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Singing Tips: How to Sing Into a Microphone

Tips On How To Sing Into A Microphone Best As a vocalist, there are many core techniques to learn in order to excel at your craft. From proper breathing and support to tone, range, and pitch, mastering the art of singing takes practice and dedication.

One of the singing tips that is frequently overlooked is microphone technique. All of your hard work can be undone if you’re not comfortable with microphone technique. The moment you sing into a microphone your acoustic voice becomes an electric instrument. Even with the best vocal technique, you will need to practice singing into a microphone in order to really shine. Here’s how to get started…

Step 1: Finding the Right Microphone for Your Voice

Microphones are a lot like the human voice; they are all different and have their own unique personality. If the personality of the microphone doesn’t complement the timbre of your voice, you might tense up or try to adjust your voice to fit the characteristics of the microphone. The best strategy is to experiment and find a microphone that works for you.

In general, for live performances you should be looking for a good dynamic microphone. There are many different manufacturers to look into, such as Shure, AKG, and Neumann. Go to your local music store and ask to try a few. If your voice is higher-pitched, look for a microphone that will reproduce but not emphasize the highs in your voice. Instead, look for something that accentuates the mid-range and lower end of your sound. By the same token, if your voice is lower and more full, a microphone that emphasizes the high end will eliminate muddiness and help you project your voice over other instruments or a loud audience.

Step 2: Learn How to “Play” the Microphone

The best way to approach working with a microphone is to think of it as an extension of your voice. Rather than “projecting” your voice like you would in an acoustic setting, let the microphone do the work and focus on your delivery, pitch, and emotions. Here are some key singing tips to keep in mind when developing your microphone technique:

1. Practice your angles. Every microphone has a “sweet spot” where it is most effective. If you sing into the microphone at the improper angle you may lose important tonal characteristics from your performance. Always sing into the center of the microphone, never the side or top. It takes some practice, but once you understand your microphone, it will pay off in a fuller, richer sound!

2. Hold the microphone properly for best results. Always hold the microphone by the shaft. While it may look cool to hold the microphone by the head, it can muffle your sound, or worse, create ear-shattering feedback from the PA.

3. Proximity effect is your friend! Most microphones used for singing live are subject to something called proximity effect. This means that the distance you sing from the microphone affects the timbre of your voice. Singing closer to the mic, for example, enhances the lower frequencies. This can be a pleasant sound, but if you find your vocals too “boomy,” try moving an inch or two back from the microphone.

4. Experiment with different vocal effects. Working with a microphone allows you to use various effects to enhance your voice. Try singing and adjusting the airflow through your nose, opening your throat to provide more resonance, and working on your glottal attack, enunciation, and vibrato. By working on these different techniques in front of the microphone, you can develop the muscle memory needed for performance. Treat using a microphone like any other vocal technique–practice it often!

As a vocalist, you have to practice many techniques in order to use your instrument well. If you study with a private teacher, he or she will be able to help you, as well. If you are ever planning on performing in front of an audience, practicing with a microphone can make the experience less stressful, more enjoyable, and will go a long way toward your personal and professional growth as an artist!

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Singing Tips for Seniors: Taking Voice Lessons Later in Life

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Think it’s too late for you to learn how to sing? Here, Hayward, CA teacher Molly R. explains why it’s actually a fantastic time to start up lessons–as well as some helpful singing tips for making the most of them…

 

“I’m 70. Is it too late for me to learn how to sing?”

As a voice teacher, I get inquiries from singers of all walks of life. It’s actually pretty surprising to me that more people think it’s normal for a 3-year-old (!) to take private voice lessons, yet it’s completely out of the question for someone 60 or older.

Many older people may find themselves retired and looking for a new hobby, so singing lessons are a wonderful choice. One 72-year-old gentleman I work with is excited to finally have this time for himself, and has even joined a community chorus! Another senior lady tells me she loves her lessons because she gets a chance to revisit the songs she loved while growing up–including many by the “great crooners.”

Are you an older adult thinking of taking voice lessons? Good for you! Know that you are definitely NOT “too old” to sing. Here are some helpful singing tips for older vocalists:

- Keep a positive attitude, no matter what anyone else may say. There are plenty of super seniors out there who are still singing! Look at musicians like Sir Paul McCartney, Shirley Bassey, and Dolly Parton, to name but a few. They clearly love what they do! If you enjoy the process of creating music, that is really all that matters.

- Consider taking regular weekly lessons, even if you don’t have performance aspirations. Why? It’s good for your whole body!   Singing has been proven to fight depression, and even assists with certain ailments, like high blood pressure and asthma.

- Work with your teacher in finding the repertoire that is right for you NOW. Your voice may not be as strong as it was in your youth–but what is? All muscles lose some elasticity as we age, but please don’t let that hold you back. Men may find that their voices are higher, and women may find that their voices are now considerably lower, due to drastic changes in hormones. Embrace the changes. There is plenty of compelling music for you to sing!

- Take it easy on yourself, as far as practicing goes. Since you are doing this for your own personal enrichment, you don’t need to worry about daily practice sessions. And if you can’t commit to weekly lessons, you can easily make progress even if you attend two lessons a month, and vocalize three to four times a week.

And finally…

- Consider using your voice as a way to make friends, and even perform! Many older people may find themselves bored and a little lonely. A few of my older students have made community choruses a part of their lives, now that they finally have the time to pursue more of their passions. Some are even trying karaoke nights for the very first time! As a older adult, you have had more life experience, and that alone will make your performances that much more compelling. Isn’t that what great singing is about, anyway?

mollyrMolly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!

 

 

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How to Practice Singing: Practical Tips for Memorizing Lyrics

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Need to memorize lyrics–quickly? Take a look at these helpful tips from Ann Arbor, MI voice teacher Elaina R

 

For many people, memorizing words is easier if the words are set to music–that is why songs are often used in education (there is even a song that lists all 50 states!). That being said, trying to memorize a song on a deadline is not fun. Not many people know how to practice singing lyrics effectively, and singers often need to learn multiple songs on short notice.

If you are struggling to memorize lyrics, you are not alone. Plenty of people have trouble memorizing lyrics to songs. Memorization becomes even harder if the song in question has lots of words or is strophic (has a repeated melody with different words each time). Here are some tricks that will help you learn how to practice singing the right words in just a few days.

Memorization Methods Without Singing

Singing a song over and over while looking at the music can help you memorize, but it can also tire your voice out. Here are some memorization methods that don’t involve any singing at all.

1. Speak or mouth the words: Try reading a passage from the song, then repeating it without looking at the words. Keep doing this, making the passages longer and longer each time. Eventually, you will be able to speak the whole song without looking at the lyrics. If you need to save your voice, try mouthing the words instead of saying them.

2. Write the words out: This exercise is similar to the previous one. Read a short passage from the song, and write it down without looking at the lyrics. Continue doing this, working your way through the song and making your passages longer and longer as you memorize more. Remember to write with a pen or pencil and paper; physically writing has been proven to jog your memory better than typing.

3. Listen to the song: If you have a recording of the song available, great. If not, make a quick one featuring yourself–it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t sound perfect, as long as you get all of the words right. Listen to the recording, singing along with it mentally. You can do this anywhere you want as long as you put the recording on an iPod or smartphone.

4. Run through the song in your head: Even if you do not have a recording available, try running through the song in your head, taking care to think each word as you go. If you find you can’t remember a particular word, look at the lyrics and try again.

How to Practice Singing Lyrics

Of course, singing the song is another great way to memorize the lyrics. Here are a few memorization techniques you can use that involve singing.

1. Sing the song without looking at the lyrics: Even if you think you aren’t ready, try singing through the whole song without looking at the words; you may surprise yourself. Take note of difficult parts and double-check the lyrics before you try again. You can also alternate between singing while looking at the lyrics and singing without looking at them.

2. Sing along: Play a recording of the song and sing along. If you falter, the singer on the recording will fill in the words for you. Pay careful attention while you do this–otherwise, you may go on autopilot and not remember the words.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you know how to practice singing the words to a song, it’s time to put that knowledge into action. For any of these techniques, whether you are singing, speaking, or simply thinking the words, the key is to practice every single day. If you have very limited time, you may even want to go over the words multiple times a day. Put in the time, and your brain will do the rest. Happy memorizing!

ElainaElaina R. is a writer, editor, singer, and voice teacher based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her book Slaying Your Admissions Essay Dragon shows how to write application essays that are actually fun to read. Elaina has served as an editor for several notable books as well, including NFL great Adrian Peterson’s autobiography Don’t Dis My Abilities. Learn more about Elaina here!

 

 

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Singing Lessons for Kids: Does My Child Have “It”?

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Singing lessons for kids are the perfect way to support your little one’s interest in music. But while you know it’s important to encourage him or her to dream big, how can you be sure your investment is worth it? Learn the answer in this guest post by Grand Rapids, MI voice teacher Kelsey P...

 

As a voice instructor, I am often asked by the parents of my students, “Does my child have ‘it’?” Not always in so many words, but when a young ambitious student declares that they want to be the next Katy Perry in the first lesson (this has happened on more than one occasion), parents want to know how long to encourage their child’s dreams, and at what point to steer them in a different direction.

While I understand the desire to have a professional tell you where your child’s skills really lie, my response is usually not what they want or expect.

This is not American Idol. I am not Simon Cowell. I teach singing lessons for kids with various levels of skill and talent. Some of them may actually find careers in music, most of them probably won’t. My point of view is–that’s not the point of taking music lessons.

Let me explain. Most of my students are young –like 10 years and under. They don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. Even if they want to be Katy Perry now, they may change their minds five more times before they actually are old enough to really make that decision, so it wouldn’t do any good for me to judge them so harshly and force them to make that decision prematurely. My job is to help my students have fun learning how to get better at singing. If you’ve ever worked with children you know that they are usually learning the most when they are playing. So, we play singing games, music games, and we sing songs the kids are interested in. I allow them to have guided fun, and encourage them to practice so they can get better. Any instrument gets more fun when your skill improves, so practice is key to having fun!

Not only are kids learning about music in their singing lessons, they’re also learning about setting goals, work ethic as they practice, and how hard work can actually be enjoyable. Not to mention all the studies that show how music education improves math skills and can help students with so many other areas in life.

So don’t worry so much about whether your kid has “it” or not. Let them develop naturally as little musicians without the pressure of a career hovering over the both of you. Investing in music education is always a good choice for your child’s development.

KelseyPKelsey P. teaches singing, songwriting, and guitar lessons in Grand Rapids, MI. I have a Bachelor’s in Music from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI and I have been a full time working musician for two and a half years. Learn more about Kelsey here!

 

 

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4 Singing Exercises to Practice Dynamics

299721287_f3c2d29362_oAs a singer, understanding and utilizing dynamics can turn a mediocre performance into a great one. Read on to learn some singing exercises to practice, as shared by Augustine, FL voice teacher Heather L...

 

Dynamics is a word that comes from the Greek word dynamo, meaning “power.” In the context of general music, we use it as a term for how loud or soft sounds are. Dynamics can make or break a song. Frankly, in the world of singing, sometimes the lack of or presence of dynamics can make a difference in whether a singer is regarded as great or not. Think of the best singers in the world and I’ll bet that many have a tremendous sense of dynamics.

The improvement of the use of dynamics in our singing voices comes right down to a word that I don’t typically like to use as a voice teacher: control. The simple passing use of this word can often, maybe subconsciously, cause a singer to tense and strain. Control, however, is truly the thing that enables us to do much with our voices. Just make sure to maintain a free and open sound as you incorporate the concept of control in the following singing exercises.

Learn and Practice Messa di Voce

Perhaps the best singing exercise to help improve your vocal dynamics is messa di voce, an Italian phrase meaning “place the voice.”  To sing a messa di voce, you sustain one single pitch, getting louder, then softer.  The proper musical terms for getting louder and softer are crescendo and diminuendo, respectively.  Decrescendo is a word created in modern times to mean “become softer,” but it is not an Italian word or a proper musical term.  When using this exercise, be sure, as always, to use a warm, resonant sound and to stay connected to your breath. Remember, your sound begins at the bottom of the pelvic floor. Keep your shoulders floating in place; do not allow them to rise.

Lip Trill Like a Revving Engine

Another singing exercise to practice dynamics is singing lip trills, or “lip bubbles,” using messa di voce.  This is a great one that I learned from Celine Dion. Begin with a low breath, filling up your torso all the way around. Start at a comfortable low/middle position in your voice, trill up to a comfortable high point, and begin to sail down to your lowest register. As you slowly sail down in pitch, make stops along the way. On those stops, crescendo and then diminuendo. It’ll sound a lot like a old drag car revving its engine! Not only does this singing exercise improve your ability to sing dynamically, but it will also help to warm up and strengthen your singing muscles.

Laugh Out Loud

Speaking of strengthening exercises, it’s essential that the muscles of your torso are strong enough for the control that’s needed for great dynamics. Sing short “ha, ha, ha” sequences on a descending scale, making each “ha” very short, but warm and round. You’ll notice quite a jumpy motion from your tummy as you instinctively work to produce short bursts of air.

“Yow-wow-wow”

In this exercise, you’ll sing a single pitch on “yow-wow-wow” with a loose, open jaw, as if you’ve just touched a hot stove. This loosens the face, especially your joints, which is vitally important in preventing tension.

Lastly, remember that singing dynamics comes not only from phonation–the pitched sounds that our vocal folds produce–but also from articulation. Our articulators are our teeth, our tongue, and our lips. To be clear, crisp articulation should be an inherent part of your singing voice.  You can use it, though, to sound even louder or softer than your phonation is. And as always, be yourself and sing with your own voice.

HeatherLHeather L. teaches singing, piano, acting, and more in Saint Augustine, FL, as well as through online lessons. She is a graduate of the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and has performed with the New York and Royal Philharmonics, the New Jersey and Virginia Symphonies, the American Boy Choir, and the internationally renowned opera star Andrea Bocelli. Learn more about Heather here!

 

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Teach Yourself to Sing on Key With These 4 Tools

Teaching Yourself To Sing On KeyIf you’re looking to teach yourself to sing on key, it’s important to remember that it has as much – if not more – to do with training your ear as it does with training your voice.  And since we can’t hear ourselves sing accurately, we need recording equipment or another trusted pair of ears to check our results. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, tools that will help you teach yourself to sing on key are now readily available alongside more traditional methods. Here are five methods you may want to experiment with for yourself:

1) Use Your Piano

For this vocal exercise, sit down at a piano and choose a note in the middle of your range. Listen carefully to the note as you play it, and sing it back. Don’t be afraid to play the note a few times, and spend a second or two listening before you repeat it. Extend this exercise by playing your home note, then sing intervals of a third, then a fifth away from it. Are you accurately returning to your home note? If not, analyze what you are doing wrong – are you singing sharp or flat? Is there something technical that you are doing wrong? This is an exercise that singers of all levels should come back to from time to time just to make sure your ears are working in relation to your tuning!

2) Record Yourself

Whether you’re using a more standard piece of equipment like a mini-disc recorder or you’re using a smartphone or tablet, recording yourself can be an ear-opener. Try recording your practice sessions and lessons, and listen to them afterward. When you’re singing specific exercises, particularly scales and arpeggios, how accurately-tuned are your intervals? If your teacher is accompanying you, are you in tune with the piano? This latter point to note is a natural progression from the first point above, so remember any intervals that may have been slightly weaker when working on your own, and pay particular care to tuning those.

3) Download an App

If you’re a fan of games on your smartphone, you have several options for combining ear training and fun! EarWizard is a great option, although it’s only available for iOS. This game starts with visual clues, then leaves you relying on your ear as you progress through levels, and ends up testing both your musical memory and your ear. It’s suitable for beginner and advanced musicians (there is a range of skill options), and is a superb way to make learning fun.

4) Work With a Voice Teacher

Back to the “trusted pair of ears” advice, there is no substitute, electronic or otherwise, for a good voice teacher who can check your posture and correct any bad habits that might be affecting your tone and your ability to sing in tune. Your singing teacher will help you train your ear alongside your voice, and ensure that your musical skills advance alongside your vocal progress.

Ear training is probably the most important part of your development as a musician, and should be considered an essential step in learning to sing. Even at a fairly basic level, a singer that sings in tune will be pleasant to listen to and get the kind of listener feedback that encourages them to keep going. Anyone can improve their ear, and hopefully a combination of the above options will work for you!

 

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Basics of Singing: The Do’s and Don’ts of Singing in a Group

Guide To Group Singing Mastering the basics of singing is just one of the many steps you’ll need to take when training your voice. You may think that once you’ve tackled the various exercises needed to improve agility, tone, and technique, and learned the basics of good posture and support, that you’re winning the battle and well on the way to being a good singer. The truth is, you may have mastered the basics of singing on an individual level, but if you want to eventually sing with others, there are many other skills that you need to learn to make you a both a good colleague and a useful member of any ensemble – and many of them have nothing to do with your voice!

Here are some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to singing as part of a choir:

  • Be Businesslike – If you’re just singing for fun, this may seem like a strange thing to master. However, your choir leaders are most likely renting out their rehearsal venue and keeping a careful eye on costs. If members are late and waste rehearsal time, it’s also wasting money for the choir; when it comes to re-auditioning, the perpetual absentee or member who always shows up late may find that their vocal services are no longer required. Don’t be that person!

  • Learn Your Music – On some songs, depending on your vocal range, you may be assigned to the harmony line. This is quite different from singing the melody, which comes naturally to most singers. Knowing how to read music is one of the basics of singing that will help immensely – work with a vocal teacher to help you with this, and you’ll go much further than your fellow singers who need extra time because they need to hear the tune several times or play it on the piano before being able to sing it.

  • Don’t be a “Wrecker” – Those of us that have attended the concerts of friends and family members that already sing in choirs are probably familiar with the concept of “The Wrecker.” The Wrecker is usually brimming with confidence for all the wrong reasons, incapable of watching the conductor, sings off key or out of time loudly, and doesn’t come in and come off notes at the same time as their colleagues. One of the worst things about a Wrecker is that they are usually completely unaware of what they’re doing. Watch the conductor, count carefully, and be aware of what’s going on around you – don’t be a Wrecker!

  • Listen to Your Colleagues – Knowing your music isn’t enough; to be a really good choral singer you have to know the other parts fairly well too, and be able to listen to others at the same time. It’s important to work on blending with the other voices; make sure that you aren’t singing louder or softer than your section colleagues, and listen carefully so that you start and end phrases as a section, or in unison passages, as a choir.

  • Work With a Vocal Coach - Whether you’re a hobby singer or have professional aspirations, you’ve probably considered studying with a teacher one-on-one to get beyond the basics of singing (if you aren’t already!). A singing teacher will train your voice as an individual and teach you how to control your instrument, including how to manage pitch problems, improve your breathing, and develop your natural skills as a musician. These are all invaluable traits for any vocalist, whether you’re singing solo or as part of a group!

Of course, group singing isn’t limited to choirs; you can improve your musicianship and vocal skills by seeking out ensembles of varying size to sing with, even if it’s just singing duets with a friend at a similar stage of study, or a casual a cappella group. You may be surprised how much your abilities as a solo singer improve by listening to and singing with others!

 

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8 Singing Tips for Reaching Your Lower Register

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Struggling to reach your lower register when you practice your vocal exercises or sing your favorite songs? Check out these helpful singing tips from Augustine, FL voice teacher Heather L...

 

You know, it seems that we singers talk all the time about how tough our higher register is (and it can be). But as a voice teacher and a singer myself, I have to admit that the lower register gives many of us just as much reason for frustration. Often, in performance or in recordings, even of acclaimed, famous singers, the lower notes sound weak and faint. Sometimes, they’re barely audible. But when they’re sung with both confidence and care, they can be truly beautiful.

Most importantly, whenever singers encounter any challenge in their voice studies, it’s especially important to remember not to force sound in any register. This forcing often leads to more frustration, then tension, tightness, and pain, and sometimes even permanent injury. You might have heard this a lot in reference to your higher register, but not necessarily to your lower, and yet it’s just as important. It would be like forcing yourself to do a gymnastic split before you were really ready to do it. You could hurt yourself.

So, instead, follow these singing tips for reaching your lower register:

1. Be gentle.
I realize that this is a repetition of what you just read, but it can’t be reiterated enough. When low notes aren’t treated gently, in addition to the dangers listed above, you could sound like you’re bellowing or yelling.

2. But don’t be too gentle.
The opposite of forcing is sometimes a whispering sound or an ill-supported phonation. This can be just as damaging to the vocal folds as forcing, over time. Use an assertive and warm tone.

3. Activate your core.
Use lip trills, or lip bubbles, to get your breath going and your muscles warmed up. There are 37 different muscles involved in your breathing. Get them all going!

4. Fill up your “tire.”
When you breathe, it’s not only your tummy and the front of your torso that fills up, but also your back! Imagine yourself filling up with air all the way around, just like a bicycle tire, and take five deep breaths.

5. Slowly, “walk down the stairs.”
Using the same lip trills and a feeling of great support in your “tire,” trill five-note patterns descending (going down) from your middle register. You don’t have to have a piano or descend exactly by half steps. Just be gradual.

6. Sing the same patterns on “yee.”
With a relaxed, slack jaw, go back to the middle register and sing descending notes slowly, continuing to pay attention to your sensations and acknowledging what they’re telling you. If you sing down to a spot that doesn’t feel good, then go back up.

7. Sing the same pattern yet again on “yoo.”
The vowel sound “oo” is the least warm of all of them. So as you sing it, focus on a warm, rich, and round sound.

8. Sing a low passage.
If you have a song that has an especially low passage, then try it on lip trills first, then on the words. The lip trills should ensure that you have proper support.

These singing tips for reaching your lower register should be just what you need to tackle those deep, rich sounds. Remember, your voice is completely unique. You will sound different from everyone else, including your favorite singers. That’s part of what makes you special and exactly why listening to yourself without judgement is key. As always, be yourself, and sing with your own voice.

HeatherLHeather L. teaches singing, piano, acting, and more in Saint Augustine, FL, as well as through online lessons. She is a graduate of the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and has performed with the New York and Royal Philharmonics, the New Jersey and Virginia Symphonies, the American Boy Choir, and the internationally renowned opera star Andrea Bocelli. Learn more about Heather here!

 

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5 of the Best Daily Vocal Exercises for Singers

3857885135_4a7d642f24_bConsistency in practice is key to improving your skills as a vocalist! Check out these five vocal exercises to incorporate into your daily routine, as described by Brooklyn, NY singing teacher Liz T...

Just like an athlete stretches his or her body and muscles before a big game or practice, a vocalist must warm up his or her singing voice before a performance or rehearsal! All it takes is 10 minutes with these five simple warm ups to maintain a healthy voice. Here are some of my favorite vocal exercises that will work for both beginning and advanced vocalists.

1. Lip Buzz
Simply vibrate your lips together, without pitch at first. It may take a while to get used to. This will help build up your breath support and stamina while singing. Next, try adding a pitch to your lip buzz, and holding it anywhere from 3-5 seconds. Pitch can go up, down, or stay on one note. There should be a funny, tickling sensation in your nose, and your other resonators (forehead, cheeks, etc.). If you do not feel this, try harder!

2. Solfege
We all should be familiar with “Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do” from the The Sound of Music! Starting on middle C, sing through the solfege up and down the scale, taking your time and really listening to each pitch. See if you can also try this warm up without a piano (acapella), as this will help with your ear training! Practicing solfege is not only a great tool for your ears, but it will also help with your sight reading!

2. “Mah-May-Me-Mo-Moo”
Remaining on one note (monotone), sing “mah-may-me-mo-moo” nice and slow, really pronouncing the Ms. I would start low, perhaps at A3 and sing up the scale to an octave above. Really take your time, and see if you can sing this exercise all in one breath. While you don’t have to sing the warm up pretty, focus on the tone and your intonation to create the best vocal sound. Don’t push – this exercise should be nice and relaxed.

4. “I Love to Sing”
This is one of the vocal exercises you can use to  help with your range, as it includes an arpeggio. Starting low at around Bb3, you are literally going to sing “I love to sing” with a smile on your face! You will start at the root, then hit the octave, and come back down on the 5th, 3rd, and root of the chord again. This is a great way to test your range through big jumps; it can be done fast and should be done in one breath. And smiling while you sing will help you with a more clear and bright sound – give it a try!

5. The Siren
This is the easiest vocal exercise of all! Think of the sound of a fire engine passing by, and imitate it with your voice. Start at the lowest note in your range, and slide through every note to the top of your range. If you can sing the low notes and high notes, then you know you are in good vocal shape! This is a good way to tell if you are vocally fatigued; if you are unable to hit the low or high notes, then it’s best not to sing and push too hard. You can try this warm up in reverse, too, by starting with your mouth opened up wide, going from high to low.

These vocal exercises take as little as 10 minutes a day, and will help you tremendously. If you have any questions, need clarification, or would love to work more on these warm ups, book lessons with me today through TakeLessons for further instructions!

LizTLiz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

 

 

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4 Crucial Elements of Singing Every Great Vocalist Knows

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What does it take to learn how to sing? Take a look at these four important factors for success, courtesy of Palm Springs, CA teacher Angel V...

 

As a singer myself, I have to develop discipline and really strong practice habits to stay on top of my game. I had have the opportunity to study with great musicians and singers throughout my life, and they all have something in common. I like to call it the four P’s of great success as a singer:

Practice + Patience + Perseverance + Play = Creative Expression.

Practice

Like the proverbial building constructed on sand, a weak foundation creates an unstable building that won’t stand the test of time. It’s very important for all of us as singers and musicians to have solid practice techniques in order to develop our instrument and make it a stronger one with every performance. A full, strong voice will have the stamina for a full capacity of creative expression when it comes to singing.

A complete practice routine should include:

  • Warm Ups

Our vocal cords are like any other muscle in our body; they need to be warmed up before we can sing a song, the same way we need to warm up our legs before we can run a marathon. Warming up your voice with lip trills, runs on your middle range, single tone exercises, and breathing exercises are essential before you start any technical vocal work. Your voice will respond better once you give it the proper warm up. Consider your vocal warm up the way you tell your vocal cords that they are going to be doing some weight lifting!

When I started taking voice lessons, I used to warm up my voice two to three times a day for about 10-20 minutes, depending on what songs I was working on and the technical work my voice teacher had laid out for me. Nowadays, I warm up my voice every morning, before seeing my students, for at least 30 minutes, then do some technical work, and so on.

  • Technical Work

With every lesson I teach, I work on breathing with my students. Strong breath management is the basis for learning how to sing well. You cannot sing the right note if your breathing is not in place. It’s just impossible. I recommend dividing your technical work into stages: breathing exercises, flexibility, and range extension, for starters. And if you are tired or straining in any way, STOP! Take a break.

  • Song Performance

Start by choosing a couple of songs in a style that you like, and make sure that they are within your singing range. To find that out, look for the lowest and highest notes in the song. Most of the song should be within your middle range, although it is possible that it may have a few low or high notes outside your comfort zone – in that case, work on those notes and see if with time they become easier for you. You can always transpose the song to a lower or higher key if that will make it easier for you to sing.

  • Cool Down

After all your hard work, spend about 5 to 10 minutes doing some warm up exercises to cool down your voice. To do this effectively, keep the exercises within the middle range of your voice. This will ease the process of your voice going back to your normal everyday vocal use by allowing the tissue temperature to lower. This is very similar to what we should do after doing vigorous physical exercise.

Patience

Learning any instrument – especially vocal technique – requires patience, especially if there are any bad habits to undo. The payoff of being patient with your instrument while learning how to sing properly is that you will have a well-trained instrument capable of greater expression. Every now and then you may have what I like to call an aha! moment in singing, but most of the time progress comes after a long period of work that peaks and then plateaus for a while. As long as you keep working at it, you will always be growing and learning something new about your instrument.

Perseverance

You need to always stay focused on your goals as a singer. Something that has helped me with this is to keep a clear picture of where I am going and what it is that I want to accomplish. I always keep track of my short-term goals and how those are helping me reach my long term ones. I always celebrate my accomplishments and learn from my mistakes. If I have a performance that wasn’t my best, I allow myself to take a break and see what happened and allow myself to feel what I am feeling, but I do not allow that to discourage me from reaching my goals. It’s a work in progress and it’s only getting better.

Play

Music, especially singing, should always be FUN! So don’t ever forget that. You should love and enjoy what you are singing. And you should enjoy it before, during, and after each and every performance! Be proud of yourself and your hard work. Celebrate your singing and every opportunity you get to share your talent!

AngelVAngel V. teaches singing, guitar, dance, and more in Palm Springs, CA. He received his Voice Performance/Music Business degree, along with minors in Piano and Guitar, from Berklee College of Music. Learn more about Angel here!

 

 

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