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“Yo, it was a little pitchy dawg”…That vague, distressing line.
Being able to consistently match pitch is an all-important skill for any singer looking to succeed. From the audition room, to the recording studio, to live performance, singing in tune is one of the most basic and tell tale signs of a solid vocal technique, an innate musicality, and a keen sensitivity to tone quality and production.
“But, what about those all-stars relying on auto-tune, pre-recorded tracks, and other technology to deliver non-stop pitch perfection?” say you.
“Do you really want to get stuck carrying the Millie Vanillie banner?” says I.
Be not afraid. You too can fix pitch and aspire to more than just mouthing the words.
Singers! Here’s a beefy tip© for singing in tune and keeping the randy Randies away.
1) Pitch Perfect - The human voice is not a fixed pitch instrument, like the keyboard piano, for example. Rather, our vocal cords lengthen and shorten, stretching from a short and fat coordination, for lower pitches, to a long and thin coordination, for higher pitches. They act like a rubber band, stretching back and forth at lightning speed to produce the sung pitches. This quick action makes it super easy to miscalculate the cord adjustments needed for an accurate pitch. The good news is that the more you sing, the better you get at effortlessly controlling these adjustments and improving your center of pitch.
2) Do like Beyoncé and LISTEN - Truly listen the next time you sing and master the art of prephonatory tuning. Whaaaa? Prephonatory tuning is a fancy way of saying you need to hear and adjust your voice to the pitch before you sing the note.
Phonation – making sound
Tuning – adjustment
Professional singers hear and coordinate each pitch, instantly, before they sing it. The ear computes and digests the pitch, and then the voice instantaneously responds with the proper cord adjustments to produce that tone. With time, this process becomes so natural and fluid that it is mostly subconcious.
3) Game of Vowels - As you sing higher into your range you have to modify your vowels for proper placement and resonance balancing. Your voice has a lower and upper register, called chest and head voice. If you want to sing in tune, you had better be using both.
A singer who drags their chest voice up too high, without transitioning to head voice, will inevitably begin to widen the vowels, and yell the sound, as their resonance gets trapped in the mouth cavity. This trap of spreading the vowels wide, as you sing higher, completely stresses the vocal cords and will usually pull your voice below pitch, and have you singing “flat.” Learn to make correct vowel adjustments so your can incorporate and soar into your mix and head voice on the high notes. (See beefy tips© 2 and 3 for more info.)
Singing in tune will suddenly seem a breeze.
4) Overblown - The speed of airflow through the cords directly affects the pitch. A faster rate of air flow causes the pitch to rise and a slower rate will cause the pitch to fall.
If you want to experience this concept you can try singing a comfortable pitch and then pushing your hand on your belly in a pulsing motion. The pitch will rise with each pulse as the airflow suddenly speeds up. “Pushing” then, or singing with too much force or breathe pressure, can cause a note to rise above its intended pitch and go “sharp”. This also results in a forced tone quality that is particularly grating on your listener’s ears.
Under-supporting, or singing with too little airflow, or breath pressure, will result in the singer sounding consistently flat on each pitch.
- Let the music be your guide - Match pitch with a musical instrument; keyboard, guitar, or smartphone app. Play a note that is comfortably in your range (not too low or high). Listen carefully and completely to the note and hear it in your mind’s ear. Once you’ve grasped and digested the pitch, try to sing it and match the center of the pitch exactly. Repeat this exercise again, using random pitches for 5-10 minutes, each time your practice. Soon you should find that you are able to sing the correct pitches more quickly and accurately. Within a couple of weeks your should be matching pitch like a boss.
- Bull’s Eye Exercise - Again, with a comfortable note, sing in the center of the pitch then move slightly sharp (higher), then back to center, then slightly flat (lower), then back to center, like your tuning a guitar string. This gives you a reference point and helps you gain more control over singing in the bull’s eye of the pitch. If you are out of tune it is important to know which direction you need to adjust. Are you too high or too low from the pitch you want? Imagine coming from the top down to attack the pitch; learn to keep the soft palate high and energized as you sing.
- Half/Whole Heartedly - Master singing half step and whole step intervals. Seriously. Do it!
- Smooth Sailing - Sing quick, flowing scale patterns, like those found on Daily Vocalizations, and work on balancing and evening out your airflow as you sing higher and lower, through your range. Be careful not to push too much air pressure into your singing when going for the high notes. Work to flow through smoother, longer, more sustained phrases, and keep the air pressure even.
- Aca-awesome - Try singing songs slowly and accurately, acapella. Establish the key with a piano or guitar or app, then sing acapella and continue to check in with the instrument. Record yourself and listen back for areas where you lost the pitch and then reference the “beef” above for the various causes and adjustments you can make to improve.
Where's the Beef?!
There was no blood at the press preview for the upcoming Broadway musical American Psycho, adapted from Bret Easton Ellis’s brutal 1991 book. But the mood was certainly sanguine as the show’s alarmingly attractive cast took to the stage in street clothes to offer a taste of four numbers from the production, which starts previews on March 24 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre: “Selling Out,” “A Girl Before,” “Cards” and “You Are What You Wear.” The music was pounding, and the energy was high.
The homicidal antihero of American Psycho, Patrick Bateman, is played by Benjamin Walker—who, after his star turn in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, has a lock on the niche for charismatic mass murderers in Broadway musicals. Heléne York (Bullets Over Broadway) plays his girlfriend; Jennifer Damiano (Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark) is his secretary, and Next to Normal’s Alice Ripley is both his mother and his Russian dry cleaner, who has a lot of stains to keep her busy. All were on hand today, along with composer Duncan Sheik (Spring Awakening) and director Rupert Goold (King Charles III).
Ellis’s grotesque skewering of consumerist culture, adapted by Mary Harron into a 2000 movie starring Christian Bale, may not be an obvious candidate for musical theater, but that's part of the appeal. (The show was a massive hit in its 2013 premiere at London’s Almeida Theatre.) “As I reread the book 20 years later—because I had read it in college—I realized that this was a great opportunity to create a piece of theater that really challenges people’s ideas about what musical theater might sound like,” noted Sheik in his introduction to the preview. “Specifically, I thought about electronic music, and house music and techno and many other subgenres of EDM that have proliferated since then.”
After the presentation, I spoke with Goold about how the musical might differ from previous versions of the same gory story. “I think it’s maybe a little more satiric, a little more comic in places—something quite Kubricklike,” he said. “The movie was working within a slasher-film idiom and we are working within a musical-theater idiom, so that’s inherently different. Theater naturally is a medium more suited to ambiguity and imagination. And Bateman is such an unreliable narrator in the novel; I think maybe the musical has some of that more slippery, Alice in Wonderland feel.” And the musical’s chills, Goold believes, will benefit from the frisson of live theater. “When you watch the movie on your own, it can be very scary and exciting,” Goold said. “But a movie is always a screen. There’s something about really being in the room with him, which should be scintillating and sexy. And Ben is really great for it.”
Will American Psycho prove as popular in New York as it was in London? Time will tell. But with Hamilton fever sweeping the nation and a crowded spring lineup ahead—including such radically different offerings as Shuffle Along, Waitress, Paramour, Bright Star and Tuck Everlasting—we may well look back on 2015-2016 as a killer season for musicals.
via Adam Feldman at Time Out Magazine
Singers! Here’s your beefy tip© for gettin’ those high notes good and solid.
1) Old Yeller - When it comes to singing, higher does not mean harder. The voice, as a muscle, doesn’t respond well to force, but thanks to human instinct, this is most people’s modus operandi. The problem is the inborn human ability to yell. Yelling is a survival mechanism, and we get real good at it. When we sing our nervous system gets all excited and the initial, untrained, fight or flight tendency veers towards this yelling coordination. Yelling will lock you in your chest voice, making it impossible to transition into head voice, or into a mix, and completely shut down any access to higher range. Step one, “Please don’t yell at me”.
2) Lighten Up - To avoid yelling, you should work to access your upper register with a high and light vocal coordination. That equates to working out with head voice exercises designed to establish true vocal cord compression when the cords are lengthened and in their thinnest state. When you first start this training, you might experience some breathiness in your tone, or some flipping into falsetto. No worries, new muscle coordination just takes time. If you stick with it, you WILL accomplish your pure head voice and then you’re one step closer to high note happiness. Once pure head voice is established, you can gradually work towards power by deepening vocal cord closure, developing split resonances, and increasing singing intensity.
3) Under Pressure - If the high and light coordination of your upper register is weak, pushing more air up there will only give you more problems. Some singers think they need to sing louder, i.e. use more air, to reach the high notes, but too much breath pressure will cause the voice to either jam up (yelling again) or fall apart (crack into falsetto). Yeah, breath support and properly directed airflow are essential for singing money notes, but air is a force that must be resisted by the muscles of the cords. Balance is your jam and the breath pressure you apply to your thinning cords has to ease off as you ascend in range. Imagine someone trying to lift too much at the gym. Imagine them beasting and straining in ridiculous form. No es bueno señor/ita. Back off the weight (pressure), get correct form (placement, cord coordination), then gradually increase the weight (air), like a boss.
4) Narrow-Minded - Many high notes are undone, way before they even have a chance to ascend the scale. The root cause is the spreading or splatting of the sung vowel as the singer approaches his or her break. This is the spot where the voice tends to crack or flip, and singers often spread the mouth wide, adding excess tension, thinking this will remedy the problem (see Top Question 2 for more on breaks). Unfortunately, this destroys the approach for a smooth transition into your upper range. The fix to avoiding breaks and seamlessly blending from chest voice into the higher head voice, is to narrow your sung vowels using vowel modification. Vowel modification succeeds with the acoustic principle that a more closed or narrow, rounded vowel prepares the voice to gradually let go of the weight of the chest voice and redirects your airflow from the mouth, up behind a high and wide soft palate, to bring in the head voice. Everybody instinctively knows they can get way more bang for their high note buck by letting loose a "whoo-hoo" rather than an "ah-ha" when the party gets going.
- Vocalize with closed vowel sounds such as "oo" or "ee" when working your higher scales. Once you can get into the higher register, slowly sneak the vowels open to "oh", "uh", or “eh” without feeling the cords crack apart, or suddenly grabbing chest voice. Maintain the placement in head voice, or mix, keep the volume and the breath pressure evenly, the same, and feel the higher resonance swell with the more open vowels. This is tough. It takes practice. But this should begin to make the upper notes easier and more consistent. Another example: When ascending on an "ah" vowel, let it modify to "uh" as you sing through your break area. This should eliminate the strain and cracking of a pulled-up chest voice.
- Sing through filters, such as lip rolls, tongue trills, or voiced consonants (“ng”, “m”, “vvv”, “zzz”). Filters are the best way to accomplish even air flow, balanced pressure, proper placement, and successful cord closure all the way through your range. The filter partially blocks your sound and sends balanced pressure and energy down to the vocal cords, making it easier for them to phonate and resist air properly.
- Take it from the top. Starting exercises from the high note and working down is a great way to build your head voice and smooth over your break as you transition back to chest voice. Singing from the top, down, also helps you learn to release pressure and strain as you turn around and sing from the bottom, back up. This breaks the cycle of always having to get out of the chest voice to sing higher. Becoming familiar with head voice gives you welcome release for your high notes. Try “Wee” or “Gee” for your exercises.
- Consonants are good. Putting a consonant in front of the vowel can provide some of the same benefit as a filter, and this gets you one step closer to achieving those results in your open voice. Hard consonants such as "g" help with cord closure and releasing tension in the larynx, while voiced consonants like "m" and "n" guide placement and ensure an effortless, clean, and connected attack to the high note. "Mum", “Nuh” and "No" are some of my go-to’s for this. Try your favorite exercises with these consonant/vowel combos.
- High note got you down? When working on the problem notes of your song, swap out the text for a consonant/vowel combo. Sing your song on "muh" or “noo” as is “nook”. Start to feel those friendly high notes happen in your voice, then, gradually add the text back in. Remember to check your narrow vowels on high notes too. Use vowel modification to fix strained or splatted words in your songs. For example, take “Rockets Red Glare” towards “Rock"ih"ts R“ih”d Gl“eh”re. The crowds will go wild.
Where's the Beef?!
‘‘HAMILTON,’’ the new musical biography of Alexander Hamilton created by and starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, arrives on Broadway this month, riding a wave of adulation not seen in American theater in decades. It is a rare thing: not just a theatrical landmark, but a show that jolts our thinking about popular culture and casts new light on some of the most storied events in American history. It is an odd creation: a rigorously factual period drama about the political intrigues of the early Republic, starring a cast of mostly black and Latino actors, with a score steeped in hip-hop. It is also a coronation, confirming the 35-year-old Miranda, the acclaimed composer and star of the Tony- and Grammy-winning 2008 show ‘‘In the Heights,’’ as his generation’s preeminent musical theater auteur. ‘‘Hamilton’’ is the product of an unlikely meeting of two minds, across a gulf of centuries. ‘‘When I encountered Alexander Hamilton I was immediately captivated,’’ Miranda says. ‘‘He’s an inspirational figure to me. And an aspirational one.’’
The genesis of ‘‘Hamilton’’ has already entered theatrical lore. While on vacation in Mexico in 2008, Miranda cracked Ron Chernow’s doorstop biography, ‘‘Alexander Hamilton,’’ which was nominated in 2004 for the National Book Critics Circle award and won the George Washington Book Prize. A few dozen pages in, Miranda’s new project began leaping to life. In Hamilton, he saw a figure he recognized: a word-drunk firebrand with untrammeled ambition, raw talent, an outsize ego and a lust for combat, verbal and otherwise. Miranda saw a rapper.
It is the genius of ‘‘Hamilton’’ to make the link between hip-hop and the world of 18th-century politics seem like the most obvious thing in the world — not a conceit imposed upon the history but the excavation of some essence lurking within it. ‘‘The idea of hip-hop being the music of the Revolution appealed to me immensely,’’ Miranda says. ‘‘It felt right.’’
Perhaps the biggest testament to the force of ‘‘Hamilton’’ is how easily audiences acclimate to its color-blind casting, accepting a Latino Alexander Hamilton, a black George Washington, a Thomas Jefferson who swaggers like the Time’s Morris Day, sings like Cab Calloway and drawls like a Dirty South trap-rapper. The crucible of American popular theater was the minstrel stage, where white actors blacked up to perform racist caricatures of African-Americans. ‘‘Hamilton’’ flips minstrelsy on its head, offering sympathetic and insightful portrayals of the archetypal white Americans, the founding fathers and mothers, by a cast composed almost entirely of people of color. ‘‘The show reflects what America looks like now,’’ Miranda says.
‘‘We could all be dead tomorrow,’’ Miranda says. ‘‘Who tells our story? Will it be told? We have no way of knowing. In essence, that’s what the show is about. We are telling the story of someone who I don’t think would expect it to be told in this way, if he were alive. But he very much wanted his story told. He was outlived by all his enemies. The next four presidents — Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and John Quincy Adams — all hated Hamilton, and did their best, not even to assassinate his character, but to bury him by omission.’’
‘‘ ‘Who lives? Who dies? Who tells your story?’ It’s a question for the characters on that stage, and it’s also a question for the audience. It leaves you reckoning with: Wait, who does tell my story? What am I doing with my life? I think that’s why, when I get emails about this show from people in the audience, they usually come at three in the morning. They’re dark-night-of-the-soul emails. Because it’s a question we’re all grappling with. It’s a question that we all pose at the end.’’
Get more, including commentary from Stephen Sondheim and the Roots here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/08/t-magazine/hamilton-lin-manuel-miranda-roots-sondheim.html?_r=1
Buddy Guy on the Rolling Stones: 'They Were So Damn Wild'
When they came to America, they recognized some of the greatest musicians that I had admired – Ike and Tina Turner, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf – and let America know who we were. They let white America know what the blues is. We owe those guys all the thanks in the world."
Last month, Buddy Guy joined the Rolling Stones onstage in Milwaukee for "Champagne and Reefer," and then hit up Legends, his Chicago club, to watch some live blues. Rolling Stone Magazine spoke to Guy about his long history with the Stones, which has included playing with the band many times since 1970. Here is Guy's tribute: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/buddy-guy-on-the-rolling-stones-they-were-so-damn-wild-20150707#ixzz3fVfMfUV1
“Oklahoma!” — which unfolds in a theater retrofitted to look like an old-fashioned community hall and features red pots of chili shared by the audience and the actors at intermission — may be right in line with the current fashion in immersive theater. But don’t call it experimental.
“I tend not to think in terms of something being experimental or traditional, old or new,” Mr. Fish said. “It’s not about trying to push the show, but about trying to really hear it.”
He put it another way: “If there was an apocalypse and we found a time capsule, and all that was inside was the score and the book of ‘Oklahoma!,’ how would we do it?”
Mr. Fish’s production arrives at a moment when the Rodgers and Hammerstein canon seems to be sailing into the future with fresh wind at its back. The past decade has brought acclaimed Broadway productions of “South Pacific” and of “The King and I,” which received this year’s Tony for best musical revival. The live television version of “The Sound of Music” in 2013 scored huge ratings, if little critical love.
While “Oklahoma!” has not been professionally produced in New York since a 2002 Broadway revival, there have been inventive treatments at regional theaters, like a 2010 staging at Arena Stage in Washington, with a multiracial cast that reflected the diversity of the Oklahoma Territory in 1906, when the show is set.
“They had billed it as ‘Not Your Mother’s Oklahoma!,’ ” Theodore S. Chapin, the president and executive director of Rodgers and Hammerstein: An Imagem Company (formerly the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization), said of that production, which flirted with a Broadway transfer. “I was terrified at first. But it was extraordinary.”
Now, Mr. Fish’s stripped-down, intimate “Oklahoma!” — a work that was as radically innovative at the time of its premiere in 1943 as “Fun Home” or “Hamilton” is today, Mr. Chapin suggests in a program essay — could help open up another fertile vista.
“We’ve now been through a period where really first-rate directors have taken the texts and made people realize what extraordinary works of theater they are,” Mr. Chapin said. “What’s going to be next might be different kinds of directors who are more theatrically diverse finding ways to do these shows.”
Right. The break. So, nobody, anywhere, ever wants to crack whilst singing. We've all experienced that dreaded, bitch spot in the voice where it can fall apart so perfectly, so opportunistically, so blatantly, right in the middle of an otherwise succeeding performance, that we'd just as soon chuck in, and end ourselves, right there. Yes?
But before we can discuss how to prevent such self-slaughter inducing events from occurring, we must first "break" down (pun intended) what the break area is and why the damn thing exists in our voices, at all.
Singers! Here' another beefy tip© to quietly and persistently chew on as you console those pesky, cracking cords.
- Registration - It's all about the registers. A vocal register is a resonance area within a singer's vocal range (a place where the sound resonates).
- The 6 -There are 6 commonly discussed vocal registers, utilized in professional singing: chest voice, head voice, middle voice/mixed voice, falsetto, vocal fry, and whistle voice.
- Crack is Whack - The registers of your voice have transitions between them. Most specifically the lower chest voice, and the higher head voice, have a moment of transition between them which is felt as the “break” area in a singer’s voice. Also termed the passaggio, the transition, the bridge, or the crack in your voice, it is in this spot, between these two dominant vocal registers, that a shift of musculature and resonance happens.
- Revving the Engine - So you see, many singers get stuck singing in only ONE register (all chest or all head), driving the voice way past it's sustainable production in that register, and as soon as they hit their transition.....c.r.@.c.k.....! In order to alleviate this, you have to sing in chest voice on the bottom notes, head voice on the top notes and a blend of the registers in between (your mixed voice). The game is to utilize all of your vocal registers when singing and to learn to release pressure and tension as you ascend in your range, without losing cord compression, or cracking into a breathy, falsetto production.
- Rainbow Connection - To find chest voice, put your hand on your chest and call out a sustained “ah” to feel the vibration (resonance) in your sternum and the mouth cavity. For head voice, put your hand on your head and call out a “wee” like you're imitating a siren. Feel the vibration in the head cavity and the resonance moving up behind the soft palate. The middle voice then, is the mix or blend of these two registers, and the vibration should be experienced on the bridge of your nose and in the nasopharynx, at the upper back part of the throat. Voice that gets stuck in pulled up chest voice or pulled down head voice, without finding the middle blend, will result in that nasty break. You have to overlap these two registers.
- Possible Snags - Most singers think higher means harder. What you are looking for is a release every time you pass through a bridge area. It's like feeling the engine in your car shift and release, every time it passes from 1st gear, 2nd gear, to 3rd. Literally just like that. When singing correctly you should feel a gradual build up of tension as you approach your break, and then a gradual release as you smoothy and successfully cross the bridge into the next higher or lower register. If you drive your voice too hard, too far, it cracks. If your release is too late or too great, you stall. You'll lose vocal cord compression and flip into falsetto.
- Kurt's famous exercises for smoothing out those breaks: Dopey Lip Rolls, 1-3-5-8-5-3-1, Humming on "NG" 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1, Sing "ma - awn - nawn - nawn" 1-5-3-1, Edge Cry Exercises, 3-1-3-5-3, Hooty "ee" and "oo" vowels, sing octave slides, 1-8-1. For help with these exercises, or to schedule a lesson, contact us at www.Full-Voice.com.
- When transitioning from one register to the next, keep a narrow embouchure. Don’t spread the mouth wide.
- Nasal resonance releases the weight of chest voice and guides the transition from the oropharynx to the nasopharynx (don't worry about it, it works!). Use a healthy amount in your singing. Nothing exaggerated.
- Don’t push the sound or get louder as you sing higher. Too much breath pressure will blast your lengthened cords apart.
- Don’t wimp out though, and flip into falsetto (dudes) or breathiness/headiness (ladies). A balanced breath support that gradually releases pressure off the cords is your jam.
- Don’t slam the larynx down low. This sound sucks and will lock you into chest voice.
- Don’t lift the larynx up high. This sound sucks and will give you a squeezed, strained, closed throat. Now isn't that nice.
Here's to singing muy mucho suave,
Where's the beef?!
Billy Joe Shaver doesn’t play outlaw country. He is outlaw country. His songs, covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan, gave birth to the outlaw country sound and had a major impact on country music as a whole. Even in his personal life, Shaver seems to be pulled from a Highwaymen song, such as the time in 2007 when he shot a man who pulled a knife on him, asking, “Where do you want it?” before pulling the trigger and inspiring two country songs.
This year he turns 75, and after a life of hardships, deep personal loss and amazing music, he’s still going strong. We were lucky to talk to Billy Joe about his new album, Long In The Tooth, his autobiography and how songwriting can save your life.
From those looking for a daily practice to build their voices, to performers striving to give 100 percent on stage every night, we all want to achieve a level of vocal consistency and health, and to get the most out of our voices.
Singing is an athletic event. And just as athletes have to warm up and tend to their bodies, so do we singers need to tend to our voices. Singers are "muy apasionado" about their singing and very often we launch in too quickly to sing, disregarding the voice, not listening to our bodies; the result being the voice breaks down too quickly. Just like you can only work out at the gym for so long before your body calls it quits, you can only sing for so long before your voice needs a rest.
The voice, as a muscle, should be respected, and a specific, intentional, mindful warm up will secure longevity for your singing. Your daily warm up should be methodical, gentle, and take time to allow your voice to warm up, rather than forcing or pushing your voice for immediate results. The more specific care you put into preparing your voice to sing, the longer and the more lasting the results.
Singers! May this beefy tip© serve as the answer to all your lingering warm up queries!
- Get Physical - First thing, pay attention to your body. Get that body movin', shake a leg, and wake up the breath! I can't emphasize enough, the importance of this step. Try it. It will transform the way you approach your singing each day. Whether you go for a brisk walk, run, do some jumping jacks, or some light yoga, get up and move, and stretch your body for 15 - 30mins. In truth, I do all of these each day, prior to singing anything. My tailored physical warm up takes me 30-60 mins and allows me to start coaching sessions, in full voice, rarin' to go. The workout I recommend best is Dan Millman's Warrior Workout which can actually be accomplished in as little as 4 mins, but with choice results. Check out the exercises below, or click here to get the online course.
- Breathe - Now, with your breath primed and alive, you should do some breathing exercises that prepare your body to sing with control. Breathing exercises secure pitch accuracy, quality of tone, your ability to sustain long phrases, dynamic control, etc. Try timed hissing, panting, and hiss-to-tone exercises for 30 - 60 seconds at a time, 2-5 repetitions.
- Vocalize - Next begin with some light humming and groggy, edgy, cry sounds. Eventually apply these sounds to basic scale patterns. Don't worry about quality. Don't feel any sense of push, weight or pressure, or strain as you first work to get your voice to agree with you. Try 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 in your most comfortable range.
- Registers - Your warm up should hit every part of your voice, or each vocal register. Sing exercises that vocalize easy chest voice, easy head voice, easy middle voice, then work some nasal resonance, and then edgy cry sound through your entire range, finally combining all these productions together into a beautiful, solid mix coordination. If you're looking for specific warm ups for each register, demonstrations, and practice tracks, download our expert Daily Vocalizations here.
- Warming up your voice in the morning requires patience and attention. Allow rather than force the voice to warm up.
- Get some Zzz's. The voice responds dramatically to the amount of rest you are getting. Shoot for at least 8hrs for top vocal production.
- Wake up! Rouse thyself at least 4 hours before you need to sing or perform to give your body, breath, and voice ample time to wake up and respond to the singing.
- Hydrate. You've just come off 8 hrs of sleep (dehydration). Hit some non caffeinated beverages. Warm liquids work best.
- Eat Something. The simple act of chewing and swallowing is, in itself, a vocal warm up and further prepares your voice to sing by awakening the outer muscles of the larynx.
- The 3 best warm ups for inspiring the vocal cords and for taking pressure and strain of the voice are humming, edgy cry sound, and head voice.
- Don't worry about the quality/quantity. This is just the warm up, not a vocal workout, or the final product for performance. You should not be reaching for your highest range or full power.
- The singing part of your warm up should be between 15 and 30mins max. Later on, after you've had a chance to rest and reap the benefits or your exercise, go for a more focused, full, vocal workout, practice session, or sing in preparation for your performance.
Hope that lends some keen insight into what you should be doing, each day, to get the most out of your singing. Now get to it singer. Live la vida Full-Voice.
Where's the beef?!
- Study and explore the gamut of vocal techniques and ideas
- Provide a “tailor-made” approach to each singing artist, their individual needs and goals
- Be a player in the ever-expanding resources available to artists, singers, and performers
Kurt Robinson is a vocal coach currently based in New York but is often elsewhere.
This blog was started in 2015 as a means to encourage people to sing better and to do it on a limited budget.
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