Category: Performance

Mark Williams and a girl blowing snow

Freezing High Notes

This week we have another singer having trouble with their high notes, but in a different way. Brad let us know that his warm-ups are going well, but the song performance is having a little trouble. Do you ever have this issue? Read on.

Question:

Hi, My voice freezes up and or fades away on higher notes just when I am singing an actual song, yet I do not seem to have this problem when warming up or doing your vocal exercises!! Any tips to help me overcome this problem? Also when breathing should I purposely pull in my stomach on the exhale to sing better?? I am a bit unsure if I should pull in my tum or just keep the sides and back expanded and I do want to keep my breathing support correct. Hope you can help with some good advice.

Answer:

One thing you can try to help alleviate the ‘freezing up’ or ‘fading away’ of the voice is to actually sing the song while combining your favorite vocal exercise. Example – choose your favorite and possibly easiest exercise – like maybe the Lip Trill – and sing the entire song with the lip trill – use no words. Or if your favorite exercise is on an ‘ah’ – sing the entire song on an ‘ah’ (no real words, just the ah). I think the Lip trill could be a great place to start.

Practice it once with the lip trill and then try it as normal and see if there is a change or relaxation in the voice. You can also combine and sing half of the song (the easiest parts) with the words and then try the highest parts on lip trill. As far as breathing goes – No, do not pull in the stomach. Simply allow the frontal abdominal wall to go slightly out for the inhale and do what it needs to do for the exhale. Remember to keep the chest and shoulders still. Allow the stomach/diaphragm to work, don’t make it do anything. Rather, let the expanding back and sides be your focus.

You can also read this “White Paper” on breathing: http://vocalcoach.com/wp-content/uploads/Ten-Steps-to-Better-Breathing.pdf

We have an online lesson designed for just this problem. I can walk you through a particular song and help you work out all the technical and performance tweaks. It’s well worth your time! Find it on the Vocal Coach Store

guitar and singer

How to Hit a Home Run in Your Next Concert

There’s a reason why baseball players try to “Hit it out of the park.” When they do, nobody can stop them from scoring at least one run; sometimes four.

The Athlete’s Preparation

What are the preparation and skills that allows a home run?

  1. Physical strength. Strength to swing the bat hard enough, and at an angle so that the ball is propelled beyond the field.
  2. Hand-eye coordination. The brain interprets what the eye sees. It then relays the necessary timing, position and speed of the swing.
  3. Years of disciplined conditioning and good coaching. This is what allows it to be done “naturally” and without injury.

A Singer’s Home Run

A home run for a singer is when the listener has completely gotten your message. Their mind and emotions have interacted with your song, not just heard it. And, even though you may not hit a home run every time, you should do everything in your power to be ready.

A home run for a singer is when the listener has completely gotten your message

Oh, and once you have experienced the power of a well sung song you will never be the same. Ask any baseball, tennis or racquetball player what it’s like when they find the “sweet spot.” Or, a surfer what if felt like when they rode the perfect wave. They all get a big smile on their faces, then try to put into words what others may never understand. It’s the same for singers. When things are perfect it’s almost magic.

A Singer’s Preparation

Whether singer or athlete it’s all about preparation. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Not proper dreaming, or hoping but actual preparation. That takes time, effort, planning, sacrifice and, most of all, action. Here are some actions you can take:

  1. Sing every chance you get. Move from desire and dreams to action.
  2. Work the weak spots. If you know you have an area of need like pitch, breathing or expression get help from someone who knows, not just a well-meaning friend.
  3. If you don’t have a clue about singing, admit it. Then, work with a tool like the Vocal Coach Singer set to systematically build your instrument. Learning it the right way from the start will save you years of frustration later on.

Yes, You Can Afford It

Many singers are quick to say they can’t afford a teacher, coach or training materials. Yet, they belong to a gym, eat out, go to movies, pay for cable and do lots of other things that cost money. It’s a matter of priorities and sacrifice.

Summary

  • If you want to hit consistent home runs in your singing do the preparation.
  • Surround yourself with those who know more than you and do it better.
  • Invest in materials that are interactive, easy to work with and will take you to the next step.

The vocalcoach.com site is loaded with blogs that can help you at many levels. The CD’s and mp3 are powerful, proven tools for any singer. And when you’re ready for personal training our one-on-one Skype and FaceTime sessions are perfect.

I hope this inspires you at many levels to become the best singer you can be.