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Take your voice to the next level and grow as a performer Whether you're a beginning vocalist or a seasoned songster, Singing for Dummies. Singing Exercises. From Singing Exercises For Dummies, with CD by Pamelia S. Phillips. The best way to become a better singer is to work on singing exercises. Whether you're a beginning vocalist or a seasoned songster, Singing for Dummies makes it easy for you to achieve your songbird dreams. This practical guide.
At this point, we have considered why people sing and why they should take self-help lessons. Now it is time to get down to the nitty-gritty of improving your singing in less than 90 days. In the following chapter, you will read about vocal cords, and the physical and emotional aspects of singing. More than Vocal Cords Singing involves a lot more than just…well…making noises using your vocal cords. Singing is sound, and sound is created through vibrations flowing through some type of medium, which in this case is air.
In most descriptions of how sound is produced, the voice is compared to a wind instrument. Blow into a clarinet, for example, and sound is created by forcing the air to vibrate in the column of the instrument which is called the resonator. If you learn anything from this ebook then it should be this: Just remember as you read that singing is a powerful communication method that also happens to be a lot of fun. Am or quietly sing like Sarah McLachlin.
You may want to belt out the soul like Aretha Franklin or sound a little country like Taylor Swift. Whatever singing style you intend to pursue, you will need to learn to control your body which is your own personal wind instrument. You will also need to learn how to project emotion and connect with an audience. When you hear words like acoustics and resonance, you may not necessarily think of vocal cords. But your vocal cords are part of a system that includes: What they are talking about is the quality of sound that is achieved through sound frequency number of vibrations , amplitude sound volume and intensity , duration how long the sound lasts and form structure of the sound.
Your lungs, vocal folds, mouth, air passageway and the diaphragm all play a part in sound production. Another term you need to know is tone.
Tone is the quality of the sound. To get good quality, which is one of the singing goals, you need to control your breathing in a way that produces the best human acoustics and tone. Breathing is intricately entwined with sound and thus your singing quality.
You must manage how air flows through your breathing system. The ankle bone is connected to the leg bone, and the leg bone is connected to the knee and so on? That same type of connectedness applies to your breathing system. All these parts work together to create sound tone, resonance, articulation, intensity, pitch and range. Did you think that to sing well all you had to do was open your mouth and let the sound pour forth? There are probably some people who have a gift and an instinct that lets them produce ideal sound without practice, but they are few and far between.
In general, the parts just mentioned serve the following purposes in sound production. When you get ready to sing, the folds of the vocal cords lightly close. The lungs expel air through the folds forcing them to gently vibrate. The vibration creates sound. To produce the best sounds you will need to learn how to control many of these physical parts.
For example, you will need to learn how to control your breathing while maintaining a good posture for example. In the next section, we will review the different types of voices, which are determined by how your physical parts function. Voice Types There are five basic types of voices, and they are separated by gender. There are many different physical features that determine the type of voice you are working with as you sing.
For example, the pitch is partially determined by the physical attributes of the vocal cords including the length and width.
Pitch refers to the high note and the low note you can sing. If you are a tenor then you will not want to choose songs that need a bass singer. If you are a soprano then you want to pick songs that fit within the range of notes you are most qualified to sing. Probably one of the biggest mistakes beginning singers make is choosing songs that require notes outside their range. Think of it like this — could you hit the high notes in an operatic song? Now think in terms of all songs including modern day rock or pop.
You might not be able to handle the songs Mariah Carey a soprano sings if you are an alto. On American Idol, one of the frequent comments made by the judges is that the song the contestant chose did not fit their voice well. The fit will never be good unless you choose songs with a range suitable for your voice classification. Another term you might like to keep in mind is tessitura. Tessitura refers to the note range you are the most comfortable singing.
We have all listened to singers that go too far out of their singing comfort zone, and the result is almost painful to hear. Singers do regularly exceed their range but trained singers also know their limits. Vocal cord activity creates the type of singing voice, while the other parts of your sound production system add nuances. Short vocal cords that are kept relaxed will produce a deep voice. Vocal cords that are lengthened and kept tighter will lead to sounds that have a higher pitch.
Following is a general summary of the vocal types that have been defined in the music world. Soprano The soprano describes a female singing voice that is at the highest level. The note range is generally between middle C and High C on the music scale. It is in this note range that the soprano will sing with rich powerful tones. Some can sing many more octaves above high C. A mezzo soprano is a singer who can sing more comfortably or powerfully at the lower end of the scale range or a couple of octaves below middle C.
A classic mezzo-soprano is Aretha Franklin. Think of her rich warm singing tones at the lower end and yet she can slide to the top and hit the high C. Some people classify Lady Gaga as a mezzo soprano. Alto An alto is the lowest female singing voice. An alto voice is dark and rich. Jazz singers are often altos that have voices that seem warm and almost poured. There are not many true altos, and it is a very distinctive voice. Tenor A male tenor has a range that starts with the C below middle C.
The range extends to the A on the treble clef staff. This is the highest male singing voice. Tenors frequently get lead singing roles in movies and plays. But tenors can vary in voice resonance. The bass is dark and heavy and low.
Generally the note range is from the low E to the E above middle C. Bass singers have a tessitura that hovers around the octaves below middle C. True bass singers are not common.
As mentioned, you will be able to choose songs that fit your voice best. You will also know the notes that will probably be most comfortable for your voice.
You can practice within your range and develop a high quality and pleasing singing voice. Taking Lessons There are a lot of reasons why taking singing lessons is important. Some of the reasons are simple. You can gain more confidence as a singer by knowing you are doing all you can to create the highest quality singing. This confidence will also help you develop the best stage presence so you can connect with the audience.
If you hope to become a professional singer, then lessons are almost mandatory. As you have probably figured out by now, there are many aspects to voice control and sound production. Learning the proper techniques and voice specifics can help you advance your singing career. Following are some of the things you can learn by taking singing lessons.
Avoiding Vocal Cord Damage Your voice relies on many different physical components. All those physical components are tissue like muscles, cartilage and bone. In addition, there are more delicate tissues like mucous linings present, and these linings can cause you problems when they become inflamed due to sickness or exposure to allergens.
The entire vocal system can be quite fragile. Improper use of your voice can damage the vocal cords, and this makes singing lessons all the more valuable. As related to singing, vocal cord damage can result from: You might get hoarse or have trouble singing notes with consistency. Sometimes people with strained vocal cords have voices that suddenly cut out on particular notes. Singing lessons can prevent many of these problems by teaching you how to avoid vocal cord strain.
You also learn how to control your breathing so that your vocal cords work as efficiently as possible. Later in this ebook you will read more about breathing. Vocal Cord Health Closely related to preventing vocal cord damage is vocal cord health. Singing lessons can only do so much to protect your vocal cords from damage.
You have to take responsibility for your lifestyle if you are serious about improving your singing for 90 days. The videos you see that show rock musicians smoking one cigarette after another in between music sets should actually make you cringe. The rockers can sometimes get away with raspy sounds simply because the loud music covers up voice and breathing sounds.
Refusing to smoke is just one way to benefit your singing. Following are some more suggestions for maintaining vocal cord health: Most of the suggestions for maintaining vocal cord health are followed by anyone living a healthy lifestyle whether they sing or not!
Physical Aspects of Singing There are many physical aspects to singing and we will discuss each one briefly. As you read through the descriptions, it is important to remember that learning how to sing better is an ongoing process.
You want to always maintain good posture and to clearly pronounce your words. Breathing There are two sides to breathing — inhaling and exhaling — and both play an important role in singing. Breathing is a natural biological function, but you can control how you breathe in order to develop your best singing voice.
Inhalation is when you draw in breath. You want to inhale using your diaphragm and not your chest. When you breathe from your chest, it means you are taking shallow breaths. You want to learn how to take deep breaths.
The diaphragm, as described earlier, is an important muscle that separates the abdomen and rib cage. To practice breathing deeply: While practicing deep inhalation, you also want to practice doing it quietly.
Exhaling properly might be even more important than inhaling correctly. Once you have stretched your muscles and assumed a good posture, you will: When you take singing lessons, you will learn a number of exercises that teach you how to expand your lung capacity, control your exhalation, and release air without making breathing noises.
As you move into more complex breathing exercises, one of the first ones you will do involves making a constant hissing sound while releasing air from the lungs at a steady rate. You can use this exercise to increase your diaphragm volume, and to learn how to control the tension in your voice, and the speed and volume of your singing. You have learned that proper breathing involves your diaphragm and back muscles more than your rib cage.
Another component of breathing you may have noticed is posture. Posture Posture is critical to becoming a good singer. It has been mentioned several times already that singing involves the whole body, and not just vocal cords or breathing apparatus.
Anytime you are singing you want proper alignment of the body. Notice you need to align the whole body and not just the spine. Good posture enables the diaphragm muscles to work properly and air to flow smoothly from the lungs, and then up and out of the mouth after passing through the vocal cords. There are a number of exercises you can do to help you develop good posture. For example, you can tighten and release your midsection and buttocks while maintaining a straight spine. Chin tucks, knee bends and many other exercises will lead to muscle tone and promote good posture.
Often it is because the singer is not articulating the word vowels and consonants.
In a continuous flow of air you create vowel sounds. It is vowels that play the most important role in tone production. That is because it is the vowels that linger on to produce the longer sounds that separate normal speech from singing.
Vowels are pronounced by controlling the shape of your mouth and tongue, and the position of the soft palate at the back of your throat. The soft palate should be lifted in order to allow clear air flow into the resonators in the face. Singing lessons will help you overcome common diction problems. For example, if you are a typical beginning singer you probably let your tongue 19 actually 20 different sounds made using the 5 vowels.
For example, think of the way you pronounce the words bat, bake and ball. Your tongue and lips must be moved in order to pronounce vowels well too. Did your tongue drop a bit and the lips round? Lessons will teach you to keep the horizontal width of your lips in a neutral position so you can keep the soft palate lowered for best air flow. Learn to pronounce lyrical vowels the correct way and your singing will improve drastically. Consonants A vowel requires continuous air flow but a consonant needs air flow to be interrupted for correct pronunciation.
Though the lips, tongue and palate affect air flow and thus vowel sounds, they are called tone articulators when pronouncing consonants.
To become a better singer you will need to learn to control the hard and soft palates, the shape of the lips, the placement of the tongue in the mouth and against the teeth, and the position of the lower jaw to produce crisp clear consonants.
All of these physical components are called articulators. Following are some of the things you will learn when taking singing lessons: This problem and many others can be corrected through practice. Relaxation If your body is tense then your ability to sing will be affected. Tight vocal cords can negatively affect the tone of your singing or even make it impossible to sing smoothly. During your singing lessons you will be taught to always warm up before singing.
Warm ups include relaxing the body first through stretching and gentle exercises like yoga type plies to loosen the back and hip muscles.
After relaxing your body, the next step is to warm up your vocal cords. Good warm up exercises will serve three purposes: Presentation refers to how you present yourself as a singer on stage to an audience. Presentation affects: You should walk with confidence and a good posture onto stage, and your body should appear to be relaxed. You want each member of the audience to feel as if you came to sing just for him or her. There is something else you need to be careful about too.
You can be overly dramatic and project too much emotion also. This will usually turn off the audience and the listeners will be sitting there hoping the song ends soon. If you pick the wrong song and find yourself struggling to hit the notes, the audience will notice and the connection will be lost. The many vocal exercises you do are designed to add amplitude, control, resonance and tone to your singing. As you master these various aspects of singing, you will find that it is much easier to add emotion.
Rich melodious tones that wash over the audience are your lures. Learning how to use a microphone is also important. The microphone can be a handy tool for enhancing your singing, or an impediment that blasts your singing faults. There are different types of microphones including the dynamic microphone, the condenser microphone, and the wireless microphone. The dynamic microphone is a good choice for beginning singers who need to work on microphone technique.
It is only for projecting volume so the people in the back of the audience can hear too. Learning to handle the microphone on stage is critical. Following are some suggestions for mastering microphone techniques. With singing lessons you will learn to recognize the distances between the two pitches. Does this remind you of relative pitch?
In this section we will talk about some of the technical aspects of singing. This is not intended to be an in-depth discussion but rather one that introduces you to the basic theory of singing. Pitch Pitch is a term used to indicate how high or low a note is, and is based on the frequency of vibrations made by waves of sound. Each note on the scale is defined by the number of vibrations produced each second. Everyone sings multiple pitches which make up the range of notes discussed earlier that are associated with voice classifications.
In other words, you can sing different pitches along a scale of notes, but the high and low notes you can comfortably sing will depend on your vocal qualities.
When you are learning to sing, you will learn about relative pitch. You will learn to recognize the C note for example as the absolute pitch, and then hear the notes that surround that C as relative pitch. The letter assignment is an absolute pitch reference. When the singing instructor says to sing the E note, you will know exactly what note he is talking about. To sing better, you will need to learn how to recognize absolute pitch and then practice so you can accurately match the note with your voice.
From that absolute pitch, you can then begin to practice singing ranges of notes. Chapter 5: Toning Up the Voice.
Part II: Improving Your Singing. Chapter 6: Acquiring Beautiful Tone. Chapter 7: Exploring Resonance. Chapter 8: Shaping Your Vowels for Clarity. Chapter 9: Exercising Consonants for Articulation. Chapter Crafting a Practice Routine. Part III: Advanced Techniques to Improve Your Voice. Developing the Parts of Your Singing Voice. Expanding Your Vocal Flexibility and Range. It's a Cinch: Belting Out Your Song.
Training for Singing. Finding the Right Voice Teacher. Part IV: Preparing to Perform. Selecting Your Music Material. Mastering a New Song. Acting the Song. Confronting Your Fear of Performing. Auditioning a Song. Part V: The Part of Tens. Ten Performers with Good Technique. Ten Frequently Asked Questions about Singing. Ten Tips for Maintaining Vocal Health. Ten Tips for Performing Like a Pro. Part VI: