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Found 26 results

  1. An excerpt from the 2nd webinar with Robert Lunte & Draven Grey. In this excerpt, Robert Lunte explains his unique perspective on support for singing. There are two sources of support when singing. When we understand that, doors will open to reveal the need to train the musculature for singing.
  2. An excerpt from the 2nd webinar with Robert Lunte & Draven Grey. In this excerpt, Robert Lunte explains his unique perspective on support for singing. There are two sources of support when singing. When we understand that, doors will open to reveal the need to train the musculature for singing.
  3. Robert Lunte from The Vocalist Studio provides an overview of the significance of the Bernoulli effect in singing and how understanding this principle, can help you to train more efficiently and gain more progress as a singer. This excerpt is from the 2nd webinar with Draven Grey.
  4. Robert Lunte from The Vocalist Studio provides an overview of the significance of the Bernoulli effect in singing and how understanding this principle, can help you to train more efficiently and gain more progress as a singer. This excerpt is from the 2nd webinar with Draven Grey.
  5. I had mentioned this singer "Chris Stapleton" in another thread. Thought I'd share this video/song he recently published. I was really struck by the numerous examples of solid vocal athleticism that arise in this performance. I try not to overanalyze every good vocal too often, cuz sometimes I loose the "soul" of the song in my ear from all of the deconstruction I use to understand the vocal. Couldn't resist on this one. Still "hearing the soul" to date. I've tagged all the key words that I believe I recognize "done well" in this composition. Personally, I'm most impressed with his mastery over what I would assume are the critical configurations which bring great resonance with comparatively low level respiration. I'm convinced that, with the best possible formant, combined with the strength support of skilled appoggio, the "illusion" of a belt is created. He is singing at a relatively low volume yet, the intensity of his voice is sustained. The same nuance is applied to his vocal distortion, which he employs mostly in the higher notes. Those are my impressions.
  6. I am really struggling to improve the legato feel of my singing. I came across a post that says excessive air and breath pressure will be counterproductive for smooth legato. What extent of breath is required for various pitches(High, medium and low), to lets say sing the same duration? Also, to what extent transition through passagio is related to breath pressure
  7. I believe I am using too much air while singing clean vocals, this is great for when I want a breathy tone and when the song calls for it, but the thing is I don't know how to cut back on the air without letting my voice distort. Whenever I cut back on the air, vocal distortion kicks in, and my vocals get a grunge like rasp tone. I've discovered that whenever I sing anything above F#4, I can't sing it without vocal distortion kicking in. I don't believe it's an issue involving breath support, because I can sing all the way up to A4 comfortably, even though I can only sing above F#4 with a distorted tone. Too much air dries out my vocal chords pretty fast whenever I sing clean, and I often have to pause between lyrics and inhale fast so I can get enough breath for the next phrase, I manage to do it flawlessly, but it is annoying. Why can't I cut back on the air without my vocals distorting into a grunge/raspy tone?
  8. have heard the song a million times. Never payed attention to the breathing but once you hear it, you cant unhear it lol Is it normal to have this amount of breathing. Could he have gotten by on about half that amount of inhales? Ooh, mama Well (breath) look what's been done (breath) You can only see the stars After a (breath) setting sun (breath) You (breath) run for the money (breath) You don't even know about wild (breath) mountain honey it especially strikes me as odd to have the breaths right in the middle of phrases such as "after a (breath) setting sun" and "wild (breath) mountian honey" wouldn't the equivalent be "and she's (breath) buying a (breath) stairway (breath) to heaven" discuss
  9. This is one area of singing that has always confused me a bit. I've been studying and practicing for about 4 years now, and I am a decent singer with power throughout my range, but my voice can be inconsistent, and I believe that the main issue I'm having is with breath management. It's one of those things that I know is important, but I don't quite know enough to apply it effectively and consistently. The reason it confuses me is that I have read many different things about "proper" breath management/support for singing, and it just seems like there isn't much consistency with vocalists and teachers on what the proper way is. All I really know about it is how the basic physiology works. I hear some say there should be little to no conscious effort involved, and I hear others talk about all the different muscles involved. When I was a senior in high school, a classical singer came to our choir class, and she mentioned something about using pelvic muscles to push. I don't know a ton about classical technique, so maybe it's something different, but to me that seems like it would be a bit unnecessary and possibly even bad to push like that with so much muscular force. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that when the diaphragm is in the inhale position, the muscle is tense, as opposed to the exhale position where it is relaxed. So if I inhale I have to "hold" the breath, and when I relax completely it all rushes out on it's own quite rapidly. I imagined it being like a balloon. When you blow it up is when the air pressure is higher, and opening the neck (the airway) will allow all the air to rush out. If you pull the sides of the neck while the air is rushing out, it makes two folds in the rubber that vibrate a high-pitched squeaky tone, which seems remarkably similar to the way the voice works (minus resonance). If this is an accurate analogy, shouldn't that mean that the goal of breath management is not to push at all, but rather to keep the diaphragm stable and to control the speed at which the diaphragm relaxes, thereby controlling the rate of airflow needed for any given phonation? You wouldn't really want to push the air up and out, but you wouldn't want to feel totally relaxed either; you would want to use surrounding muscles to stabilize and control the diaphragm so it relaxes slowly and at the rate you want rather than pushing. Right? By the way, I do have The Four Pillars of Singing and the appoggio techniques have helped me. I just feel I'd be able to better understand and apply the techniques if I understood the physiological and technical components more precisely.
  10. Hi, I'm practicing since a year now. And I can sing quite good now. But whenever I perform in public, most of time I feel my voice very shallow and hallow kind of. I find certain strength lacking in my voice. When I practice alone, and with my friends, then I'm OK. I feel lake of connection when singing in public. Even sometimes I hit wrong notes, which sounds weird. I don't get too nervous, at least physically. I don't shiver so I'm unable to find the reason of this. Please help me out. What kind of practice should I do to rectify this problem. Thanks is advance!
  11. I know how to apply breath support and I generally believe in its usefulness. I can feel the sensation of release when doing more intense singing and it seems like there is a change in resonance according to how I'm applying it. At the very least, I feel more confident when my voice is supported so there is a psychological benefit. But what is actually occurring in the body mechanically that produces these effects? How does breath support appear to reduce tension and alter resonance. What are the mechanics? Does air inhale lower into the lungs and does this create a different kind of vacuum for the air to exist? Is it based on the chamber being altered in shape? Is it based on there being alterations in muscular tension which would alternate how the air would be flowing through the chamber (harder surfaces reflect air differently than softer ones). If you could hook up a device that could use air particles to visually measure air flowing, inside the chamber all the way from the lungs, out through the larynx, what would be different vs not supporting? When reading about Estill, I noticed it seemed to dodge breath support and claimed as long as the rest of the tract is operating correctly it is not needed. Now that was a very scientific endeavor. She hooked up sensory devices to musculature to figure out as objectively as possible anatomically how each component of the tract functions, and perhaps visualizing airflow in a complex chamber was beyond the scope of what they could do. Does anyone have any insight or harder evidence of what is actually occurring, vs our subjective sensations that it seems helpful? Has there been any significant research to measure the various muscles traditionally involved with support or the chamber itself and how it relates to the voice usage, compression of the air, the types of stress the vocal tract might be under, and how resonance might be changing, or are we kind of in all in the same boat that I'm in, where it seems helpful, it's traditionally seemed to help a lot of people, so we do it without a really concrete explanation?
  12. Hi, I have an obstacle when adopting apoggio breathing while rehearsing singing. After only a handful of exercizes, tension begins to build up in my upper back. Not my lower back but my upper back. It has been this way for weeks now. Can anyone help me overcome this? Thank you very much. Sincerely, Jay Peek
  13. Many teachers will tell you to squeeze your bum cheeks to eliminate strain and to sing higher notes. What do you guys think of this technique, does it work?
  14. Learning to sing and perfecting your voice can be a daunting task. Sometimes i feel like i cant handle it and i feel down without any will to continue, but the very next day all those clouded emotions go away and i get back on track. Sometimes the "dark" periods are longer and they get to me more.   To me, Love i feel for music and singing is what drives me forward and can turn the tides even in the darkest of days.   I was wondering what made you guys go on? How was it for you from day 1 until now. What did you do when having bad days or did you ever feel like that?   Even coaches. How do you vocal coaches handle the stress that come from the "industry" and constant nagging and shady bussiness moves that some teachers shamelessly use.
  15. Hi Everyone! Now that winter weather is upon us, many of you will be turning up the thermostat to keep your home warm and comfortable. If your heat is turned up too high, you will be drying the air in your environment. Dry air will dry your throat and vocal folds. To remedy this problem, I am suggesting that you use a hot steam bacteria killing vaporizer unit. You will definitely feel the comfortable and soothing heat that is moist. You will especially feel this wonderful moist heat at night when you sleep. I suggest that you close the door of your bedroom to keep the nice moist heat confined in the room. You will be pleasantly surprised how warm the room gets with the awesome moist heat! In this day and age of high fuel costs, you can easily save money on heat if you turn down your thermostat to 66 to 68 degrees with the vaporizer. For those of you cranking up those thermostats at night, it will be a pleasant change and save you money on your gas or oil bills. More importantly you will save your voice. Since vocal fold hydration is our prime concern during the winter because we go from dry cold air outside to dry warm air inside, the vaporizer use combined with a good amount of water. This really applies to singers and speakers who speak and sing many hours every day. Drink your water! But don't over hydrate. The current water craze with everyone carrying around bottled water is just that a craze a fad. A few years ago an article came out that said everyone should be drinking 64oz of water a day. Where did this writer live The Sahara Desert? Unless you're running the marathon in 90-degree heat, nobody needs to be THAT hydrated. Somehow the human race got along just fine without drinking 64oz a day before the article. BUT drinking FLUIDS is important. While water is the absolute best hydrate for the body, don't skimp on your fruit juices either. But watch the apple juice its gaseous and Orange juice can be very acidic. Distilled fruit juices or power water like those made by say, Snapple are very good. When you venture outside be sure to keep your neck warm by wrapping it in a scarf or turtleneck. Also remember to breathe in through your nose at ALL times. Breathing through the nose warms and moistens the air before it passes into your lungs- a really good thing. Mouth breathing can - and will - lead to respiratory infections, dryness and inflammation of the vocal folds. If you're taking any decongestants or antihistamines that can dry your voice or throat, you should take Robitussin DM or Mucinex to increase the secretions on your folds as a medicine supplement. This applies to everyone who takes antihistamines or decongestants for colds or allergies. I strongly recommend that you use these drying agents only when necessary. Consult with you doctor on their usage. I suggest you consult your allergist or ENT doctor to go over your own personal issues regarding voice disorders and voice issues. We recommend a dust free and pollen-free environment. You should keep your bedroom clean by sweeping or vacuuming as often as possible! We hope that you find these tips to be useful as always. Finally, if you do get a little phlegmy or get a build up of mucous in your throat, there is a great product called Alkalol which is like paint thinner for the vocal folds. Even though the bottle says to distill it, I've found it best to gargle with it at full strength. It can be found online at most online drugstores like Walgreens.com or drugstore.com. It's a singing trade secret. Stay warm and keep practicing. Until next time, Kevin Richards www.rockthestagenyc.com
  16. Good singers are often described as having a unique personal style, a special way of expressing a song. But in the larger picture of singing, let's talk about vocal styles in general. First off, you want to be clear on which style you sing the most. Pop, rock, jazz, country, blues, R&B, classical, folk, gospel, Broadway belting or perhaps a combination of one or more of these styles? I frequently encounter singers who think they're singing in a pop style but are actually singing in a classical style because of prior training. It can sound quite strange and disorienting to the listener to hear someone sing in a wrong style. The conventions and techniques of classical singing are so different from popular, commercial styles that classical voice training can become a disability to the budding pop singer. Every vocal style is a recipe using only certain ingredients. Like a cook who knows the difference between braising and grilling, you should have an acquaintance with the recipe for your desired style. Let's start by comparing classical and non-classical styles: simply put, non-classical sounds like speaking or yelling and classical singing doesn't. If you've ever heard an opera singer speak then sing, you might be shocked to notice how different these two modes of vocal production are. Whether you sing classically or in a commercial vein, your choice of ingredients will determine if you're nailing your style or not. What are some of the ingredients of vocal style? Laryngeal Height - Your larynx (voice-box) can easily move up and down. Which vertical position you choose, regular, raised or lowered, will affect your sound. You might lower it for classical or soulful R&B and jazz, keep it regular for pop or legit Broadway singing, or raise it for rock and country. Airflow - How much air should you have in your sound? In country, there's typically not a lot of air coming through the vocal folds, but when singing sultry R&B or jazz, you may allow the folds to open more. Resonator Shape - What is the shape of your throat and mouth? For country, I recommend constricting the pharynx slightly under the jawline (never constrict the vocal folds themselves), while in classical or R&B I recommend widening that area to give me a more open sound. Shape decisions also include how open your mouth should be and if you're mostly smiling or pursing your lips. Nasality - Air which is routed through your nose creates the buzzy sound of nasality. Listen carefully to your favorite singers to see if you can discern how much nasality you hear. This important resonance is a must in rock and country, less so in pop and jazz, and not desirable in classical production. Dialect - Can you imagine hearing a country singer with a Russian accent? Or a blues singer with a French accent? Might sound strange. Consider a Southern accent for R&B and country, a standard American accent for pop and Broadway singing, perhaps even an English accent for classical. Stance - Ever notice how classical singers seem like they're leaning forward but some R&B singers may be leaning back on their heels? Subtle stance differences can make a difference in vocal production and are interesting to watch for. Volume - In sultry jazz singing, you may hear singers shift their volumes suddenly from loud to soft and back again, while in opera the vocal dynamics mostly range from loud to louder. Pop is often soft to medium loud, never getting very loud. When country, which is fairly soft to medium loud, gets louder, it then enters the world of country-rock. So volume can be a determining factor when combining styles. Stylisms - Each vocal style has particular stylisms which act as style hallmarks. For example, vocal fry can be heard in pop, jazz, and rock, which cry is common in country. Yodel can be heard in country and alternative pop, while stops are only heard in Broadway belting. There are different slides and swoops used and using the wrong swoop can get you into big stylistic trouble. Ornamental riffs such as R&B runs are important to master as well as classical ornamental runs called melisma or coloratura. Emotions - No one style has a monopoly on the human experience. For dignified and regal, no style comes closer than classical. If you want to express sensuality or ecstasy, look no further than R&B. Pop is sincere. alternative pop is quirky, rock is anti-social and powerful. You get the idea. A fun way to hone your style discernment skills is to sit at the ole radio tuner and go from station to station. See how quickly you come to a conclusion on the vocal style(s) you hear. It's not easy sometimes. Are you hearing country, pop-country, rock-country or R&B-country? Can you identify WHY you came to your conclusion? Remember that like in cooking (Thai, French, etc), each vocal style has conventions; rules that have developed over time. These conventions arise out of the particular culture and history which are the roots of a style. Listen and watch your favorite singers. Everything you see or hear helps to determine style choices. Styles are not accidents- make sure your style choices are well thought-out. Your next step? Pick a style, listen to the greats, observe everything, imitate, THEN play around to creative your own unique expressive masterpiece. Stay true to your style before you venture forth into uncharted territory. Lisa Popeil - Voiceworks Method - www.popeil.com 818-906-7229
  17. Top 10 Tips for Vocalists Students are always asking me what to remember technique-wise when they sing. My approach is to get a technique in your body so that "thinking" about technique is at a minimum. The more you have to think (or even worry) about singing while you perform, the further away you get from singing from your heart - soulfully with intent. Athletes train for many years to be able to rely on their body to support their athletic decisions; it's the same with singing. It may come as a feel (to drop your jaw) while singing higher notes that won't release, or something you notice onstage (like you are hunching over). Pros can self-correct quickly, and the audience never knows. That said, as you develop your vocal instrument, some techniques will become seamless, while others require focus. In the studio, for instance, having a microphone technique and a technique for projection goes a long way in getting a great performance. Here are some tips: 1. Drop Your Jaw - This is Rule #1 and Rule #2. In pop singing, dropping the jaw (in a vertical direction) allows you to hit pitches without pushing and without vibrato to reach the placement. 2. Body stance -Holding up -Keeping your chest chest up and shoulders back is key to supporting your diaphragm. If you hunch over, it's easier to go flat, and pitches easily can migrate to the back of your throat. You end up working harder with less sound and poorer quality. 3. Loose jaw - dumb duh - Think of how guitarists or pianist warm up their hands to get them more flexible. This is what a dumb-duh does for singers. Because your jaw is loose, you have more flexibility to create more vowel shapes and sing higher notes easily. 4. Send the sound up and over - Sound has direction, and it has energy. Onstage and in the studio, pick a point across the room and send the sound there. The sound carries in a way that is focused and lifted. 5. Command the stage - Your body stance and energy communicate who you are to an audience before you sing a note. With chest up and shoulders back, imagine your arms are embracing a big beach ball. This is the breadth of your stage. 6. Sing through the microphone to a point in the distance - Be mindful of the dynamics of the microphone, and project the sound forward. You can sing into a microphone and not project but the sound is more confined. Try it both ways and see the difference. 7. Keep your eyes open - Being emotional and evocative is good, but closing your eyes shuts out your audience. Your eyes are the windows to your emotions - let your audience in on that. 8. Don't expel for more tone - Having a reservoir of air is essential in great singing. You don't have to effort for air. Not expelling allows you to use that air more effectively and have more mouth sound (shaping the sound as well). Pop singing is about mouth sound and having a distinct vocal tone. Expelling, of course, can be effective with a breathy style. It doesn't work to get more volume or tone. 9. Fake it til you make it - No one is perfect, and anything worth doing is worth doing badly to start. They call it artist development for a reason. Start where you are and take baby steps until you get where you want to be. 10. Work with a coach - Athletes don't do it on their own, and neither do singers. Whitney Houston's mom is a professional singer, so was Mariah's. Even if you have natural talent, it still needs to be developed. You won't know what you actually have until you work it. From The Singer's Newsletter #82 - email vocalcoach@teridanz.com to sign up. ***This is an excerpt from Teri Danz's upcoming book Nail It Every Time: The Pro Singer's Guide to Everything Vocal with singing tips and more. Reprinted only with permission. All rights are reserved. More vocal tips are published on http://www.a2z-singing-tips.com.
  18. YOUR INSTRUMENT - UNDERSTANDING THE WHOLE VOICE: A 4-PART SERIES Co-authored by Dena Murray & Hilary Canto The series is presented as downloadable pdf files below so that you can easily print them. We'd love you to have a discussion thread here in the comments section. Please add any questions/comments below. We hope you enjoy the series! Thank you Dena & Hilary Left-Click here to download Part 1 Left-Click here to download Part 2 Left-Click here to download Part 3 Left-Click here to download Part 4 Dena Murray teaches in- home and online beginners as well as professionals with her own style technique for correct placement of the voice as well the art of breathing. Books available are: Vocal Technique: Finding your Real Voice (Hal Leonard Corp. 2002), a beginner's book separating the voice before teaching how to bridge the passaggio. Advanced Vocal Technique: Middle Voice, Placement & Styles co-authored with Tita Hutchison (Hal Leonard Publishing 2007) focuses strictly on placement and a unique technical approach to bridging the passaggio. Vocal Strength and Power: Boost Your Singing with Proper Technique and Breathing to be published By Hal Leonard Publishing, end 2009. You can find her on the TMV Directory Of Experts. www.denamurray.com Hilary Canto teaches in-home and online and developed the TRUE VOICE COURSE specially for allowing the voice to flow freely from the heart and to teach healthy vocal technique for performance singing. The course is available as mp3 files with written sheets to download. You can purchase it through and see her training videos to accompany the course on her TMV, youtube and myspace pages. You can find her on the TMV Directory of Experts.
  19. Here's a quick lesson on not holding your breath or holding back your breath which is "putting the cart before the horse". and sam smith by request (go easy its live and i learned it about 10 minutes ago.)  
  20. It has always been my understanding that correct support of the diaphragmatic region is a direct result of right breathing. In my experience I've noticed that most instruction has been about manipulating this region of the body in attempts to control the flow of air, unaware that the vocal cords are responsible for controlling the flow and compression. The vocal folds, and proper placement in the mask, have just as much to do with support of the singing mechanism as the diaphragm. Through extensive study and research over the last 15 years, I have discovered a little-known secret. Proper use of the diaphragm is an automatic result of having learned how to inhale the air correctly. In my latest book, Vocal Strength and Power published and released by Hal Leonard Corp., I have included a glossary of the most commonly used words by instructors to describe how to employ and gain support with this region of the body. Frankly, when looking up some of these words, I was quite surprised myself by the true meanings. This forced me to change my own vernacular when instructing after realizing that all the faulty perception with regard to how to engage this region of the body properly came down to the true meaning of words. In my first two books, I purposely stayed away from instruction on the diaphragm and focused on how to get the other two support mechanisms (the cords and the mask) to work together. At the time, I still did not have the words to describe how to engage the diaphragm correctly. I only knew what was wrong: Singers were squeezing the neck and belly muscles, pushing up the belly muscles, and putting strain on the neck muscles. Squeezing of any kind only results in feeling like you must force and blow the air out for sound. This habit not only feels unnatural and strained, but after a few years of singing this way, many singers find themselves in doctor's offices trying to uncover the reasons why they are no longer able to sing like they once did. Unfortunately, some will require rehabilitation and in other cases, surgery. About the Inhale Air is already in the lungs and body from natural breathing and inhales. Because of this truth, it is a misconception that more is needed for singing. In fact, if you take in too much, the vocal folds will be unable to control the flow for sound and compression. There is an art to inhalation. Taking in heaps of air can be not only be damaging, but it also brings on fatigue. See for yourself. Take in as much air as you can and then exhale it. Repeat this action over and over again for about five minutes and you're bound to feel a little tired if you don't faint from hyperventilation in the meantime! Now imagine breathing heavily and hard like this, but with sound, over and over again between words and phrases of songs. A tired singer's instinct will say, I need to take in more air in order to keep that power going, hit those higher notes, and sustain the note (or notes) if needed. Not so. This is literally exhausting, especially on a gig. The more air you keep losing, your head will keep telling you to take more and more in. This will set you up for a no win cycle. Important to remember but not so easy to employ is the idea that the vocal folds do not need much air to produce a strong tone, or to prolong one. In my latest book I have created exercises to re-train how to take the air in properly through use of the staccato. This staccato is a bit different than most. It requires that you take tiny puffs of air between each note of the exercise. However, a tiny bit does not mean to hold the breath in any way. Nor does it mean to blow it all out on every phonated pitch. It's tricky but once learned, all three-support mechanisms will work as they should: naturally and automatically. You will not have to manipulate by tensing the muscles of any region of your body to achieve what you have wrongly perceived as support of the diaphragm. Natural and Automatic Going from one way of breathing to another is difficult; it takes the ability to focus one's efforts on re-training and requires repetitive practice of exactly how much air should be taken in for each phonation. For engaging natural support upon inhalation during a staccato run, the belly (below the navel) will automatically become firm. It should stay nearly unmoving until after you have finished the last tone of a run. You should not have to strain it for this region to remain firm. If you strain to hold the belly out, you'll be holding the breath. Because it is internal, it's hard to feel the movement of the diaphragm itself. The only part of your body you should feel moving is the upper abdomen (above the navel) jumping out and in as it is indirectly compressed by the moving diaphragm inside your rib cage. You can place your finger just below your breastbone to feel this movement. On an inhalation, the diaphragm will automatically move down a bit. As it goes down, it pushes the upper abdomen out. On exhale the diaphragm and upper abdominal muscles very slowly return to their starting positions. (There is no need to blow out the air for this. You only need to relax your belly and leftover air is automatically expelled. Try it. Take in a breath and then just relax the belly. You should feel the air having left by itself). Only when the diaphragm relaxes completely do the upper abdominal muscles move back into their normal position. Squeezing the lower belly muscles at this point only fights the diaphragm's natural action). Through the use of the new exercises I created to re-train the inhale/exhale action, the movement is much faster because the point of the repetitive exercises is to do everything in rapid succession. This will help to get the air and sound producing as if it is one continuous action, and working like a single unit. www.denamurray.com Books: Vocal Strength and Power, published by Hal Leoanrd Corp, 2009 Advanced Vocal Technique: Middle Voice, Placement and Styles, published by Hal Leonard Corp, 2008 Vocal Technique: FInding Your Real Voice published by Hal Leonartd Corp 2002
  21. 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
  22. Many singers can sing like an angel, but have horrible breathing technique, if any. Correct breathing is a basic principle that is often absent in a performance, and that is tragic. If one learns to breathe correctly, they have to ability to greatly improve sound and also expand stamina and range. Also, breathing and relaxation go together like a hand and glove when done the right way. What is "A Singers Breath"? A singers breath is a term that I coined to make this type of breathing distinct from the shallow breathing that we do in everyday living. When a singer takes a breath to sing a note, it should be very calculated and technique driven. When I was growing up, I was always told to "sing from you diaphram", but correct breathing is so much more than that. Your diaphram is only one of the muscles involved with singing. In acutallity, your entire abdomen should be engaged when you sing, not just "the diaphram", as many people think. How to breathe Shallow breathing is the only thing essential for maintaining life. It is what we do everyday without any thought. It involves part abdominal muscles, part chest muscles. However, when a singer is performing, they must learn to think differntly about how to take a breath, and how to let that breath out. A short excersise: Stand upright and when you breathe in, fill your abdomen with air (Your abdomen shoud look and fill up like you are blowing up a balloon). Do this as slowly as possible. When you have completely filled your abdomen with air, slowly blow the air out. Maintain as much control as you can using your muscles in the abdomen, and no other muscles. Your objective is to take in as much air as you can, but you don't want to involve your chest muscles at all when taking in the breath. When letting the breath out (which is what happens when you sing), you want to be as controlled as possible, using only your abdominal muscles to allow air to seep out (Imagine that you are letting the air out of the balloon that you just blew up while pinching the entrance of it. Only allowing the air to leak out, not flow out). The focus is filling with air the right way by isolation of the abdominal muscles(breathing in), and exhaling with a strong and controlled motion(Singing with control). Do this repeatedly by counting to ten while you slowly fill your abdomen with air, and also when you are letting the air out. If you look into a mirror, there should somewhat of a butterfly motion going on only in your abdominal area. The rest of your body should be as relaxed as possible. If you have been breathing incorrectly for years, this is something that takes work, but don't be discouraged. You must retrain yourself to correct something that you have been doing for a long period of time. That is where a Professional Vocal Coach comes into play. If you are a serious singer, seek one. You will only get better at your art if you do! I hope that this will at least start you on a quest to become the best singer that you can be. Angelia Williams Professioal Vocal Coach "Where Voices are Developed"
  23. As I previously mentioned, the tongue is often a source of unwanted tensions for singers. It is important to be aware of the engagement of the hyoid or digastric muscles at the base of the tongue, near the chin. Just the awareness of their activity helps in loosening their grip. Place both thumbs under your chin and sing an ascending passage. If you feel pressure from the tongue pushing downward, those muscles are getting in the way of efficient tone production. Also, if when watching yourself in a mirror you notice your tongue pulling backward in your mouth, it is being disruptive to good singing. WE DON'T WANT THAT!!!!! I like to start my warmup time with some tongue stretches before I actually vocalize. This routine I learned from Nate Waller, who was my speech pathologist when I was preparing for vocal fold surgery. Since then, they have become a regular part of my daily regimen. So here goes: 1) Stick the tongue out of the mouth pointing upward. Hold for 3-4 seconds and release. Repeat 3 times. 2) Stick the tongue out pointing downward for 3-4 seconds then release. Repeat 3 times. 3) Stick the tongue out to the each side of the mouth for 3 repetitions, holding for 4 seconds each time. 4) With the tip of the tongue behind the lower front teeth, extend the body of the tongue forward and out . Hold for 4 seconds. Repeat 4 times. Make this a regular part of the vocal warmup process. You will be so very glad you did!! I like to monitor the activilty of the muscles under the chin throughout my practice time. If I feel that my production of sound is getting more difficult, I place the thumbs under the chin to check for tightening of those evil tongue muscles. Often, that is the source of the imbalance. If you're like me and had a lot of problems in this area early on, you must remain vigilant in self-monitoring.
  24. Much is written and talked about breath control for classical singing, and the related tension it can lead to in the abdomen, the jaw and the tongue. I have many enquiries and new students who talk about learning the control required for singing. They seem surprised when I start by getting them to release and de-control. They can be scared of it at first, but many go on to find it an exhilirating experience. So, where does this idea of control come from? Surely it must be all of those old texts, translated from Italian, that seem to hold no place for singing in the modern world? Well, here are a couple of snippets from Giovanni Battista Lamperti (of course translated into English) that may not be what many expect. The degree of loudness of tone depends on the quantity of breath released by letting go muscularly. There is no attack, no mouth position, no tongue control, no voice placing,no fixed chest, no relaxing this or that muscle, no stiffening any part of the body, in fact, nothing that would not spring from instinctive utterance. And, from Mathilde Marchesi on the concept of Coup de Glotte It should be understood that the Coup de Glotte is a natural movement of the vocal organs, and that the pupil has only to bring under the control of the will this spontaneous action which has been developing since the first cry at the moment of birth. It is, in fact, the possession of this same natural faculty that enables us to form unconsciously all the vowels in speaking. So, there is mention of release, of instinctiveness, and of relating singing to being as easy as talking. So, maybe the concept of control came with the well intentioned introduction of science into vocal teaching. Well, Oren L Brown, teacher for 19 years at the Juilliard School in New York, was always held up as being someone who kept up with the latest research into voice science. His book Discover Your Voice contains chapters on resonance, overtones, vocal registers, laryngeal anatomy, and perhaps most interestingly Neurology and the Brain. Because, after all, we may sing with our bodies, but the impulses to do so come from our mind. When it comes to teaching how to sing, rather than what is happening in the body, what does Brown instruct us to do. The opening of the chapter on program thoughts reads Your voice knows how to sing. it knows how to sing better than you do. Think the music and your voice will sing it for you. Elsewhere he states that an efficient and natural supply of air is needed for voice production. I would emphasize natural  here, because the fact is that we all breathe. We all need to breathe, and we breathe without thinking about it. From the moment we let out our first cry after birth, our diaphragms descended to draw in breath, and then relaxed to let it out. It will continue doing the same until we breathe our last, and it is mostly unconscious precisely so that we don't need to keep thinking about it. So, why would we want to artificially control that which nature has provided for so well? It seems that much of it surrounds trust, and vulnerability. Our breathing is bound up in our emotions, and by freeing our breath we often free emotions that many of us would prefer remain hidden. However, it is those very emotions that move audiences, and so by freeing our breath we will increase our communication with the audience. By controlling the breath we put an artifical barrier between ourselves and the audience. Finding the connection between our voices and our emotions is not always an easy journey. Some are more comfortable than others in laying their emotions bare for all to see. However, it is this connection that many great singers display. Pavarotti had it, Callas too, and Ponselle, Flagstad, and many others. Their singing grabbed our guts and had us on the edge of our seats. It's not just classical singers either. Sinatra could excite and sway, as could Billie Holiday, reaching directly into our emotions and pulling at them. In order to do this, they had to let their voices and breath be guided by their bodies and emotions, rather than imposing control upon them. I'll leave a last couple of thoughts to my late teacher Howard Milner. Joining is what singing does for us. It joins us with the audience, with each other and inside ourselves. The diaphragm, breathing, works beyond volition, doing what the body feels rather than what the mind thinks. The only thing you can consciously do to breathing is to mess it up. The only way to make it better is to let go of it more, to de-control it, to agree to let it take its course. This is the principal of allowing. It is about setting free the unconscious movement that enables us to sing. Your job is to find where and what it is and connect with it.
  25. I was playing around various sounds this weekend, particularly on my mid/higher notes and I realized that I could consciously use less air and produce the same pitch, perhaps have it sound "tighter", and hold the note for what felt like a VERY long time.  It used to be that singing a bunch of notes up there would get me a bit winded, and I couldn't hold them for really long durations.  One of the reasons I sang this way was because it felt like I could keep my throat very relaxed.  If I held back the air, almost to the point where it "felt" like I was breathing in, I could hold a note for 45 secs or a minute.  (Ken Tamplin does a demo of something like this when he is talking about global compression, but to be honest, I didn't understand what he was actually doing.)   Can't say for certain, but I don't believe I was altering my throat configuration when using less air.  But it did feel like something different was happening in my larynx.  It felt like, either, by using less air, my cords were going to a lighter mass config, since it no longer felt "pushy", OR, the muscles holding the cords closed were working harder.   The reason for bringing this up is: Is this a more appropriate way to sing (reduced air), or am I actually straining / working the muscles harder and I should relax?  Perhaps none of this makes sense.   Thoughts?