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Absolute Beginner Studying Classical

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jjynn
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I'm an absolute beginner and I've just had my first lesson in classical vocal training, and I feel like a toddler thrown into deep water that's told to swim!

Does anyone have any tips and exercises for someone like me? I'm already practicing the song, "A La Claire Fontaine" for an RCM exam, but I need tons of help. How do I resonate my voice so that its more "forward"? Dipthong exercises? I have a lot to learn and anything will be appreciated

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Ya sounds like a lot of work and practice. Slow down the song, so that when you sing a note / lyric, you can put a lot of resonance into it. If you work at full song speed, your muscles will want to skip over the full phonations and won't get the proper feeling.

You can also try exaggerating your torso/ribcage/arms/hand as you sing. That depends on how you feel when you sing, but if it works for you, it might make more dramatic feeling to the piece, which might save your booty!

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I'm going to be the twerp that says, if you are paying for voice lessons, do what your teacher says. If you don't want to do what your teacher says, quit going and save some money. Why pay the money to get a lesson and then ask for advice somewhere that may counteract the advice of your teacher? Unless your teacher is really bad. In which case, quit going.

I think I said that in my "outside voice."

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Well done on your first lesson, You are certainly not a toddler in a big pool, the lessons are controlled (i.e. range, phrase length, breath points ... etc)

Your first lesson, likely would have gone over "bit" of posture (knees, arm (hand) / shopping bags, chin (as it likely started to rise) and other stuff like that. Can you advise what she / he had you doing musically (range wise.

Possibly you are learning the piece for a festival, rather than exam, as for the exam you need to learn several pieces, but it may be. (s)he will also likely be using the piece for the exam (at a much later date (I think rcm asks for 4 songs from the lists), so in say 3 to 7 months away, when you have several pieces under your belt).

One question I have, is ... why this particular song 1st (unless of course you are french-canadian and are fluent, or covering the english translation (which one?)).

I.e. in the Voice Series, Third Edition: Introductory Voice Repertoire, there is 24 songs in there with some simple® english works. Unless it's for a festival (we'll be off to festival covering German in a few months).

So i'm just wondering why French 1st (unless of course it's the translation). Also the teacher will (of course) have recorded the song to tape / mp3, so you can sing along to it. Have they done this ?, also look at the youtube versions too.

And to agree with Ron, do currently what (s)he has advised and don't be jumping the gun. It was the 1st lesson btw.

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Well this is how my first lesson went:

1. Quickly discuss breathing, demonstration of chest voice and head voice

2. Major 5 tone scale singing "aa" and "oo"

3. Practicing a la claire fontaine (french, not the english version)

DoverOs, thank you! I'll try your advice for sure

rowns, I understand what you are saying. Thank you your input is helpful, but I wouldn't be here asking for help if I actually had been given advice from my teacher. I need help discovering my voice, while she expects that I already know how to use my chest/head voice. Since I'm learning by doing, I'm just looking for ways to get the ball rolling.

I've been practicing the scales and attempting to sing the song in the correct pitch. I'm going to take your advice and just continue on doing this.

stew503, it's not for a festival and I am using the intro voice repertoire to study where a CD is included. I don't know why this is my first song, I am from Canada but I don't know french that well. I don't mind, it's a beautiful song. I've been practicing and pronouncing the actual words is much easier now. Would you mind explaining posture, shopping bags, chin to me? My teacher didn't go through this.

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I might be able to help with the chin thing, because it's my no. 1 problem at the moment. If you're an amateur, you may find yourself raising your chin as you ascend in pitch, or just generally tightening this area. It's related to support. To sing with a relaxed jaw and lips is a beautiful thing, and needs your support to be well-matched to what the way you're singing requires (which is probably a LOT in your case for classical). For me it's been instructive to think of the jaw "dropping" (for example oo to oh) rather than me "pulling" it down.

Anyway like ronws said, you should definitely do what your teacher says otherwise why bother :D

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