As you’re learning to sing, don’t forget that often the magic happens while you’re practicing by yourself, outside of your lessons! And with the right resources available, practicing can be fun! Here, voice teacher Molly R. shares 4 of her favorites…
When you sign up for voice lessons (and if you haven’t yet done so, there are many fabulous voice teachers to choose from on TakeLessons), you will likely need to purchase sheet music for your solo pieces. But what other resources are essential for making your studies more effective? How can you continue to learn to sing by yourself, when your voice teacher isn’t around?
We’ve showcased a few online resources for singers on the blog before; now, here are a few more — both print and digital resources — that you can use to practice singing on your own.
1. Funky ‘n Fun Vocal Exercises by Kim Chandler
These recorded vocal exercises are phenomenal. I use them with all my students — young, old, classical singers, pop singers, everyone! They not only emphasize basic vocal technique, they help you develop your ear. Ms. Chandler, a seasoned session singer with a wonderful voice, encourages you to trust yourself and “jam” with her over the tracks. Some of them are based on hooks to well-known funk songs. Who wouldn’t love warming up with Stevie Wonder tunes?
Some of my students have liked these exercises so much that after we use them in lessons, they buy them to use at home or in the car — and some even do them with their families. (Yes, they really are that fun!) You can download these exercises on Kim Chandler’s website or purchase them in CD format.
2. Estelle Liebling’s Vocal Course
This couldn’t be a bigger contrast to Ms. Chandler’s method, since Estelle Liebling’s books are definitely “old school”! However, I firmly believe that we must cross-train in vocal studies. Ms. Liebling was one of the finest vocal instructors in NYC years ago, and her famous pupils include opera diva Beverly Sills and the great Meryl Streep. Her training is based in bel canto, the European school of beautiful and healthy singing. Most of the emphasis is in singing with a clear and pleasing tone.
These books are available on Amazon, and you can purchase the one most appropriate for your voice type: soprano, mezzo/contralto, tenor, or baritone/bass. If you’re a commercial music type, don’t let the term “classical technique” scare you! The vocal exercises in her books are actually quite simple and will help you develop your voice, too, and help you learn to sing by yourself, in between your lessons. Your teacher will agree!
3. Easy Warm-Ups by CoreSinging founder Dr. Meribeth Dayme
Who says you have to spend a long time warming up? And who says your warm-ups have to be traditional scales? They don’t! Dr. Dayme, founder of CoreSinging, has developed a fun way to warm up your voice anywhere, anytime. These vocal warm-ups are different, because she uses playful sounds (sirens, humming and chewing, silly conversations, etc.) to get everything going. I love doing these myself, as it brings out my inner kid. It doesn’t feel like “work” at all, and my students agree! These can also be purchased on Amazon for instant download.
4. Vocal Warm-Ups: 200 Exercises for Chorus and Solo Singers by Klaus Heizmann
This book is another one of my go-to’s in my lessons. With 200 exercises, you’re not going to be bored! Mr. Heizmann has divided this book into sections. Some of these exercises emphasize breathing, and other skills include dynamics, articulation, and resonance. Expect a wonderful variety here, from basic scales to playful warm-ups with nonsense words and fun phrases!
While there may be a ton of resources to choose from out there, it’s important that you seek out a variety to keep it fresh! Remember that it’s super important to put in the time to strengthen your technique by yourself, outside of your private voice lessons. With resources as wonderful as these, it’s easy and fun to learn how to sing!
Readers, what other resources do you use to practice singing by yourself? Leave a comment below!
Photo by Kevin N. Murphy