“…those that ‘can’ and those that have to work at it…”

Good Thursday Vocalists!

Have you ever thought about how people who like to sing fall into two categories,.. those who can sing and those who have to work at it?  The truth is, even those who can sing need guidance.  Singing / vocal lessons are for anyone who wants to sing well.

Even the most gifted singers take lessons. Take Michael Jackson for instance.  He worked as hard at improving and maintaing his voice as he did at making great quality productions.  He had a super talent even as a child.  If you listen to his earliest childhood recordings you can identify some great singing but also some technique that needed improving and he did just that and took his voice to the highest level he was capable of.  He improved his range to about 4 octaves and sang effortlessly from F1 to C6.

I’ve often referred to the following “rare audio. In a hotel room in ’94.”  The recording was taken during a vocal session by phone with renowned Speech Level Singing creator, Seth Riggs.  Yes, even Michael Jackson appreciated the benefits of vocal lessons.

So remember, if you want to sing as good as your favorite singer, they took lessons to get that great voice.

Vocal Tip: Blending Backup Vocals

Photo: Musicademy

Photo: Musicademy

“Coordination of the vocal cords takes a sense of awareness of how your voice works, vocal mechanics, and an ability to identify, isolate and control vocal function. Most singers have no idea what their voices are doing apart from training and would benefit from a few good lessons to help them on their way.

Blending in with other vocalists is a balance of lyric, tonal quality, timing, dynamic and sensitivity. Not only does a vocalist need to be flexible vocally but they must be flexible when it comes to following and mimicking genre and stylistics. Each group or band has their own style that is developed through the preferences and style of the leader or type of group such as a classical choir, barbershop singers or rock band as well as all that the individuals bring to the group as a whole. Learning to sing in a number of styles makes the backup vocalist a valuable part of the team. Any backup vocalist should know it’s important to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and be willing to devote themselves to always be improving their talent so they can be the best fit in any situation. Good luck, God bless and Sing On!”

(reposted by Cosima on an earlier post)

Visit Musicademy for more on BGV

Today’s Vocal Tip: Every Body Can Sing!

Singing Tip

Singing Tip

Every body can sing!

Every human body has the same anatomy and we all can develop our voices to sing well. That doesn’t mean that everyone’s voice is going to be as awesome as their favorite singer, but it does mean that with proper technique everybody can produce a healthy, free, resonant sound. That means YOU!!

In singing, relaxation is key. Learn to observe and feel your body and understand its behaviors; it will always tell you what’s going on, but most of the time we don’t pay attention. People have various tensions and it takes time and patience to retrain how your body behaves – but it’s totally doable! And a relaxed voice is the foundation for good singing.

So, first things first… for the next 24 hours (any date after reading this post) see if you can practice a relaxed posture in your body and voice during singing. Set aside several 5 minute spots in your day to purposefully sing with a mindset to focus on removing tension when you sing.  Don’t allow yourself to indulge in your regular singing habits any time during the 24 hour period. Don’t worry about whether your voice sounds good just make sure you have released all tension in your jaw, tongue, throat, vocal apparatus, face, shoulders and body. Think about freeing up your voice. Your voice shouldn’t feel trapped in your throat or sound muddy. A breathy sound is ok, but it should feel free of all tension.

Repeat several times over the next 24 hours remembering to avoid any other kind of singing. Allow what you’ve learned from the experience to get you in touch with your voice.  Then come on back to this post and share your comments. Let me know how it went. Ask questions and share some feedback. Let’s get talking!!

What a voice lesson looks like!

Ever wonder what your voice lesson might be like? Here’s a sample of my lesson notes from a 60 min free mini-lesson given this week. Have you set yours up yet?

NAME: xxxxxx
3/13 Vocal Evaluation & mini-lesson:
Vocal Evaluation determined beginning range to be: Undetermined at this time.
Possible Choral Alto/Choral Mezzo Soprano
Range at first lesson : C3 – G5

Lesson Goals:

  • Intro to vocal mechanics 
  • The vocal registers and range
  • Chest voice, head voice, whistle voice, falsetto, vocal fry
  • Breathing for singing
  • Recognizing and dealing with tension

Foundational exercises 

  1. Isolating outer muscles of the larynx to gain control and free the vocal cords 
    1. Bubble exercise – placing finders on cheeks where teeth join to produce a loose lip pucker. Sing through the low end of your range to the high end with minimal effort without tripping over the ‘breaks’ in your range. Remember to control breath support. Avoid letting all the air escape all at once.
    2. This foundational exercise should become a daily routine. The action of the lips frees up the vocal cords by releasing unwanted outer larynx muscles and setting the larynx up for correct speech-level position. Paying close attention to all the sensations in the vocal apparatus will help you isolate the healthy vocal function needed for beautiful, free singing.
    3. What to remember – learn to recognize vocal cord adjustments by how they feel. 
  2. Working towards Pure Tone
    1. Vocal fry – vocal cord vibration with no tone.
    2. Positions the vocal cords for optimum connection thereby producing a pure clear tone with minimal effort. Also foundational. While most exercises such as the Bubble, are only part of a vocal workout or warm up routine the vocal fry will remain part of how you sing.
    3. What to remember – expect progress over time with good practice habits.
  3. Good breathing for singing
    1. Diaphragmatic breathing – using the diaphragm to draw air into the lungs rather than ‘filling up the lungs’ from the top down.
    2. Making this part of a daily practice routine will build the support you need to move you toward controlled phrasing and support steady well placed tone while maintaining pitch control.
    3. What to Remember – Breathing for singing is different than breathing for speech. 
  4. Tension busters
    1. Relaxing in the jaw and mouth. (see blog for exercises to release jaw and tongue tension)
    2. Open relaxed jaw and mouth for better volume/diction

This week in The Studio

Tip of the Week

Tip of the Week

Jaw and tongue tension can wreak havoc on a vocalist’s endurance during a performance not to mention, make singing difficult and exhausting while limiting one’s full vocal potential. But if you can’t identify and isolate the offending muscles then you won’t gain control. No control – no vocal freedom.

Try these exercises to get started identifying and isolating tension in your jaw and tongue in order to get in the best position during singing.

  • Gently drop your jaw down and back while opening your mouth as if to say, “ahhh.”

tongue tension

  • Then move your tongue out of your mouth and drape it over your lower lip while keeping it flat and very relaxed.  Hold it there for several seconds while singing a comfortable scale with the “ahhh” sound. Be sure to keep it resting very still but not tight.  The tongue should feel relaxed from tip to root except for the least amount of effort it takes to keep it extended and over the lower lip.

tongue tension 2

  • Last, retract your relaxed tongue and place it flat, just touching behind the lower front teeth.  Repeat the “ahhh” sound on a comfortable scale.  Again, the tongue is kept relaxed and still with no tension.

Do this exercise through a series of scales from chest voice to head voice noting whenever there is tension until you can sing through your range with no tension.

For jaw tension try this ..
Jaw tension

  • Find the joints located just in front of your ears, place your fingertips just by and in front of your ears on both sides of your face and open your mouth. The space that opens up as your jawbone moves is your temporal mandibular joint. Massage these joints using your fingertips or the palms of your hands. Release your jaw further and massage deeper as you exhale.

Do these exercises a few minutes at the beginning of your daily vocal exercise routine and watch that tension begin to melt away.

Overcoming hurdles through training.

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One of my vocal students has come to a hurdle in her vocal journey. Mary tells me she’s lost strength in her chestvoice after working on having free vocal production in her headvoice with light connection.

This hurdle is so common amongst vocalists. One day they have great success through their range and the next day they have difficulty repeating it. It can be a frustrating process but it doesn’t have to be.

So, how do singers get past vocal hurdles like Mary’s? Conditioning! We’ve got to strengthen and coordinate the vocal folds and the muscles and bring balance between air flow, vocal folds and muscles. We achieve this only through the training process. It doesn’t happen over night any more than training for a marathon does. This is why vocalists need to train through their whole range, over their breaks, from low chestvoice to high headvoice and back, without any noticeable fluctuations in tone production, breath control or dynamic volume.

Vocal training produces confidence, because vocal training develops consistency in the voice. There’s nothing more thrilling for a singer than to have the confidence their voice will perform to their expectations every time in every situation because they have consistency in their voice! Having a daily vocal exercise routine is the singers most effective tool in their pursuit of consistency and PURE VOCAL FREEDOM!

Lets Start at the Very Beginning . . .

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The average person has no idea what voice type they have,.. or their range. If they were asked to describe their voice they could find it difficult to identify whether they we’re a tenor, baritone or bass, or an alto or soprano. That’s fine for the average person, but if they want to be a singer then identifying voice type, range, and some voice habits they may have is a very good place to start.

Typical voice habits can be a big obstacle to discovering voice type and range that, over time, become nagging or even serious voice issues that might look like this:

A singer, starting on a relatively low note, begins singing gradually higher and higher, their voice might falter or flip over notes, only to become breathy and weak. Some may find they hit a barrier that keeps them from reaching the upper part of their range. Vocal strain then becomes an ever increasing problem.

These common singing habits are easy fixes when you know how to address them correctly. But without knowing how to overcome these common problems a singer will continue to struggle and could easily hurt their voice, even give up singing altogether.

How about a little exercise? Repeat the phrase “nay, nay, nay, nay” in a comfortable speaking voice. Feel the vibrations in your chest, throat, face and nasal cavities. Notice how relaxed your vocal cords feel? Can you identify all the places you feel vibration? Can you mentally identify and isolate the vocal cords?

Now repeat the same exercise in a comfortable speaking voice only this time while saying, “nay, nay, nay, nay” try a sliding-up sound. Something like the sound of a question. If you did it right it will feel very comfortable… like speaking, but you are moving into singing.

Now again, repeating the, “nay, nay, nay, nay” sound while rising higher and higher and then falling down again. If you focus on the vibrations and the relaxed position of your vocal cords you might find that your voice is freer and you’ve moved past some of the vocal habits I spoke of earlier.

This little exercise is one of several “First Steps to Vocal Freedom.” It may seem silly but, trust me, you will begin to love those silly sounds over time as they help you transform your voice and reveal the true singer within.

Using the iPad on your Vocal Journey

Did you know that most people, when trained, can learn to sing really well? To be one of them, you need two things: 1. vocal training, 2. a good sense of pitch. The Erol Singers Studio app gives you not only world-class voice lessons to develop your voice, but also instant visual feedback on your pitch during the lessons, so you also develop an accurate sense of pitch. It’s a complete voice and ear training program that comes with dozens of voice lessons that were designed by an award winning singer and vocal coach to help you learn about your voice and become a better singer.

During practice, target notes and your actual pitch are simultaneously displayed onscreen, so you can actually see and correct any pitch problems before they become habits.

The app comes with 36 unique voice lessons ranging from beginner to advanced, each individually crafted to build a specific skill, each with detailed instructions and audio examples for both males and females so you know exactly what to do.

All the essentials you will need are already included, and you don’t need to make any additional purchases to get all the benefits. With regular use of the app, your breathing, tone, range, and vocal flexibility will improve, and you will sound better singing your favorite songs.

See how fun it can be to develop your voice and be able to sing songs you never could before!Erol Singer’s Studio is not only the most beginner-friendly voice training app on the market, but with its support for standard sheet music notation, accurate pitch analysis, and exercises for all levels of singers, it is also the most powerful one for more advanced singers.

“Certainly the best App for singers in the App Store! … A Killer App!”
– Apps4iDevices

“This is a near perfect system. I am thrilled with the scope and effectiveness of this app. … I’ll be sharing this with many others.”
– Forum comment on Vocal Health section of the User’s Manual

How I use the Erol Singers Studio App
BEGINNERS:

  • Listen to you to detect vocal range, and customize the lessons to a comfortable range for the students voice type. I use this feature from the first lesson; it makes the notes much easier to sing, which helps the student to focus on learning.
  • Shows when the student sings the right notes and help them sing on pitch
  • Teaches correct singing techniques that are widely used around the world
  • Allows practice that encourages the students that may be shy about singing in front of others.

INTERMEDIATE SINGERS:

  • Helps students identify and focus on parts of their range where have problems
  • Increases range and tracks progress
  • Improves the quality of their tone
  • Helps smooth vocal breaks
  • Improves musical ear

ADVANCED SINGERS:

  • Provides effective warmup/cooldown exercises
  • Keeps the voice in top shape with a thorough voice exercise program
  • Improves sight singing when following the music notation instead of the note bubbles
  • (Optional) See the “Ear Training for Singers” package mentioned below

AS A TEACHER:
– I’m not much of a piano player so scales and arpeggios take some concentration. This app gives me some great exercises I can use with my students so I get to focus on the student
– Helps my new students see when they’re flat

I hope you check it out. The price is right at $14.95 on iTunes. Erol Singers Studio is a serious tool that’s fun. The app that will truly improve your singing. It comes with 36 lessons included (covering beginner to advanced), with an option to buy more exercises such as the “Ear Training for Singers” bundle that includes an additional set of 60 exercises for scales, intervals, and arpeggios that will greatly expand your musicianship.

Every Sunday morning, worship leaders all over the world will step up to the mic

Every Sunday morning worship leaders all over the world will step up to the mic…. but will their voices be ready? Here’s a few steps a singer can do before that first song calls the people to “Come Worship The King!”

1. Avoid coffee, dairy, (do I need to mention alcohol, smoking?) or other forms of irritants to the vocal cords.

2. A hydrated voice is much more responsive so drink plenty of water the night before and again in the morning before stepping up to the mic.

3. Slowly and gently warm up the voice at least 15 minutes before stepping up to the mic. ( have a good warm-up routine)

4. Sound check is not your warm-up routine. A singer wants to be warmed up before sound check in order to sing as they do during a “performance.” This ensures your sound tech will dial you in accurately.Remember, careful preparation of the voice will give any worship leader confidence when they open their mouth to sing that first note and a voice that has been warmed up properly will be more likely to sing with vocal freedom and less likely to experience strain or other problems during and after worship sets.

“Will taking voice lessons make me into an opera singer?”

Not all people who love to sing, love opera. While I may enjoy singing Die Fledermaus or Phantom of the Opera My singing goals aren’t set in becoming an opera singer. I enjoy opera, rock, country, jazz, and contemporary Christian styles as well, and I want to be a flexible singer. That means I need work on having the vocal control it takes to sing different genres. I may not be at the top in all styles but I can learn and practice enough to do it well enough that I won’t sing opera on a Sunday morning with the worship team.

So how does one learn to sing different styles? I know a fantastic classical singer but she can’t do anything else. She gets frustrated because she cant blend with worship team singers and she really would like to sing other styles but feels stuck. Just the other day I heard a soprano at a worship leaders conference say she was a backup singer but her classical training made it hard for her to fit into the team at her church. It’s not uncommon for singers to be stuck in bad vocal habits but singers can get stuck with good habits too, limiting themselves because they haven’t explored what is called “vocal placement.”

So how can someone who is “stuck” in a vocal style break out of the vocal habits they have been practicing for years? Or, how can a vocal student avoid getting stuck in the first place?

We each are blessed with one voice and with training we can learn that there are different places physically where the voice can resonate, creating different sounds that lead to various vocal placements. These vocal placements are found in chest voice, mask, head voice, and falsetto.

Just for fun here’s a link to an article discussing vocal placement that will get you thinking. Although the article discusses voice over characterization for animated characters like Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd the basic concept is the same for singers. For now just begin exploring the idea that you can produce the same pitch with different tonal qualities. How those qualities are produced are up to you. Remember you have 1 voice but you can choose to use it safely in many ways as long as you maintain healthy, free vocal production.

Practice Makes Perfect?

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It occurred to me the other day that it is very common for some vocal students to skip the necessary daily practice routine prescribed. Frankly, this is a difficult thing for me to accept since my days are filled with vocalizing to practice. After all,… If a student wants to make any serious progress they will need to get serious about their craft.

Communicating the need to practice is certainly not lacking as the dutiful teacher regularly reminds said students, by email and during lesson times, how and how much to practice. Still the reminders go unheeded, for the most part, and the result has been evidenced by a lack of noticeable progress in the student.

All that said, I ask myself, “Why?”

Why don’t most voice students practice?

Perhaps there is something in the communication on the teacher’s part that has not given the student enough reason to make the commitment. On the other hand man is lazy by nature, and prefers to indulge the flesh, and practicing is not always the most enjoyable thing to do .. unless of course the student is making significant progress and is experiencing some victories over bad vocal habits. That’s when practice becomes less work and more, as the singer experiences breakthroughs toward pure vocal freedom and the mastery of their instrument, fun.

The voice is not completely subject to the law that practice makes perfect. The interesting thing is the vocal student will find that, given the necessary talents, the student of the guitar may count with certainty on acquiring the mastery of this instrument. But for the vocal student this is not necessarily true.

Now, let me just say that there are many cases in which practice in singing does not bring about technical perfection. Just singing through technical exercises is not enough; it is crucial that the exercises be sung with specific correct vocal technique and through a series of specific voice productions that build upon one another with the intent to strengthen and clarify the voice.

So, if the student was to make the effort and practice, there is a specific way to handle the voice in the process. If the voice is exercised in this way, it will improve steadily as the result of practice. Progress will continue until perfect technical control of the voice is acquired. But if the student fails to hit upon this particular way of handling the voice in practice the voice will improve little, or not at all. In such a case perfect vocal technique will never be acquired, no matter how many years the practice may continue. Hence the need for an instructor. But the one without the other will, inevitably, lead to no progress at all.

Finally, let me come full circle and say this, . . . A singer sings, when practicing like the guitarist who picks up the instrument to play, through a series of exercises emphasizing good technique with the goal of accomplishing freedom and perfect mastery of his instrument.

So let me ask you this,…

Have you practiced today?

What Makes a Singer Confident Their Voice Will “Perform” Every Time?

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I hear it all the time.  Someone sings on a worship team in their church and they want to improve their technique or they are thinking about quitting because “it hurts to sing.”  They feel like they have no real control over their voice and singing is stressful and, frankly for some, just no fun.

I sympathize with these people because more than 15 years ago that was me.  I had vocal fatigue after singing on Sundays and by Monday I was ready to quit.  My technique was not getting me any closer to improving the problem and I knew it.  

I went to a vocal coach only to be disappointed by their lack of sincerity in wanting to really help me with the problems I faced and I walked away from the lesson no better off than I was when I arrived.  A pure waste of my $$ and time not to mention I felt very discouraged.

Maybe that’s you.  Maybe you are reading this and thinking, “Girl, you are telling my story!”

I’m here to tell you that there is help!!

Help for me came when I met a girl that had great singing technique and asked you how she found her voice.  She hooked me up with Speech Level Singing (Seth Riggs) and it changed my singing forever.  Yes, there is help for you!

If you cant go to a good coach you can do something about it.  There are some good Speech Level Singing Coaches out there and Brett Manning is one of them.  Hop over to SingingSuccess.com and take a peek at the free video tips and other information.  I promise you, this is not a gimmick sales pitch.  The Singing Success Program really does work and you really can learn to sing better and higher with ease and control right in your own home or car or anywhere you can play a CD or MP3.

Now, I wish you would come to me and let me be your vocal coach but let me tell you, you can get Brett Manning, a 5 Star Speech Level Singing Vocal Coach, anywhere and anytime with the program.  I used Singing Success and recommend it to all our vocalists at Calvary Chapel Perris Valley.  It works that good!

Got Singing Questions?

As a worship leader and musician I’m always looking for ways to help those serving on the worship teams to grow in their craft.  Vocals are one of the more challenging instruments to improve since it’s hard to nail down concepts and techniques.  Let me explain my thinking …

I can show someone how to play a chord on their guitar or strum a double strum but I can’t physically “show” someone how to isolate a muscle or “feel” vibrations when singing in their upper register or head voice.  I can only help them discover these for themselves through exercises and practice.

This unique aspect of voice study brings with it loads of questions on the part of the voice student.  I’ve listed some of those questions below, care of Brett Manning and Singing Success, who has developed a program that has helped so many worship leaders overcome numerous vocal obstacles and challenges.

Enjoy!

Q: Are falsetto and head voice the same thing?

A: No.  Falsetto is the lightest vocal production made by the human voice.  It is limited in strength, dynamics and tonal variation.  Usually, there is a considerable ‘jump,’ ‘break’ or ‘disconnect’ between your chest (speaking) voice and your falsetto.  Noted vocal coach and voice therapist Randy Buescher of Chicago defines falsetto as:
“a coordination where the outer layer of the vocal cord (mucosa, i.e. internal skin or muscular covering) is vibrating, creating sound, but without engaging the actual musculature of the cord.  Also, there exists no medial compression.  In other words, during the vibratory cycle, the cords never fully approximate.  In head voice, the cords approximate, but the vibration of the cord moves away from the full depth of the vocal cord (chest voice) to a pattern that involves less and less depth of vocal cord as you ascend toward the top of your range.  The highest notes of your range involve only the vocal ligament.  However, there is no consensus among experts on the official definition of vocal registers.”

Q: What’s the proper way to clear my throat?

A: Some say that you should never clear your throat, but excess mucous inhibits free vocal cord coordination.  The trick is to find a way to clear your throat without irritating it.  Do a gentle “whispered cough” (without tone) and then swallow.  Repeat.  If this doesn’t work, you need to deal with the excess mucous production.  Squeeze a 1/4 of a lemon in a tall glass of water and sip over about 20 minutes.  This should cut through a lot of the excess mucous.  Furthermore, watch your dairy intake… especially cheese.  You should never eat it on the day of a performance!
Q: How do I deal with temperature extremes or changes in climate?

A: Moisture and time zones are two very important keys.  For me, the worst is flying from Nashville to the dry air of Phoenix and trying to sing the same day I arrive.  I need at least twenty-four hours to adjust.  Eventually, your body will become more adept to rapid changes in climate, but in the beginning of your career I wouldn’t recommend booking yourself in Maine on Monday, Tulsa on Tuesday, and then Orlando on Thursday.  This would be vocal suicide.  The more extreme the climate change the more taxing to the body.  You are a human instrument with good days and bad days.  The longer you travel, the quicker your body should adjust to travel and change of climate.  In the mean time, get plenty of fluids (about twice as much as you probably think you need) and some Entertainer’s Secret.

Q: Is it OK for me to sing when I have a sore throat?

A: Depending on what’s causing it, singing with a sore throat can be catastrophic.  I tell my clients, “if it hurts to swallow, don’t sing!”  Conversely, if it’s a mildly soar throat, consult your doctor (it’s a good idea to find a good ear, nose, throat specialist in your area and build a relationship with him) and then use your best judgment. Dry air, singing abusively, and viral/bacterial infection are some of the more common causes of a sore throat.  Some people just wake up with a sore throat every day of their life.  I’ve found that the majority of those people have acid-reflux, which means they are burping up stomach acids while they are sleeping or sometimes even while they are awake.  For most, however, this happens in the night, so they may be completely unaware of the problem.  They then wake up with a scratchy, raspy voice and a sore throat.  There are numerous web sites directed to the problem of reflux.  Let me recommend a couple:
www.texasvoicecenter.com
www1.wfubmc.edu/voice/reflux/
Because a dry throat is often a sore throat, consume two to three quarts of water every day.  I actually drink up to a gallon or more a day.  If you live in an arid climate, sleep with a humidifier next to your bed and try to warm up your voice in the shower.  The moisture is an incredible help for your voice.  Also, learn to breathe in through your nose as much as possible.  This will help moisten the air before it reaches your cords.
The next concern is vocal abuse.  Some of the causes are singing too high and too loud for too long, screaming, yelling at a football game or concert, talking at the top of your voice in a noisy crowd, breathing cigarette smoke (first- for second-hand), doing voice impersonations that are extreme or that cause strain and talking or singing with a raspy, manufactured sound.  Whenever my throat is sore from vocal abuse I try to get some vocal rest, drink plenty of liquids, and then rehabilitate my voice with gentle exercises like humming, lip bubbles, and tongue trills.  If you get laryngitis and your tone starts to ‘skip’ or ‘cut out’ in the middle of a sustained note, you really want to get serious vocal rest.  Most of all, ALWAYS consult your physician if things don’t clear up rapidly.  By this, I mean, if you get a sore throat in the morning and it clears up by noon and doesn’t come back (this occasionally happens to me) then there’s usually nothing to worry about.  Otherwise, call the doctor, because if this condition is medical and you don’t get help, no amount of vocal rest will help.  I personally prefer herbal immune system remedies, but do what works best for you.

Q: Should I eat before I sing or perform?

A: If you are hungry, eat.  Don’t stuff yourself with a 7-course meal.  Just eat until you are satisfied.  Always eat at least an hour before your performance to avoid what singers call a “gunky” throat.  You will have the strongest temptation to clear your throat (which can be harmful) immediately after eating, but waiting an hour is usually enough time for your meal to settle.

Q: How do I get my voice to warm up quickly?

A: Warm-up time varies from singer to singer and depends on four factors:

  1. The thickness and length of the vocal cords
  2. The health of the singer, i.e. allergies, physical condition, dietary and exercise habits, sleep and stress levels
  3. Veisel dilation – how fast the vasculature expands to receive blood flow.
  4. Warm-up habits

If you have thick cords, you have a stronger, fuller sounding voice (James Ingram/Elvis Presley).  Thinner cords will producer a lighter, thinner tone (Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney).  Think of the voice as a train.  The bigger the train, the longer it takes to get moving.  Keep this in mind while warming up.  Warming up should be incremental and never forced.  Find your vocal co-ordinations through the right exercises and then slowly build volume, speed and range.  Too high, too loud, too soon is a recipe for disaster.  Unfortunately, most singers don’t know the recipe for vocal health and longevity.  This is why so many singers lose their voices.  I work with hundreds of singers every year who have never properly warmed up their voices.
Veisal dilation is another important factor in warming up.  Without adequate blood flow to the musculature, the cords have great difficulty warming up.  Things that affect veisal dilation are fatigue, poor circulation and lack of exercise.  Sometimes these are simply genetic and you deal with it by being diligent and patient with your vocal study and your warm-up time.  Other times it’s just laziness, lack of discipline or a bad diet.  Allergies can also affect your warm-up time because circulation and health are inhibited.  Seek either a medical or natural (diet, herbs and vitamins) route to dealing with your allergies.

Q: I lose my voice when I sing live.  I guess I’m pushing harder than when I practice.  What should I do about this?

A: The first thing that I usually ask a singer is “how well do you hear yourself in the monitors?”  Often, they are not hearing themselves sing on stage, so they figure that the audience can’t hear them sing and push their voice harder than what is natural.  The result is that the tone becomes dull or strident and often intonation problems occur.  Talk to your sound man and make sure that you have enough of your voice in the monitors.  If you’ve got the funds, invest in a headset microphone.

Click HERE or more vocal tips and related posts.

Brett Manning Live Event!

I haven’t posted much lately… ya, just too much on my plate and something’s got to take a back seat.  Still, I couldn’t let this go unnoticed.  If you have wondered if Singing Success is as good as they say it is or if you have ever wanted to get singing lessons that bring instant payback check out this upcoming event…

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Now, I know those of you in Bowling Green, KY are going to flip that this is in your hometown and if any of us living nearby can make the trip it’s a must!

Brett Manning is quite literally the world’s most sought after vocal coach. Regularly teaching Miley CyrusTaylor Swift, and Paramore’s Hayley Williams, Brett consistently delivers the results for demanding pros in all genres of music. But more than just a vocal coach to the stars, Brett is the master architect of the most complete vocal training method of all time; the Singing Success Program. Through his products and his unique teaching method, Brett Manning has transformed voices for over 25 years.

Now (with limited seating available) you can experience Brett Manning live and in person for a rare master class event in Bowling Green, KY. Last seen teaching a college master class for Belmont University in Nashville, Brett is well known as a vocal technique master. This is a golden opportunity for any singer willing to take another step toward vocal mastery.

Picture 2Buy your ticket now and reserve your seat today for this exciting event. THERE IS LIMITED SEATING and there will be no guarantee of purchasing tickets at the door. You can’t afford to wait and miss this opportunity so click BUY NOW!

Speech Level Singing Journey

Hey all, I just happened upon an interesting blog.  Really, this wasn’t planned at all!  If your a skeptic or you were wanting some real time proof you can follow the journey of Robert Simpson as he blogs about his progress through the Singing Success Program.  Hop over to his page and read all about it.