The Zen of Screaming: Vocal Instruction for a New Breed

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Vocal instruction for metal singers! Hosted by internationally acclaimed vocal coach Melissa Cross, (whose past students include Andrew W.K., Melissa Auf der Maur and the singers from Slipknot, Killswitch Engage and Thursday), this DVD provides information and step-by-step exercises to help you sing aggressively without damaging your vocal chords.The first of its kind, these voice lessons on DVD feature convenient menus that allow you to navigate through over 30 segments, which include tips on vocal maintenance, actual vocal cord footage, and animations which illustrate specific vocal exercises. Bonuses include exclusive backstage and performance footage of today’s most exciting artists, with candid offstage interviews and opportunities to see these artists actually working in the studio with Melissa.Featured vocalists include Andrew W.K., D. Randall Blythe (Lamb of God), Brian Fair (Shadows Fall), Melissa Auf der Maur and many more!Also includes an Audio CD & Booklet with a clearly itemized vocal practice program for each range. This DVD is as entertaining as it is informative and a must-have tool for vocalists of today.DVD running time: 2 hrs. 25 min. plus special features.

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3 Responses

  1. J. Atwell
    | Reply

    Too bad this is more advertisement than lesson… I heard Melissa Cross on NPR and immediately bought this DVD, excited to learn how to scream without hurting my voice. I was disappointed to find the disk is about 55% advertisement for Ms. Cross, 44.5% standard vocal warmups and exercises, and 1 or 2 minutes of vague information on screaming.I’m sure the vocal warmups are helpful for those who are too “hip” to take voice lessons, but if you’ve ever had a voice lesson, there isn’t much you haven’t heard before here. If you are interested in watching various metalheads praise Melissa Cross, then you’ll love this DVD. But if you already have the least bit of vocal training and just want to learn how to apply it to screaming, be aware that the material here is pretty thin.

  2. Willie V. Hughes
    | Reply

    Excellent, with a few drawbacks I bought this DVD after hearing a great story about Melissa Cross on NPR a few weeks ago. The value of the DVD is excellent because you can actually see how the exercises need to be performed, as well as hearing them. I also liked watching Melissa because she’s very colorful and dynamic, and it makes you feel like you have your own vocal coach. How someone can learn to sing from a book is beyond me. The DVD also features actual footage of vocal chords in action. Melissa apparently swallowed a tiny camera and sang the correct and incorrect ways. It’s very interesting to see the theory in action.The package also comes with an audio CD that features warm-up exercises in different vocal ranges. A very nice addition. The production value of the whole package is excellent. I have seem some obvious “vocal lesson” scams on the internet that look like they were produced in someone’s basement in an afternoon. This package is very professional, and contains a lot of content.The three drawbacks I have to this package (and the only two reasons I gave it four stars instead of five) are as follows: (1) There is too much promotional information on the DVD. Throughout the entire video, various band members interviewed in clubs and back alleys keep singing the praises of Melissa and telling you how great she is. I felt a little like, “Hey, I already bought the DVD, you don’t need to sell me on it. Get on with the program!” (2) The video was a little too focused on death metal and hardcore garbage-disposal vocals. I was hoping there would be more discussion of the styles of say Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen, or Steven Tyler (Aerosmith). Although I can see that death metal singers are probably the most aggressive, they don’t have a monopoly on singing with passion, “fire” and “heat” (as the video calls the techniques). (3) Ironically, The Zen of Screaming didn’t cover as much “screaming” as I wanted. It seems like only the last chapter of the DVD really focused on what I bought the video for: How to sing aggressively without hurting your vocal chords. The vast majority of the video was spent on essential fundamentals (which were no doubt important), but I could have used another 10-15 minutes of discussion on how the “heat” and “fire” techniques really works.Overall, I would highly recommend this program. Hopefully the minor kinks in of the concept presentation will be worked out in future editions.

  3. J. Nordstedt "the Milwaukees"
    | Reply

    Amazing! Nothing is more frustrating than being in a band, knowing what you want to do, but being unable to get there–either because you’re not warmed up, you damaged your throat the night before, or you just don’t know what you’re doing. This DVD will help you solve all of those problems!I’ve fooled around with other kinds of vocal instruction, but they are all too clasically based. Melissa Cross get’s it. She gets that rock is not supposed to sound like opera. She has found a way to apply traditional vocal training without altering the intensity and grit essential to rock singing.She covers everything from breathing and talking to hitting your pitch and screaming without hurting yourself. If you check out the bonus features she even swallows a camera to show you how you can hurt yourself while singing.When I first got the DVD, I was afraid it would be a bunch of people screaming because they couldn’t be musical in their band. But it turns out to be anything but that. Its great to see all of these guys who sing some really heavy stuff challenging themselves to be more musical and more expressive without killing themselves or sacrificing their artistic vision. Only Melissa Cross could get these guys to do this.If you are a rock singer (you don’t even have to be a screamer–though screamers are welcomed) or want to be a rock singer, you need this DVD.

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