Vocal and musical style can be incredibly specific and nuanced! Think about all the sub-genres and even sub-sub-genres under rock, pop, jazz, blues, etc. What's the difference between Cool Jazz and Smooth Jazz? What about SynthPop and ElectroPop? Or Opera and Oratorio? Some differences are obvious, but many are very subtle. What does this mean to you as a singer? It means you get to TUNE UP your ears and also your imagination! How SPECIFIC can you get within your vocal style? Challenge yourself to find as many nuanced stylistic elements in a song and see if you can PRECISELY mimic the stylistic shades! You'll become a better musician and singer! And you'll finally be able to show your friends the difference between Viking Metal and War Metal!
You've got TWO Options. Option 1 - hold back the breath with the VOCAL FOLDS. Option 2 - hold back the breath with BODY. When we take an inhalation into our ribs and belly, we've taken an ideal singing breath. From there, though, the difficulty often begins. Sending air too forcefully towards the vocal folds causes tension and strain. With Option 1, the vocal folds and the larynx will have to hold back this air. With Option 2, the muscles of the torso create resistance so that the air doesn't exit the body too quickly. This assures that the vocal folds receive their small, steady stream of air. "Breath Support" like this allows them to vibrate freely and naturally without bearing the brunt of the breath's force. Efficient airflow leads to great control of your voice. From there, you won't just have TWO Options. You'll have INFINITE Options!
Use your inhale to SET UP your vowels! Each vowel creates a unique pattern of resonance and a unique airflow pathway. So why not breathe in the shape of the vowel you're about to sing? This saves you time and energy because when you're ready to exhale, your instrument is already in the perfect position. You won't have to use that precious moment between inhaling and exhaling to get your entire vocal apparatus into the right position. Practice this on all different vowels by making the shape of the vowel first, then inhaling, and then singing. When it comes to breathing and resonance - it always helps to be prepared!
Why is it sometimes so hard to say "I Love You"? After all, those 3 little words are what we desperately long to hear. They have the power to heal us, to uplift us, and to make us whole. Today is Valentine's Day. The day of Love. So, whether you're alone or you're with someone special - don't forget that you always have love in your life as a singer. Don't forget about the beauty you've been given. Don't forget to take time to tell your voice what it longs to hear from you. Can you do it? Even if it's hard? Can you say to your own voice: "I LOVE YOU."? After all, you and your voice are a match made in Heaven.
Want to sing powerful high notes with more freedom? Then LEAN BACK! Okay, so maybe posture from "The Matrix" movie isn't ideal for singing, but THINKING about leaning back can really help. Singing high with Chest Voice and Chest Dominant Mix can sometimes cause your beautiful, tall singing posture to wilt and weaken. The upper abdominals tighten, the shoulders slump down, the neck collapses, and the jaw thrusts forward. Instead of letting that forward pull get the best of you, use a gentle BACKWARDS LEAN to counter these tendencies. Glide your head back, bring the ears over your shoulders, and softly tug your shoulders back and down. LEAN BACK and you'll notice that your voice instantly GOES FORTH!
Are you going through a PHASE? Most great artists in history have gone through different creative phases. For example, Picasso had his famous Blue Period. The Beatles had their Psychedelic phase. Creating Art is a lifelong journey and so it's natural to gravitate toward certain styles or habits as you explore and experiment. If your heart is drawing you to a particular style, singer, or artist - follow it! Spend a few weeks or months - or even years - learning Michael Jackson's songs, exploring your range, or singing your favorite Jazz saxophone solos. A deeper understanding of any one element of your artistry makes your whole artistry all the better. So, don't just do what you think you're "supposed" to do as singer. Go with your own creative flow. Embrace your PHASE!
We typically consider how ACOUSTICS relate to our singing voices. But, it's less common to consider how Acoustics affect our SPEAKING voices in our everyday lives. Most of us speak much more than we sing each day. Our singing voices are trained to be heard properly in different spaces, but we must also train for our non-singing spaces! Whether talking at home, in an office, in a classroom, in a restaurant, or in a conference room - it's important that we use our voices properly. A big factor in being heard are the Acoustics of these common spaces. Does your voice get tired because you aren't using your voice properly for the room you're in? If so, then make sure you adjust your resonance, breath, and volume based on your environment. Start noticing the way your voice needs to change from place to place. Let your workspace work FOR you!
"Am I a good enough ACTOR?" Often, singers doubt their Acting skills or don't consider themselves to be gifted in this area. However, bringing your Acting to life as a singer isn't about trying to perfect your Acting chops. Rather, it's about simple COMMUNICATION. If your audience can clearly understand what you are saying, what story you are telling, and the journey that you are going through - then they will FEEL the emotion of the song. Overacting actually comes from doing too much "ACTING". So, keep your focus on being specific with the story you are communicating at each moment. You'll be amazed how the Acting somehow takes care of itself!
Have you ever tried practicing your songs AMBIENTLY? While doing the dishes? While taking a walk or jog in the park? While laying in bed? While drawing a picture? If you haven't, you might want to. Especially before a big audition or performance. We're so used to singing and practicing with 100% razor sharp focus - our technique, our placement, and our posture. We even think of our acting choices, our objectives, and our scene partner. But, while these things might result in a stellar performance, they don't help us to be "NATURALS". There are performers who seem like they could just fall out of bed and be right on point. Almost like they are "at home" on stage. This quality can actually be practiced and rehearsed! That is, through AMBIENT practice. Think it's not "practice time"? Think again!
Vocal Exercises don't necessarily improve the voice. What? HERESY! Yet, it's true. It's not the Vocal Exercise, but instead the PRECISE Vocal Exercise that creates the results you seek. It's practically useless to practice Vocal Exercises by rote. As the saying goes: "Practice doesn't make perfect - PERFECT practice makes perfect." This is especially true in singing! Make sure you aren't doing your vocal exercises without understanding their specific purpose. If you don't understand WHY you're doing the exercises you're doing, find a great Voice Teacher who can help provide exercises and concepts that pinpoint specific needs of your style and technique. If you don't have access to private instruction, make sure you at least examine what each exercise that you work on FEELS like. Practice PRECISELY and you'll get PRECISELY where you want to be!