Learn how to sing with feeling! Improve singing vocal technique with this step by step action plan

1.Action: yourself the " power questions."

  • What are my goals for singing?

  • How will I sing exceptionally?

  • How will I make my performances powerful?

  • What changes will I make to get me there?

Result: You have a vision that will guide your choices.

2.Action: an excellent voice teacher.

  • There is no way to achieve excellence without it, because singing is much more than just knowing about techniques. It involves muscles that are not completely voluntary, and as a result our various tensions limit our vocal ability. A good voice teacher knows how to appreciate each student's particular talents and challenges and guide them through constant practice and experimentation to maximizing their instrument.

  • I've seen three types of teachers: the " imaginary number," the " anchorman," and the " surgeon." The first will tell you things like, " Imagine the sound coming out of your foot, your back, your little toes, etc.." . This is useful at first, when you are just getting into the basic mechanism of singing, but they don't tend to carry you effectively through an entire program. The " anchorman" will have you say things in a funny way, make ridiculous sounds and do other things to get you to FEEL what proper vocal performance is like. He creates anchors for you to keep in mind when you sing. Here you will see truly rapid progress and gain a lot. The " surgeon" takes the anchorman one level further. He wants to have you understand what is taking place physically and continue to gain more control over it. His approach is a little slower than the anchorman, but because of its basicness, it tends to be the most secure and long-lasting. See who's available, and find someone you will feel challenged with. It's always better to be out of your league, because someday you'll get in to that higher league.

    Result: You'll gain much more, and can skip to phase 2.

3.Action: Learn the basics of singing vocal technique.

They are breath, muscular support, position of the vocal cords and opening of the mouth, lowering the larynx and the ill effects of tension. Understand everything you can.

Ingredients: A good teacher, or at least a good book on singing, a CD program.

  • Get your source of information, whether it be your teacher, or a book.

  • Learn about how sound is produced, what happens to the vocal cords and what are the elements of singing.

  • Choose exercises to learn about and develop each of these areas.

4.Action: Consistently do breathing exercises.

Air is the fuel of singing. A daily routine to strengthen both your breath capacity and your breath agility is crucial.

Ingredients: a metronome, 10 minutes.

  • Exercise one: Start the metronome at 60. Inhale fully and exhale slowly for 5 measures, or 20 beats. After exhaling, let the air fill your lungs naturally, don't try to " suck it in." Repeat around ten times. Over the weeks, build up to longer exhale times.

  • Exercise two: Metronome at 60, make a loud " H" as in human sound. Put a hand on your stomach and another just below your rib cage. As you make this sound (almost like a cross between hhhh and shshsh) feel your stomach pull in and your diaphragm push out. Do one a beat for twenty measures, or 80 beats. As you progress, go to half notes, i.e., two per beat.

Result: Your breath support is strengthened.

To learn and do stress release breathing to completely free you up, think about this:

5.Action: Practice with various vowels.

Practice singing the various vowels teaches you that each has its own uniqueness. Some are based in the front of the mouth, others in the middle or back. Some are easier to sing higher on, others not.

Ingredients: a piano or keyboard.

  • Starting low, sing an octave up and down on each vowel ah, eh, ee, oh, oo. Try to slide up the octave, feeling what happens in your mouth, throat and diaphragm as you go. Go up by half tones until you reach the top of your range. Then go back down again. Notice how you feel when you properly support with breath, and when tension cuts you off. You are learning.

Result: You appreciate the differences in vowels.

6.Action: Integrate " consonant technique."

Consonants are important for making words make sense. Theatrically, landing hard on a consonant can hammer home a dramatic message. The downside is that they create tension. In sustained high range passages, that can destroy you. You must learn to sing through the consonants to the vowels.

Ingredients: a piano.

  • Sing a scale up an octave with just the ah, eh, ee, oh, oo vowels.

  • Now sing it with a " t" in front, i.e. ta, ta, ta, ta... Try to sing without moving your jaw to make the " t" sound. You are trying to sing the vowel with a minimum of interference and closing. This is easier with the tongue consonants of " t" and " d" . Then try it with the throat consonants of " g" and " k" . Finally, the lip consonants of " m" and " n" .

The more you learn to use consonants smoothly and easily, the freer your singing.

Result: You gain consistency in singing.

7.Action: Develop proper opening technique.

Open doesn't refer to your mouth. If the mouth is open too wide, that also creates tension. Rather, it refers to the back of the throat. Opening means when you can feel the air you inhale hitting against the back of the throat. Think Darth Vader. Generally, your tongue will be at rest at the back of your lower teeth when you are open. The " imaginary number" style teacher will tell you to imagine you are drinking in your sound.

Ingredients: Piano.

  • Practice scales and arpeggios of the different vowels in an open position. See when it feels good and the notes are fuller, and when it's forced and you lose range. Note what worked and try to do that all the time.

Result: Your range and fullness increase.

8.Action: Practice these techniques in toto.

One other thing. The most important part of singing is how you first sing the note. If you hit it poorly, harshly or too weakly, you usually will only add tension if you try to correct it. So make every effort that the notes onset is smooth, solid and comfortable, and then stay there, enjoying that free feeling.

Ingredients: piano, time.

  • Create your own exercises to utilize breath, vowels, consonants with proper opening of the throat and comfortable looseness. Sing scales for agility and arpeggios for range and power.

Result: You know the proper " feel," you've gained insight into singing vocal technique. Now it's time to make the songs MAGICAL, with the secrets of song interpretation.

Learn How to Sing 2: Song Interpretation.


 |Vocal Technique | |Interpretation |



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