Experiment with the BRIGHT and DARK acoustic qualities of your voice! It’s an exercise in balancing the Formants (resonances) of your vocal tract. By lowering your LARYNX, you will notice some darker sounds and by raising it you will hear brighter sounds. The TONGUE is another aspect to play with. Raising it like in the EE Vowel will brighten your sound and lowering it like in the AH vowel will darken it. Finally, the LIPS play a role as well. Puckered lips darken your tone, whereas spread lips brighten it. All of these elements happen very rapidly when we sing. So, it's important to take some time to explore each of these sonic ingredients to master your acoustic possibilities!
Is your SMILE holding you back as an artist? Often we are taught from an early age to "Smile!". Smile when you meet someone new. Smile when you’re feeling blue. Smile when you’re onstage. Obviously, there are few things in life as wonderful and attractive as a Smile. The problem is, many actors and performers end up with a kind of “permagrin” Smiling habit. They Smile in songs and scenes even when it’s not appropriate to do so. This ends up backfiring and causes performances to not be real and truthful. Plus, it is generally quite poor vocal technique as well. Often over-Smiling is such a habit that singers don’t even know they are doing it. Make sure that you can sing and act from a starting place of neutrality. Lose the fake Smile. Keep the true JOY!
There is an enormous amount of confidence that comes from playing a role that you’ve performed numerous times. Or, from performing an audition piece that you use on a consistent basis. But how do you keep your acting FRESH? One great way is to take a deliberate and disciplined approach to your BREATHING. In rehearsal, try taking a breath after a different word each time you read a line. This will change the rhythm of your speech. The rhythm of your speech will then change the meaning of the line. This will have an effect on your gestures and body language that support the line. Your acting will become richer in nuance and subtlety just from the breath alone. You can literally BREATHE new life into each and every character you play - even characters you've played many times before!
Happy Labor Day to our US Singers from all of us at NYVC! Today is the day that we celebrate all our hard work by taking a day of REST. This reminder of rest is helpful for singers all over the world. We should continue to work hard on our voices and stick with a regular practice plan. However, rest is just as important to the voice as hard work. Make sure that you are taking a day of rest to let your voice recover, to let your muscles repair, and to help solidify what you are working on. Usually, one day per week is the right amount of vocal rest. On your day of rest, reflect on your vocal accomplishments and take time to be grateful for the gift of singing. And, on this blessed Labor Day, celebrate the hard working person that you are!
Don’t be a One-Style Wonder! Many singers start to feel confident in one style and then IDENTIFY with it. This is quite natural and ultimately positive. However, many of us then become afraid to move away from this style for fear of not sounding our best. Staying in our comfort zone robs us of countless opportunities to grow. Even if you never plan on performing more than one style, it is essential to practice several. You’ll find your technique, confidence, expressiveness, and artistry all improving almost as if by magic. The best part is - your preferred style will also improve simply by practicing something very different. So, never wonder what could have happened if you’d gotten out of your comfort zone. Try something NEW. Don’t be a One-Style Wonder!
You’ve found a PRODUCER! Congrats! But, perhaps there’s a downside - maybe you’re being asked to change your sound. A Producer’s role is to help you shape your artistic choices, provide stylistic insights, and guide you in creating your "signature sound". The best Producers help you hone and highlight the originality of your voice. However, others may push you away from what makes you special toward industry trends that might not be “YOU”. The most important aspects of your relationship with your Producer are trust and communication. Try new sounds with an open mind. But, if after listening back they don’t work, voice your concern. Open a healthy dialogue. With the right Producer, you’ll feel comfortable collaborating to create your most AUTHENTIC work!
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 like 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!
“HEY! Keep it down in there!!!” This is NOT what you want to hear when you are practicing your singing! Yet, it is actually critical for your vocal progress that you find a practice space where you are FREE to make sound. Improving your vocal technique requires that you make lots of “ugly” sounds and plenty of mistakes. If your practice environment causes you to have to keep your voice quiet, or to make only “pleasing” sounds, then your growth will be severely stifled. So, be sure to find a practice spot where you feel 100% free to experiment, to make some bold mistakes, and to “Make A Joyful Noise!”
What’s the key to success in the Music Industry? YOU. As an aspiring artist, you must understand who YOU are before prospering in the field. Don’t let the industry compromise what makes you special. There will always be a multitude of great artists out there. Yet, your originality is what keeps you grounded and sets you apart. Your productivity, your preparation, and your perseverance are completely up to YOU. Are you writing new music? Are you studying? Do you know what you’re saying as an artist? Are you staying true to your heart, your uniqueness, and your Joy? The more specific you can be about your own gifts and goals, the more ready you are for success. No artist in history has ever had everything go according to plan. So, take control over the one thing in the Music Industry that you can control: YOU!