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Correct Approach For Sirens

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Hey all, what is the most effective way to do sirens? If you have a day where you're just break-city do you simply keep sirening through the break? Or is it better to skip that trouble area for a while and just work the lower voice or falsetto?

Is sirening through an actual "break" a good thing or bad thing? Because I sure don't want to break when I'm singing songs. I'm at the point now where I just wake up and do some light semi-occluded and go straight into sirening but I'm not sure if I should do them if I'm having a day where I tend to break a lot since I don't want to promote that behaviour in my actual songs. So is it better to just siren through the break or stay away from that area for a while and work on head voice sirens and low chest voice sirens?

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Lol if you're saying I should just sing songs I disagree. Singing songs won't teach you to bridge & connect. I'd prefer to learn that function first then APPLY it to songs. Ie: if I can siren on an "uh" vowel... I'd use the word "love" and embed the same function into a song. Voila.

However it's not that simple lol, it's going to take a hell of a lot of sirens for me to get to the point where I can easily bridge through songs. I'm just wondering if I should allow a break to happen or just work the lower and upper registers till I find more comfort in the bridge area.

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Well, I can see both sides but I'm not trying to be diplomatic, either.

Rach has a point. You can practice sirens, I think, as a warm-up, if it helps you relax. But not a lot of songs are full of sirens. Or endless semi-occluded vowels, with maybe the exception of trilling in r & b.

But I think the problem you are describing with your sirens breaking is due to the break-down of the technique that supports sirens.

You said "bridging and connecting" which is from 4 Pillars, making me think you have that system. In which case, I would suggest re-visiting lift up - pull back. It's something that Robert shows in just about every siren tutorial that he does. But just as important as the repetition of that is, it is equally, if not more important, to identify that feeling. Otherwise, your siren practice will not translate into song. So, you need to feel each moment of the siren. So, in the break area, when you no longer feel a break, what were you doing? For that is what you will need to do in a song.

Also, in a song, lacking a plethora of sirens, there is also lyrics, articulation, rhythm. And it will throw you off. And that is why some students do great with the exercises and then have it all fall apart when they sing a song.

So, to echo Rach, sort of, the sooner you get it into song, the sooner you build a habit for good singing. For the habits are in singing.

You are breaking because you are not shifting or adjusting resonance as you move up and down. At least, IMHO.

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Rach posted while I was composing my reply. And he has another good point.

I like to think of the surfer analogy. I have the cheap Total Gym slider. One of the exercises is to kneel on the board and move your arms in a surfer's stroke. If you play tennis, sit sideways and move in the same motion as a forehand and backhand. You train for what you are doing.

Just like running might improve overall health and lung capacity, it does not help singing. Singing helps singing. Because the breathing for running and the breathing for singing are two different things. In running, you are pump large amounts of air in and out for oxygenation of the muscles of the body. In singing, you are relaxing on the inhale and controlling the exhale.

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JayMC - I would say that the goal of sirens is NOT to siren though the breaks - that if you can't go through the trouble spots without cracking, you shouldnt go through them - yet. Now, I never practiced sirens but some people swear by them.

Tony O'Hora has a great exercise for sirens, where you start out on a note like Bb3, and then slowly do a sine wave siren up and down but starting with a small interval, maybe +/-3 full tones. If things are good, you widen the sine wave. You keep doing this until you reach the point at which you can't do it any more without breaking because it's too high. Leave it alone, and then do the same the next day. After days / weeks, you should be able to expand the sine wave. It seems like a good exercise to try if you want to do sirens.

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Thanks Geno, I'm definitely willing to take a slow and steady approach with sirens. And ronws, rachsing; so to put what you are saying into practice... when I am fully warmed up and have successfully bridged on a training vowel few times... the next step would be to "memorize" that feeling of connectedness and apply it to a small part of a song? If so, awesome! That seems much more fun than sirening and singing scales all day :P

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What's wrong with practicing Sirens? No there are no songs made of just sirens, but there are also no songs made of just "la la la" or "may may may". There's nothing wrong with practicing. Makes it sounds like all these singing programs have no point, and you just need to sing songs. Not true

Not saying that singing songs doesn't help, 'cause it's my main practice too, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing specific exercises too.

As for your breaking in sirens, Robert Lunte has a very helpful video for it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8zroG9QWNc

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What's wrong with practicing Sirens? No there are no songs made of just sirens, but there are also no songs made of just "la la la" or "may may may". There's nothing wrong with practicing. Makes it sounds like all these singing programs have no point, and you just need to sing songs. Not true

Not saying that singing songs doesn't help, 'cause it's my main practice too, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing specific exercises too.

Good question. The "Specificity Principle" in athletics says that if you are trying to improve in Swimming, you shouldn't be practicing Running. You should be practicing Swimming instead. That being said, top Swimming programs (that olympic athletes participate in) include a variety of exercises that aren't even done in a pool. Those exercises isolate groups of muscles that need strengthening. A lot of althetic programs include isolation exercises.

Again, I don't practice Sirens, but one could agrue that Sirens are a kind of "isolation" exercise designed to help coordination that can be applied to songs. I guess you could always say that you can reach your goal faster by just doing the song instead. Maybe that's true. CVT certainly advocates this kind of approach. However top Athletic Programs certainly include isolation exercises. For example, if I wanted to win the 100meter Freestyle event, I wouldn't only practice the 100meter freestyle.

For example, using range extension exercises I was able to increase my range very quickly. And then I was able to sing a bunch of songs that otherwise I couldn't even attempt. Now could I have expanded my range that quickly just working on songs? Somehow I don't think so - becease I spent a lot of time (years) prior to range extension exercises just working on songs and hardly increased my range. And after practicing Isolation Exercises, in a very short period of time I'm able to sing songs I never thought possible. So I think Isolation exercises can bring value.

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Thanks Nick, I really have to work on maintaining my lift-up pull back, throughout the siren. It seems like it's a lot to do with support and a slight resonance shifting. As soon as I get this down I will "graduate" to singing songs :)

I do understand what you are saying Felipe, if I keep breaking during a siren then when I sing I'll just repeat that unwanted behaviour. So what is a better approach? Right now if I physically can't connect I don't force it and I just siren as high as I can go and back down, also I siren from head voice to as low as I can go trying to overlap the registers as much as possible.

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For example, using range extension exercises I was able to increase my range very quickly. And then I was able to sing a bunch of songs that otherwise I couldn't even attempt. Now could I have expanded my range that quickly just working on songs? Somehow I don't think so - becease I spent a lot of time (years) prior to range extension exercises just working on songs and hardly increased my range. And after practicing Isolation Exercises, in a very short period of time I'm able to sing songs I never thought possible. So I think Isolation exercises can bring value.

Yes! Exactly. I had been just singing songs for over a year as a matter of practice. Then I started doing octave siren excersizes, and after a short timespan it gave me alot more control, and opportunity to explore the different resonating chambers in my head voice.

After a while I started singing songs again ofcourse, 'cause there's a difference in just singing octaves, and applying your technique in real situations.

So that's why to me exersizes like this definitely have it's use, as long as you don't forget to actually sing too.

No problem Jay, glad I could share it with you since it was really interesting to me a while ago

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Jay you must have a goal, what will make the siren stay there?

Lets say that its breaking because its not forward enough. Then you do the siren and focus on keeping it forward, begin high, go low. Lets say its support, concentrate on keeping it like what you trainned on support exercises that exist for this purpose, and do it. Lets say its covering the problem, then you do your reference of resonance, a solid reference, and go for it.

Then you measure the results after a while, is it going into the direction desired. What is on the way now? Is it necessary to correct the exercises to another direction?

You see something must happen that will allow it to work, something must change. Insisting on the same thing over and over will not render different results.

So the first thing you must know is: why is it braking? Not necessary to have the full answer, but you need to know what is the most critical component. Is it lack of muscular tonus? Is it the support that is not yet coordinated? Is it forward placement that is failing on some vowels or all of them? Have you assimilated a tendency to open on the passagio due to past experience trying to find a way through it? Is the intensity you are using strong enough to handle the task? Is it too much maybe? Is the airflow continuous and on precise timming with your breathing, so that the emission is ajusted and precise? Are you using the resonance strategy at the right time or are you anticipating it too much making it difficult to sustain phonation bellow the passagio and leaving you no margin to do it?

And doing sirens is not enough, after this, trainning with scales and consolidating the registration exactly and with whatever interval leaps may come is necessary. Scales on legatto are sirens that force you to pause on the notes and sustain them.

Application on singing is important too, but if you cant do a simple siren, it will not work on a song. Rather you will find a way to mask it and will have your repertoire limited due to it.

Finding ways to sing a song is nice if you are in a rush, technical trainning on the other hand is developing control and coordination so that you dont have to worry about finding a way to sing it, but rather choosing what you will do. Learning how to apply it on singing is of course a big part of it, but its not the only.

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Felipe, quick one for you.

Would it be considered breaking, if going high in my range, all of a sudden i have one or two notes that all i get is air coming out. In the sense, it sounds to me like the deffinition of breaking, but then again i hear breaking is going from full voice to falsetto unwillingly. Am I right to assume what i am experiencing is considered a break, or is it a different issue? Keep in mind that once i continue on higher, the voice continues smoothly. Its just those two notes.

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gilad a brake is any change on the fundamental quality of the voice produced unwillingly. If there is only air and your intention was to produce voice, then its a sign that your voice for some reason dont know what to do there.

At which point is this?

it usually happens around C4 through E4. Not all of the notes, just a note here and a note there. Its frustrating as hell. If I try hard, I can get the tone, but I need to put in a lot of air pressure.

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gilad when someone first gets used to bridging it's not uncommon for the sound be slightly breathy. I think most teachers agree it' natural at the beginning until you start developing co-ordination and strength in that area.

Try adduction exercises and focusing on your breath and even twanging a little more when you get there.

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let me ask a question here...i do sirens, depending on the day .....light ones, stronger ones, heady ones, chesty ones.

i've read that sirens help stretch and condition the folds and the entire vocal tract.

why would you not want to include these in a workout?

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I have a sample recorded but it's really poppy because it's recorded on an old phone. But basically I felt like I bridge correctly on an AW vowel. So I went AW.... sirened straight up the scale. Then I slowed it down so every note was clear. Then I changed the AW vowel to song lyrics. Kept everything the same. Sounded like I've been training for years :lol:

THAT my friend is the transfer effect. It's like when you train for track and field you do your high-knees, your but-kicks, your flying starts... as long as you never ever forget the main goal. When you get onto the track you can just run.

I think Daniel Formica was the first one here to send that message home... and I completely agree with both of you. We make all these funny ass sounds so that when the times comes we can be like free to sing as we please. The transfer effect can be applied easily if you think of small parts of songs as exercises. But to even get to that point where you can sing EXACTLY the way you dreamed about you need to do all your sirens, scales, descending slides.

Then when you "graduate" to a song as Robert calls it... thats where the magic happens. Btw Enrico Caruso didn't sing a song for years he just vocalized on exercises over and over and worked on breath support. Just LOOK at the results... imagine the discipline it took for someone who loved singing as much as he did to NOT sing for a year or more.

Singing IS my favorite exercise though haha ;)

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but, i have found all of this exercise changes the quality of the voice. my voice is now sounding different than years before.

it's more metallic and dense?...i guess is a way to describe it. i believe we aren't adding the residual benefits you acrue by just "going through the exercises."

fact is, you're training your support every time to run the voice..it seems to me like a carving gets made in the resonance areas....

....like my resonance areas deepened and expanded.

geno, felipe, dan, (anybody) do you know what i'm getting at/what i'm trying to get across?

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Bob I think I do. But tell me, those exercises you did, you always had a goal right? Something you should do on it, and the reference of what to achieve, even if it was something not yet fully correct.

I have worked on falsetto, I have mimiced female voices and cartoon characters. I tried to go after Mike Patton early recordings for a certain quality I know was there, I also tried to match something that Dio did on his vowels, because of another quality.

But you see. I knew the quality I was after, and I had a goal to transpose that. I wasnt just trying to copy Patton or Dio, or Mikey. There was a solid and tangible reason, even if at the time, the only person who knew clearly the end goal was my teacher :P.

So tell me, a siren, going from high to low, just that. What will it do?

Now an exercise that you do, timming the release of air at one note, trying to feel the vowel beginning at the front of your face together with the release, without letting the coordination of the breathing change, but rather keeping the sensation that all muscles are engaged in a circular movement.

What is better? The blind siren? Hardly.

You get the later right only once, and the perspective on how your voice can work changes completely. You train that for six months, and your voice will gravitate towards the more efficient coordination, not only because it sounds better, but because it just feels awesome.

Now a siren done with a specific purpose, with attention, oh yeah, it will get results.

The repetitions surely build stuff Bob, but in my opinion if we are gonna repeat it, rather refine it so that its never easy, it always requires attention.

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Bob I think I do. But tell me, those exercises you did, you always had a goal right? Something you should do on it, and the reference of what to achieve, even if it was something not yet fully correct.

I have worked on falsetto, I have mimiced female voices and cartoon characters. I tried to go after Mike Patton early recordings for a certain quality I know was there, I also tried to match something that Dio did on his vowels, because of another quality.

But you see. I knew the quality I was after, and I had a goal to transpose that. I wasnt just trying to copy Patton or Dio, or Mikey. There was a solid and tangible reason, even if at the time, the only person who knew clearly the end goal was my teacher :P.

So tell me, a siren, going from high to low, just that. What will it do?

Now an exercise that you do, timming the release of air at one note, trying to feel the vowel beginning at the front of your face together with the release, without letting the coordination of the breathing change, but rather keeping the sensation that all muscles are engaged in a circular movement.

What is better? The blind siren? Hardly.

You get the later right only once, and the perspective on how your voice can work changes completely. You train that for six months, and your voice will gravitate towards the more efficient coordination, not only because it sounds better, but because it just feels awesome.

Now a siren done with a specific purpose, with attention, oh yeah, it will get results.

The repetitions surely build stuff Bob, but in my opinion if we are gonna repeat it, rather refine it so that its never easy, it always requires attention.

I once made the comment that if I was told what an execise was for I would be more apt to do the exercises.

It was misunderstood what I was meaning. If you have a specific purpose for an exercise and you know the intended outcome the exercises will be more effective. To mearly do slides and not know what "Effects", "Feelings",

"resonant changes" and so forth to be looking for, you may not be consistant in the way you are doing the slides.

And you may miss little clues to where the problem lies.

With something like slides, I would try to pay attention to how things felt between a slide that "Worked with no break" and one that didn't. After a while you would be able to tell before the "passaggio" weather your configuation is correct or not. Experiment with different configurations to see what works with your voice and what does not.

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Slide up, slide down congratulations now youve completed your first siren... It's not rocket science, the goal is

1.warmup your voice

2. Build your voice

It worksout your entire range in a short period of time, unlike songs who today only lie in the tenor spectrum, i know tons of tenors who stops at C5 and everything above sucks because they havent exercised their entire range. Just Been singing songs(no i dont think tackling steelhearts sheila is the way to learn to sing high)

You need to build the voice...

Fine you can do this as felipe says and trim it up, make it hardcore to fit into songs... But many guys here cant finish the simplest forms of sirens, wich makes the harder more demanding streamlined approaches unnessecary...

However still à very good post kudos felipe.

When we start to worry about consonants singing and all other stuff alot of "voice/range" wont be avalible to us and thus wont get exercised if not introduced in à simpler more easy way to vocalise. In this case sirens

Cheers guys :)

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Yes for a warm up and general exercise it's not rocket science. But if you are having trouble at a certain spot in a song use that particular style in a slide with whatever vowel you are having trouble with. You may start to realise that maybe on a certain spot before your trouble note you need to shed a little more weight than what you had been singing to sing through the trouble spot.

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