Tag: voice training

Do You Want To Sing Higher?

After you read the Blog be sure to listen to the two audio sample exercises below.

DO YOU WANT TO SING HIGHER?

What a silly question.  Of course you do.  Everyone does, but why. Is it because the sopranos and tenors get the really great solos in every style from opera to pop? Or, perhaps it’s because you can’t sing your top notes without straining and that’s frustrating.

Whatever you reason for wanting to sing higher let me suggest you rephrase your goal to, “I want to have easy access to all my potential notes.  Higher, lower and everything in-between.  And, I want to be able to sing my lowest notes even after singing in my top range for 10 minutes.

Now, those are great goals, and realistic ones. In fact, the only way to really “own” the high notes is to work your full range, bottom to top to bottom to top.  Then, this physical, mechanical, acoustical instrument we call the voice will truly be there for you with all it’s potential.

NATURAL LIMITS

Expanding your range the right way requires that some basic foundations be in place.  It is also helpful if you realize several things.  First, everyone can’t sing every note. Just like string instruments, we have limits. Violins can’t be used for cello solos and visa versa.  In the same way, high sopranos and tenors can’t sing as low as a bass.  Nor can a low base sing the same quality high notes as the tenor or soprano. That being said, there is a good chance you can add significantly to your current range by doing the right exercises the right way.  Then, giving your voice time to develop muscle memory that will serve you for a lifetime.

WHERE TO START

First, give yourself permission to fail as you learn. In other words, don’t try an exercise once then give up if it’s not perfect right away.  Really great singers spend years perfecting their craft, so give yourself a break and enjoy the process.

Second, take some time to fine-tune your posture and breathing.  Click here for our Free Singing Resource Page and go to “Ten Steps To Better Breathing.

Third, with good posture and breathing in place start playing with the “Lip Trill” exercise by clicking  LipTrillDemo.  Then, add the “Siren” exercise to your routine. Click here to hear a demonstration: SirenExerciseDemo

DON’T MISS: SPECIAL PRICE ON COMPLETE EXPANDING YOUR RANGE CD or MP3 from Vocal Coach. This is an in-depth training tool with lots of principles and exercises to help you maximize your range.

Serious Singers Need To Stay In The Game

Non-Singing Part Of Your Life Effects Your Singing

Serious singers need to “stay in the game” even in non-singing times. The way you live your daily life heavily impacts your singing voice. Many singers are very surprised at how little they consider their voices during non-singing times. But if you’re a real singer, one who is looking for the most from your instrument you will keep your head in the game all day, every day.  Why? Because all parts of your life are intertwined.

A Sobering Truth

Most serious students-in-training are very focused during their lessons, practices, rehearsals and performances.  But, the minute they leave the training environment they pay little attention to posture, vocal tone quality and speaking diction.

The other area of abuse is the lack of attention and discipline in the areas of eating, exercise and rest. High school and college age singers in particular seem to live life to the fullest and try and squeeze in some vocal disciplines “as needed.”  And guest what? If you’re a casual singer there is nothing wrong with that.  You can’t focus on all things all the time.  But know that the way you schedule and use your time shows your real priorities.  If you are set on making your voice the best, most consistent instrument it can be, you need to put in the work and pay the price.

Put In the Work

The mental and physical work required to become an excellent singer are substantial. You not only have to develop the voice, you have to become more knowledgable in the things of music.

Pay The Price

Developing any skill to the point of excellence requires sacrifice in the areas of time, energy and often, finances.  Many times it’s not inconvenient or easy.  This is true for academics, sports and, not surprisingly, singing.  That’s just the way most things work.

Start Where You’re Planted

Begin, by taking full advantage of the people and situations around you.  If you’re in school that means get in every singing group you can, whether school or church to develop your ear and musical disciplines.  Even if that’s not the style you are heading for it can still help lay the foundations of ear training, tone, blend and the mechanics of posture, breathing and diction. If you’re a bit older look for local community college classes or personal training.  Larger churches may have Fine Arts departments with training available. You might be surprised at the level of teaching available in your community.

Other Options

Somewhere along the way you may want to invest in training materials from Vocal Coach. For many, this may even be where you start, but I wanted to make sure your eyes were open to all the options available to you.

 Need Feedback Along The Way?

Throughout the process, whether working on foundations or getting a song ready for performance or recording Vocal Coach is here with our Online two-way coachingCheck the web site for details.

 Summary: Get In The Game and Stay In The Game.

Don’t just think about.  Don’t just dream about it. If you really, really want to sing in public, and do it well then do the work.  Pay the price.  Make the sacrifice.  Get the training.  Then carry what you’re learning into your daily life.

 

If you have questions for vocal coach Chris Beatty just email chris@vocalcoach.com

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF VOCAL PRACTICE

GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR VOCAL  PRACTICE

Your Body Soul & Spirit are involved when you use your voice.  None of the three can be force-fed, and all are more receptive and effective when you take a few minutes to prepare your practice and rehearsal times.

As You Prepare to Practice Consider These Principles

  1. Being casual about practice and rehearsal may lead to performance casualties.
  2. Practice makes permanent, so don’t practice using wrong technique.
  3. Muscles have memory, so think “mechanics” until things become more natural.
  4. You are more likely to reach your goals if you have some. Make a plan before you begin.  Write it down!
  5. You are a vocal athlete and have physical limits.  Athletes who never learn to warm up, work smart and cool down have more injuries and shorter careers.  It’s the same for singers.

How Long To Practice?

You need the right quality and quantity of time.   For a normal vocal practice session, allow 45 minutes to an hour-and-a-half.  If you’re doing a lot of non-vocal, mental work (thinking through gestures, expression, lip-syncing etc.), you can go longer as long as you remain focused. When you stop making positive progress it’s time to stop. Be sensitive to your physical voice as well as what you are accomplishing . . . nor not accomplishing.

Rehearsals

Rehearsals, as apposed to working technique, may take much longer, especially when others are involved. The key is to go into it warmed up and prepared and pace the use of your voice.

When Working With Vocal Coach Training Materials

If you have the Singer series, you can get tips from the Getting Started CD on how to most effectively work through it.  Whether you have the series or a variety of other CD’s the key is to decide what you want to accomplish.  If you’re building or reinforcing the foundations start with Complete Breathing, Warm-Up, Tone and Expanding Your Range.  Spend some time in the introductory teaching to get in the right mindset.  Take notes and replay sections that jump out at you.  Then, move on to the exercises, repeating as necessary until your mind and mechanism both “get it.”

Don’t be in a rush, or expect to suddenly have it all working.  As all the parts learn to work together, it will be well worth the investment in time and effort. Use the form below as a practice tracker.

VOCAL WORKOUT TRACKER FORM

Copy/Paste the Workout Tracker  into Word or Pages and print as many copies as you need. It will help you track what’s working and what’s not and make you a smart singer.

 Name:_______________________Date:_____________________

Objectives/goals for this session: (Technique goals, songs to work on etc.) Use as much space as you need.

 

 

Reflecttions On The Session:  Take all the room you need:

  •  What worked as planned, what is getting better/easier and what is still an issue?  (Include questions, thoughts etc. so you know the areas in which you need more information etc.
  • Did you end up using different materials or songs that you originally planned on?
  • Are you encouraged or frustrated? Describe.

As you see patterns emerging you will know where to focus and where you may need extra help.

 

Have questions or comments?  Let me know at chris@vocalcoach.com

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.

GIFTS FOR THE SINGERS IN YOUR LIFE

Receive a 10% discount at checkout when you enter HOLIDAY10 in the coupon code.


WHAT TO BUY FOR THE SINGERS IN YOUR LIFE? 

HOW ABOUT SOMETHING TO MAKE THEM BETTER SINGERS?

 

1. A personal Online training & coaching session with Chris Beatty. All you need is a webcam and Skype, iChat or FaceTime. It’s the perfect way to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and get on a path to being your best. 

2. Vocal Coach Singer 12 CD training series. A complete, systematic program to help you be all you can be. 

3.  Our Teaching Kids To Sing pack is the perfect gift for kids and grandkids!  The two DVD’s and one CD set cover the foundations of singing in a fun, practical and very user-friendly way. 

Receive a 10% discount at checkout when you enter HOLIDAY10 in the coupon code.