Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'voice teachers & coaches'.



More search options

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • WELCOME & HOW TO GET STARTED!
    • Welcome New Members!
  • SINGING & TRAINING TECHNIQUES
    • General Discussions
  • REVIEW MY SINGING
    • Review My Singing
  • VOCAL GEAR
    • Microphones
    • Recording For Singers
    • Vocal Effects / Processing
  • SEEKING VOCALIST / VOCALIST AVAILABLE
    • Seeking Vocalist / Vocalist Available
  • ARTICLES / GEAR REVIEWS / INTERVIEWS
    • Vocal Gear Reviews
    • Singing Articles
    • Expert Interviews

Blogs

There are no results to display.

There are no results to display.

Categories

  • Singing Reviews, Programs & Lessons
  • Microphones (Live & Recording)
  • Vocal Pedals (Effects)
  • Home Recording Gear
  • Services For Singers
  • Singing Applications
  • Vocal Health Products
  • TMV World Exclusive Interviews

Categories

  • Product Reviews
  • Articles
  • Interviews

Product Groups

  • UNLIMITED SINGING REVIEWS
  • PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
  • SINGERS TEA & INHALER

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


Web Site URL

Found 179 results

  1. The American music scene seems to be experiencing a phenomenon of painfully loud and meaningless over-singing which could be due in part to hit talent shows like American Idol, according to Renee Grant-Williams, one of the nation's leading voice experts and coach to some of the music industry's biggest stars. Grant-Williams points to this week's painful duet by two former Idol contestants as an example, "By shamelessly over-singing, Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas managed to destroy what might otherwise have been a perfectly decent song. Their performance was over-loud, over-ornamented, mutually over-competitive and ultimately banal." "The lyrics to Make a Wave written by Scott Krippayne and Jeffrey D. Peabody are very positive and send a very powerful message," says Grant Williams. "However, these two singers obscured the words so badly by over-singing, that I had to look up the lyrics to see what they were actually saying. The very essence of a song is to touch the listener by conveying a message of some kind. That's difficult to do when no one can get a grip on the melody or understand what's being said." Grant-Williams feels these non-verbal squiggles should be there for one reason only to emphasize the powerful emotion of the song. "When a singer ornaments, it should be because, at that moment, the singer's emotions are running so high that words will not suffice; the singer is only capable of a visceral response too powerful to put into mere words," she says. Grant-Williams also says singers she encounters are increasingly belting out songs to the point where words don't matter. We seem to be caught up in an epidemic of loud, says Grant-Williams. "Singing should be more subtle than just slinging a lot of voice around. If you sing with a thundering voice, you sacrifice the honesty, intimacy, and integrity of music. Yet, this style is presented to millions of TV viewers as desirable. "You just don't hear the level of ear-splitting over-singing in Australia and other places like you do here in America," says Grant-Williams, who recently returned from a sold-out teaching-tour of Australia. Observations she made during tours in Europe and South America confirm that this phenomenon is especially prevalent in the United States. "I'm convinced it's due in part to the tremendous influence in the U. S. of talent shows where over-singing is rewarded. I still think America has the best singers on the planet, says Grant-Williams. They just need to bring down the volume and focus on the words and the emotions. I'm determined to do what I can to curb these phenomenon before they get out of hand. Grant-Williams has as few simple suggestions to help singers get back to the basics of good singing: 1. A song is a one-way conversation, a singer must be very intimate with the words.2. Singing should be like speaking with the audience, there's no need to yell. 2. Use consonants and silence to indicate the most important words of the song. 3. Use inflection sparingly as you would use spices, too much will ruin the song. Grant-Williams coaches aspiring performers as well as celebrities including Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Miley Cyrus, Faith Hill, the Dixie Chicks, Tim McGraw, Christina Aguilera, Linda Ronstadt, Randy Travis, and Huey Lewis. She has been quoted by Cosmopolitan, the Associated Press, Business Week, UPI, Southern Living, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She has appeared on many broadcast outlets including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Bravo, USA, MTV, GAC, BBC, PBS, and NPR. Grant-Williams is a former instructor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as well as the former director of the Division of Vocal Music at the University of California, Berkeley. For more information or to schedule an interview with Renee Grant-Williams, call 615-244-3280 or visit www.myvoicecoach.com/media.html
  2. Urggg, that dreaded cold. If you are like me most humans these days, there are times when you feel like you're a flu magnet. But, there are precautions that you can take to battle, prevent, and flush a cold right out of your system. The following excerpt is from my book, Raise Your Voice Second Edition, to aid you in your fight against infection: Nothing is worse than having to deal with a cold. Many singers refrain from singing (and speaking in some cases) with a cold, due to the fear of damaging their voices. Singing with a cold is quite possible, although uncomfortable. If you use proper vocal technique, your voice will be fine. A cold is an infection in the sinuses, the throat, or the lungs, or it could be a combination of all three. An infection of the upper throat is referred to as pharyngitis. Your throat will be sore but you will still be able to speak or sing. Pharyngitis may be very painful, but as long as there is no infection in the vocal cords, you'll still be able to make it through a performance, although it won't feel that fun. Keep the sound out of the throat and focused into the resonant cavities of the head. The only time you should avoid speaking or singing is if you have laryngitis, which is an infection of the vocal cords. Your throat will feel swollen and sore. It could be so painful that you might not be able to speak. Swallowing will be difficult. The vocal cords are swollen due to the infection and enlarged blood vessels. In this state, the cords will not vibrate correctly. Do not speak or sing with laryngitis. You could damage your vocal cords. This includes whispering and gargling. Whispering is a quiet shout and gargling forces air past the irritated cords. The best remedy for laryngitis is plenty of water and absolute silence. Try a warm mist umidifier at night to moisten The air. Give your voice time to heal. Visit your doctor to see if antibiotics could help. If you are developing a cold, this is a signal that your body is full of toxins and needs to cleanse itself of toxin overload. Once you notice cold symptoms developing, there are several things you can do to help the cleansing process along and shorten the duration of the cold: When you notice the first signs of a cold's supply of vitamin C and Calcium are rapidly depleted. Bothsore throat, congestion, coughing, etc., you must take immediate action. If you are under physical or mental stress, your body are important nutrients in fighting infection. At first sign of a cold, I've been told that if immediately increase your vitamin C and Calcium/Magnesium intake, it will help to speed up the cold-elimination process. Both can be purchased at any drug store. Magnesium helps to increase the body's absorption of Calcium, so it is wiser to take a combination of the two. Zinc lozenges are beneficial during a cold. Zinc is proven to fight infection and to relieve a sore throat. An herbal combination of Goldenseal and Echinacea is excellent for fighting infection in the body. A few drops of Colloidal Silver under the tongue will be absorbed into the blood stream. Colloidal Silver is like a natural antibiotic and fights all forms of infection. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. If you feel you might have pneumonia, see your doctor. To break up chest congestion, tap repeatedly on your chest to loosen phlegm in your lungs. This will enable you to cough up and expel the mucus. Cup your hands and tap on your chest as if it were a drum. If you have someone tap on your back, the results will be better. Breathing steam or using a vaporizer helps to keep your lungs hydrated and will also loosen mucus. Choose wisely any over-the-counter drugs you might take to fight a cold. Many only mask the symptoms, slowing down the healing process. There are several herbs listed in the next chapter that relieve pain, loosen congestion, and aid the healing process. A throat gargle is beneficial for a sore throat. These methods are discussed in the next few chapters. Now you have the means to fight off a cold. Jaime Vendera Author of "Raise Your Voice", "Mindset: programming Your Mind for Success" and "Online Teaching Secrets Revealed" jaimevendera.com theultimatevocalworkout.com View full articles
  3. TMV World Team

    Singer's Secrets to beating a Cold

    Urggg, that dreaded cold. If you are like me most humans these days, there are times when you feel like you're a flu magnet. But, there are precautions that you can take to battle, prevent, and flush a cold right out of your system. The following excerpt is from my book, Raise Your Voice Second Edition, to aid you in your fight against infection: Nothing is worse than having to deal with a cold. Many singers refrain from singing (and speaking in some cases) with a cold, due to the fear of damaging their voices. Singing with a cold is quite possible, although uncomfortable. If you use proper vocal technique, your voice will be fine. A cold is an infection in the sinuses, the throat, or the lungs, or it could be a combination of all three. An infection of the upper throat is referred to as pharyngitis. Your throat will be sore but you will still be able to speak or sing. Pharyngitis may be very painful, but as long as there is no infection in the vocal cords, you'll still be able to make it through a performance, although it won't feel that fun. Keep the sound out of the throat and focused into the resonant cavities of the head. The only time you should avoid speaking or singing is if you have laryngitis, which is an infection of the vocal cords. Your throat will feel swollen and sore. It could be so painful that you might not be able to speak. Swallowing will be difficult. The vocal cords are swollen due to the infection and enlarged blood vessels. In this state, the cords will not vibrate correctly. Do not speak or sing with laryngitis. You could damage your vocal cords. This includes whispering and gargling. Whispering is a quiet shout and gargling forces air past the irritated cords. The best remedy for laryngitis is plenty of water and absolute silence. Try a warm mist umidifier at night to moisten The air. Give your voice time to heal. Visit your doctor to see if antibiotics could help. If you are developing a cold, this is a signal that your body is full of toxins and needs to cleanse itself of toxin overload. Once you notice cold symptoms developing, there are several things you can do to help the cleansing process along and shorten the duration of the cold: When you notice the first signs of a cold's supply of vitamin C and Calcium are rapidly depleted. Bothsore throat, congestion, coughing, etc., you must take immediate action. If you are under physical or mental stress, your body are important nutrients in fighting infection. At first sign of a cold, I've been told that if immediately increase your vitamin C and Calcium/Magnesium intake, it will help to speed up the cold-elimination process. Both can be purchased at any drug store. Magnesium helps to increase the body's absorption of Calcium, so it is wiser to take a combination of the two. Zinc lozenges are beneficial during a cold. Zinc is proven to fight infection and to relieve a sore throat. An herbal combination of Goldenseal and Echinacea is excellent for fighting infection in the body. A few drops of Colloidal Silver under the tongue will be absorbed into the blood stream. Colloidal Silver is like a natural antibiotic and fights all forms of infection. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. If you feel you might have pneumonia, see your doctor. To break up chest congestion, tap repeatedly on your chest to loosen phlegm in your lungs. This will enable you to cough up and expel the mucus. Cup your hands and tap on your chest as if it were a drum. If you have someone tap on your back, the results will be better. Breathing steam or using a vaporizer helps to keep your lungs hydrated and will also loosen mucus. Choose wisely any over-the-counter drugs you might take to fight a cold. Many only mask the symptoms, slowing down the healing process. There are several herbs listed in the next chapter that relieve pain, loosen congestion, and aid the healing process. A throat gargle is beneficial for a sore throat. These methods are discussed in the next few chapters. Now you have the means to fight off a cold. Jaime Vendera Author of "Raise Your Voice", "Mindset: programming Your Mind for Success" and "Online Teaching Secrets Revealed" jaimevendera.com theultimatevocalworkout.com
  4. CHAPTER 10 - GIVE-AWAYS AND SALES TIPS SO, YOU WANT TO BE A SINGER? by Diva Joan Cartwright After producing a demo in a studio, you must be concerned with duplication and packaging. You can do it yourself, which is a lot of labor that you must consider when setting the price of your CD. Unless you have invested in a CD burner ($600-700) you must burn CDs on your computer, one by one, or take your master to a reproduction company to get copies. The more tapes, labels, covers and jewel cases you order, the less they cost per piece. The general amount to begin with is 500 or 1,000. Compact disks cost from 80 cents to $2.00 each 500-1,000 Labels, covers and cases cost $500 Artwork costs between $250 to $1,500, depending on paper, photographs, graphics, colors, size of leaflet, etc. You need at least one hundred (100) demo CDs to send out with press packages to radio stations, booking agents, promoters and club owners. Your family and friends can be your best promoters. Fans will buy your product at gigs, only if you display them and remember to offer them to the audience. Always display your product during gigs. A professional DVD of your live performance is a necessity, today. Sales Tips: CDs sell from $10 to $20, depending on how much music is on them. Have friends and family buy 5 to 10 CDs as gifts for their friends Place your music on consignment at small record and book stores for a commission of $3-5 on each sale The library system will buy your music for each branch (10-30 copies) Lesser known distribution houses will buy 10 to 100 copies of your product at a reduced price Expose and sell your CDs and digital tracks on the Internet at sites like CDBaby.com, MP3.com, netradio.com, Cdnow.com, Amazon, Ebay and many more. Surf the net to find the appropriate venues for your product. Get a PayPal account. This is the best way to manage your own sales. You pay a little for the service, but it's worth it! SO, YOU WANT TO BE A SINGER? A manual for up-and-coming Divas, musicians and composers. Purchase the book at http://stores.lulu.com/divajc
  5. CHAPTER 10 - GIVE-AWAYS AND SALES TIPS SO, YOU WANT TO BE A SINGER? by Diva Joan Cartwright After producing a demo in a studio, you must be concerned with duplication and packaging. You can do it yourself, which is a lot of labor that you must consider when setting the price of your CD. Unless you have invested in a CD burner ($600-700) you must burn CDs on your computer, one by one, or take your master to a reproduction company to get copies. The more tapes, labels, covers and jewel cases you order, the less they cost per piece. The general amount to begin with is 500 or 1,000. Compact disks cost from 80 cents to $2.00 each 500-1,000 Labels, covers and cases cost $500 Artwork costs between $250 to $1,500, depending on paper, photographs, graphics, colors, size of leaflet, etc. You need at least one hundred (100) demo CDs to send out with press packages to radio stations, booking agents, promoters and club owners. Your family and friends can be your best promoters. Fans will buy your product at gigs, only if you display them and remember to offer them to the audience. Always display your product during gigs. A professional DVD of your live performance is a necessity, today. Sales Tips: CDs sell from $10 to $20, depending on how much music is on them. Have friends and family buy 5 to 10 CDs as gifts for their friends Place your music on consignment at small record and book stores for a commission of $3-5 on each sale The library system will buy your music for each branch (10-30 copies) Lesser known distribution houses will buy 10 to 100 copies of your product at a reduced price Expose and sell your CDs and digital tracks on the Internet at sites like CDBaby.com, MP3.com, netradio.com, Cdnow.com, Amazon, Ebay and many more. Surf the net to find the appropriate venues for your product. Get a PayPal account. This is the best way to manage your own sales. You pay a little for the service, but it's worth it! SO, YOU WANT TO BE A SINGER? A manual for up-and-coming Divas, musicians and composers. Purchase the book at http://stores.lulu.com/divajc View full articles
  6. TMV World Team

    Vocal Improvisation

    Scat-Singing Scat Singing, is merely improvising without words. We aim to approach it the same way as an instrumentalist. Scat Syllables are only to serve the punctuation of the line and I feel strongly that the melody and rhythm used over given chord changes dictate the syllables, not the other way around. The scat syllables flavour the rhythmic inflection synonymous with Jazz. As any good instrumentalist develops his/her language and vocabulary, singers must do the same. This comes from continual listening and transcribing. There isn't a shortcut. Harmonic and rhythmic elements must be studied, for example outlining the relevant scales and arpeggios, patterns and extensions of the chords using a variety of rhythms. Aural training plays a big part in this and because singers rely so much on their ears when it comes to improvising, developing a sense of pitch memory is essential. The more one develops the ear to hear certain sounds the more creative and interesting the improvisation will be. Some people have a natural tendency to hear the harmony and understand rhythmic concepts, but collating and assimilating the vast amount of information, displaying it in performance, on the spot, anticipation of chords, implying multiple chord changes, using altered extensions, interaction and reaction and being emotionally honest in the performance takes a lifetime to hone. Feel, articulation and flow are important factors to consider. All instrumentalists work on this constantly. Having observed vocal improvisers, I"ve noticed difficulties regarding these aspects when using scat syllables. The eighth note feel (continuous line) in particular, is the hardest to develop. Attaining smooth and relaxed swung eighth notes (for bop lines) demands consistent attention and practice Like woodwind and brass instruments we use our tongues to articulate sounds. We'll take for instance- ba (off beat) with the lips and doo (on beat) with the tongue. The off beat (ba) is often articulated too hard and the doo (on beat) is too short, this coupled with over- expressed and affected syllables presents problems with the flow and feel of the line and doesn't swing. I feel that scat singing should be conversational, an extension of the speaking voice, not laboured and over- exaggerated to the point where it is no longer musical. Finally, I'd like to add that in recent years, many have become aware of the marked increase of highly talented jazz vocal improvisers who continue to raise the level of this growing art form. These vocalists regard themselves as musicians and consider it a priority to develop their improvisational skills. It's also a reflection of dedicated Jazz vocal educators with improvising skills, on a mission to encourage the search for educational opportunities in this field.
  7. Scat-Singing Scat Singing, is merely improvising without words. We aim to approach it the same way as an instrumentalist. Scat Syllables are only to serve the punctuation of the line and I feel strongly that the melody and rhythm used over given chord changes dictate the syllables, not the other way around. The scat syllables flavour the rhythmic inflection synonymous with Jazz. As any good instrumentalist develops his/her language and vocabulary, singers must do the same. This comes from continual listening and transcribing. There isn't a shortcut. Harmonic and rhythmic elements must be studied, for example outlining the relevant scales and arpeggios, patterns and extensions of the chords using a variety of rhythms. Aural training plays a big part in this and because singers rely so much on their ears when it comes to improvising, developing a sense of pitch memory is essential. The more one develops the ear to hear certain sounds the more creative and interesting the improvisation will be. Some people have a natural tendency to hear the harmony and understand rhythmic concepts, but collating and assimilating the vast amount of information, displaying it in performance, on the spot, anticipation of chords, implying multiple chord changes, using altered extensions, interaction and reaction and being emotionally honest in the performance takes a lifetime to hone. Feel, articulation and flow are important factors to consider. All instrumentalists work on this constantly. Having observed vocal improvisers, I"ve noticed difficulties regarding these aspects when using scat syllables. The eighth note feel (continuous line) in particular, is the hardest to develop. Attaining smooth and relaxed swung eighth notes (for bop lines) demands consistent attention and practice Like woodwind and brass instruments we use our tongues to articulate sounds. We'll take for instance- ba (off beat) with the lips and doo (on beat) with the tongue. The off beat (ba) is often articulated too hard and the doo (on beat) is too short, this coupled with over- expressed and affected syllables presents problems with the flow and feel of the line and doesn't swing. I feel that scat singing should be conversational, an extension of the speaking voice, not laboured and over- exaggerated to the point where it is no longer musical. Finally, I'd like to add that in recent years, many have become aware of the marked increase of highly talented jazz vocal improvisers who continue to raise the level of this growing art form. These vocalists regard themselves as musicians and consider it a priority to develop their improvisational skills. It's also a reflection of dedicated Jazz vocal educators with improvising skills, on a mission to encourage the search for educational opportunities in this field. View full articles
  8. TMV World Team

    Choosing a Vocal Coach

    As a professional voice coach with solid voice training, I often check out the other voice coaches that are spouting how they can open your voice almost overnight. This should be your first red flag. Anyone, who understands the singing voice as an instrument, understands the mechanics of development and it does not happen overnight. Most of the body parts that contribute to the vocal instrument are muscles, including the vocal cords. Do you go to the gym and lift 100 lbs. more than you did the day before with some innovative technique or does it take a few weeks to stretch and build the muscle to accomplish this goal? The same can be said about the voice. Immediate results is their way of hooking you and reeling you in to their net. There are some key factors you MUST ask yourself when selecting a voice coach: Are they simply singers who have had no reputable training themselves passing on to you their bad habits and unsupported claims of how to improve your voice? Do they talk a lot about free singing or do they comment on more specific vocal techniques like nasal singing, controlling vibrato, phrasing, breathing correctly, ear training, and enunciation skills? Do they use the same training to develop the classical voice versus the pop singer or theatre voice? In other words, do they teach it all? Do they promise immediate results increasing your vocal range? Do they speak about their techniques in detail or are they vague and ambiguous? Do they have any formal training or experience with voice therapy or speech pathology? This is the screening process you must strictly adhere to when selecting a vocal coach. Your vocal cords are a sensitive and delicate instrument that must be used with care in an effort to avoid vocal strain, vocal ailments, and even long-term damage. I have witnessed individuals promote themselves as voice coaches and teachers who are completely inept. Choose wisely.
  9. As a professional voice coach with solid voice training, I often check out the other voice coaches that are spouting how they can open your voice almost overnight. This should be your first red flag. Anyone, who understands the singing voice as an instrument, understands the mechanics of development and it does not happen overnight. Most of the body parts that contribute to the vocal instrument are muscles, including the vocal cords. Do you go to the gym and lift 100 lbs. more than you did the day before with some innovative technique or does it take a few weeks to stretch and build the muscle to accomplish this goal? The same can be said about the voice. Immediate results is their way of hooking you and reeling you in to their net. There are some key factors you MUST ask yourself when selecting a voice coach: Are they simply singers who have had no reputable training themselves passing on to you their bad habits and unsupported claims of how to improve your voice? Do they talk a lot about free singing or do they comment on more specific vocal techniques like nasal singing, controlling vibrato, phrasing, breathing correctly, ear training, and enunciation skills? Do they use the same training to develop the classical voice versus the pop singer or theatre voice? In other words, do they teach it all? Do they promise immediate results increasing your vocal range? Do they speak about their techniques in detail or are they vague and ambiguous? Do they have any formal training or experience with voice therapy or speech pathology? This is the screening process you must strictly adhere to when selecting a vocal coach. Your vocal cords are a sensitive and delicate instrument that must be used with care in an effort to avoid vocal strain, vocal ailments, and even long-term damage. I have witnessed individuals promote themselves as voice coaches and teachers who are completely inept. Choose wisely. View full articles
  10. The modern singer is a vocal athlete. Dancers and elite sports professionals know the importance of preparing the body correctly for performance. Vocalists need to be the same way! Just like the skeletal muscles should be systematically stretched before demanding usage, so should the muscles of the larynx that are involved in phonation. The principle of veisel dilation is the same- blood needs to nourish the muscles with oxygen to increase flexibility and decrease the chance of injury. DON'T SKIMP ON YOUR VOCAL WARMUP!!!! A singer should NEVER go into a lengthy rehearsal, recording session, or performance without a thorough warmup. It should last somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes to make sure that all the musculature is properly coordinated, with the head and chest registers easily connected and the full range engaged. Physical stretches are also helpful as are stretches for the tongue. I begin the vocal warmup with glissandi, or slides, either on a hum, 'oo', lip trill, or tongue trill. Either starting lightly in head voice and descending or sliding up easily from chest voice work well. The first scales will be on sounds that serve to stretch out the voice- lip trills, tongue trill, and the 'ng' sound. I use the octave and a half pattern and then into the mixed octave scale. These exercise sounds allow for a very effective warmup over a wide range without undue pressure and unwanted muscular interference. And they can be revisited throughout the day to keep the voice fresh. Now we move on to the dumb or crying sounds. These exercise syllables will help you balance good cord closure with efficient air flow- not too much, not too little. Use syllables such as 'mum', 'goog', 'bub', or 'wun' with a slightly exaggerated goofy sound. This will keep the swallowing muscles from pulling the larynx up and constricting the throat. Then change the sound from the dumber approach to more of a whimper or cry, bringing the larynx to a more natural, neutral position. This is not supposed to be a pretty sound. Its job is to deactivate those overactive swallowing muscles that interfere with easy tone production. Then, the ugly but invaluable pharyngeal sounds are employed. They were referred to as 'the witch's voice' in times past and that's exactly how you should sound!! No sounding pretty here!! With a bratty, witchy tone, we will use the syllables 'nay' and 'naa'. These sounds will allow again greater air flow and a produce a tone that is deceptively powerful but actually quite easy to make- no strain needed. The exercise allows a very easy, effiecient connection of the chest and head registers, creating the much needed middle voice or 'the mix' that is so important for most modern vocal styles. Remember, the goal is not prettiness. The ugliness in the exercises is helping to build a solid technique, so enjoy the chance to sound like a looney as you build a killer voice!! Once you have gotten through this portion of the warmup, you may move onto exercises that work on agility, sustains, and dynamics, but only after the voice feels loose and the cord closure is well coordinated with the breath. This is a map of the basics of the daily warmup. It will vary according to many factors, such as energy level, time of day, amount of sleep, the size of the voice, and many others. But this is a general approach that we will use as the core of regimen. It is very imporant to find a knowledgeable voice teacher to help you develop the proper routine for your voice and its unique demands. Remember, you are a vocal athlete and you must train with that idea in mind. View full articles
  11. TMV World Team

    The Daily Vocal Warmup

    The modern singer is a vocal athlete. Dancers and elite sports professionals know the importance of preparing the body correctly for performance. Vocalists need to be the same way! Just like the skeletal muscles should be systematically stretched before demanding usage, so should the muscles of the larynx that are involved in phonation. The principle of veisel dilation is the same- blood needs to nourish the muscles with oxygen to increase flexibility and decrease the chance of injury. DON'T SKIMP ON YOUR VOCAL WARMUP!!!! A singer should NEVER go into a lengthy rehearsal, recording session, or performance without a thorough warmup. It should last somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes to make sure that all the musculature is properly coordinated, with the head and chest registers easily connected and the full range engaged. Physical stretches are also helpful as are stretches for the tongue. I begin the vocal warmup with glissandi, or slides, either on a hum, 'oo', lip trill, or tongue trill. Either starting lightly in head voice and descending or sliding up easily from chest voice work well. The first scales will be on sounds that serve to stretch out the voice- lip trills, tongue trill, and the 'ng' sound. I use the octave and a half pattern and then into the mixed octave scale. These exercise sounds allow for a very effective warmup over a wide range without undue pressure and unwanted muscular interference. And they can be revisited throughout the day to keep the voice fresh. Now we move on to the dumb or crying sounds. These exercise syllables will help you balance good cord closure with efficient air flow- not too much, not too little. Use syllables such as 'mum', 'goog', 'bub', or 'wun' with a slightly exaggerated goofy sound. This will keep the swallowing muscles from pulling the larynx up and constricting the throat. Then change the sound from the dumber approach to more of a whimper or cry, bringing the larynx to a more natural, neutral position. This is not supposed to be a pretty sound. Its job is to deactivate those overactive swallowing muscles that interfere with easy tone production. Then, the ugly but invaluable pharyngeal sounds are employed. They were referred to as 'the witch's voice' in times past and that's exactly how you should sound!! No sounding pretty here!! With a bratty, witchy tone, we will use the syllables 'nay' and 'naa'. These sounds will allow again greater air flow and a produce a tone that is deceptively powerful but actually quite easy to make- no strain needed. The exercise allows a very easy, effiecient connection of the chest and head registers, creating the much needed middle voice or 'the mix' that is so important for most modern vocal styles. Remember, the goal is not prettiness. The ugliness in the exercises is helping to build a solid technique, so enjoy the chance to sound like a looney as you build a killer voice!! Once you have gotten through this portion of the warmup, you may move onto exercises that work on agility, sustains, and dynamics, but only after the voice feels loose and the cord closure is well coordinated with the breath. This is a map of the basics of the daily warmup. It will vary according to many factors, such as energy level, time of day, amount of sleep, the size of the voice, and many others. But this is a general approach that we will use as the core of regimen. It is very imporant to find a knowledgeable voice teacher to help you develop the proper routine for your voice and its unique demands. Remember, you are a vocal athlete and you must train with that idea in mind.
  12. Singing is one of the most important means of communication that we are blessed to experience. It is the means by which we express our innermost thoughts and feelings in a language shared by the whole world. We sing songs as worship...as symbols of patriotism...as words to inspire change...to amuse...to romance....to uplift. Often, it is forgotten how integral singing is to our existence. When at play, children seem to almost instinctively sing as part of their games. These same young voices are instruments capable of producing a wide array of tones and timbres. In order to access this wide range of sounds, though, the sounds produced at play are not enough. Proper training in healthy vocal production is needed. Recently, I have been asked quite a bit about the appropriate age to begin voice lessons for children. Parents realize that their kids have either an overwhelming enthusiasm for singing or some substantial native talent that they want to properly nurture. They just wonder if formal lessons are safe for the youngster to undertake and worth the financial investment. First of all, I stress that the most important issue with kids is their attention span and not the perceived talent level. I've had some clearly gifted 7 year olds come in but they did not have the focus and maturity that is needed. Once that is explained, I relay that I believe lessons can successfully begin at age 8. I have trained a couple of 7 year olds, though, because they had the requisite focus, attention span, and teachability in addition to natural musical instincts. As long as the training is based in healthy technical habits and applied correctly to songs, there are no inherent dangers. Many people wonder what young singers can actually learn in private voice lessons. Some have believed that their physically immature instruments cannot acquire any real technical skills until their voices fully develop at puberty. But I am one of many who work with kids on a regular basis who believe that these voices can develop quite a lot of facility if guided correctly. We must remember that singing is an intricate psychomotor skill, not so different from the learning of piano, dance, or athletic moves. It's all about the systematic training of correct muscle memory which builds healthy technique that will strengthen and protect the voice. And if the goal of vocal study is establishment of good vocal habits that will carry over into adulthood, vocal technique has to be of primary importance! Of course, this must be balanced with singing good songs, but it will be difficult to expand repertoire if the instrument is limited in the sounds it can produce. The very same technical issues that need to be taught to adult singers need to be taught to kids. The building of tone production practices is essential. Child singers need to develop the ability to produce tones without undue tension and restriction. They must be taught proper breathing techniques and good body posture and alignment. Range extension is still important for kids, even though it must be applied relative to their still-growing voices. Many of the exercises that I use with my adult clients are used in the sessions with my youngsters, though sometimes with modifications. I also make sure that I introduce them to correct terminology concerning how the voice is put together and how it works. They learn about head and chest voice, the larynx, vocal folds, diaphragm, and resonance. They need to start learning a singer's vocabulary from the start of their study. We are seeing some fine examples of superstar singers who have become elite vocal athletes because of some fantastic vocal training starting at a young age- Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Adam Lambert among others. It is a worthwhile investment to begin lessons with a child who has the love for singing coupled with a sense of focus and discipline. The teacher must have a great knowledge of vocal pedagogy and a personality that can provide a safe, nurturing environment for the young singer to embark on this great journey of singing study.
  13. Singing is one of the most important means of communication that we are blessed to experience. It is the means by which we express our innermost thoughts and feelings in a language shared by the whole world. We sing songs as worship...as symbols of patriotism...as words to inspire change...to amuse...to romance....to uplift. Often, it is forgotten how integral singing is to our existence. When at play, children seem to almost instinctively sing as part of their games. These same young voices are instruments capable of producing a wide array of tones and timbres. In order to access this wide range of sounds, though, the sounds produced at play are not enough. Proper training in healthy vocal production is needed. Recently, I have been asked quite a bit about the appropriate age to begin voice lessons for children. Parents realize that their kids have either an overwhelming enthusiasm for singing or some substantial native talent that they want to properly nurture. They just wonder if formal lessons are safe for the youngster to undertake and worth the financial investment. First of all, I stress that the most important issue with kids is their attention span and not the perceived talent level. I've had some clearly gifted 7 year olds come in but they did not have the focus and maturity that is needed. Once that is explained, I relay that I believe lessons can successfully begin at age 8. I have trained a couple of 7 year olds, though, because they had the requisite focus, attention span, and teachability in addition to natural musical instincts. As long as the training is based in healthy technical habits and applied correctly to songs, there are no inherent dangers. Many people wonder what young singers can actually learn in private voice lessons. Some have believed that their physically immature instruments cannot acquire any real technical skills until their voices fully develop at puberty. But I am one of many who work with kids on a regular basis who believe that these voices can develop quite a lot of facility if guided correctly. We must remember that singing is an intricate psychomotor skill, not so different from the learning of piano, dance, or athletic moves. It's all about the systematic training of correct muscle memory which builds healthy technique that will strengthen and protect the voice. And if the goal of vocal study is establishment of good vocal habits that will carry over into adulthood, vocal technique has to be of primary importance! Of course, this must be balanced with singing good songs, but it will be difficult to expand repertoire if the instrument is limited in the sounds it can produce. The very same technical issues that need to be taught to adult singers need to be taught to kids. The building of tone production practices is essential. Child singers need to develop the ability to produce tones without undue tension and restriction. They must be taught proper breathing techniques and good body posture and alignment. Range extension is still important for kids, even though it must be applied relative to their still-growing voices. Many of the exercises that I use with my adult clients are used in the sessions with my youngsters, though sometimes with modifications. I also make sure that I introduce them to correct terminology concerning how the voice is put together and how it works. They learn about head and chest voice, the larynx, vocal folds, diaphragm, and resonance. They need to start learning a singer's vocabulary from the start of their study. We are seeing some fine examples of superstar singers who have become elite vocal athletes because of some fantastic vocal training starting at a young age- Beyonce Knowles, Kelly Rowland, Adam Lambert among others. It is a worthwhile investment to begin lessons with a child who has the love for singing coupled with a sense of focus and discipline. The teacher must have a great knowledge of vocal pedagogy and a personality that can provide a safe, nurturing environment for the young singer to embark on this great journey of singing study. View full articles
  14. Are singing exercises really mandatory? No, they are not. They are only mandatory if you want to become a successful singer with a long and important career. Sure, some singers may never have done a scale in their lives. But then again, some people win the Lottery with the first ticket they buy. Willie Nelson probably never warbled a mee-mee-mee in his whole life. (Only guessing here; I've never asked) But few people have the charisma and sincerity that we see in Willie. He is a poet who puts tunes to his poems when he reads them. For the rest of us, the answer to that question is a resounding "YES." Singing is an athletic endeavor. And just like any other athletic activity, in order to be most effective, a subtle combination of brain, body and voice needs to be coordinated. These elements should be awakened by singing exercises so they can work freely together. A singer needs to sing scales and exercises in order to practice the elements of the techniques they are learning in a "pure" form. By that, I mean, without being distracted by issues like words, rhythm and interpretation. This is the time a singer gets to totally concentrate on the body, brain and voice synergy. Singing exercises build a kind of muscle memory intended to allow the singer to forget about issues like breathing and support so they can concentrate on performance aspects when they are singing onstage or in the studio. It's too late to concentrate on breathing and support when you're standing onstage. That's when a singer must forget about the basics and perform. You have to rely on muscle memory. And the way to build that muscle memory is to do what every vocal coach hopes you will do, and that is to practice your exercises. Exercises. That sounds like a lot of work and not much fun, doesn't it? Well, you could be right, but think of them like you would physical training. Crunches aren't much fun either, but when you don't do them, it shows in your performance and in your body. Fabled violinist Jascha Heifetz made a good point when he said, "If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it." For singers, I recommend warm-ups that work like building blocks, starting with the number one, all-time fundamental building block, which is effortless breathing. If you get the breathing part right, you stand a good chance of doing well with the rest of it. If you fail to establish your breathing correctly you will always be off-kilter. The next step is to incorporate your method of support. Then focus on your resonating system and add it to the mix. I also recommend that as you go through your singing exercises, you begin with scales that are short and in a comfortable voice range for you. Build slowly by gradually lengthening the spread of the notes you sing and begin exploring the boundaries of both upper and lower registers. There is a temptation to view singing exercises as a mindless activity. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They are only worth doing if you concentrate on building a smooth working machine that incorporates body, brain, and voice. Record yourself and monitor your progress. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. To quote football coach Vincent Lombardi, "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect!" Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams helped make stars out of many top artists: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera... Author of "Voice Power" AMACOM (NY), Renee offers insider's information via on-line lessons, to receive her free weekly video News Lessons and an eBook "Answers to Singers' 7 Most Important Questions."http://cybervoicestudio.com
  15. Are singing exercises really mandatory? No, they are not. They are only mandatory if you want to become a successful singer with a long and important career. Sure, some singers may never have done a scale in their lives. But then again, some people win the Lottery with the first ticket they buy. Willie Nelson probably never warbled a mee-mee-mee in his whole life. (Only guessing here; I've never asked) But few people have the charisma and sincerity that we see in Willie. He is a poet who puts tunes to his poems when he reads them. For the rest of us, the answer to that question is a resounding "YES." Singing is an athletic endeavor. And just like any other athletic activity, in order to be most effective, a subtle combination of brain, body and voice needs to be coordinated. These elements should be awakened by singing exercises so they can work freely together. A singer needs to sing scales and exercises in order to practice the elements of the techniques they are learning in a "pure" form. By that, I mean, without being distracted by issues like words, rhythm and interpretation. This is the time a singer gets to totally concentrate on the body, brain and voice synergy. Singing exercises build a kind of muscle memory intended to allow the singer to forget about issues like breathing and support so they can concentrate on performance aspects when they are singing onstage or in the studio. It's too late to concentrate on breathing and support when you're standing onstage. That's when a singer must forget about the basics and perform. You have to rely on muscle memory. And the way to build that muscle memory is to do what every vocal coach hopes you will do, and that is to practice your exercises. Exercises. That sounds like a lot of work and not much fun, doesn't it? Well, you could be right, but think of them like you would physical training. Crunches aren't much fun either, but when you don't do them, it shows in your performance and in your body. Fabled violinist Jascha Heifetz made a good point when he said, "If I don't practice one day, I know it; two days, the critics know it; three days, the public knows it." For singers, I recommend warm-ups that work like building blocks, starting with the number one, all-time fundamental building block, which is effortless breathing. If you get the breathing part right, you stand a good chance of doing well with the rest of it. If you fail to establish your breathing correctly you will always be off-kilter. The next step is to incorporate your method of support. Then focus on your resonating system and add it to the mix. I also recommend that as you go through your singing exercises, you begin with scales that are short and in a comfortable voice range for you. Build slowly by gradually lengthening the spread of the notes you sing and begin exploring the boundaries of both upper and lower registers. There is a temptation to view singing exercises as a mindless activity. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They are only worth doing if you concentrate on building a smooth working machine that incorporates body, brain, and voice. Record yourself and monitor your progress. If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. To quote football coach Vincent Lombardi, "Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect!" Nashville vocal coach Renee Grant-Williams helped make stars out of many top artists: Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Dixie Chicks, Miley Cyrus, Huey Lewis, Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Jason Aldean, Christina Aguilera... Author of "Voice Power" AMACOM (NY), Renee offers insider's information via on-line lessons, to receive her free weekly video News Lessons and an eBook "Answers to Singers' 7 Most Important Questions."http://cybervoicestudio.com View full articles
  16. TMV World Team

    Range - Vocal Coach Offers Four Tips

    To expand a singer's range, vocal coaches must be prepared to explore every trick in the book. Everyone wants to hit better high notes. And there are many who want to improve, or simply phonate more audibly, their lower notes. It could be argued that there are far more important issues for a singer to conquer: rhythmic integrity, emotional communication, and a delicious understanding of when and how to use consonants, to name a few. But we singers love to fret about the high notes, so I am going to offer a few solutions about range, vocal quality and power that I hope will help. High notes come in all shapes and sizes and any one of them can strike terror into the heart of a hapless singer. Our usual reaction to that terror? We do everything we possibly can to make the situation worse. We panic. We sing too loud. We grimace. We stiffen up like mummies. Support and relax your jaw. When you stiffen and jam your jaw downward you are applying tremendous pressure to that area, which, in turn, constricts your throat and strangles your sound. Instead, use your lower body for support. Tuck your hips under your body and keep your knees loose, almost as if you were sitting on your tailbone. Then support your voice with lower-body strength. Use the same lower-body crouch you would use to lift a heavy chair. If that were the task, you would surely protect yourself by using the strong muscles of your legs and lower body. Sound loves movement. Freely move some part of your body to help keep it loose. Don't clench your fists and stiffen up. Wave your arms, move your head, do a Mariah Carey hand wave. She seems to sing whatever she draws in the air with her right hand. But, no, tapping your toe doesn't count. Keep a level head. Resist reaching up for the high notes. The note is not up there like a fly buzzing around. All you have to do is try this little experiment to see how reaching up with your chin strangles off the sound: Sing or hum a long note as you slowly dip your chin to your chest and then raise it upwards and let your head fall back. Go back and forth a few times. Do you see how tipping back chokes off the sound? Now, we've all seen great singers who seem to throw their heads back and let forth. But if you look carefully, most of them are arching back with their whole body. It's not that the head is arching back independently; the head is part of the support curve. Lighten up before you leap. Most high notes are written as high notes because they are important words and the writer expects them to stand out. But as you go higher in your range, vocal tension increases. Lighten up the volume of the two or three lower notes before the high note. You'll have less weight to carry and the high note will be easier to sing. Never ruin a potentially great high note by over-singing the 1-3 notes before it. Nobody is out there thinking, Wow, I wonder if she'll hit that middle note. No, they're all waiting to hear how well you sing the high note.
  17. To expand a singer's range, vocal coaches must be prepared to explore every trick in the book. Everyone wants to hit better high notes. And there are many who want to improve, or simply phonate more audibly, their lower notes. It could be argued that there are far more important issues for a singer to conquer: rhythmic integrity, emotional communication, and a delicious understanding of when and how to use consonants, to name a few. But we singers love to fret about the high notes, so I am going to offer a few solutions about range, vocal quality and power that I hope will help. High notes come in all shapes and sizes and any one of them can strike terror into the heart of a hapless singer. Our usual reaction to that terror? We do everything we possibly can to make the situation worse. We panic. We sing too loud. We grimace. We stiffen up like mummies. Support and relax your jaw. When you stiffen and jam your jaw downward you are applying tremendous pressure to that area, which, in turn, constricts your throat and strangles your sound. Instead, use your lower body for support. Tuck your hips under your body and keep your knees loose, almost as if you were sitting on your tailbone. Then support your voice with lower-body strength. Use the same lower-body crouch you would use to lift a heavy chair. If that were the task, you would surely protect yourself by using the strong muscles of your legs and lower body. Sound loves movement. Freely move some part of your body to help keep it loose. Don't clench your fists and stiffen up. Wave your arms, move your head, do a Mariah Carey hand wave. She seems to sing whatever she draws in the air with her right hand. But, no, tapping your toe doesn't count. Keep a level head. Resist reaching up for the high notes. The note is not up there like a fly buzzing around. All you have to do is try this little experiment to see how reaching up with your chin strangles off the sound: Sing or hum a long note as you slowly dip your chin to your chest and then raise it upwards and let your head fall back. Go back and forth a few times. Do you see how tipping back chokes off the sound? Now, we've all seen great singers who seem to throw their heads back and let forth. But if you look carefully, most of them are arching back with their whole body. It's not that the head is arching back independently; the head is part of the support curve. Lighten up before you leap. Most high notes are written as high notes because they are important words and the writer expects them to stand out. But as you go higher in your range, vocal tension increases. Lighten up the volume of the two or three lower notes before the high note. You'll have less weight to carry and the high note will be easier to sing. Never ruin a potentially great high note by over-singing the 1-3 notes before it. Nobody is out there thinking, Wow, I wonder if she'll hit that middle note. No, they're all waiting to hear how well you sing the high note. View full articles
  18. TMV World Team

    How to Practice

    Anyone who wants to master a skill is taught that practice makes perfect or perfect practice makes perfect or practice makes permanent. But practicing one's singing is uniquely difficult because it's such an invisible process and it can be challenging to know if you're succeeding or not. A piano player can see his fingers and a skier can time himself racing down a hill. Singing though is esthetic and subjective so it's hard to trust oneself. For how long should I practice? Should I do exercises and then songs? What's the optimal practice time? How do I know if I'm doing anything right? When I began my voice training, in the Dark Ages, my teacher recommended that I not practice. She was concerned that I would practice incorrectly (very likely) and that we'd have to redo rather than build. Made sense to me at the time! But I realize that new muscle memory takes practice and that if the teaching is clear, there's less chance of practicing wrong at home. Here then, is a list of my suggestions to help make practicing a thing of pleasure and satisfaction. Find a private place to sing. Not easy for those living in an apartment, I know, but the more private and undisturbed you can be, the less self-conscious you'll feel. Singing can sound loud and strange at times and you don't want to have to worry about people making fun of you by banging on the wall. Though singing in the car is not ideal, for some, it's the only reasonable private space. Just keep your hands on 10 and 2and eyes straight ahead while driving! Determine exactly what you need to focus on- + support exercises? watching yourself sing in the mirror to eliminate head tilting or chin lifting? + getting rid of chest breathing? holding long notes more comfortably? having consistently easy, non-strainy high notes? singing in tune? + vocal agility (speed and accuracy ornamental sections)? + high belting? + memorizing lyrics? + creating vocal riffs? + figuring out harmonies? working out performance gestures and moves? Notice I didn't mention warming-up exercises. Technical exercises and warm-up exercises can be two different things. Personally, I think that too many warm-up exercises can be tiring and sometimes less is more when it comes to warming up. The idea that one must warm-up for 20 minutes (or any exact amount of time) prior to a performance is unnecessary for many singers. Warm-ups should begin with stretching the body, creating good posture, reaffirming lower belly breathing then warming up the support jobs: chest up, ribs out, upper belly firming out, lower belly going in. This whole process should only take about three minutes. Then it's time to attach the vocal folds to the picture. I love the trill patterns: either lip trill or tongue trills. BUT, do not make the mistake of doing them loudly and carelessly. Start on your very lowest note and LIGHTLY do the trills to your highest note with great attention to your breathing and support jobs. I hear so many people doing the trills incorrectly and super-loud. That will over-pressurize your vocal folds and you'll be hoarse in no time. Humming is also a standard first warm-up for the vocal folds. Can't go wrong with humming. Sirens (smoothing sliding up and down) on hums and on vowels is another great, simple vocal fold warm-up. Never sing high and loud until you feel thoroughly warmed-up. 4) Do you ever accidentally do something amazing when singing and the bell of truth rings in your head? Don't let luck be your master! Follow what I call the Rule of Five. If you get lucky when experimenting and something AWESOME comes out of your mouth, REPEAT the phrase 5 times in a row perfectly. If you blow it, start over and aim for five perfect ones. It's a great method (if a bit obsessive-compulsive!) to make happy accidents into new behaviors. 5) When working on high, challenging passages, take the phrase down an interval of fourth then gradually take the phrase up in semi-tones. Take the passage ABOVE where you need to perform it. That will help trick your brain into thinking that the once-too-high passage is not so high after all. 6) When practicing a new and difficult technique (like belting to high C....with vibrato!), take a break every so often. Go and make yourself a sandwich, then come back and try again. Also try your new techniques in as many different locations as possible so your muscle memory remains no matter what the visual input might be. 7) Figure out if you're primarily a visual learner (reading sheet music, chord charts, or lyrics), a kinesthetic learner (singing by how it feels) or an auditory learner (hear it, sing it, know it). If you have a strong predilection for one type of learning, don't be too hard on yourself if other styles of learning seem really difficult. It's just the way your brain is built. 8) Don't practice until you get hoarse. Hoarse means swelling and that means it's time to stop singing. Pain should NEVER be experienced...nor tickling in the vocal folds. It is incorrect to think that pushing past the pain is ever a technique for strengthening the vocal folds. There should be no pain, ever. 9) The goal of practicing is to sing songs, not to do exercises perfectly. There are too many people out there who can sing their pants off on exercises but cannot sing a song to save their lives. Songs filled with feeling and magic are the goal. Practicing is only the foundation, not the goal. So include songs or difficult song fragments as part of your practice strategies. 10) Record yourself or consider having a professional ear (like a vocal coach with a lot of experience) monitor your progress every so often. Just to make sure your practicing does make perfect! Celebrity voice coach Lisa Popeil, MFA in Voice, is the creator of the Voiceworks® Method and the Total Singer DVD. www.popeil.com
  19. Guest

    ArticlesHow to Practice

    Anyone who wants to master a skill is taught that practice makes perfect or perfect practice makes perfect or practice makes permanent. But practicing one's singing is uniquely difficult because it's such an invisible process and it can be challenging to know if you're succeeding or not. A piano player can see his fingers and a skier can time himself racing down a hill. Singing though is esthetic and subjective so it's hard to trust oneself. For how long should I practice? Should I do exercises and then songs? What's the optimal practice time? How do I know if I'm doing anything right? When I began my voice training, in the Dark Ages, my teacher recommended that I not practice. She was concerned that I would practice incorrectly (very likely) and that we'd have to redo rather than build. Made sense to me at the time! But I realize that new muscle memory takes practice and that if the teaching is clear, there's less chance of practicing wrong at home. Here then, is a list of my suggestions to help make practicing a thing of pleasure and satisfaction. Find a private place to sing. Not easy for those living in an apartment, I know, but the more private and undisturbed you can be, the less self-conscious you'll feel. Singing can sound loud and strange at times and you don't want to have to worry about people making fun of you by banging on the wall. Though singing in the car is not ideal, for some, it's the only reasonable private space. Just keep your hands on 10 and 2and eyes straight ahead while driving! Determine exactly what you need to focus on- + support exercises? watching yourself sing in the mirror to eliminate head tilting or chin lifting? + getting rid of chest breathing? holding long notes more comfortably? having consistently easy, non-strainy high notes? singing in tune? + vocal agility (speed and accuracy ornamental sections)? + high belting? + memorizing lyrics? + creating vocal riffs? + figuring out harmonies? working out performance gestures and moves? Notice I didn't mention warming-up exercises. Technical exercises and warm-up exercises can be two different things. Personally, I think that too many warm-up exercises can be tiring and sometimes less is more when it comes to warming up. The idea that one must warm-up for 20 minutes (or any exact amount of time) prior to a performance is unnecessary for many singers. Warm-ups should begin with stretching the body, creating good posture, reaffirming lower belly breathing then warming up the support jobs: chest up, ribs out, upper belly firming out, lower belly going in. This whole process should only take about three minutes. Then it's time to attach the vocal folds to the picture. I love the trill patterns: either lip trill or tongue trills. BUT, do not make the mistake of doing them loudly and carelessly. Start on your very lowest note and LIGHTLY do the trills to your highest note with great attention to your breathing and support jobs. I hear so many people doing the trills incorrectly and super-loud. That will over-pressurize your vocal folds and you'll be hoarse in no time. Humming is also a standard first warm-up for the vocal folds. Can't go wrong with humming. Sirens (smoothing sliding up and down) on hums and on vowels is another great, simple vocal fold warm-up. Never sing high and loud until you feel thoroughly warmed-up. 4) Do you ever accidentally do something amazing when singing and the bell of truth rings in your head? Don't let luck be your master! Follow what I call the Rule of Five. If you get lucky when experimenting and something AWESOME comes out of your mouth, REPEAT the phrase 5 times in a row perfectly. If you blow it, start over and aim for five perfect ones. It's a great method (if a bit obsessive-compulsive!) to make happy accidents into new behaviors. 5) When working on high, challenging passages, take the phrase down an interval of fourth then gradually take the phrase up in semi-tones. Take the passage ABOVE where you need to perform it. That will help trick your brain into thinking that the once-too-high passage is not so high after all. 6) When practicing a new and difficult technique (like belting to high C....with vibrato!), take a break every so often. Go and make yourself a sandwich, then come back and try again. Also try your new techniques in as many different locations as possible so your muscle memory remains no matter what the visual input might be. 7) Figure out if you're primarily a visual learner (reading sheet music, chord charts, or lyrics), a kinesthetic learner (singing by how it feels) or an auditory learner (hear it, sing it, know it). If you have a strong predilection for one type of learning, don't be too hard on yourself if other styles of learning seem really difficult. It's just the way your brain is built. 8) Don't practice until you get hoarse. Hoarse means swelling and that means it's time to stop singing. Pain should NEVER be experienced...nor tickling in the vocal folds. It is incorrect to think that pushing past the pain is ever a technique for strengthening the vocal folds. There should be no pain, ever. 9) The goal of practicing is to sing songs, not to do exercises perfectly. There are too many people out there who can sing their pants off on exercises but cannot sing a song to save their lives. Songs filled with feeling and magic are the goal. Practicing is only the foundation, not the goal. So include songs or difficult song fragments as part of your practice strategies. 10) Record yourself or consider having a professional ear (like a vocal coach with a lot of experience) monitor your progress every so often. Just to make sure your practicing does make perfect! Celebrity voice coach Lisa Popeil, MFA in Voice, is the creator of the Voiceworks® Method and the Total Singer DVD. www.popeil.com View full articles
  20. TMV World Team

    Make 'Em Work For It: Finding a Vocal Coach

    Let's be honest- voice lessons can be expensive!! In this tough economic climate, it becomes an even larger sacrifice to spend money on vocal training. For that reason, if you are making the investment, the vocal instructor you choose should be worth your hard-earned dollars. There are waaaaaay too many charlatans out there who are, in essence, ripping you off!! They are not leading you into vocal freedom and are nothing more than vocal cheerleaders. You should be making your teacher really work for the pay. I want to share with you some things to consider in terms of teacher accountability. First of all, let's be clear: If your vocal coach can't explain clearly and simply how the voice works, RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!! A REAL teacher should be able to lead you into a working knowledge of your instrument. It is only when that happens that you will truly master your voice. He should be able to give you a purpose for any and every exercise that is given. I tell my students that if I don't give you the reason behind the vocalese, they can smack me. When the client is away from me, he will need to become self-sufficient and fend for himself on the road, in rehearsal, or in the studio. Knowing what exercises serve what purpose will keep you able to function on a daily basis. For too long, singers have been allowed to be the 'dumb' musicians, lagging behind their instrumentalist cohorts in knowing the nuts and bolts of their axe. A solid coach won't allow that. Beware of voice teachers who throw around trite directions like "sing from the diaphragm" and "place the tone forward", for example. This is often a sign that they have no clue as to what is pedagogically sound. Famed vocal coach Seth Riggs warns against such teaching by result instead of by cause and effect. They should be able to give specific exercises to bring the voice into balance. Teaching voice is an artful science and a scientific art. The scientific knowledge must be there. If not. move on to another teacher. A good voice teacher doesn't need to be the best singer you ever encounter, but if he can't sing, MOVE ON!!!! The coach should be able to demonstrate the concepts and exercises for their students. You should put the teacher on the spot. Ask her to sing through her passaggi or bridges. If she can't make easy transitions, she shouldn't be teaching you how to do it. The trainer should possess the technique that they claim to teach. By the way, a degree in voice doesn't guarantee that the voice teacher is truly qualified to be training other singers. There are a number of wonderful teachers may have degrees in music education, musical theater, or speech pathology. Also, don't be overly concerned with the piano skills of the coach. They need to able to play the exercises and chords, for sure. But their principal job isn't to be the accompanist. The main focus should be on your watching and listening to you as you vocalize and then move into song work. Set the bar high, folks. Don't throw your money away. Do your homework. Ask good questions. Audition the teacher. You will not regret the effort you put into the search when you find your voice growing into the instrument you've dreamed of having. SING OUT LOUD!!!!
  21. Let's be honest- voice lessons can be expensive!! In this tough economic climate, it becomes an even larger sacrifice to spend money on vocal training. For that reason, if you are making the investment, the vocal instructor you choose should be worth your hard-earned dollars. There are waaaaaay too many charlatans out there who are, in essence, ripping you off!! They are not leading you into vocal freedom and are nothing more than vocal cheerleaders. You should be making your teacher really work for the pay. I want to share with you some things to consider in terms of teacher accountability. First of all, let's be clear: If your vocal coach can't explain clearly and simply how the voice works, RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!! A REAL teacher should be able to lead you into a working knowledge of your instrument. It is only when that happens that you will truly master your voice. He should be able to give you a purpose for any and every exercise that is given. I tell my students that if I don't give you the reason behind the vocalese, they can smack me. When the client is away from me, he will need to become self-sufficient and fend for himself on the road, in rehearsal, or in the studio. Knowing what exercises serve what purpose will keep you able to function on a daily basis. For too long, singers have been allowed to be the 'dumb' musicians, lagging behind their instrumentalist cohorts in knowing the nuts and bolts of their axe. A solid coach won't allow that. Beware of voice teachers who throw around trite directions like "sing from the diaphragm" and "place the tone forward", for example. This is often a sign that they have no clue as to what is pedagogically sound. Famed vocal coach Seth Riggs warns against such teaching by result instead of by cause and effect. They should be able to give specific exercises to bring the voice into balance. Teaching voice is an artful science and a scientific art. The scientific knowledge must be there. If not. move on to another teacher. A good voice teacher doesn't need to be the best singer you ever encounter, but if he can't sing, MOVE ON!!!! The coach should be able to demonstrate the concepts and exercises for their students. You should put the teacher on the spot. Ask her to sing through her passaggi or bridges. If she can't make easy transitions, she shouldn't be teaching you how to do it. The trainer should possess the technique that they claim to teach. By the way, a degree in voice doesn't guarantee that the voice teacher is truly qualified to be training other singers. There are a number of wonderful teachers may have degrees in music education, musical theater, or speech pathology. Also, don't be overly concerned with the piano skills of the coach. They need to able to play the exercises and chords, for sure. But their principal job isn't to be the accompanist. The main focus should be on your watching and listening to you as you vocalize and then move into song work. Set the bar high, folks. Don't throw your money away. Do your homework. Ask good questions. Audition the teacher. You will not regret the effort you put into the search when you find your voice growing into the instrument you've dreamed of having. SING OUT LOUD!!!! View full articles
  22. TMV World Team

    How to choose a voice teacher

    First , I believe that everyone has the right to choose a suitable teacher for him/her that charges according to his/hers economic possibility. There is no use to start and taking one or two lesson and then stop because we can't afford it anymore. Therefor I will advise you to look for someone that his charges suit your pocket. This way you won't have to stop and change voice teacher in the middle of your voice learning process. I would suggest you also to try and find someone who can prove his professional abilities as a singer and as a teacher by videos or audio files. I won't just trust his/her word for it. I would also get an idea of what are the results I might obtain from studying with him/her. I would look for someone who has years of background and teaching experience, and not a fresh one. Usually an experienced teacher can offers you more. No always, as a rule, but often. I would try to find a teacher that gives you a nice and comfort feeling while study with. Singing can be sometimes like open your heart to a "stranger" and tell about "all your problems. Your teacher should be a person you can communicate with and feel free to be able to give feedback during the process. You should feel relaxed during the lessons for the process to be effective. Don't obligate yourself for a long period for lessons before you know the teacher and you have decided that this is what you want/need. You shouldn't feel any strange feelings on your throat at the end of a voice lesson. If you do feel uncomfortable (and you don't have a cold) afterwards that means you may need to change your teacher. After a while with a good teacher you should feel you can sing much easier, singing higher notes with less effort (than before) and have a clear sound. If none of it happens that means that may indicate on the fact that this method might be not working for you. Above all: Listen to your body/voice and what it tells you. If you feel that the teacher IS helping you that is great. If not you can stop your lessons , and look for another one. Don't forget , now you have much more knowledge than before to know if things are good for you.
  23. First , I believe that everyone has the right to choose a suitable teacher for him/her that charges according to his/hers economic possibility. There is no use to start and taking one or two lesson and then stop because we can't afford it anymore. Therefor I will advise you to look for someone that his charges suit your pocket. This way you won't have to stop and change voice teacher in the middle of your voice learning process. I would suggest you also to try and find someone who can prove his professional abilities as a singer and as a teacher by videos or audio files. I won't just trust his/her word for it. I would also get an idea of what are the results I might obtain from studying with him/her. I would look for someone who has years of background and teaching experience, and not a fresh one. Usually an experienced teacher can offers you more. No always, as a rule, but often. I would try to find a teacher that gives you a nice and comfort feeling while study with. Singing can be sometimes like open your heart to a "stranger" and tell about "all your problems. Your teacher should be a person you can communicate with and feel free to be able to give feedback during the process. You should feel relaxed during the lessons for the process to be effective. Don't obligate yourself for a long period for lessons before you know the teacher and you have decided that this is what you want/need. You shouldn't feel any strange feelings on your throat at the end of a voice lesson. If you do feel uncomfortable (and you don't have a cold) afterwards that means you may need to change your teacher. After a while with a good teacher you should feel you can sing much easier, singing higher notes with less effort (than before) and have a clear sound. If none of it happens that means that may indicate on the fact that this method might be not working for you. Above all: Listen to your body/voice and what it tells you. If you feel that the teacher IS helping you that is great. If not you can stop your lessons , and look for another one. Don't forget , now you have much more knowledge than before to know if things are good for you. View full articles
  24. Introduction This weekend's article is a comparision of the 'belt voice' production as used by female singers, the 'robust head voice' as used by Operatic tenors, and the male 'Rock' pharyngeal voice . These types of vocalism share some characteristics which make them similar to each other, but also have some characteristics which differentiate them. As I have done before, I will use spectragraphic analysis to assist in the understanding of how these voices can be compared and contrasted. A first example: 'Top Line F', Belt and Robust Head Voice The following spectragraph shows the harmonic content of two voices singing the F natural usually written on the top line of the treble staff, that is, the F at the upper range of both the belt and tenor voices (the F the octave and a perfect fourth above middle C.) The female singer, represented in blue, is Patti LaBelle, from a televised recording of "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel , recorded in the mid-'60s. The tenor is classical tenor Nicolai Gedda, from a 1973 recording of "Credeasi Misera" from I Puritani. Patti http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTAOD-2Fnqw at 2:19 Nicolai http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w_TTK7UP1c at 4:50 As I have done with prior recordings, I have matched the volumes of first harmonic (H1) so that the relative intensity of the upper harmonics can be identified. With this matching, we see the following: 1) There are five strong harmonics displayed by both voices, and for both of the notes, the 3rd harmonic is the strongest. This gives the voices power and color. The relative intensity of the harmonics is approximately the same in both voices. 2) H1 and H2 are lower in intensity than H3, but strong enough to make the core warmth of the tone quality very solid. 3) The 4th harmonic is both voices is in within the 'red lines', the most senstive part of our hearing range. 4) The white trace sections are 'wider', indicating that Mr. Gedda's vibrato is as well. Ms LaBelle sang her note with almost no vibrato, so the peaks are very pointed. A second example: Middle line B, Pop Belt and Rock Pharyngeal voice This second spectragraph, which I have annotated for harmonic identification, is of two voices singing the B above middle C. The two voices are Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, singing 'A whole lotta love', and Whitney Houston singing 'I will always love you', on a vowel approximating /a/. I have matched the fundamentals as before. Robert Plant's voice is in blue, and Whitney Houston's is in white. The spectragraph shows the following: 1) With the fundamentals equalized, the loudest harmonic in both voices is H2, and approximately the same intensity in both. With fundamental matched, and H2 so similar, the core of the tone for both voices on this note is identical. H2 in both voices carries the bulk of the volume for both. 2) H3 in Robert Plant's voice is somewhat louder by comparison to Whitney Houston's, but for both it is louder than the fundamental, and the 2nd loudest harmonic overall for both as well. Recall that the 3rd harmonic (an octave and a perfect 5th above the fundamental) as an odd harmonic, adds color to the tone quality. The relative strength of this harmonic in Robert Plant's voice is helps us to distinguish his from Whitney's tone quality. 3) H4 for both voices is about equal, but H5 and H6 in Plant's voice are stronger than Whitney's. This may be the result of "Singer's Formant" in Plant's voice. H6 is particulary well situated, as it is not only strong, but within the sweet spot of hearing. Example three: Broadway Belt, and Operatic Tenor This one is a fun one. The following spectragraph is of two very famous singers, Ethel Merman (the quintessential broadway belter of the mid-20th Century) and Luciano Pavarotti, Operatic Tenor. Ethel is singing the last note of 'Theres no business like show business' from Annie, Get Your Gun, and Pavarotti is singing the last note of 'Celeste Aida' from Aida. As usual, for comparison I have equalized the strength of the fundamentals so that relative harmonic balance can be shown. Can you tell which is which? Without giving away yet which is which, the following can be observed: 1) With the fundamentals equalized, the Blue voice has a louder H2 than the White one, which makes the core of the tone quality just a bit brighter, but not much. 2) H3 in both voices is the loudest harmonic, so they both have the color this harmonic brings to the tone, with a small advantage for the White voice. 3) H4 for both voices is quite a bit softer than H1, H2 and H3, adding some brightness, but not much to both. 4) The higher harmonics have less energy in both voices, but overall the White voice has more than the Blue one, which gives it more ring. 5) Both voices have vibrato (as evidenced by the 'wideness' of the harmonics), with the Blue voice having just a little bit more than the White one. Have you determined which is which? Scroll down a bit to learn.... Pavarotti is in White. Merman is in Blue :-) Conclusions In looking at these representative voices, there are some commonalities that we can identify for this pitch range: A) In each voice type, the principal strength of the tone is in the 2nd and 3rd harmonic. The fundamental is often 4th or lesser in strength, meaning that other harmonics align more closely with the resonances of the vowels chosen than it does. Some voices display presence of singer's formant, and others do not. C) Each of the singers shows strong voice production characteristics, but not equal balances of resonance.
  25. Introduction This weekend's article is a comparision of the 'belt voice' production as used by female singers, the 'robust head voice' as used by Operatic tenors, and the male 'Rock' pharyngeal voice . These types of vocalism share some characteristics which make them similar to each other, but also have some characteristics which differentiate them. As I have done before, I will use spectragraphic analysis to assist in the understanding of how these voices can be compared and contrasted. A first example: 'Top Line F', Belt and Robust Head Voice The following spectragraph shows the harmonic content of two voices singing the F natural usually written on the top line of the treble staff, that is, the F at the upper range of both the belt and tenor voices (the F the octave and a perfect fourth above middle C.) The female singer, represented in blue, is Patti LaBelle, from a televised recording of "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel , recorded in the mid-'60s. The tenor is classical tenor Nicolai Gedda, from a 1973 recording of "Credeasi Misera" from I Puritani. Patti http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTAOD-2Fnqw at 2:19 Nicolai http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w_TTK7UP1c at 4:50 As I have done with prior recordings, I have matched the volumes of first harmonic (H1) so that the relative intensity of the upper harmonics can be identified. With this matching, we see the following: 1) There are five strong harmonics displayed by both voices, and for both of the notes, the 3rd harmonic is the strongest. This gives the voices power and color. The relative intensity of the harmonics is approximately the same in both voices. 2) H1 and H2 are lower in intensity than H3, but strong enough to make the core warmth of the tone quality very solid. 3) The 4th harmonic is both voices is in within the 'red lines', the most senstive part of our hearing range. 4) The white trace sections are 'wider', indicating that Mr. Gedda's vibrato is as well. Ms LaBelle sang her note with almost no vibrato, so the peaks are very pointed. A second example: Middle line B, Pop Belt and Rock Pharyngeal voice This second spectragraph, which I have annotated for harmonic identification, is of two voices singing the B above middle C. The two voices are Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, singing 'A whole lotta love', and Whitney Houston singing 'I will always love you', on a vowel approximating /a/. I have matched the fundamentals as before. Robert Plant's voice is in blue, and Whitney Houston's is in white. The spectragraph shows the following: 1) With the fundamentals equalized, the loudest harmonic in both voices is H2, and approximately the same intensity in both. With fundamental matched, and H2 so similar, the core of the tone for both voices on this note is identical. H2 in both voices carries the bulk of the volume for both. 2) H3 in Robert Plant's voice is somewhat louder by comparison to Whitney Houston's, but for both it is louder than the fundamental, and the 2nd loudest harmonic overall for both as well. Recall that the 3rd harmonic (an octave and a perfect 5th above the fundamental) as an odd harmonic, adds color to the tone quality. The relative strength of this harmonic in Robert Plant's voice is helps us to distinguish his from Whitney's tone quality. 3) H4 for both voices is about equal, but H5 and H6 in Plant's voice are stronger than Whitney's. This may be the result of "Singer's Formant" in Plant's voice. H6 is particulary well situated, as it is not only strong, but within the sweet spot of hearing. Example three: Broadway Belt, and Operatic Tenor This one is a fun one. The following spectragraph is of two very famous singers, Ethel Merman (the quintessential broadway belter of the mid-20th Century) and Luciano Pavarotti, Operatic Tenor. Ethel is singing the last note of 'Theres no business like show business' from Annie, Get Your Gun, and Pavarotti is singing the last note of 'Celeste Aida' from Aida. As usual, for comparison I have equalized the strength of the fundamentals so that relative harmonic balance can be shown. Can you tell which is which? Without giving away yet which is which, the following can be observed: 1) With the fundamentals equalized, the Blue voice has a louder H2 than the White one, which makes the core of the tone quality just a bit brighter, but not much. 2) H3 in both voices is the loudest harmonic, so they both have the color this harmonic brings to the tone, with a small advantage for the White voice. 3) H4 for both voices is quite a bit softer than H1, H2 and H3, adding some brightness, but not much to both. 4) The higher harmonics have less energy in both voices, but overall the White voice has more than the Blue one, which gives it more ring. 5) Both voices have vibrato (as evidenced by the 'wideness' of the harmonics), with the Blue voice having just a little bit more than the White one. Have you determined which is which? Scroll down a bit to learn.... Pavarotti is in White. Merman is in Blue :-) Conclusions In looking at these representative voices, there are some commonalities that we can identify for this pitch range: A) In each voice type, the principal strength of the tone is in the 2nd and 3rd harmonic. The fundamental is often 4th or lesser in strength, meaning that other harmonics align more closely with the resonances of the vowels chosen than it does. Some voices display presence of singer's formant, and others do not. C) Each of the singers shows strong voice production characteristics, but not equal balances of resonance. View full articles