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When Should I Begin Singing Lessons?

When Should I Begin Singing Lessons?
Age to start singing lessons

When can I start voice lessons?

When I was young, I used to rock in my crib on my hands and knees and rhythmically pound my head against the side panel of the bed; at least this is what I have been told. Perhaps this tendency was used to explain why I turned out the way I did. Many years later, I met a young man who did the same thing as a toddler and I was told by his family that it’s a sign of both intelligence and a musical mind.

How is it, you might ask, that smacking your own head against a hard object is a sign of intelligence? Unfortunately, I don’t have anything concrete to answer this question with. However, haven’t you ever wanted to smack your head against something hard? Perhaps I am the only one who has ever had such an inclination. I digress!

Many young kids can show a remarkable tendency toward music and it will be up to you to decide if they will be ready to try lessons or if you think they should hold off for a bit. Here’s a little guideline to get you pointed in the right direction.

When I am asked about the proper age to begin voice lessons I usually offer the age of 9-years-old as a starting point. Music will require practice and practice will require a degree of personal discipline and motivation. If your 7 year old has begun singing lessons and is keeping with everything the teacher is asking of him, great! To me, 9 is simply a starting point.

Another thought in this regard is that the human voice begins changing as early as 10, to 11 years old. It is a good idea to have some technique in place before this happens. Of course, I have also heard the idea that it’s good to wait until the voice has changed to begin voice lessons. It is my belief that lessons at an early age help institute good vocal habits for a lifetime of healthy singing.

Ultimately, you will know if your child is ready to undertake lessons. I am always very pleased when parents are actively involved in the support of their kids and I encourage them to be so. If you wake up to a pounding emanating from your child’s crib, there may be hope for you still! Do not panic and try to not be too hard on the little one. You can always tell them that this is a two-fold sign of goodness as mentioned here. You can even tell these things to yourself and just allow yourself to imagine the possibilities.

Lastly, if you are ready to take the plunge and allow your child to try lessons, get started with us. As you know, we offer a free trial lesson. To sign up, go to the “Lessons” page of www.DanielForan.com, if you’re reading this post on the website of one of our affiliates, and follow the directions. It really is well worth it!

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Diction How To’s: Speaking Or Singing, What’s Best?

Diction How To's: Speaking Or Singing, What's Best?
Improve your singing

Recording yourself is good!

That is the question. Very few singers seem to consider the ease with which they talk when they sing. One very dominant philosophy I’ve endeavored to follow in my singing studio with every voice student has been the continual pursuit of creating greater singing ease and more relaxed vocal instruments. Making this happen and focussing on it begins, at least from my own school of thought, with our speaking voice and how we make sound when we don’t pay attention. Bringing the ease with which we speak into that paradigm we have built our singing on can be tremendously altering to the way we sing and sound. How can a singer make things easier on themselves?

Earlier this week during a lesson with one my wonderful students, we discussed the idea of diction while singing. This prompted a unique topic for me because, while I am a stickler for diction, I do not normally address in detail with my students the finer points of eloquent utterances. This idea got me to thinking about how we make sound and how that sound is affected by what we hear internally.

We hear ourselves so very differently than our audience (whomever they may be) hears us. I began instructing my student to sing with a more vertical sound even if the pronunciation suffers slightly. The unexpected outcome for my student was a much clearer, freer sounding voice as well as the most understandable diction I’ve ever received from this particular student. This should be something each singer should ponder.

Most of my students will tell you that one great practice I have enjoyed through the years in my studying, rehearsing, and singing sessions has been the art of listening to myself. The easiest way for me to have done this was to record myself each time I had the opportunity.

At first, listening to myself was excruciatingly difficult. My voice, at least to me, was so much different than what I was used to hearing. However, over time, I came to enjoy putting myself in the position of teacher so that I could hear exactly what it was that I was doing when I made any sound I was attempting to make. The adjustments I was able to make were easy and almost instantaneous given that I knew/know precisely what I was/am doing to make every articulation.

The next time you try singing, pull out a recorder and put yourself in the position of your audience. Hear how each sound is articulated and listen for an open, easy, vertical, relaxed sound. If you don’t hear one, at least you will be able to experiment to make the sound you need come to life. Remember, also, that even though things might sound a bit off from your perspective, inside your own head, it might sound fantastic to your audience. Of course, if things sound truly fantastic inside your head, you might want to record yourself just in case. For some, this might be more hazardous than others. Ultimately, though, I am sure this little exercise will prove very helpful to you!

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Singing During Allergy Season

Singing During Allergy Season
What to do if you have allergies and want to sing

Allergies are coming!

A scratchy throat wakes you at 2 O’clock in the morning and you think you’ve been caught by that cold pandemic which so loves to take up residence in your sinuses every year. Thoughts begin racing through your mind about that vitamin C you were contemplating taking the day before and  would’ve, could’ve, should’ve scenarios dance around your mind as you fight in vain to fall asleep. Oh! The wretched cold! Or is it?

Granted, human nature tends toward the worse case scenario, however, a very comforting thought is introduced in your mind, “ALLERGIES.” You realize you actually feel quite good besides a few minor annoyances and know yourself well enough to know how much different you feel if you were actually getting a cold. All is well with the world again and before you know it you’re dreaming again.

You venture to your voice lesson and yet another thought has occurred to you, several, actually; “should I be singing while under the influence of allergies?” “I was told to stay away from taking medicine if I want to sing.” “What will happen to my voice if I take an allergy pill?” “Where in the world did that crazy dream come from?”

As a general rule of thumb, it is very wise to stay away from medicine, or rather, singing when taking medicine to treat congestion, colds, and even some allergies. While I am not an expert on medications, I know what is safe to take when you are singing and what to be careful with.

Good list of medicines you can take safely and sing with: Mucinex for congestion and Tylenol for pain.

Be careful list: I’d hate to say this is a “bad” list because sometimes our needs are more important than singing is and you can take a break…which I know is hard for singers to do. Aspirin and Ibuprofen can be bad to sing while taking because they can (if proper care is not taken) lead to vocal hemorrhaging–bleeding. This can be very bad for the folds.

What can you do? There are a couple things which can help enormously before turning to medications: drink plenty of liquids such as water, tea, or citrus juices. Keeping hydrated keeps mucosal levels thinned and helps the body clean itself from any foreign matter such as a cold. Take a day, or two off and just rest! This is perhaps the hardest thing for a singer to do as we  (singers) all love to talk and keep busy. Sitting around is not generally in our realm of understanding. When all else fails, go to a doctor. If possible, try an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor) and let them know that you are a singer and prefer to have medications which are safe for the vocal folds. They will be able to help.

Worse case scenario, you will have to refrain from singing for a week but, you will have a healthy and happy voice waiting to greet you on the other side.

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Detour From The Usual

Detour From The Usual
Yucca Valley, Ca

One of our many fruit trees doing well!

So I’m enjoying the weather here (in Southern California) and decided to have a look at the current weather conditions on my phone. The really cool thing is, I have both my current hometown and my Jersey hometown in it. With one mighty swipe of my finger, I am able to go back and forth to compare and contrast the weather in both places today. The power is truly awesome!!!

I digress…

I enjoy doing this because most of my family lives back East. Currently, in SoCal, the temperature is 73-degrees outside, partly cloudy and a very slight breeze. In Jersey, it’s about 33-degrees and sunny. I believe they just came through another winter weather advisory, something they’ve had many of this year.

Spring has officially begun, according to our calendar. Of course, we are hitting what seems like late spring out here. I’ve been enjoying the warmer weather for at least the last two months now and I’m glad the calendar has decided to finally catch up…I do miss the snow, though! Of course, I can’t complain about this wonderful weather. Jersey, I’m thinking of you.

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Online Singing/Voice Lessons Pros & Cons

Online Singing/Voice Lessons Pros & Cons
Pros of online lessons with Skype

Thinking about singing lessons online?

So I’ve decided to address this topic today due to the fact that this genre for tutelage is still a new frontier in learning. Having lessons online has an assortment of benefits and opportunities.

Pros: Convenience; the ability for student and teacher to get together at a time easiest for your schedule has never been more easily achieved than now with online singing lessons.

Variety of quality; utilizing the information super highway for your personal learning experience can now bring the best teachers from all over the world right into your home. Living in Kansas? No problem! You can have the best teachers from New York, Los Angelis, Yucca Valley, California… 🙂 or anywhere. Can you imagine the possibilities?

Cons: Connectivity can be bad at times. Nothing is more frustrating to me than having a lesson end abruptly due to the video call freezing up, or having poor call quality appear. Sometimes this can be due to weather, sometimes home internet systems. Still, other times, Skype just has a bad day and logs you off.

Please note: Always be sure to keep the Skype program on your computer up to date. I check multiple times each week. This also helps keep things moving along nicely.

Call delays; there are days when our lessons go along well and then the sound gets delayed on both sides. I recently gave a lesson to a student who heard what I said approximately 4 seconds after I said it. We turned the video off but kept the audio. Some of the delay diminished but I recall having some for a short time.

These are the foremost thoughts coming to my mind for online voice lessons. On the whole, this is truly a unique and engaging way to build the learning life of yourself or your loved ones and I believe the plusses far outweigh those things which take away or add frustration.

The internet has brought a new way to bring education home; literally. Be sure to check back here soon for more.

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Skype Singing Lessons

Skype Singing Lessons
Singing Lessons with Skype

Online voice lessons are simple for all

I realize that Skype is becoming more widely used by people everywhere now but, many people do not take advantage of it. Perhaps one reason for this is, as in the case of my brother, you don’t have an account and don’t know how to set one up.
Skype is truly simple and, for its basic use, is free (outside the cost of the internet, of course). You can go to their website, and click on the “sign in” tab at the top of the page. You’re probably thinking to yourself that you can’t sign in because you don’t have an account with them. While this is true, stick with me for just a moment, it will all make sense soon.
After clicking on the “sign in” tab, a new screen will open. At the top of the new page will be a button next to the “sign in” button which reads, “Join us.” Don’t worry, this is not Skype’s attempt at global domination and you will not be turned into a cyborg. However, if you click the shiny new button, “join us,” you will be directed to the screen to sign up. It really only takes about 5, or 10 minutes to do so.
After creating an ID and your own password, you will be ready to download the program to your computer and contact me for singing lessons! It really is easy to do.
While you are getting used to Skype and waiting for the program to download to your computer, sign up for a free trial lesson with me! You really won’t regret it.

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Singing lessons/Voice Lessons In Yucca Valley

Singing lessons/Voice Lessons In Yucca Valley
Voice Lessons now available in Yucca Valley, CA

Yucca Valley, CA

In case you haven’t heard, we’ve moved our base of operation to Yucca Valley. If you or anyone you know is interested in singing lessons/voice lessons, either in person or online, now is a great time to sign up for a free trial lesson. We are certain you’ll continue once you try! D.F.

Posted in Lessons In Yucca Valley, Online Lessons, Online Voice Lessons, Singing Lessons, Singing Lessons In Yucca Valley | Tagged , , | Leave a comment