I can’t believe how quickly time passes. I have been running the music program in our local Catholic Church for nearly two years already. It seems to me that we only just completed Easter from last year and already we set to begin the new Lenten season with will lead us to another year’s celebration of Easter! Time really does fly! I really do want to begin making more frequent posts for you all. Working on some ideas.
Summer has returned and our studio schedule has opened up a bit with students taking off for summer break and various things, including family vacations, present themselves. Now is a great time to inquire about singing lessons. For a free trial lesson with me, just head over to the “Lessons” page of this website and fill out the form. Voice lessons are a great way to enjoy the summer! D.F.
It is amazing to me how, even after years of certain posts being on this blog, so may spammers indulge themselves in a futility. Oh-well!
Son Danny Jr. around a year old. Just click on the link to watch. IMG_0441.MOV
I know some things seem to be common sense with regard to music but, every once in a while lessons go much better than other times. With this in mind, I figure I can write about how to make things run as smoothly as possible when having your singing lesson and preparing for it.
Rule number 1, SHOW UP!!! Be on time and remember your teacher has scheduled your lesson to accommodate both your schedules. This is not to say disregard the fact that we are all human and life happens. However, your teachers time is important to him (or her) and they look forward to you being there.
Number 2: Try doing a little before your lesson to be more relaxed. What does this mean? Many students deal with tension of various forms. Some carry a lot of tension in the shoulders. Others carry it in the neck. Many carry tension in the tongue or in the jaw. Begin with something simple like shoulder shrugs, or doing circles with your shoulders. I like to instruct my students to do sets of 10 in both directions…going forward then reversing. This tires the strap muscles and helps to relax the area very nicely. For the tongue, try holding pencil under your tongue without assistance from your teeth and vocalize a little. The faster the pencil falls out, the more tension exists. For the jaw, try stretching it in conjunction with all the above. Of course, everyone is just a little different.
Number 3: Try sharing something happening in your life. Now, I’m not saying to complain about your second cousin, twice removed who married into the family and is currently acting creepy and stalker like toward your family friend who always comes over when you least expect it and takes the last serving of dinner which you really wanted to have because this is your favorite meal. Share something that was exciting or interesting. Perhaps you took a trip to a local museum, or maybe you planted something in the yard last week. Maybe you are going to get braces next week or the family will be traveling somewhere new for vacation. All these things are very exciting and it helps to build a rapport with your instructor. Plus, this gives you and your instructor more to talk about than simply music.
Number 4: Try finding new music for yourself. This helps make a couple things easier. First, it helps you find music you like and want to do. Second, it helps your voice teacher know you are vested in your own lessons and learning things that inspire you to practice more. Another little thing I personally enjoy about students bringing their own ideas about what to sing is it saves me lots of time searching for the music myself.
5: Practice, practice, practice!!! I always know, very quickly, who has practiced and who has not. I do not always point it out but, I always know. Having voice lessons is like owning a membership to a gym. It is completely useless unless you are willing to put the time in to use it. In the case of singing lessons, that time is your practicing. Otherwise, progress will never be made.
Are there more items that can be listed here? Absolutely, these are simply the ones that have entered my mind today. I hope these tips help you!
I hope you enjoyed the Easter holiday as much as we did here. A very nice brunch with many members of the family in the morning. Later in the day, we got together with most of the same family members for dinner. It was a great day!
After Easter, we enjoyed a very nice week off from most things, just not life. It was, of course, one of our more busy weeks in a while. However, we topped it off with a short one day trip to somewhere not home. It was very nice to get away. It was also very exhausting.
Singers love to sing. Many vocalists on the starting edge of their learning and singing careers might spend hours a day listening to their favorite music and they just can’t help but to sing along. Mostly, I don’t think they think much about singing too much.
One of the greatest vocal abuses is overuse of the vocal folds. In addition to all that singing we love to indulge in, singers have the added passion for talking. If you ever have the opportunity to be in a room full of singers (as I have been on many occasions) you will realize almost immediately that they are amongst the noisiest bunch of folks. I daresay most singers do not think of their voice when they are talking as much as when they are singing.
Of course, as one grows in their art and becomes more astute with their instrument, they realize when and how often they should take care to talk a bit less. Perhaps simply reducing the level of ones voice would be enough.
Singing too much, combined with talking throughout the day can invite a tremendous amount of vocal fatigue. If you are not sure when enough is enough, try singing and see how your voice reacts. If you find it becoming breathy, weak, (or certainly) tired, you should put yourself on vocal rest.
How much rest is appropriate? Usually, a good night’s sleep will be enough. If you happen to be starting the day, or you have a long way to go before the day is over, try pacing yourself when talking to people. Use a softer voice. If there is a loud noise in the room, don’t try speaking over it. Find a good place, or opportunity to be heard more easily and use your voice then.
If all else fails and you arrive at rehearsal, let the person/s in charge know the condition of your voice and tell them you will be marking! They will completely understand…at least, they had better. If they don’t you might want to reconsider ever working with them again. However, everyone I’ve ever worked with has understood.
While we are on the subject, I usually tell my students that they should not sing more than two hours a day. Even that is stretching the limits of the human voice. Research has offered that the most beneficial use of the voice is gained when practicing three times per day, 1/2-hour each time. Beyond this, we are simply overdoing it.
But, you might think that the voice is a muscle and like any muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it will become. Each muscle in the body will work and become stronger but only to its limit. After that point is reached, fatigue and failure will occur in the muscle. A bicep muscle will tear, heal and be stronger afterward. This is not where you want to arrive with your voice. If pushed too far, the vocal folds will develop an assortment of conditions which can end a singing career before it begins. These problems are simply not worth pushing the envelope for.
Like our back, each of us are born with what we have. It requires care. We should love our voice enough to take proper care of it. If singing is what you want to do, find a teacher who makes things interesting, fun, understandable and educational for you.
!!!–I highly recommend signing up for a trial lesson with me today–!!!
After finding a good teacher, (me!), learn your voice and follow the guidance your instructor gives you. With the correct technique and understanding of the voice, your singing will be fun for you for many years to come.