Tim Tunes

5-1 Mark Baxter - Vocal Behaviorist - Part 1

February 05, 2024 Mark Baxter Season 5 Episode 1
Tim Tunes
5-1 Mark Baxter - Vocal Behaviorist - Part 1
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Singing is your birthright. Everyone can sing. Some of us are wounded by our experiences, by the negativity of others, and believe we can’t sing. But all of us can sing. 

Singing is a window to the soul. Singing with others provides a depth of emotion that is rarely, if anywhere else, experienced. Group singing can be joyful or happy, smiling or laughing as you sing. Or it can be deeply sad or mournful, empathy is built into our nature. Grief is especially powerful when expressed in song.


It’s not just regular people who have negative thoughts and practices around singing, it’s also professional singers. Most of us have been told at one time or another that we are not good singers. And that sinks in, even if we deny it. 

 
So where can a quality singer turn if they need help with their singing voice? We’re about to find out in this episode.

I’m Tim Rose and welcome to Season, I can hardly believe I’m going to say it, 5 of the Tim Tunes Podcast. Today is our forty-second episode. This season we’ll feature in-depth interviews with performers and music professionals. We’ll speak with musicians, singers, band directors, and service providers. We’re starting this season with a pair of podcasts that features Mark Baxter, vocal behaviorist. I’ll let Mark explain what that means. 

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5-1 Mark Baxter - Vocal Behaviorist Extraordinaire– Part 1

[Intro]
[Intro Theme – Motor]

Singing is your birthright. Everyone can sing. Some of us are wounded by our experiences, by the negativity of others, and believe we can’t sing. But all of us can sing.

Singing is a window to the soul. Singing with others provides a depth of emotion that is rarely, if anywhere else, experienced. Group singing can be joyful or happy, smiling or laughing as you sing. Or it can be deeply sad or mournful, empathy is built into our nature. Grief is especially powerful when expressed in song.

I have a very shy friend who is an excellent singer…in the car. I never saw them happier than when they were singing. I suspect that most who say they can’t sing are secret singers, practicing their skills in the shower or the car. 

It’s not just regular people who have negative thoughts and practices around singing, it’s also professional singers. Most of us have been told at one time or another that we are not good singers. And that sinks in, even if we deny it.

So where can a quality singer turn if they need help with their singing voice? We’re about to find out in this episode.

[Pod Lick]

Hi. I’m Tim Rose and welcome to Season, I can hardly believe I’m going to say it, 5 of the Tim Tunes Podcast. Today is our forty-second episode. This season we’ll feature in-depth interviews with performers and music professionals. We’ll speak with musicians, singers, band directors, and service providers. We’re starting this season with a pair of podcasts that features Mark Baxter, vocal behaviorist. I’ll let Mark explain what that means.

Mark has an established career assisting professional singers to improve or restore their voices. He has worked with literally thousands of vocalists. Buckle up while we give a partial list of his clients.

When Mark was starting out he was pigeon holed as working primarily with rock bands. He worked with Aerosmith, J Giles, Journey, Yes, Boston, Machine Head, Quicksand, Extreme, Van Halen, Goo Goo Dolls, Bosstones, and the DropKick Murphys just to name a few. And from there he started working with pop bands - Boys Like Girls, The Click Five, Paolo Nutini, Vampire Weekend, Cute is What We Aim For, Still Woozy, Cuco, and Hawthone Heights. Then came the touring shows - Trans-Siberian Orchestra, RENT, and Midtown Men. Followed by the indie and country artists Aimee Mann, The Dresden Dolls, Jenn Trynin, Rachel Garlin, JJ Grey, Marc Brousard, Jonny Lang, Jake Owen, Libby Bosworth, and Grace Potter.

In addition, Mark has worked with numerous classical singers and countless church and choir singers. He’s even worked with Bollywood, Carnatic and Hindustani singers. Not to mention singer/songwriters (such as yours truely), folk, americana and various voice actors and speakers. As you can see, Mark works with all kinds of professional and amateur musician and speakers. His methods are effective across all genres and styles.

Mark has an extensive You Tube and online presence at his website voicelesson.com. Along the way we’ll also get a taste for Mark’s own performances as a songwriter, singer, and instructor.

[Pod Lick – Big D]

[Vocal Behaviorist]

I first met Mark on a recommendation from Joe Mullens of Performance Music in Woburn, Massachusetts. Back in the mid-nineties I had sessions with Mark to improve my voice quality and range. As a young rock and roller, I had abused my voice and wound up having to have my vocal cords scraped. This resulted in a decrease in the flexibility and tone of my voice. So about 10 years or so after that operation I sought out Mark to help me restore what I could of my own voice. Back in those days Mark was holding back-to-back sessions in his Brookline home. There was no time for chit-chatting or hanging out. We were on the clock and were all about business. So, I was really looking forward to just talking to Mark and getting a better understanding of what he does and who he is.

I sat down with Mark at his studio in Revere, Massachusetts and we jumped right in to record our conversation.


[Pod Lick – Jazzy guitar transition]


[Vocal Behaviorist]

[Interview - Professional Description]

[Podlick – Memory Machine]


[Definition of Singing and Singing with intent]


[Podlick – Stray Bullets]

I apologize for the weird scraping noises in the background. Someone was plowing the street outside of Mark’s studio. Such are the hazards of recording in New England in January.

In addition to providing services as a vocal behaviorist, Mark is a songwriter in his own right. I’ve included snippets of his songs in the interview as section breaks. We’ll have more on that later. Let’s rejoin the conversation as Mark asks me how I began the podcast. Then we commiserate on getting listeners. Then Mark talks about his own songwriting process and working with singer/songwriters. Let’s rejoin our conversation already in progress.


[Songs and working with Singer Songwriters]

[Interview]

[Podlick - Kantele]

[Silence]

[Play Song - Silence]

That was “Silence”, one of Mark’s more recent compositions, composed and recorded in his studio in Revere is his first song written and played on guitar.  Mark commented that he has music and conversation going on in his head every waking moment. Mark says he can focus on outside stimulus when teaching or if he finds something or someone interesting. But he adores silence - because then he can focus on the music in his head.  Mark goes on to say “So, I got to thinking how it must suck to be the partner of a musician or writer - because we're always internally engaged. It's like the mistress is always in the room! The song is just an acknowledgement of the isolation that anyone in a relationship with a musician has to deal with and the isolation that most musicians eventually find themselves in due to their internal muse.”

[I Am A Prayer]

Now let’s listen to another of his songs, “I Am A Prayer”. The guitar is played by Marco Cirillo. He's an Italian YouTube influencer that posts beautiful chord progressions. The music for this song is simply the audio track of one of his videos. Mark was moved as soon as he heard it. He sang on top of the recording and sent Marco, the guitarist, the finished product. Marco approved for Mark to post it.   

I told Mark that I got the sense that he is talking about what he does with singers, the service he provides. As though his service is the answer to their prayers. He replied to me.” With the song, I Am A Prayer, my intent was to capture the intimacy of that moment.  I am agnostic - yet I find myself uttering into the ether like most, in moments of despair or delight”.

[Play Song - I Am A Prayer]


[Outro]

That’s it for this episode. I hope you have enjoyed learning about Mark Baxter, what he does and some of his music. In our next episode we’ll delve into Mark’s past and find out how he came up in the industry and what led him to follow his path. If you were ever in a band or involved in a band his story may resonate with you. Make sure you come back for the next episode where we learn more about Mark’s journey as his story unfolds.

Mark has published an extensive catalog of voice exercises on his You Tube channel Voice Lesson dot com and on his internet site voicelesson.com.
 
Please feel free to send me comments on this episode via Facebook at the Tim Tunes Podcast group or email me at timtunespodcast@gmail.com or via twitter @rimtoes. 

If you’d like to support the show you can subscribe on Patreon or send me a donation @rimtoes on Venmo or PayPal. If you can’t donate, I get it. Times are hard. You can also help promote the podcast by writing a review on whatever podcast tool you use or by liking us on Facebook or iTunes. That will go a long way towards increasing my reach. Also, you can support the show just by listening to some of my songs on your favorite music streaming service.

However, you choose to support the show, I appreciate you. 

We’ll be back in a few weeks with part 2. Until then…

[Outro Pod Lick, [After Outro Pod Lick ends]

Intro
Welcome
Vocal Behaviorist
Definition of singing and Singing with Intent
Songwriting and singing
Silence Song
Silence - Story
I Am A Prayer - Story
I Am A Prayer - Song
Outro