!”
That made me laugh. OMG. Sorry
Okay, so you’re a big guy, but your vocal chords are most likely quite thin.
Even your speaking voice is quite high,which either means you're only using part of them, or they are short - unlike you. I think you should train more because you have something very unqiue but it needs to be developed in a BIG way. You are only 17 and it sounds like your voice is still maturing. I men, it can take up to age 25 for the voice to fully mature! Keep singing through the changes to allow your co-ordination to be strong as your chords lengthen. I think you have something very "special" and different about you that comes out in your voice, but hone it so you can get the notes right and learn to stay present. This always helps.

to read more about the ATHLETES, etc, (the ones I left out) visit

**Aaron Kelly, 16
Was poor growing up.
Social Services almost took him away but he got adopted. (I was adopted too! =))
You have a nice speaking voice.
“The climb”
YUMMY VOICE! I love you! Learn to connect to your audience more in the future. I have a feeling you will go FAR in this contest if you are as grounded as you appear. I see top 12 material here. Wow.

Kimberly Bishop

Has a good heart and wants to recycle and help kids in Africa.
Says nice things to Randy
Dot – okay, you’re not singing authentically. That’s it. Who are you honey? Just a bit showy to say the least. And that is all I have to say.

Shaddaii Harris, 21
Mom loves you honey. That’s nice.
Sang - Alicia Keyes
Dot – not grounded in your body at all. Do you have a cough drop in your mouth? What? Do more vocal drills to get you grounded in your scale and tap into the part of your brain that allows you to align with the notes. At the end of the day, you’re just not present. That’s all.
Don’t listen to Randy who says, “You can’t Sing.” Anyone can sing... they're just at different levels of how they are expressing it. Some are more "appealing" than others!

Hope Johnson, 19
Sharing stories about being poor
Interesting tone in speaking voice.
Dot - You are cute and you have a nice tone and genuine quality when you sing.
GOOD FOR YOU HONEY! I know you’ll get in.
Kara really connected to you. Yeah – I agree with them.. but please never take Randy’s advice on singing. He can’t sing at all.
The ENERGY OF YOUR SOUL bleeds through when you sing and it is very lovely. Something very special here.

American Idol Season 9, Colorado - February 2nd, 2010

Dot's Notes on American Idol
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Victoria Beckham – Guest judge

Overall comments – well, aside from our fabulous Kimberly Kerbow, tonight’s show had some interesting characters which I may decide to create a video about. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to ask! For more info, visit

Mark Labriola, 28
Fugitive baby – LOL.
Tempted by Squeeze
What a great voice! I love him!
Stay grounded and focused in your message dude.
Cute little boy

Mario Galvan
Nervous laugh
This is an energetic imbalance due to fear.
Sang: "Jail house rock"
You know what dude, you gave it a shot.
Work on meditating daily so you can ground your energy better and get rid of that nervous laugh. Not a bad voice – just a bit “heavy” and out of balance.

Wow – now they're showing angry people.

THIS IS MY ADORABLE STUDENT! I LOVE HER! And your daughter is soooo fabulous!
Sang - “The Way I am”
Dot - Kimberly – you are doing so FABULOUS and you look GREAT! You entertained them with your great voice and personality. Work it girl!
THEY LOVE YOU AND Simon says YOU’RE FUNNY and "trouble."
These are great "clues" to shaping an "image."

Danelle Hayes
Another mom with a little boy.
Live Karaoke host and sings in band
Dot - “wow, you belted that out but you’re grounded in it, so they will pick you.”
Simon says, "you’re almost broken. I don’t know if you’ve been allowed to be who you should be.”
Dot’s Advice – Kara says you wear your heart on your sleeve and she loves that, but I hope you know what this means. Keep your heart centered, and stay GENUINE. Vulnerability is on the path to empowerment, but it doesn't mean we lose energy over it.


Casey James, 27
Had an owie accident.
Dot – I like your voice. Wow – Simon doesn’t like you. Says you have no charisma
They tell you to work on your personality – OMG – they told you to take your shirt off!
Dang. LOL.
Yeah – meditate and... what kind of food do you eat?

Torri Kelly, 16
You are pretty.
Haha. I love the drawings that your daughter Hope made.
Sang - "Gravity" John Mayer
Yep – you got it. Just don’t go nuts with the vocal runs. Keep them tasteful. Maybe it’s why Simon tripped on your voice and called it “annoying”. Just ignore him.

DAY #2

Austin Paul, 22
Apparently you are being made out to look like an overconfident dumb jock.
Okay – they are going to say no because you’re not authentic in your song delivery.
Flipping up to falsetto and doing it all for show…nope. What about the message? Do you care about the audience?
Your response to their "no" = “I could be marketed well by you guys” HUH?
They said you were too confident… but this was your 3rd panel who encouraged you, so to your credit, I see why you are confused.

Kenny Everett, 24
You say - “My singing is a public service to others”
Dot – your over all energy and vocal runs and “ooo’s” were just a bit over the top.
And you are pretending to hold a mic while you sing? There is no mic. Not a good thing to do. This is too dramatic. Think about this – what was the meaning of the song to you and why were you singing it? It is not that you do not know how to hit the notes. Listening to your voice feels like you don’t really care about your audience and you’re just blasting off energy carelessly. A song is a story. It’s an opportunity you have to take people on a journey. When you sing, THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU – THEY CARE ABOUT HOW YOU MAKE THEM FEEL. You make others “feel” by being grounded and authentic in your message while telling a story. Take it down a few notches. Work on singing more softly and not shouting at your audience. Hone your gift. You do have a gift. You just need to be humbled and refined my dear. Your question – about how 4 people can tell a great singer he is no good – hopefully was answered by reading this. It is not that you are no good. Just do what I suggested and try out again next year dear.
Also, I would recommend looking in the mirror at your eyes - until you can see YOU. Connect with yourself in a deeper way. You have a good Spirit. I don't think you're as confident as you think.

They are showing people who are “off” – energetically. They aren’t all horrible. Just vocal problems like too much high whistle (don't show off at auditions)
Being too dramatic, and uniquely "off pitch" singers.

Also, they’re not showing names.
Keeping in mind that these people have been encouraged by 2 prior panels to continue their behavior, it does not entertain me to see this.

Nickie Nix
(Florence Italy) You sound like you have little tiny vocal folds or a high larynx… but I bet when you sing it will sound different because I hear more in your voice.
Simon made a helium joke.
Now you’re singing and you’re just fine.
They will let you in – even though Simon is making fun of you.
Question: why do you speak differently then where you sing?
Answer: You are only using part of your voice when you speak.
If you want to use all of it when you speak, it would sound differently, but it also means you have to OWN MORE of what you’re shy about. In other words, overcome the “shyness," the need to be seen as "sweet” and trust that the beauty of your Spirit will shine through your voice instead of trying to control how others think and feel about you through it. You may not even be doing this on purpose, but it is in your subconscious and showing up as a tiny voice. I’m glad when you sing, you allow more of you to shine through. Next step for you is speaking from an empowered place. In the meantime, hum more and work on tone.

Haeley Vaughn
Miracle baby of 2 pounds! Born in 1993! Sheish… you are young honey.
Your lisp is cute. I wonder if it will go away when you sing. This happens sometimes.
Dot – I love your voice and energy and spirit. I hope they pick you.
Oh - Simon noticed your lisp so I guess it didnt' go away.
They love your "bubblyness" and "uniqueness"
Kara offers advice – start at a lower pitch.
OMG – mom and sister join you – AWESOME!
It will be interesting to see you evolve. I hope you made it past Hollywood week.

Ty Hemmering
BIKINI BOY. OMG a dude in a bikini. Why?
"Achy Breaky Heart"
Wow – he sang one line pretty badly – they all left.
Nice ending guys.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dot's Notes on American Idol

For Dot's notes from the entire show, visit

American Idol
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Dallas Texas

Julie Kevelighn
She has been on the show before and totally did not make it.
Blue sequence dress and fake eyelashes. Uh…ok.
“Black Velvet”
Dot – well, it sounds like you made some progress from last time you auditioned.
You said, “I feel like I should pay more attention to my breathing.” NOPE.
Aside from singing outside of the melody, the quality of your TONE needs to be more solidified in the chest region. You came off as “annoying” because your voice did not have a balanced tone (head, nasal, mouth and chest) and you were singing out of your left brain, trying to make them like you, instead of actually committing to the message of your song.

Lloyd Thomas, 29
Looks like you may be a Body singer with all that fancy footwork! Wow!
Dockworker for airline
Very cute daughters honey... even if you dropped the pics. LOL.
Sang: “Overjoyed” Stevie Wonder
Dot - Nice voice! Great tone and energy. And you’re not a “body singer.” Like I thought, which is a good thing. (see my upcoming e-book about kinds of singers) That means you did not let your body moves upstage you. You were actually very grounded as a singer.
Simon LOVES YOU! Wow – they all liked you! Good job.

Erica Rhodes, 23
Barney and friends chick
She shows up with a whip? Say what?
Then she sang “Barney Song” and that would have got her in right away. Obviously you sing very well, but then they let you sing “Free Your Mind” and use a whip to get their attention.
Nice gimmick idea.. but what are you trying to prove at this point sweetie?
They ask you and you reply: "Barney kids grow up… Janet Jackson is my role model."
They say Yes of course. You have a great voice and a great look… and you made an impression.
Randy, says, “Barney Dominatrix” LOL!
Dot says - You might actually do very well in this competition. I want to relate to you more though. I know Hollywood week is now over in real life, but on the show, it has yet to begin... but my guess at this point is - if you know how to get along and you're creative and flexible, you probably made it through.

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Wednesday, January 26th, 2010
Los Angeles Auditions

Avril Lavigne – Judge. Hmmm.... Kind of young to be a judge. What is this suggesting to our viewers? To see a young lady laughing at her peers. I don't know about that. Hmmm...

Neil Goldstein, 19 years old
IQ of 168
Are you serious or acting?
"Rock and Roll dreams come through" – meatloaf
Forgot words – very nervous.
Dot – interesting vibrato and your tone isn’t bad... but you are very nervous and the reason why you did not get in is because you need to have the entire package, and you can’t fake being confident. It was obvious that you are not truly confident - especially if you freeze up and forget the words. That's not excusable. Work on really discovering who you are - as a PERSON first, then a singer. Not who you think you want to be, or who you are trying to be.

Mary Powers
Mary’s Daughter is cute
Dot – nice quality of tone…do you smoke? I certainly hope not dear. If you do and you don't want vocal nodules and to die young and kill your daughter, QUIT. Enough said.
The rasp is cool, but why is it there? Yeah - I can't help being concerned... but maybe you just have food allergies?
Daughter got to meet Simon- thrills chills.

Adam Lambert wannabee’s. Hmmmm...

A.J. Mendoza, 20
Living Color
So, this audition was shown as a disaster, but probably left you confused because they didn't advise you and you can sing.
Dot – find your own voice. We don’t want another Adam. Who are you as a singer?
Also - Bad song choice honey. I don’t like the fact that Avril Lavigne is laughing at you. That doesn't feel right to me. I don't really like anybody laughing at people on this show, but especially not someone as young as Avril, who is wearing a devil outfit. Say what?
You are only 20, so you still have plenty of time to find your true voice as a singer and be authentic in your own UNIQUE expression, not what you love about Adam. You can take what you love about him, but find a way to align it with your own authentic expression and become YOUR OWN voice. They laughed at you because you were not being yourself. That’s all. Your voice is not bad at all. Just create the TRUTH OF IT within yourself. And try not to do all of that high screechy stuff too often. It even got Adam in trouble a lot in his career, and many men with ranges fall into the trap of trying to grasp onto their "high end" instead of embracing their low, like John Park from last week. YUM!)

(This whole show is actually bothering me at this point… not exactly sure why… but it just is. It better get better after tHe break)

Katy Perry = new judge. HOORAY! Sorry Avril but I don’t like how you were laughing at people and not mature enough to provide any useful advice - at least from what they showed. And why were you wearing a devil costume? I don't get it.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

American Idol Season 9; 1-19-10 CORE Vocal Power Advice from Hollywood Vocal Coach Dot Todman

Note from Dot:
Hello Singers!
I'm doing this Idol series, because As a Vocal POWER Coach, I am invested in helping people sing from a free, connected, authentic space. I believe the show American Idol is a must see tool for singers if they know how to apply it.

Let me explain
I'm making these vlogs for a few reasons:

#1 Many of us like to sit here at home in our comfort zone, laugh, and be a judge, while others compare themselves to the contestants. I dont believe either is an empowered choice. What if there was a way I could watch the show with a certain awareness about my CORE, and become an INCREDIBLE singer? Using American Idol as a tool, my videos will share with you how to perform, overcome nervousness, correct song choice, vocal production, presence, vocal stamina, energy, and self confidence to name a few.

#2 Telling a singer, There is no hope for you. Never sing again I believe is destructive. Im interested in What are they doing wrong and how can they improve If I can teach a hearing impaired person to sing, then there is HOPE for everyone! Not only am I vlogging, but Im also providing CONSTRUCTIVE advice on how to become a vocally empowered singer for every aired contestant. Last season I completed notes for every single episode as a free gift because I am committed to empowering your vocal journey. I dont like seeing people crying, angry and devastated about their self worth, just because of a TV show - so Im doing something about it. EDUCATING. If you dont believe me visit and you will see constructive notes about yourself from last season. You dont even have to be a member anymore, to read it!

#3 lastly, Im doing this because I want you to know about the products I have that can help you sing better from a more grounded, empowered place. My material is not your average vocal exercisela la la Cd or DVD. CORE VOCAL POWER helps people deal with actual issues that do come up in real life, like waiting and nervousness and weak, ungrounded voices and mind chatter. And lack of confidence. I want to sell my products because I know they can empower you. Theyve empowered many of my students over the years - not just to sing better, but change their lives because they truly feel better from inside their CORE.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


At a first glimpse, Avatar was a movie packed with suspense, action, drama and hope. Even if you weren’t fortunate enough to see it in 3-D, the incredible animation and revolutionary special affects, coupled with an interesting enough story line to hold your attention for a good 2 hours and 40 minutes is quite undeniable.

As I’ve spoken to people about the movie, it’s been interesting to hear what they experienced from it, depending on their view of the world and what is most important to them. I’ve had people mention to me that they loved the meaning, while others actually thought the storyline and acting was weak, but it was visually appealing. Some people mentioned the idea of “a White guilt trip movie” while others likened it to sports and self-discipline - and the list goes on.

I thoroughly enjoyed the movie Avatar. As a Vocal Empowerment Coach who sees the world through the eyes of one who teaches people how empower their voice, I have my own take. The movie Avatar not only had it’s obvious themes of how we can create a better earth and be more united as a people – but also – for me there was a huge parallel with what I see my students achieve during their vocal journey. Would you agree that our main character, Jake Sulley became empowered? Yes, for me, Avatar was a movie that gave great clues about how a human soul can become an Empowered one. Of course they could have elaborated more on his inner process of transformation, but the basics were there, and I believe that the reason why this movie has been so successful, aside from being a masterful visual work of art, is that just about anyone can relate to it on some level. Even the conflict in the movie of the whole Corporate struggle was imbedded in the themes, causing us to ask, “Are we really employed at a job that is in alignment with who we are?”

When the main character, Jake Sulley first arrives on the area of Pandora inhabited by the Indigenous People, he was in defense mode, in perfect form and alertness, ready with his weapons to blast anything that might get him. We share in his heightened sense of curiosity, suspense and fear. Even the unarmed female scientist, Grace Augustine who was familiar with the location exclaimed, “Calm down Jake, you’re making me nervous,” upon the first few moments of their arrival in the jungle. This is the perfect example of....

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