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How to get voice in shape?

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Erkki
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Hello! I've been wondering how to reduce the inconsistency in my singing voice. Sometimes my voice just feels great: My high and low notes are easy, I can sing loud and soft without sounding breathy and my voice doesn't get tired. Although I'm not a big fan of the term "placement", on good vocal days it feels as if my voice was placed higher.

However, usually I have difficulties getting to that state. It's difficult to get proper vocal cord closure, and my voice cracks much more easily. I may not be able to access my head voice at all, and I feel that I sing too "heavy". To improve my voice, I try to breathe low and have a good support, and maintain yawny feeling at throat. I also do warm up excercises, but no matter what I do, the voice doesn't seem to get better.

I know that the inconsistency in singing voice is caused by inconsistence in technique. However, I practise daily, and I go to singing lessons once a week. I somehow believe that this might be a warm up issue. I usually hardly talk at all during the day, and doing vocal excercises feels difficult even in the beginning. It would be great if anyone could give me some tips how to get my voice in shape.

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Heed Felipe, though, as a teacher, he is very insistent on placement but it is for good reason. It is to make for beautiful singing that is endurable.

Though often is the advice to get a coach, his questions are appropriate. How long have these lessons been going and does the teacher address your problems? It's a fine line, really, between what the student wants right now and what the teacher may think is a better approach to solve more than one problem. For example, what if your problem was, indeed, placement? Warm-up with the wrong placement just reinforces wrong habits.

It's not how much you warm-up or sing, it is how you are phonating that matters.

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Thanks for the replies!

I started taking singing lessons in the beginning of this year. Once during the spring I asked my teacher about warming up, and he replied that as the training proceeds, the excercises will serve as warm ups. He is teaching using a bottom-up approach, so the main focus is at support and vowel modifications.

The thing that is really confusing me is that sometimes I get that correct "feeling" naturally, and sometimes I don't get it no matter how hard I try.

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Erkki, I think your teacher has a good point. For what is a warm-up? For most, it is some kind of scale or slide, usually at less than full volume. And if the exercises are to teach consistency in the voice, then they would, indeed be the warm-up.

For example, a football player, like any other human, walks around during the day. However, he warms up specifically for the practice and play of football. That being said, some players are better at one position than another. For example, I was not the fastest runner in junior high and high school. So, because of my gargantuan size and strength, I played defensive positions. I was the tallest guy on the team and the even gave me the jersey number 72, like Ed "Too Tall" Jones from the Dallas Cowboys. I was honored.

I played nose guard and right defensive tackle. At nose guard, it was my job to prevent the offensive center from making a hole for a running back on a belly pass (quarterback sneaks the ball to the screen-pattern running back who j-hooks through the center of scrimmage, or a quarterback sneak where the QB carries the ball, usually for short yardage gain. As RDT, I was to take down the left guard and left offensive tackle so that the fullback on my side can approach for a quarterback sack or at least stop the running back on a belly pass left end exit. So, I had to come up low and hard and take down two guys at once, which I became somewhat proficient at. Funny thing, the only time I got hurt was in off-season when we played rugby with a soccer ball, no rules, no pads, you only had drop the ball and kick it to make a goal point, otherwise, you carried like a football. I was running wide and open and got blind-sided and landed on my own hand, which I nearly broke.

Anyway, point being, training should also be for what you are doing. There are basics, sure, but also remember what you are training for and work toward that.

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