Sing @ Home

Hello to our Global Singers!

Thank you for to all who joined us in May & June 2020 as we sang at home during the Covid-19 lockdown. We welcomed singers from Australia, Manila, India, Singapore, London all together ONLINE for 8 whole weeks of Friday Nights Singing @ Home!
In this FREE series, we covered the basics of singing and performance, technology, specific singing exercises and techniques, and had a lot of fun singing a pop tune at the end!
 
Week 1 - Breathing

In week 1, we covered breathing and posture. Breathing and airflow are what allow singing to happen. Without the sustained control of airflow, our singing won't feel stable and may become tense and difficult. 

Sound is moving air. When we sing, we are literally creating moving air - and our OWN sound. 

What to try this week - Homework:

This week, try some SIMPLE vocal exercises first (see below to stream these for free). These are slow exercises that deliberately give you the time and space to watch your inhalation, manage your airflow and control your singing.

Aim for a relaxed inhalation between each scale/chord change. Avoid the shoulders from moving up and if they do this, take your time and practice inhaling a little deeper first.

 

Sometimes it helps to avoid breathing in too much too, while you are starting out.

Week 2 - Registration

In week 2, we covered how the voice works and registration. This week, increase your awareness of your lower voice, upper voice, and the area in between where both interchange. When practicing, feel your neck, how your body is aligned and what sensations take place when you sing low notes, high notes, and in between.

What to try this week - Homework:

This week, try some SIMPLE (Beginners) or EASY (Intermediate -  Advanced) vocal exercises (see below to stream these for free). 

  • As you move higher, challenge yourself to SWITCH to your upper voice, even if it feels like it 'wobbles', 'cracks' or 'yodels' as you move upward. Avoid going loud (or breathy) for now.

  • Aim for a clear sound with neutral volume.

  • If you get the hang of it, progress up to EASY or to TRICKY sales

Just like last week, also aim for a relaxed inhalation between each scale/chord change. Avoid the shoulders from moving up and if they do this, take your time and practice inhaling a little deeper first.

 

Sometimes it helps to avoid breathing in too much too, while you are starting out.

Week 3 - Resonance

In week 23, we covered the concept of 'Resonance" and spoke about the science of sound, acoustics and singing in relation to the human body as...after all, that's what singing is! Making sound (moving air = sound) with our body, and learning how to control it in a way that sounds musical, nice and enjoyably expressive.

What to try this week - Homework:

This week, try some SIMPLE (Beginners) or EASY (Intermediate -  Advanced) vocal exercises (see below to stream these for free) with an aim to FEEL where you resonate. Build up your awareness of your own body and voice, and how air moves around and through you.

  • HUMMING a scale gently while you sense and feel sections of the body related to sound making - like your upper chest, neck, cheeks, the bridge of your nose, even your forehead. You may not feel anything to begin with, but over time, with practice, you will and this is helpful in understanding how your own voice resonates - and therefore, how you can control it

Just like last week, also aim for a relaxed inhalation between each scale/chord change. Avoid the shoulders from moving up and if they do this, take your time and practice inhaling a little deeper first.

 

Week 4 - Belting

Belting! That glorious, liberating feeling of loud, energetic and HIGH singing...that is all too often, tricky, difficult and tense to do! Ugh!

Belting is, generally speaking, a loud, high, emotional and energetic sound used to represent a heightened part of a song. It is NOT usually used all the way through a song - and by doing that, it loses its impressiveness. It is for places like the end of a bridge or the last chorus.

Belting - when done right, should feel FREE, energetic and sounds "open"...not strained, pinched or restricted. If that's what is happening, then something isn't quite right and it is important to move backwards a few steps in your vocal training, to first establish or re-align some technique first.

Be patient - it is best to work on establishing breathing, airflow, resonance and registration first.

 

Not all songs are "belting" songs - and not all singers care to learn this technique either. It all depends on the kind of singing you'd like to do and the songs you enjoy.

Week 5 - Riffing

Riffing (also referred to as trills, riffs, vocal gymnastics or melisma) is when a singer sings through a collection of notes/melody line really, really quickly. 

It sounds impressive and a lot of fun to do!

BUT...it can be quite tricky to master due to the speed, agility and musicianship/aural skills it demands.

Here are some pointers from class on how to get started, or how to improve, your riffing skills

  • Check your basic technique. Riffing "moves" naturally, and effortlessly, from note to note without strain or impedance to your airflow. So...if you find it tricky to do, take a couple of steps back and hone your control of airflow, resonance and breathing first - and registration next - as many of the riffs you may want to do, require you to move from upper to lower registration.

  • Start with MAJOR scales of up to 5 notes, and change the note value/rhythm so that instead of singing the usual, predictable scale pattern, you may hold a couple of notes a little longer, then speed up on others. A three note descending riff is a very common one that can be used to embellish phrase ends...and so easy to do too!

  • Try "neighbour notes" - sing one note, quickly move to a neighbouring note, and come back. Do this for neighbouring high notes, and low notes.

  • Try singing pentatonic scales. These lead to a better awareness of this much-loved pattern of notes!

  • Immerse yourself in a lot of R&B, Jazz and The Blues. Riffing is synchronous to these styles and listening to these genres frequently will sharpen your aural skills.

  • Go SLOW first! Land on the correct notes, and only then should you attempt to go fast.

  • Have fun! Welcome the mistakes and keep trying - for some, this technically tricky style of singing takes time, and for others, it is easy, so have patience and have fun!

Week 6 - Moving past Performance Anxiety

 

When we sing on our own, singing usually "feels safe" and we can express ourselves fully without worrying over who hears us or who may critique what we are doing. It is a lot of fun to do - even while learning, and while finding out feet with managing the many intertwining areas of voice and musicianship.

When singing in front of others, it can naturally feel scary - and for some, this feeling can be so overwhelming and threatening, it undermines their wellbeing, skill and confidence. Sometimes, it can be a threat to mental health...so it is important to keep an eye on, particularly for young children.

Here are some strategies you may try, to gently learn how to associate public singing as an enjoyable experience that isn't threatening or scary. The trick is to slowly take steps forward:

  • A small performance in front of trusted friends or family. Sing only a small portion of your song - even one line at a time. Move to two lines only when singing one line no longer feels as threatening.

  • Video your singing and only share it with trusted and kind friends and family.

  • Take constructive criticism but also be wary of criticism that is far too harsh - you are learning, after all, and those who provide constructive criticism need to also allow space for this. Remember that all singers - even those of us who have been singing for decades - always find something to improve on or want to develop, and almost always get nervous during performance (we're human, and it's a naturally human thing to do!).

We always recommend working with a counsellor or trained mental health professional if you or a young performer you know exhibits signs of performance anxiety, such as:

  • Getting very nervous before a performance - even just the idea of performing is overwhelming.

  • Overwhelming fear and feelings of threat during a performance.

  • Physical signs like vomiting, fainting and panic attacks.*

  • Please do not delay seeing your doctor if any of the above happens for you - singing teachers and vocal coaches - while we may offer experienced advice in relation to excelling in performance and stage-work, there are elements of performance that only medically trained mental health professions should address and support.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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0411 506 204

 

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Email: sing@sydneyvoicestudio.com.au

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