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How To Have A Good Singing Lesson

How To Have A Good Singing Lesson
Singing lessons

Sing, sing, sing

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!

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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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