Nasal Resonance doesn't mean sounding "nasal". In fact, when done right, Nasal Resonance is one of the most valuable tools for singers. "Bad nasal" involves vocal cord compression and laryngeal constriction that create a bright twangy sound. This often gets confused for Nasal Resonance. "Good nasal" involves head resonance without the squeezing. To discover this, try pinching your nose and speaking as you gently sigh. Do you notice a buzz in your nose or in the front of your face? If so, you've found Nasal Resonance! Once you've mastered this, try singing musical phrases with and without this trick. Finding Nasal Resonance independently of compressed "nasality" will offer your voice freedom like it has never had before. And, it will certainly be "good nasal"!
Imagine a person who embodies CONFIDENCE and AUTHORITY. How do you envision this person standing? Most likely, they are standing up straight with an elevated sternum, relaxed shoulders, and a long back of the neck. How do we achieve this ideal alignment? One great strategy is to imagine the top of the head "gently suspended from the ceiling by a silken thread." This image helps good posture to not feel "postured", but to feel SUSPENSORY instead. Any time you're feeling insecure, making this physical and mental adjustment is one of the most effective ways to communicate self-assurance nonverbally. This will promote positive feedback from others and cause you to embody this persona naturally over time!
Ask yourself an important question: "What does it mean to be a True Artist?" Your answer may dictate your future. Does it mean being famous? Does it mean making money? Does it mean supporting your colleagues? Does it mean loving your craft? Does it mean cherishing your vocal journey every single day of your life regardless of what people say? Does it mean finding your Joy? Or, something else? There's nothing right or wrong about any question you ask or answer you give. Just remember, the True Artist that you dream to be, may become a REALITY. Dreams can come true. So, make sure that what your soul TRULY wants lines up with the kind of Artist that you desire to become. If you're clear, you may look in the mirror one day and say - YES. This is exactly what I had hoped to do with my vocal gifts!
Need to make a last-minute demo recording for an audition or an agent? This is becoming a VERY common request these days. So, don't let technology and environment spoil your chances at success! After you've prepared your audition, carefully consider the device you're using and the acoustics of the room. Are you using a phone, camera, computer, or microphone? Any of them can work. But, make sure they capture your sound in the most advantageous way. Are you recording in a kitchen, bathroom, studio, or practice room? All spaces will have different acoustics and will feature your voice in different ways. Don't rush these acoustic details in your excitement to submit your audition. Instead, experiment until you find which combinations make you sound best. Let acoustics work FOR you, not against you!
Did you know that when you sing a note, you're actually singing MANY notes all at once? It's true! The note you sing is called the "Fundamental Frequency". It's the lowest note present in the sound. But, there are many other higher notes present that are called "Overtones". Depending on how we shape our vocal tract (jaw, tongue, soft palate, lips, and larynx), certain Overtones become boosted and others become dampened. Vocal tone and timbre is largely affected by which Overtones are brought forth. Modifying vowels and making thoughtful adjustments to your vocal tract is how to achieve a clearer, louder, or more aesthetically pleasing sound. Imagine the infinite notes you can sing without ever changing pitch!
Less is MORE! When it comes to having confidence in our performances, LESS goes much further than we think! When we don't feel confident, we tend to do MORE. We look around a lot, we gesture with hands and arms, or we pace. But movement is about quality, not quantity. Trust that your acting and singing choices can speak for themselves. Even if you don't feel that trust yet, you can fake it by lingering a bit. Keep your eyes where they are for at least 3 seconds before moving them. Move your hands 5 times slower than you think they should move. Don't move your feet more than once per verse. Take a long pause physically somewhere in the song. Your audience will start to feel the importance and the GRAVITY of your acting choices. And that's what confident performing is all about! … more or less...
Mirror, mirror on the wall! Thou art a practice tool above all! While you shouldn't always practice singing in front of a mirror, an occasional check-in with your unbiased wall-mounted observer is very beneficial. Certain physical movements and tensions can become habits and eventually crutches if they are not eliminated. So, sing in front of your mirror from time-to-time to gain awareness of your own tendencies. Search for physical habits that distract from your singing or add tension to your instrument. See if you can achieve your best sounds without any undesired movements or tensions. Soon your mirror practice will reflect a polished performer and a technique that's the fairest of them all!
Maybe it's time to get out there! Are you eager to start performing as a soloist or in a band, but unsure of how to transition from singing in the shower or karaoke to gigging professionally? One great starting place is to attend Open Mic Nights! They are often held at restaurants, taverns, churches, or performance venues and allow singers and musicians to get onstage and perform together. Some are rather informal, while others are highly organized and require scheduling a time slot to get up and sing. Not only can these settings provide great performance practice with a live audience, but they're also an ideal way to network with other singers and musicians. Maybe it's time to get out there!
Want to know of a singer that you should NEVER listen to? The singer who is singing before you at an audition! If they are good, it may make you feel inferior. If they are bad, it may give you a false sense of security. Either way, getting yourself into "competition mode" by listening in will stifle your creativity and prevent you from truly being yourself. Auditions aren't actually competitions. Instead, they are simply opportunities for the casting team to find the ideal fit for their project - and for YOU to be that person. Sometimes someone "better than you" will be cast. Sometimes someone "worse than you" will be cast. Either way, this is the wrong thinking. Don't look side-to-side at others. Look AHEAD... toward the wonderful audition you are about to give.
Do you struggle with a vocal WOBBLE? A "wobble" is generally a Vibrato that is either too slow or that deviates from the fundamental pitch too far. Singers of all ages can develop wobbles, but it affects the aging voice even more. Luckily, there is hope! A wobble often is the result of singing too loudly, with too much force, with too much "weight", or with an overly depressed larynx. Some solutions include practicing straight tone, experimenting with volume control exercises, and becoming skilled with a lighter and brighter tone quality. Agility exercises can also help to shed excessive wobbly weight and speed up the movement of the vocal folds. So, if things are WOBBLING for you - take heart! Some simple steps should STEADY your sound soon!