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Practice Tips: Vocal Warm-Ups & Technique

singingStructuring your vocal warm-ups and practice between lessons can make a huge impact on your success. Here, Bloomfield, NJ teacher Zachary B. shares some helpful tips…

 

In my experience, many students make progress during a lesson and often return to the next lesson with the new skills forgotten. Merely practicing songs, without specific structure usually leads to singing the song repeatedly. While this does familiarize you with the song, it does not help you improve from a technical standpoint, as it excludes warm ups and technical work. So what’s the solution? I structure the practice routine for each of my students, so they know what do.

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What Are Vocal Nodules?

Like every other bit of muscle tissue in your body, your vocal cords are pretty tough and resilient, and can take a fair amount of use – and even abuse – before they complain. If you pulled a muscle in your leg while running, you’d probably rest as much as possible, and take as much weight off it as you could.  However, it’s quite astonishing how often a singer will use their voice to the point of hoarseness, then “rest” from singing, while still continuing to talk without a second’s thought!  It’s this kind of abuse that can lead to vocal nodules. Read more

Powerful Audition Songs for Altos

The most important part of auditioning is taking a piece and making it your own. When looking for talent, directors don’t want to hear another rendition of something they have heard many times before; you need to make sure you stand out!

In musical theater, your song choice is usually dependent on the role for which you are auditioning. Many singers recommend avoiding songs from shows like Les Miserables and Wicked, as these are very common choices and tend to be overused; however, if you believe you can sing one of these audition songs very well, do not be afraid to use it! Read more

Introduction to Recording Vocals

As a vocalist, you’ve been working on perfecting your technique, style and pitch.  If you’re ready to join a band or getting ready to audition for college, then you’ll need to learn some extra skills. Recording your voice is a great next step to take.

Recording vocals is related to performance, but it involves a new skillset that is relatively easy to learn and a lot of fun to master. Let’s explore the differences between performing and recording techniques, while also taking a look at some of the gear used in recording. Read more

Proper Pronunciation for Singers

The International Phonetic Alphabet (aka IPA) is an important resource that should be referenced by any serious vocal student looking to improve his or her vocal tone, pitch and coherence when singing. IPA works by using symbols to denote the way in which certain letters or letter combinations should be pronounced during singing. As it is an “international” alphabet, these symbols can be used for a variety of sung languages, including: French, German, Italian and English. Whether or not you are a native speaker of these languages, as a vocalist you can benefit from knowing IPA, because our regionalisms and individual ways of pronouncing words can definitely dilute good vocal tone and pitch, as well as make lyrics incoherent to the audience. Read more

Best Audition Songs for Sopranos

The best audition songs for sopranos help singers stand out from the crowd and be heard when auditioning. The perfect song should be reasonably challenging, in order to show off your abilities, and should also exemplify personality. This could mean singing something to which you feel you can relate. Ideally, you should be able to create a tone similar to the original but, above all, you must enjoy the song.

Almost all pieces, provided they are in your range and you can sing them well, work well as audition songs for sopranos. There is disagreement between singers whether songs that are frequently used should be avoided. Consider yourself safe if you feel you will be able to impress the musical director; just avoid anything too slow and repetitive. Here are some of the top favorite audition songs for sopranos: Read more

5 Influential Solo Pieces for Singers

When considering repertoire suitable for performance or audition purposes, the first question you should always ask yourself is whether it shows you off as a singer. For example, if you have a gift for sustained singing, you will not be shown to best advantage by singing a patter song, and vice-versa. Solo pieces should always be appropriate for your voice, your stage of development, and for the occasion. This isn’t always easy to get right, but there are a few popular works which are appropriate for most singers, and which you should have in your repertoire.

Since you’re looking for advice on solo pieces, the assumption can be made that you’re relatively early on in your singing career, and therefore, the repertoire suggested will be more appropriate to younger, lighter voices. There are few solo pieces that are one-size-fits-all for soprano, alto, tenor and bass, so here’s a suggestion for each voice type, and one universal classic that has that rare quality of suiting almost everyone. Read more

Video: Finding Your Vocal Type

Determining your vocal type makes a huge impact on your future success as a singer. Once you know your type, you can select appropriate pieces to practice or use for auditions. TakeLessons singing instructor Monet P. explains how to start finding your voice type…

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-Proper Posture for Singers
-5 Great Goals for Vocalists
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Proper Posture for Singers

Before you learn how to breathe, sing, or play any kind of instrument correctly, you need to ensure that you’re creating the proper posture with your body. New singers frequently make the mistake of thinking that singing starts with controlling the vocal cords – those hard-working vocal folds we love to exhaust – but the secret to great singing is understanding how to use your whole body effectively. This starts with proper singing posture, enhanced by correct breathing techniques, and then further clarified by the use of almost every other body part.

As a singer, you need to realize that you, in fact, are your instrument. In this article we will explore the importance of having proper singing posture, and also share a few tips on how you can improve your posture at home. Read more

Introduction to the Falsetto Voice

The falsetto range has an unearthly quality; occupying that space above your normal singing voice, this rather haunting special effect can either be used specifically as a complete vocal style, or as an added effect.

However, the falsetto voice is a false voice, and requires a specific falsetto technique to acquire it.  Unlike chest, middle and head voice, it isn’t a natural way of singing for anyone, and requires a conscious placement. Read more

Tips for Playing the Guitar and Singing at the Same Time

Guitar players who sing tend to be either singers who want an accompaniment or guitarists who would like to sing with their music. It doesn’t matter which one you are; it is tricky for all of us to learn how to coordinate our playing and singing. There are several ways to master how to sing and play guitar, and as you’ve already discovered, practice is the key to learning this technique.

First, strengthen your hands and your voice. Guitarists have flat and tough fingertips from playing hours per day, and you can’t play well if you’re uncomfortable. You have to get past the initial discomfort (and sometimes, even blisters).

To strengthen your voice, practice slow deep breathing several times per day; inhale slowly and smoothly, exhale slowly and evenly 10 times. Once a day, lie on the floor or your sofa and place a heavy book on your diaphragm. Again, practice controlled, deep breathing.

Here are several guitar playing and singing methods for you to try, and I’m sure one will work for you. These methods are not something you will have to do the rest of your musical life; they will train you  how to sing and play guitar naturally. Read more

The Anatomy of Your Voice: Larynx, Vocal Cords, and More

Are you taking vocal lessons? You’ve probably heard your teacher say things like “breathe properly,” “support your voice,” and “make sure your larynx isn’t fixed,” but if you’re not armed with the right knowledge, it’s difficult to apply these ideas to your technique. Learning what these mean can make a big difference in your progress and success. Read more

Is Perfect Pitch a Myth?

Does perfect pitch exist? If you’ve ever met someone who can spontaneously name the notes when the doorbell rings, or can hear a note and tell if it is sharp or flat with no other tonal reference, you’d become a believer. However, the music world is divided over one thing. While some believe that perfect pitch is a talent one can be born with, others in the music community insist that pitch identification is a learned skill. Read more