Category: Vocal Coach Audios

Question About a Cracking High Note

I recently got this question for a reader. I’m sure that all of us have dealt with voice cracking before. read on to see how I address this common vocal issue.

Your Question

How can I stop cracking when holding a high note? Sometimes I crack and sometimes I don’t. It’s frustrating.

My Answer

First, when the voice “cracks” it can be due to a number of factors. Here are just a few:

  1. Pushing too much air, more than is needed. This may be due to adrenaline or fear.
  2. Sticking the chin out and lifting the head causing an unnatural, inefficient position in the larynx.
  3. A range that is just too high for you to sing in for a long time.

Here’s what I do with my singers to try and overcome this situation:

  1. Lift your hands straight up over your head to find an aligned, efficient posture. Going up on your toes helps even more since if you get out of alignment you will start to fall over and automatically correct yourself.
  2. Make sure you are able to sing the high note on the lip trill (lip buzz). This lets you know it is at least potentially “there” for you. Not everyone is a high tenor. I’ve included a demo of the Lip Trill below.
  3. If you can actually sing the song, and especially the higher phrases on the lip trill, with good posture you are well on your way. If not, you need to work up to it by getting solid with your posture and breathing and understanding your tone.

Here’s an article with some good posture/breathing tips. Ten Steps to Better Breathing

And, here is an example of the Lip Trill exercise I mentioned above:

I hope this helps make you a smarter singer so you can be all you can be. Remember: The voice is a physical, mechanical and acoustical instrument. It also uses posture, breathing, acoustics, articulation and expression. There’s a lot to it. But, if you take it one step at a time your journey will be a great one. Please remember that all our training materials as well as our online training are geared to take you from where you are, to that next step.

Singing Through Cold Season

Tis’ the season to be singing!

Most of us are almost done with the big Christmas productions. Unfortunately, many are also coughing and having trouble hearing due to head congestion. Other than medications here are some tips to keep you singing through the end of the year… with excellence:

  1. HYDRATE MORE. Winter season (at least in North America) means dryer air outside. It also means dryer air inside as a result of heated homes and cars (which I am thankful for). That, plus all the extra singing, and even talking if you work retail means UP YOUR HYDRATION. Water, water and more water.

  2. THE POWER OF THE HUMM. Humming, with a chewing motion is a great way to keep things warmed up and resonating. It’s also a natural decongestant. It helps loosen and drain stuffy areas, which along with good hydration keeps you healthier. (Some of the silly noises babies make are really God-given exercises to keep the head and larynx area healthy.) Those of you who use the Lip Trill or buzzing motor exercise should also do that. It’s one of the absolute best warm-ups ever. Here’s what it sounds like:

  3. The OTC (over the counter) product called Neil Med Nasal Rinse, available from Walgreens and sometimes Costco is an outstanding way to flush out the nasal passages and sinuses. It’s very inexpensive and used by thousands of singers and speakers to keep the body’s “air filters” clean and open.

Hope this helps, and that you finish the year with joy in your heart and health in your voice. The message of the Son of God is one of the strongest, most meaningful you will ever sing.

Is Singing In The Car Ok For The Voice?

WANT TO HEAR THE AUDIO VERSION OF THIS BLOG? Click here:  Blog-WarmingUpInCar_011612

Great Email Question

I got a great email question that asked this: “Chris, I bought the Vocal Coach series from you at a workshop you gave. You mention warming up while driving to rehearsal/gig. I thought I had heard not to do that. Is it ok to do that so long as posture is correct?”  This is a super question because it deals with real life for a singer.

Ideal vs Reality

Let’s start with this: The “ideal” warm-up/practice scenario would have you peaceful and quiet, undisturbed. You are rested, have eaten well and have just read something relaxing.  Maybe even had a string quartet playing during your meal. I’m not being sarcastic. Superstars like Luciano Pavarotti and Michael Jackson traveled with their own chef’s, food supply and, in the case of Pavarotti, entertainment.

Muscle Memory

Most singers who wait, and only warm-up and practice in perfect, ideal situations often just don’t do it. The result is that they don’t develop the muscle memory necessary for good singing.

Is Warming Up in the Car Ok?

I have sung all over the world and sometimes the only place I knew I could really “get away” to think and warm-up was in a rental car. Pavarotti and Jackson I am not, but I do know what my voice and mind and emotions feel like when I’m fully ready to perform and I’ll do about anything to make that happen. If you’re a choir or worship team member and the car is your only time to focus, put in a Vocal Coach Warm-Up or Daily Workout CD and go for it. The goal is to be ready.

If you do end up warming up in a car:

  1. Make sure the rear-view mirror is positioned comfortably high requiring you to sit tall to see out the back window.
  2. Keep your hands at the One and Three O’clock positions on the steerting wheel.  It will stabilize your chest and ribs in a comfortably expanded position.
  3. Have a goal of physically feeling a free, rich tone since road noise, air conditioning etc. may make accurate hearing challenging.
  4. Don’t try to out-sing the car noise. Instead, sing smart.  If you begin to strain, back off and recheck posture, breathing and tone. If you aren’t solid in those foundations make a plan, get some materials personal training and learn to do it right.

Ten Minutes Is Much Better Than Nothing

What it your schedule or situation doesn’t allow for a good warm-up?  That’s where muscle memory and experience kick in and get you through, but it’s not something to get comfortable with.  Those who do ultimately pay the price of sloppy, unpredictable performances. There is always some time to do humming and lip-trill exercises even if it’s while you’re in the shower and getting ready.

Summary

Do all you can to assure regular warm-up and practice times in ideal surrounding.  When that can’t happen, make sure to still prepare your voice and heart even if you need to hide in the janitor’s closet or a car to do it.

Got a Question You Would Like Answered?

Just email me at chris@vocalcoach.com and put “Question” in the subject.

What Is The Lip-Trill or Bubble Exercise? & Dallas area, here we come.

THE LIP-TRILL MYSTERY SOLVED (with Audio Demonstration)! 

Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding one of the most powerful vocal exercises any singer or speaker can do: THE LIP-TRILL, BUBBLE or MOTOR exercise.

Before you listen to the audio link below prepare your mind with these thoughts:

1. The lip-trill is done naturally by all babies and toddlers. Yes, YOU did it when you were younger!

2. It brings an awareness of the many parts of the face and head that are involved when you speak and sing.

3. It is the safest way to venture into your highest notes without straining or pushing.

4. It helps the body produce the right lubrication for the leading edges of the vocal folds.

5. It serves as a natural decongestant since it helps vibrate loose any thick mucus in the sinuses and nasal passages.

6. This exercise is so freeing you may literally open up entire new areas of your voice.

How important is the Lip-Trill? I have all my students sing their songs on the lip-trill sound to discover how the song SHOULD FEEL when they sing it.

CLICK HERE: Lip Trill Demo by Vocal Coach Chris Beatty

 

 

DO YOU LIVE ANYWHERE NEAR DALLAS/PLANO?

Has Your Voice Had A Tune-Up Lately?

Join us Saturday, November 12 from 9:00-Noon for a live, interactive Vocal Coach Workshop.

  • LIMITED TO 15 STUDENTS.
  • LIVE VIDEO FEED BETWEEN CHRIS BEATTY IN THE VOCAL COACH STUDIO IN TN & YOU IN THE VOICE KITCHEN STUDIO IN PLANO.
  • A WONDERFUL AND INEXPENSIVE WAY TO GET THE PERSONAL ATTENTION YOU NEED TO BE YOUR BEST.

Please click here for more details and to sign up: Vocal Coach Workshop at the Voice Kitchen, Dallas.

The voice Kitchen is located at:   7005 Chase Oaks Blvd., Suite 250, Plano, TX 75025

Have Questions?  Just call Jill at 469-383-8885