Category Archives: Voice care

how to practice on your own – beginner training

When taking your first steps in the world of singing, questions often come up related to your singing practice at home.

You may feel that one lesson per week is not enough. Well, let me just say that this is both true and untrue at the same time. If you are fully present and committed one lesson per week will make a big difference. But of course, you can help the process with your work at home and sometimes it is crucial that you do this. For instance, when you are learning a new song, there are many things that you need to do on your own (otherwise a lot of valuable lesson time would be lost), such as learning the lyrics (and sadly I must say that many students skip this very important part), the melody, the structure and many more things.

Here is the thing. In the study of the voice as a musical instrument, it is very important to develop proprioception by observing the sensations inside you when you are singing. By doing this, you will be able to really “see” your instrument and play it in a safe way. But when we start the training, we still don’t have enough experience of feeling our voice from the inside, or enough technique, and therefore it is better if you practice your exercises with an experienced teacher who can guide and correct you. Otherwise, you could develop some bad habits that will be very damaging for your voice and much harder to correct later. So, in this case, yes, one lesson per week is enough. When you are more experienced you will be able to do more and more exercises on your own.

So, what can you practice at home then? There are lots of things you can do to prepare your instrument and make it ready to make the most of the lesson.

  • Start observing your posture and find the perfect posture for you. Play around with this, and see how the voice changes when you change the position of your body.
  • Practice your breathing for singing, make sure that you are activating the lower part of the lungs for this
  • Study deeply the songs that are indicated for your lesson
  • Write down all your doubts for the next lesson
  • Practice body stretches
  • Practice facial massages to relax the muscles that play a role in your singing.
  • Observe, observe, observe!!

Let’s get started!

Image by hibino

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Singing with no excuses

During these last few months a lot of my students have been sick. Some of them cancelled our lessons while others came even though they were ill.

Being sick is no excuse to not practice singing! You can still take advantage of the days when you’re unwell. Here are some examples of things  you can do without hurting your voice

  • Memorize the lyrics of the song you are practicing
  • Listening carefully to the songs and learn every detail in the melody
  • Look for the difficult parts that you want to work on
  • Practice the rhythm of the song –note times, find time signature, learn all the places where the melody starts, etc
  • Practice your breathing. This will always be useful!
  • Practice soft vocal exercises like humming. It is a very soft excercise but you are still training.
  • Search for the biographies of the singers you admire. Watch documentaries and recitals about them.
  • Analyse the singing style of the singers you like. What makes them unique?
  • Go deep into the meaning of the songs you are practicing. Search for the main emotions of them, and tune into those emotions. Discover the message that each song has for you and in which part of your body they resonate.
  • Research about different styles of music. Classical, contemporary, music in different languages, music from over the world. Learn about the cultural significance of music in different parts of the world
  • Practice the chords of the songs in the guitar or piano.

As you can see, there are so many things you can still do when your voice is not feeling well. There is always something more to learn and discover, so keep in mind that practicing vocal technique is actually just a very small part of training!

Image by Yoel Ben-Avraham

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Why you should join a choir

Voice and body Voice care

In a previous post I told you about the general benefits of singing. Today I want to tell you about the other benefits that, in addition to them, you will find when singing in group.

Group singing has been a healing experience for thousands of years. There are tons of examples of this in indigenous cultures. It’s part of every culture! Nowadays, you can see that is part of normal life, you sing in group every time you sing the happy birthday to someone, when you go to see your favourite band, when you sing the national anthem, and there are many more examples.

Let’s see some of the positive effects that you can find when sharing your voice with other people:

  • Meeting new people and share a sense of community
  • Is a way of relieving the expression channel in a safe environment
  • It allows you to try new skills in your singing without being too exposed
  • Learning new music of different cultures
  • Learning to sight read with your voice
  • Improvement of social skills like working on a team
  • Encourages people to listen to others
  • In a world when individualism is overvalued, it teaches you to share your gifts and integrate them without your ego getting in the way.
  • Practice giving your best for the group

I greatly encourage singing in group to all the people, whether they already sing alone or not. It is a different experience, you work on different skills, and it is definitely healing for you whole being. Join your local choir and give it a try!

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The importance of vocal technique

The study and practice of the vocal technique is a very powerful tool in singing. Of course, vocal technique is not THE most important part of a singer’s training. Actually, as singers we want the technique to be a servant of the expression.

 However, vocal technique is very useful. First of all, it shows you how to “tune” your instrument: through the proper warm ups you will be ready to start singing with the best possible sound, and to do it in a safe and healthy way.

 Also, the goal of the vocalization is to work on particular details that you need to fix in your voice in order to let it keep growing, and to strengthen other things on the voice that you may want to train for more ambitious goals.

 Through working on vocalization, you can clearly see what is the exact moment of your vocal training process, and therefore you can understand what the next step for your voice is.

These are some of the things you can achieve by working on your vocal technique:

  • Extend your range
  • Flexibility of the voice
  • Get rid of bad habits
  • Find the appoggio
  • Find the vibrato
  • Work on the projection of the voice
  • Find different colours in the voice
  • Strengthen the voice

When you decide to start training your voice seriously, the best you can do is to find a singing teacher that can guide you through the process. That would be your starting point. Although there are many good videos and tutorials for singing, it is better that you do not rely only on yourself, but get a teacher that can listen if you are doing it properly or not.

 

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