Category: Performance

woman with stress headache

Stress Takes Its Toll on Your Voice

If you are going through a difficult time in life – guess what? So is your voice.

Consider this: The voice is connected to the Central Nervous System. This system regulates the function of our internal organs such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestion, and more. Recognizing this can be very helpful in understanding what is going on with your voice.

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Vocal Coach Mark David Williams

Staying Vocally in Shape on the Road

This week we have a question about staying vocally in shape while touring and singing every night. That’s certainly tough, but a well condition vocal athlete is equipped to handle it.

Your Question

Mark, I know you are a touring artist as well as teacher and I’ve seen your group Tenore on YouTube and Facebook. What are some of the things you do to maintain your voice? And what kind of warming up do you do before a concert?

Answer

Great questions. It’s all about really owning the foundations like posture, breathing, and knowing your natural sound.

On the road it is so important to get the rest needed for the body and the voice. It’s also vital to stay hydrated both on and off the stage. I always warm up with the lip trill and scales usually on an Ah vowel. I make sure I warm up past the highest note I have to sing in concert.

It’s so important to walk out on stage with confidence in what you are about to do and know that you can do it. An athlete would never enter a game without having stretched and physically ‘warmed up’ the body. So it is with the voice. Treat it well and it will treat you well.

I personally use my Vocal Coach CDs to help on the road as well as at home. I always recommend starting with Vocal Coach Complete Breathing, Tone and Warm-Up. It’s a good idea to check in with your vocal teacher on a regular basis as well. If you’re interested, we have personal Online sessions with me available using Skype or FaceTime. That lets me give you feedback and direction to keep you on track. You can buy any of these at our online store.

Hope to see some of you Online soon!

Keyboard with Online Training key

Training Changes your Direction

We are so pleased with how our new training packages are working out. I have seen several singers do almost a 180 in their singing and performance abilities. It’s one of the most exciting things I get to experience as a coach!

Two Recent Examples

Christen has a big competition coming up, and while she has a great ear and a pleasing tone quality (sound), she lacked pitch control and the ability to really express and sell the song. Half a dozen lessons one MP3 download later and she’s turned it around! How? Focused attention and doing what her coach told her. She had the drive and passion and we had the technical knowledge and a way to communicate it. It’s not rocket science. Just a small investment of time and money with the right training.

Jake leads a group of singers weekly. He is a great guitarist and has lots of good high school choral training, but has not trained as a soloist and leader. After several months the control and understanding of vocal sound just “clicked.” The result is a guitarist who is now a legitimate lead singer and understands his own voice. He keeps Vocal Coach warm-ups on his iPhone. He’s ready. If there’s trouble down the road he’ll know how to get out of it. So exciting!

Both of these singers were inspired. They had a reason to want to do it right. What they lacked was the technical preparation. Is this you? Are you inspired to sing but don’t have the technical skills? Make a plan. Save the time and resource and get it done. You won’t be sorry.

If you’re ready to take the next step, check out our Online Training Packages. All you need is FaceTime or Skype and the desire to go to the next level. Please let us know if you have questions.

Once Upon a Time

You Are a Messenger and a Storyteller

Singing is a form of communication. Any song you sing has a message, weather it is a message of woe or joy. And every song tells a story, weather a sad or a happy one. That makes you a messenger and a storyteller.

Know Your Message

So, you need to know what your message is and what story you’re telling. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in high school choir, on a worship team, or singing Karaoke. You need to be able to answer the question: What is the message of this song.

Start by sitting down with a pen and paper (Ancient writing tools that you can Google). Summarize the song in two or three sentences. Next, take a deeper look by writing a sentence about each verse, chorus, bridge etc. The goal is to make sure you really understand the message. A surprising number of singers just sing songs. When asked, they can’t actually define or summarize the message.

What if It’s Unclear?

If you’re not sure what some parts of the song are about do some research. Learn about the songwriter. Use a dictionary or thesaurus to help understand unclear words. This is what prolific songwriters have done for years. It keeps the message real and genuine and the creative juices flowing.

Now That You Know What the Song Is About

Unless you’re singing the song in a choir, and can’t change the arrangement, look for things you can do to tell a clearer story. What words or phrases can you emphasize with a little more volume or holding a word out. What thought or phrase would be more powerful if it were softer, or sung with shorter words. Do some phrases need to be more talky or conversational? There are lots of options, and you need to do some experimenting. That’s what successful artists do. It’s how they find just the right way to express a song.

Don’t Just Sing a Song—Tell a Song

Study the song and communicate the message. You and your listeners with both benefit in every way!

Sing on! And remember: We’re here to help.

Vocal Coach's Pick: Essentials Set

Coach's Pick: Vocal Coach Essentials Set

Need to kickstart your vocal training? The Vocal Coach Essentials Package is just for you.

Ever wonder how to actually get started with your vocal training, or in some cases re-start it? The reason for the question is all the singers I hear from who passionately want to sing but can’t quite put their fingers on the first step. To make that easier we’ve put together the Vocal Coach Essentials. I chose 4 training CD’s from our collection that I feel will best get you on the road to better voice control. We also threw in a bonus workout CD called Vocal Coach Styles which takes a well-know song and lets you experiment with it in 8 different musical styles. It’s extremely fun and may open some new options in your singing.

What Elements Of Singing Need To Be There Every Time?

That’s the question I tried to answer with Essentials Set. Here is what you will learn:

  1. Breath control is where it starts. If there’s no breath there’s no sound. And if there’s too much breath it can strain and wear out the voice not to mention make you run out of breath early.
  2. Tone is the sound of your voice, and no matter what your style there are right (efficient) and wrong (inefficient) ways to get that sound. You will learn how to get more sound with less work.
  3. If you’re the only one who knows what your song is about because of lazy diction you’re not going to get the message across. Our Complete Diction CD is famous for it’s thorough and practical approach. Just as with breathing, with diction you don’t want too much, or too little, and finding “just right” is easy once you know what to look for, and actually easier on your voice.
  4. Having great breathing, tone and diction is good, but if you look bored or scared or are not fully engaged with your audience you’re missing it. The steps to owning and expressing a song are clearly laid out in the Complete Performance CD. It’s the icing on the cake.

In addition to the above you’ll learn other critical skills like how to have a successful sound check, smart microphone technique, how to choose songs that work for you and much, much more. All things that every singer needs to know.

How To Best Use Vocal Coach Essentials

Because the sound of the voice is based on mechanics and acoustics it’s best to start with Complete Breathing. And, don’t be in a rush to blast through it. Listen to the training sections until you understand the principles, then do the fun, and often funny exercises anytime you can. In the car, taking a walk… any time you can. The more focused time you spend with these exercises the faster it becomes part of who you are. You will want to come back to this CD and will use the exercises for years to come.

Once the breathing is becoming more natural spend some time with the Complete Tone CD. Here, just as with the breathing, take time to live with a little and let the exercises help you discover your best and freest sound. It’s exciting, and will impact your speaking as well as singing.

I’m Here to Help

If you have any questions along the way, visit my Blog where you can browse various vocal topics that I’ve addressed, and if you don’t find the answer to your question, just type it into the form in the sidebar. I love to hear from all my students and will gladly help you along your way.

Learn More about Vocal Coach Essentials