Everyone knows that if you want to make it in the Music Industry, you've got to have CONNECTIONS! But, for most of us, that seems very discouraging. We don't have an uncle who is the President of Sony Records or a cousin who won a Grammy. Yet, we can still take heart! "Connections" are not always these obvious examples. In fact, they RARELY are. Connections will happen to you naturally if you are dedicated to your craft and respectful to everyone in the industry. Your colleagues, your teachers, the people you meet at auditions - all of them can become Connections. The stage manager, the sound person, the custodian - also Connections. You truly never know who will be the one to open a huge door for your career. Remember - Connections aren't something you HAVE, they are something you MAKE. That's why it's called "making CONNECTIONS!"
Do you keep an Audition JOURNAL? If not, try it out! Take notes on everything! Start with the FACTS of the Audition. Where were you? Who did you Audition for? What time? What did you sing? What were you wearing? Next, list the PHYSICAL aspects. How much did you sleep the night before? What did you eat for breakfast? How much water did you drink? Did you stretch or workout? Did you warm up? Finally, describe the EMOTIONAL aspects. What was your mood in that day? How did you feel during your Audition? After your Audition? Did anything put you "in your head"? Did you learn or GROW in any way? After several Auditions, you'll start noticing patterns - both good and bad. In a few short months, you'll go to Auditions with more self-awareness and confidence than you've ever had! Harness your JOURNAL power for unprecedented success!
Sometimes RESISTANCE gets in the way of our artistic best. We resist practicing. We resist auditioning. We resist studying. We resist POSITIVE thinking about our artistic lives. At the end of the day, only WE can be responsible for our vocal best. Of course there will be bumps and frustrations along the way. Maybe a practice session or lesson didn't go as well as we wanted, so we resist and stop. An audition didn't go like we pictured, so we resist and quit auditioning. We must instead look at these bumps as stepping stones! Golden opportunities for us to improve and grow. Next time you feel yourself RESISTING, take a minute to ask yourself why. Then, ask yourself if maybe it's possible to GIVE IN to all the JOY that your singing journey truly has for you!
An "ONSET" is a vocal term that refers to the beginning of a vocal phrase or sung sound. A common habit of singers is to start vowels with a harsh Onset, known as a "glottal onset" or "glottal attack". This is not wrong or harmful in itself. The problem is doing it too often or too harshly. The first step in changing this is to become aware that it's a habit. Record yourself and listen to your phrases beginning with vowels. If harsh Onsets are a problem, try placing a gentle inaudible "H" in front of the word or phrase. This begins your vocalization in a much smoother way. There are times when you might choose a harsh glottal attack as a stylistic device, like in a rock song where you're seeking an edgier sound. Even still, you'll benefit from knowing how to do a balanced Onset, as you'll be able to finely tune your vocal fold compression and breath!
Happy Easter singers! Today we celebrate Rebirth, Rejuvenation, and New Beginnings! As singers, we are a conscientious group of people who often strive for perfection. We keep record of our flaws and mistakes with brutal detail. So much so that we can sometimes stymie our growth and fail to recognize all the wonderful strides we have taken. Let Easter be the day to wipe the slate clean. Forgive yourself. Make a promise to let go of your shortcomings. After all, the mere thought of your flaws is probably holding you back more than any actual flaw ever can. Remember that no one is perfect. No. Not even one. And, with an Easter Spirit - celebrate the Rising of your music, your voice, and your New Beginning!
When you run into a vocal health problem - who do you consult? With such a variety of vocal professionals out there, knowing which one to turn to can be tricky. If the problem arises from improper technique, your singing teacher could be the solution. However, if an underlying medical issue is the culprit, you may need the services of an ENT Doctor or a Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP). SLPs can evaluate you, provide therapy to target the underlying issue, and restore your voice to optimal function. A Singing Voice Therapist is even more specialized, and provides singing voice rehab to vocal artists. If you have a vocal injury, bypassing voice therapy can have detrimental effects to your long-term vocal health. So, don't be afraid to ask which professional is appropriate for you!
Out with the OLD and in with the NEW! It's time to look through your Repertoire book! Do the songs still suit you? Many songs will be keepers, but others you must not be afraid to part ways with. As human beings, we are constantly changing and evolving - mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A big part of our growth is being able to let go of our past so that we can open up to our future. Ask yourself whether your current Repertoire is in alignment with the current YOU. Is it suitable for your current vocal technique and range? Does it have an emotional life that you connect to? Does it satisfy your artistic soul? Don't be scared of change - be excited about the artist you are evolving into! And let your Repertoire reflect that!
Unwanted vocal tension can appear in many ways. AURALLY - the voice may sound unstable or crack, the vibrato may be too fast or too slow, or the voice may sound constricted or tight. VISUALLY - you may see a tight or shaking jaw, bulging in the neck, or excessive tension in the face. KINESTHETICALLY - you may feel tight in the throat, restricted in the tongue, or rigid in the rib cage or abdominal region. Whatever the signs of tension may be, it's important to determine the SOURCE. Work with your voice teacher to target the origin of the tension so it can disappear! Then, in your practice sessions, work to cut it off at the ROOT!
"This song sits right on my BREAK!" You may feel like you have only TWO options when a particular musical phrase lies at the top of your Chest Voice. One - you could PUSH through it. Or Two - you could LIGHTEN it up. Rarely will "push" be the answer. So, what happens if you let your voice lighten? The stress on your vocal folds diminishes, the volume lowers, and overall tension relents. Lightening up might not sound like what you want initially. You'll probably even CRACK all the way to Head Voice many times in the process. However, if you consistently practice lightening as you sing higher, you'll eventually coordinate your voice and no longer fear the BREAK!
Your voice has many registers that can be DRAGGED to change the quality of your sound. For instance, you can drag a register DOWN from above to create a "headier" Mix or UP from below to create a "beltier" Mix. Both are necessary skills. BUT being able to honor every register in your voice is just as important. Think of it this way - there is an overlap of notes that are playable by both a violin and a cello. A cello can play quite high, but this puts the strings under more stress than is sustainable for a long time. Likewise, a violin can play some low notes that align with those of a cello, but the quality is far less rich than the cello. Honoring each register would be the equivalent of playing each instrument in the sweet spot of its range. So, don't always play your cello too high or your violin too low. As you vocalize, spend the majority of time in the sweet spot!