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  • 19
    Advice from Jay: the importance of practice
    For this week's predebut, we have some advice for you from vocal trainer Jay about practicing to become a better singer.  Whether or not you're naturally born a good singer, you should always remember that practice makes perfect. Practicing diligently and preparing thoroughly for a performance can even help you overcome stage fright. Jay speaks from experience when he says that if you practiced to perfection and you are completely confident about your performance, you will naturally overcome stage fright. This is because stage fright comes from anxiety that you will mess something up, or that you're not perfectly ready in some way. As long as you are fully prepared and practiced enough, you won't have anything to be nervous about. So then what is the best way to practice? According to Jay, you should practice the basics a lot and listen to a lot of good music. Many people may already know that it's important to continue practicing the basics, but it might not be obvious why it's important to listen to a lot of good music too. This is because listening to a diverse range of good music can train your ears so that you can learn what good music and good singing sounds like, and replicate that in your own performance. The best singers are influenced by their own predecessors: without Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, for example, Ariana Grande and Beyoncé as we know them today might not exist!  A cool fun fact that you might not have known is that when you listen to music, especially if you are really paying attention to the song and enjoying it, your vocal cords move a little bit in accordance with the melody. When this process is repeated often, the movements get embedded as muscle memory and it can help you sing better.  Along that same vein, it's important to mimic good music and good singing to improve as a singer. Covering songs you like and mimicking your favorite singers can be great fun ways to practice! You should just make sure that you are copying good music and good singers, however subjective that may be.  Something that you should watch out for in your daily lives is the way you speak. Since we talk more than we sing, we use our vocal cords the most when we talk. Thus, if you misuse your throat muscles in everyday life, it can affect your singing negatively. Examples of misusing your throat muscles or vocal cords can include talking in an overly breathy way, speaking in a lower voice than your natural tone, or tightening your voice too much. As a side note, if you observe babies and animals, you will see that they use their voice in the most natural way, which is the best way.  We hope Jay's advice was helpful for you. Keep practicing hard! If you want to learn in more depth, check out Jay's vocal lessons!
  • 18
    Q&A with popping legend KYO (Pt. 1)
    Have you ever heard of the dancing technique popping? Even if you're not familiar with this style of dance by name, you have probably seen it in the moves of iconic dancers like Michael Jackson, and even mixed into the choreographies of more contemporary dancers. KYO, one of our instructors, is the dancer who pioneered the field of popping in Korea. Watch a Q&A interview with him below, where he talks about how he started popping, what inspires him, and other aspects of dance. (The transcript of the interview is included below.) KYO: Hello, my name is KYO and I’m a choreographer. I’ve trained Big Bang, 2NE1, Red Velvet, Seventeen, and more, and created choreographies as well. I’ve been active as a street dancer for about 27 years and as a choreographer for about 8 years.   Q: Are there exercises that can help us be better at popping A: Rather than a specific dance that helps with popping, mainly you need to have good stamina. Popping is a dance that takes a lot of energy, so if you lack stamina, it’s difficult to pop (or flex your muscles for the popping motion) and you can get tired quickly from flexing your arms. To do these things, you need good stamina first and foremost.   Q: What routines can we do to practice popping? A: There are some basic popping routines that you would need as a beginner learning popping, but I don’t really practice these things anymore. I’ve been popping for so long that my body is accustomed to these things. Instead there are some basics to popping like flex, walkout, old man, wave, pop, flex, Egyptian twist… there are a lot of basic techniques, and I’ll teach you everything during ED Online classes.   Q: How can we make our popping more powerful? With popping, consistent practice is important. It’s just like a sport. If you take a break, your pops can lose power. So it’s important to keep popping with your muscles and it’s important to make sure you’re used to that feeling. If you keep doing it consistently, you will improve a little by little.   Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching popping? A: To first tell you the good thing about popping is that it can actually be danced to any music. Pop isn’t just a technique, and there are many different elements of popping. There are different techniques such as wave, roboting, control, strobing, and more. Of course, typically you would dance to the beat, but you can also dance to classical music, R&B, or even rock. You can control it in different ways depending on the music so it’s a big strength of popping that you can use it to dance to different genres of music.   Q: What is your favorite popping move? A: I actually like movements based on control. What I mean by this is just like how when we sing, we control the dynamics or we have high and low notes. In popping, rather than having only strong pops, we have elements such as small or delicate details, or even outside of the pops there’s tension. It can be fast or slow, and there are pops but when we release, there is a control of the strength or intensity. I really like these controls, so you could say that I enjoy dancing like how you sing.   Q: What is the most common mistake people make when they start learn popping? A: One mistake that beginners make the most often is that they try to make their pops strong and miss the beat. Strong pops don’t indicate that you’re good at popping. It’s more important that the popping conveys different emotions. People make this mistake, and when you move your shoulders and are too tense because you’re trying to pop too hard, you can’t control your own strength and this looks more unstable and the movements look unnatural. Even if your pops aren’t strong, you need to practice popping with movements in a more natural way. Instead of focusing on strength over all else, it’s important to understand how to control and use your own muscles, so just like in today’s class it’s important to practice at different strength levels, use double pops, small pops, medium pops, and so on. I wish people would focus less on strength.   Q: Who is your inspiration, especially when you first started popping? A: There’s a lot. I really like Michael Jackson. In Korea, I’m a big fan of Poppin’ Hyun Joon. If you look at Michael Jackson’s dancing, he uses a lot of very famous pop techniques, such as backsliding or the moonwalk. Very clean-cut movements and excellent control. So when I first saw them, I didn’t know they were popping techniques. Someone from the old generation of popping was actually Michael Jackson’s teacher. So later, I learned that these are all popping techniques. So there’s that, and Poppin’ Hyun Joon in Korea. I used to do hip hop, but when I saw him doing popping, I thought that was very cool. At the time, I didn’t think to try it out myself, but in Korea there’s a teacher called Poppin Ryu, and I started popping after I met him. So then I also became a fan of Poppin’ Hyun Joon. Videos of Michael Jackson and Poppin’ Hyun Joon continue to inspire me a lot.   Q: What was the hardest part about learning popping for you? A: I’m not actually very flexible. My body’s not that flexible, so initially I tried to mimic that. I copied difficult techniques and tried to flip my back over. I tried these things, but my body’s just not cut out for these things, so I tried to find and practice things that fit me better. Things like that? Things that require flexibility are difficult for me so I avoid that.   Q: How popping is different from other style of dances? A: The definition of popping is actually whether I’m using pop in my movements or not. If people look at a dance and can recognize it as popping, the movements incorporate pops as a technique. For example if I’m not using pops like this, it can seem different, but the difference is whether or not I’m using pops in my movements. So there can be basic elements of popping in the movements but these days popping dancers apply them in so many different ways. It can seem like hip hop movements in one way and freestyle dance in a different way, but pops are used in those movements sometimes these days. So popping movements have become very diverse lately. Rather than defining something as popping or not popping, you should think of movements that mainly focus on pops as popping. Q: How is popping used in other forms of dance? A: Let's say for example that we are dancing to a choreo and move like this. Using pop, with pop. Movements like this are put together with popping so it can be a pop technique, and something like a wave you can also do with a pop, and a movement like this you can do it without a pop or also simultaneously with a pop, when you are grooving to the rhythm you can just do that or incorporate pops into it, so all these things can be considered popping techniques. But I don’t think it’s very important whether something is or isn’t popping because it uses pops.   Q: Last class, you said we should think of popping as a technique necessary to dancing rather than a genre. If people thought of popping just as a genre, what do you think would have happened? A: The question is a little awkward, but here is what I want to say. The old method of teaching dancing used to be by dividing dances by genre. For example, popping, locking, hip hop, or house. But now choreographies have become so trendy and different genres are being mixed within. If popping was separated, I think it would have been quite political. With the old methods of popping, for example you had to wear a popping costume or dance to popping music, so you had to move within the basic frames of popping. Now, you can use ground moves, sometimes you can groove and pop, or use tutting, waves, or other creative moves. So I think if popping was separated like it used to be, younger dancers these days wouldn’t use popping much. Instead, I actually want a more open interpretation and I want to show people that you can do popping in different ways, or to K-pop or more contemporary music. Watch him in action at our studio, popping to Jessi! We hope you enjoyed this interview, and learned some things about KYO and about popping. Click the image below to take a Popping class with KYO! With love, ED Team  
  • 17
    Q&A with BAEKHYUN of EXO
    On Apr 25th, 2021, ED hosted our second Artist Class - this time, with BAEKHYUN of EXO! He taught the choreography for his new song "Bambi" and answered a few questions that his students submitted at the end of the class. For this predebut, we wanted to share the Q&A with you all. BAEKHYUN said many inspirational things that we hope you'll enjoy and find helpful!  Q: What does “professional” mean to you? Which part of the Bambi dance do you want to show EXO-L the most? A (BAEKHYUN): I think being professional is doing your job well. I also think not being lazy and constantly improving yourself and your best skills, then demonstrating these efforts through their results is being professional. As for what part of the choreography I wanted to show you, I really wanted to show you the second chorus. I’ve done many choreographies that uses hips a lot, and this time again I wanted to show you a choreography that uses hips as its central focus.   Q: We can see that you are working hard on multiple projects simultaneously, but you are still so energetic. What is the secret ingredient for your strength and energy? A: Well, for one I think I don’t fear attempting new things and even actually enjoy it. I think I can say that I always try to show you something new with every new release, and getting really excited thinking about how my fans or the public will react to new aspects of me is probably the source of my strength.   Q: What would you say is the biggest obstacle debuting as a soloist after being a part of such an amazing group? A: Doing an entire song by myself was actually quite overwhelming. When you’re a member of a group, a song is divided into parts. But not having this part division when I was singing an entire song from beginning to end by myself was difficult. That was probably the hardest part. I put a lot of effort into it. I completely fixed my vocalization, for example, and really worked very hard. Anyway, what I keep telling you is that not attempting something and not trying something out before setting limits for yourself and just giving up is really not a good thing to do. If you erect walls for yourself like that, then you can’t surpass those boundaries and just stay stagnant in your position, and you’re doing yourself a disservice. So if that were my attitude, I don’t think that I would have a solo album whose quality is this good, and whose quality you’re satisfied with. Well, in any case, I just want you to know I tried very hard.   Q: Do you have any advice for people who invest their time training for a performance on stage? What should we think about before and during our performance? A: To those who train to perform on stage… I care a lot about efficiency. I think continuing to practice when you can’t focus isn’t very helpful. Something that we dancers and performing artists always say is, “Even if it doesn’t work out now, it will work out after a good night’s sleep.” This actually does work. What I want to say is that I want you to ask yourself, “If I practice ten, fifteen hours a day, will that really create good results?” Honestly, it’s better to practice two or three hours and spend the rest of your time looking at something new or watching someone better than you, monitoring your work from before, or finding what your weak spots are. Repeating the same move for fifteen hours isn’t a good strategy. To add onto that, there are many artists that audiences around the world go wild for. I think that there is a good reason that people go wild for them, and it’s good to analyze their performances or stages so that you can see, “This is what people love.” When you’re actually doing a performance on stage, just trust yourself. If you keep saying to yourself, “This part never worked out in practice,” or “I could never memorize this part properly,” you can’t avoid messing up the part before and the one before that. So what if you make a small mistake? Even if you do, just trust yourself and the effort you put into practicing, and even if you do just one move do it with confidence. Say that you know what the actual right move is, but you did something else on stage by mistake. But if you did that with confidence, you’re the only person who knows that you made a mistake. Based on your effort, based on how much you practiced, based on knowing how hard you worked, believing that you are the best come your big day is a really good attitude to have. When others see you, they won’t think “Who do they think they are, and why are they so confident? They’re not that good!” But rather, they will see you and think, “Wow, that person is so cool. The way they seem so confident is so cool.” So I want you guys to always think of yourselves as the best and maintain your confidence. No one starts out being good.   Q: I started singing when I was 4 years old, and I started dancing when I was 13. I took formal lessons, so I know how hard it is to maintain and continuously improve your skills. You are called a genius idol and can sing very well even while also dancing well. What advice can you give to help me bring back and improve my singing and dancing skills? What is your technique to be able to sing well even while dancing? A: What singing and dancing have in common for me is that you have to do a lot of it. You have to try mimicking a lot of songs, and for dancing as well you have to make sure that you body tries out a wide variety of moves at least once. When I first joined my company, I was the member who wasn’t a great dancer but rather more of a vocalist. Then, I was constantly exposed to dancing, and as I watched great dancers like Kai, Sehun, or Lay, I copied their movements, experienced many different routines with my own body, and realized that new steps or movements in dancing are not really all that new. They are slight variations of existing movements, and there’s really no such thing as a new dance move. Also, even if you don’t delve deep into one genre, it’s really good to constantly try many different things at least once. With singing, you have adlibs, like these wrigglies that rise and fall. I used to not be very good at adlibs. I was a very straight vocalist. But I practiced a lot, note by note. If you feel like you’re not so good at, say, R&B, or high notes–since you have basic training, I’m going to assume that you know basic breathing methods–I think you should expose yourself to more genres. Also, record and listen to yourself. For dancing as well, when you’re done practicing, it helps immensely to record yourself at the end trying out the things you practiced and spend some time monitoring yourself. It’s actually very hard to sing while dancing. If you think about it, it makes no sense. To combine singing and dancing in a stable way so that you don’t miss a note and you’re not shaky isn’t impossible. For both dancing and singing, proper respiration is actually such an important foundation, and this generally goes for every movement we make, so even if you’re not a singer or a dancer, if you learn proper abdominal breathing, it will be a big help in your daily lives. The basics are the most important, so constantly practice the basics. Even now, when I’m going somewhere in a car, for example, I practice the basics more than anything else. If you want to improve even more, you may think “Practicing breathing right now isn’t going to make me a much better singer immediately,” but when this accumulates for one day, then a hundred, then a year, you will say to yourself, “I used to not be able to do this, but I can now.” Trust this process and be sure to practice the basics hard! So what do you all thing? We hope you liked this conversation with BAEKHYUN as much as we did. If you participated in the class, be sure to let us know what you thought!  With love, ED Team
  • 15
    Behind stories of BoA 'Better' Choreography
    Here's how our instructor Rian crafted the choreography for BoA - Better with her teammates, Simeez and Gabee of La Chica!  Click to start practicing BoA - Better (Original) choreography by Rian    Q1. Please introduce yourself. Hi everyone~ I am Rian of Keens. Glad to have a chance to talk with you guys! Q2. Which KPOP Idols have you worked with in the past as a choreographer? I have worked with Chungha, Hyo of Girl’s Generation, BoA, CLC, Yubin etc. In detail, I worked on Chungha’s 'Why don’t you know’, which is her debut song,‘Play’; ‘Hyo – Dessert’, which you can find in our ED class, BoA's 20th anniversary album title – 'Better’, CLC 's 'HELICOPTER’, Yubin's  'PERFUME’… and many more! Q3. Out of all the KPOP choreographies you have created, which do you think is the best?  I always think of my very recent choreographies as the best, so I would like to choose BoA ' Better'.  Q4. Is there a specific reason you chose it as your best? Better is the title song of BoA’s 20th anniversary album. I thought that I should make the best, perfect, and high-quality choreography. Therefore, I put a lot of effort in to creating it; I am really attached to the choreography.   Q5. What was the biggest factor that you were inspired by when you were choreographing? (Lyrics, melody, beat, image of a singer...etc.) I mostly focused on the overall harmony while choreographing. First, I thought about the combination of singers and dancers. Then, I went into detailed movements, but also thought that they should be exceptional from other existing/familiar movements. However, they must be easy to follow as well. I love movements that are simple but eye-catching, so I focused on these points while working on this choreography.  Q6. Do you have any behind-the-scenes stories while choreographing? I love to repetitively practice. Due to this, a lot of other dancers who practiced with me was really tired… But for the higher-quality performance, I kept on asking to practice one more time. Actually, I am  weak in memorizing choreography, so it was also kind of like me trying to memorize the routine but also making everyone practice with me. Q7. What do you think is the point/killing part of the choreography? I love the part where BoA and all of the dancers shake their heads together, while fully feeling the groove. I think this part is the one that definitely grabs people’s attention. This part comes out almost at the end of the performance and I personally love this part a lot as well.  Q8. Any tips that you would like to give to ED trainees to well absorb that part? First, you need to hypnotize yourself by saying that “You are awesome. You are better than anyone else in the world.” Of course, the moves are important, but the expression is extremely important in this choreography. There are some parts that you need to overwhelm the audience with your facial expression, so it would be great if you emphasize those parts. Q9. How do you usually make the choreography? Well, I don't work on the choreographing alone. I work with KEENS, but I am also associated with the team called 'La Chica', which works on the choreography production. After all of the members listen to the entire song, we first discuss about the chorus part, which we think is the most important part. Then, we move onto other parts and talk about what kind of feeling each part has to have. After thinking about each part, we combine it altogether and see how everything flows together.   
  • 14
    ED new studio reveal!
    In today's edition of Predebut by ED, we will show you what our new studio looks like! We recently moved into a new studio, which you might have seen some pictures if you follow us on social media (linked at the bottom of this email). We think it looks so nice and we're so excited to have this beautiful space!  The lighting looks so pretty and it's the perfect space for our live classes and for filming videos for you guys.  We're excited for this new stage for ED KPOP, and we can't wait to keep providing you with awesome classes and content that you'll love. Check out this vlog we filmed on the day that we moved into our new studio!  Here, you can also see what an ED LIVE Class looks like behind the scenes. You might be surprised to see so many people working behind the camera! We put a lot of work into making sure every class is the best learning experience for you that it can be.  What do you think? 😊 See some more pictures from our studio below!  The pictures are of Juhee teaching Tail by Sunmi, Rian teaching Better by BoA, Patt teaching Bungee by Baekhyun and KYO teaching how to pop. Did you join any of these live classes? If you did, we hope you had a great time! Let us know what you think of our new studio, and stay tuned for upcoming classes! 
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