How to do Vowel Harmonies, and Where and When to Use Them

In this blog, our master teachers Peter Vox and Fabio Vox are demonstrating how to do different vowel harmonies – useful for both lead and backing singers!

Please refer to the video here:

Peter: Now, I’ll be singing the melody of HELP by THE BEATLES, and Fabio will be giving you demonstration on how to sing some different vowel harmonies through this particular song.

● DEMO 1: Fabio will be singing the first note of the chord, which will be A.
● DEMO 2: Fabio will be giving you an example of the third note of the chord, doing some different vowels.
● DEMO 3: Fabio will be giving you an example of the fifth note of the chord .
● At the end of the above video, there are audio examples of Fabio’s separate recording, so you can practice along with him. And you can practice along with this video again to enhance your harmony singing skills .
The main thing when you’re doing harmonies is to always keep on practicing , and listening to the chords . Because the chords will be telling you where you have to be.

Harmonies can be used wherever you wish – there are no rules, as long as it sounds good. Harmonies can be placed throughout any areas of the song that you want to enhance vocally. Please try both vowel and lyric harmonies , and see which one you like the best, and what sounds and suits your song the best .

To start practicing doing harmonies, sing along with your favorite songs to preexisting harmonies in the songs. Then, once you’ve got that down, practice along to songs that do not have harmonies . Then practice along with your friends or your choir group, or whatever you wanted to put harmonies into.

Please start with songs that are relatively easy and have straight melodies . You don’t want to be working with songs that have big jumps in them, it’s going to be very hard to do. The more you practice, the easier it will come. Harmonies are fun!

Have fun singing!

Secrets of Great Health for All Singers

Peter Vox had only taken 9 days off of performing and teaching in the last 25 years. In this blog, he is going to tell you his secrets of great health, and a few tips and tricks you can use to feel good all the time.

So, is there a specific diet for singers? How do you manage hunger, and what if you like junk food? How much water should you drink? Any vitamins? Also, easy DIY ideas to supplement your nutritional needs, reduce inflammation, and boost energy – to get the most out of your voice, all day, every day!

First and foremost, you need to find out what works best for YOU.
Diet – please make sure that you’re eating well. Remember that your body is a temple, and you only get out of it what you put inside. So, I am a vegetarian, and it has taken me a few years to work out what really works well for me, including protein intake, minerals and elements, but I feel a lot better being a vegetarian than when I was eating meat.

1. When I wake up in the morning, I have a green shake, it’s my first thing that I do. In this green shake, I always have broccoli, kale, and spinach. They are superfoods, and a lot of multivitamins in these particular vegetables make me feel great. After a green shake, I feel a big burst of energy. Sometimes I put in ginger, or pepper, or whatever else I’ve got – carrots, celery; and always – organic spirulina. I can’t recommend this highly enough, it’s absolutely fantastic. I just put in a little teaspoon of this. It has got antioxidants, great fuel for your immune system, its gluten free, dairy free and vegan. It has got protein in it as well, so I put spirulina in my green shake every morning.
2. I normally do eat healthily. I have some carbs in the middle of the afternoon, and no carbs in the evening. I generally have cereal, grains, pasta or rice… So, I try to eat really well, including plenty of fruits and vegetables.
3. I have an 80-20 rule – 80% of my nutrition is clean and very healthy, and 20% is what most people consider junk food. You, too, should consume diverse diet, and indulge occasionally.
4. I am a conscious eater – only eat when I am hungry, and never just for the sake of eating. I am lucky to have an occupation where I do have breaks frequently between lessons, and can eat whenever I’m hungry – and not eat when I’m not! So that’s a really important thing for me, being a conscious eater.
5. On top of that, I highly recommend “Tangy Tangerine”. It’s a multivitamin drink, which I add to my water and sip all day. In summer I drink between 2 and 3 liters of water a day, in winter – at least a liter. When I am drinking my water, I am mixing “Tangy Tangerine” into it, and I am always drinking my water warm to room temperature. In summer – room temperature, but the rest of the year – warm water, which I keep in a thermos. I feel a lot better when I consume warm fluids, and “Tangy Tangerine” is a multivitamin drink… so I am taking multivitamins, the whole day.
6. However, I do take multivitamins when I am feeling flat, didn’t eat properly, missed out on some sleep, or had a couple of big days. Having done a little bit of research, I’ve found this multivitamin complex – “Formula SF88” by Nutrition Care. This is fantastic. It’s quite expensive, but I feel that this get into my body and it’s actually working.
7. If I’m feeling especially flat, I also do take B-vitamins. They only work and extract energy for your body if you have good food. If you have got junk food in your body, it’s not going to extract any energy from it, so you have to get good food into your body, and that’s how vitamins B work. I do take those when I am sick.
8. And now – DIY! I have a big teaspoon of honey in the morning and in the evening, and I mix cinnamon and turmeric powder into a small honey jar. I find that this really makes me feel fantastic, because turmeric is great at reducing inflammation and boosting your immune system, and so is cinnamon. Healing properties of honey alone are absolutely amazing, too. The world wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for bees, they pollinate everything that we basically eat, there will be no plants alive if the bees weren’t here – so please love your bees.

That is basically what I do. I try to get a good amount of sleep, especially if I am feeling run down or stressed, or going through a difficult time in my life. I really try to eat better and get more rest during those times. If I am going to eat junk food, afterwards I am going to eat food that’s going to make me feel better. I try to eat better when I am feeling stressed, or when I have to work more, because I can only get the best out of myself if I put good fuel into my body.

If you want to get the best out of your every single day and out of my voice, that’s what you should be trying to eat and stay as healthy as possible.

I am sure that all of these tips will help you out if you apply them; please find out what works best for YOU. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you on the next VSA blog!

If you want to learn more about your voice – subscribe to our YouTube Channel and ask YOUR questions in the comments! And join us on Instagram and Facebook for more fun and useful content! 🙂

Have fun singing,
The VSA Team

Laryngitis – The Singer’s Worst Nightmare Blog

Following our previous blog What to do if you have to sing with a cold, in this blog our Principal Singing Teacher Peter Vox is continuing the series on vocal care during, and rehabilitation after sickness.

So, what is laryngitis? What causes it, and is it contagious? How long does laryngitis last? How to figure out if you have it? Can you sing or speak with laryngeal inflammation? What can you do to treat it at home, and when to go to your doctor? What medication should you ask your doctor about – anti-inflammatory, antibiotics, steroids, – and how do they help with your recovery?

Following from our last blog “What to do if you have to sing with a cold”, let’s talk about what to if you contract laryngitis – the singer’s worst nightmare.

That means you have an infection in your larynx, which is where your vocal cords are, and you generally won’t be able to sing or speak.

When you develop laryngitis, generally you would have had a viral infection beforehand. If you have a cold or, possibly, a flu – that may lead to getting laryngitis. Or, you could have had a lower respiratory tract infection – generally, bronchitis – which would go up just an inch, and go to your larynx and cause laryngitis.

You generally start losing your speaking or singing voice from the top down, so your true voice will go, and you voice range will drop very low. Because your vocal cords will be swollen up, basically. When you have laryngitis – any “…itis” means inflammation – the vocal cords will be swollen.

If you have developed laryngitis, you need to go to your doctor immediately. You need to stress that you’re a singer, and you want your voice back as quickly as possible. The first thing to ask for is a penicillin shot (if you’re not allergic to it). They will give you a penicillin shot in the backside, and usually this is going to help you out within one or two hours. You should feel better, and your voice will begin returning within a couple of hours after a penicillin shot.

In addition, the doctor will prescribe you some antibiotic pills. And, possibly, some anti-inflammatories, as well. But, generally, antibiotics in pill form aren’t going to make you feel better for about 12 hours. It takes time for it to go through your system and make a noticeable change in your condition.

Unfortunately, about 2 weeks ago I developed laryngitis. I finished my classes last Wednesday, and my voice was pretty much gone. I went to the doctor, got a penicillin shot at the backside, he put me on some very strong combination therapy – 800 mg of Amoxicillin (antibiotic – kills bacteria) + Clavulanate potassium (a beta-lactamase inhibitor – helps prevent certain bacteria from becoming resistant to antibiotics it is added to). I was also on a steroid. Another antibiotic I was prescribed – Zithromax, it’s very strong, and they only only gave me three pills.

Nurofen (Ibuprofen) is an anti-inflammatory, it is very good for such times, and I highly recommend it if you have laryngitis, or even if your voice is a little strained when singing. The natural anti-inflammatory is ginger, I highly recommend that as well. Cut a fresh root up, put it into tea, or boil it. Drink ginger water all day, it is very good when you’re sick, and also if you have laryngitis or strained your voice.

Never self-medicate without your doctor’s advice, and always ask whether it’s safe for you! With professional help and proper treatment, I was back up and teaching singing only a day and a half later.

Now, I’ve been teaching singing for close to a quarter of a decade, and I have only had about 9 days off from singing in my total career. That is because I have done all the procedures I have described in the previous blogs and videos, took care of my voice and nipped my cold and flu in the but in the first couple of days. I have got laryngitis a handful of times, I’ve done what I just told you here, and got over these infections very quickly – within 3-4 days I’ve had 80-90% of my voice back. And within 4-5 days, next week practically, my voice completely returned to normal, 100%..

Again – please, do not push your voice until it comes back, so that you will not make the symptoms worse. Please, take care of your voice. Slightly warm up your voice when you’re recovering from laryngitis, and see how much you’ve got to use.

Once your voice is fully recovered – please keep on doing what you do, and go enjoy singing as quickly as you possibly can. That’s what we are here to do! We sing because we love it, and we definitely don’t want to be getting laryngitis, and I hope that this has helped you out.

In the next blog, I will tell you my personal secrets that have kept my voice and my whole body healthy for the last 25 years.

Get better, and talk soon!

Watch a video version here:

If you want to learn more about your voice – subscribe to our YouTube Channel and ask YOUR questions in the comments! And join us on Facebook
and Instagram for more useful content 🙂

Have fun singing,
The Vox Team

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MORE RELATED FREE SINGING LESSONS:

What To Do if You Have To Sing With a Cold

What To Take and Do When You Have a Cold or a Flu

What Singers Should and Should Not Be Drinking

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What To Do if You Have to Sing with a Cold

In this blog, our Principal Singing Teacher Peter Vox is continuing the series on easy vocal care. Sometimes singing with a cold, flu or a blocked nose is unavoidable, and there are ways to do it safely!

So, how do you sing when you are sick? Are there safe ways to sing with a flu? What are the risks, and how can you minimize them? What to avoid when singing with a cold? How do you save your voice and sound good at the same time?

When you are sick, please go to rehearsal and still practice and do your scales and do everything that you normally do as singer. But please properly warm up with either your UNG or a HUM or a BABY BUZZ to see how much of your voice you have to use, so you know how far you can push your voice.

Please, after you do this, try some lighter scales – maybe, just some vowels, – and take your range as high as you can go without hurting your voice. If you are feeling OK, go with the crying scale – which is an exercise that can make you go higher in your range without putting a lot of pressure on your vocal cords. So what I am trying to say here is, work out how much of your voice you can use when you are about to sing during your performance or your practice session.

If your voice is fatigued and you only have half of your range, please only use the low half of you range when you are rehearsing or practicing your songs at home.

Please keep your vocal cords lubricated – please drink a lot of room temperature water or warm fluids. Tea with a little bit of honey and lemon is fantastic.

When you have a cold or a flu, please do not go outside – keep your body at an even temperature. Do not load in the gear, or go out under the rain, or exercise outside in cold weather.

Avoid dairy products when you are sick – dairy products will create mucus. Mucus is where the bacteria lives and grows. So please, as you do not want to create more home for the bacteria to live in – get rid of dairy products altogether when you are sick, and even the week after you are feeling better. You’re still phlegmy and a little bit clogged up the week after you feel better and are recovering from your cold or flu.

Friar’s Balsam or Eucalyptus oil – you can buy this from your health food store or your local chemist, and this will basically decongest you if you are sounding really blocked up, if you’ve got a bad head cold. Pour a little bit of Friar’s Balsam or eucalyptus oil into a bucket, some boiling water, towel over the head and inhale the steam. Get rid of any congestion or gunk that is coming up – cough this up, spit this out and get rid of as much gunk as you possibly can.

As you know, when you have a cold or a flu, if you jump in the steamy shower – you will feel a lot better for the first five minutes after you get out of the shower. We are doing the same thing with steaming, but we are trying to get rid of a lot of the phlegm as well. The Eucalyptus oil will decongest a lot of the areas in your head – sinuses, nose passages, throat…. The Friar’s Balsam will help decongest more so deep in your chest, if you have some phlegm there.

When you are rehearsing or performing, please make sure that you can hear yourself clearly and adequately – when you have a cold or a flu, your ears are blocked up. So if you are rehearsing or performing please make sure that you can hear yourself clearly through your fallback or your in-ear monitors. If you’re at home, maybe just turn the stereo up a little bit louder, so that you can hear the music a little better.

Please, do not scream or shout over loud music after you’ve finished your performance or rehearsal – please, save your voice. Go home and rest as much as you possibly can.

So, let’s recap:

1. Please make sure that you warm up your voice – find out how much of your voice you have got and adjust your voice accordingly.
2. If you can’t sing high – for instance, you only have half of your range – please, either tune the songs down lower or cut the peaks and the higher parts of the melodies off, and just sing the root note of the melody.
3. Sing the higher notes in falsetto instead of going up in your true voice. Work out how much of your voice you’ve got to use, and work to the best of your ability with what you’ve got. Whether you’re going with falsetto, or tuning the set down, or decide to replace the songs in the set with some other, lower songs – do whatever you can to make your voice sound the best you can when you are sick.
4. Please make sure that you take care of your voice – do not push it beyond its limits when you are sick, take care of yourself, keep your fluids up.

Hope that this has helped you out!

Thank you, and see you on the next blog.

VIDEO VERSION:

HIGHETT STUDIO NOW OPEN!

WE ARE VERY HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THE OPENING OF OUR NEWEST SINGING STUDIO IN HIGHETT!

Rear Of 325 Bay Road Highett, Vic 3192 (access via Middleton Street)

Located in quiet and safe residential Highett, this is a cosy and bright spanking-new little studio. Plenty of space, air conditioning and all essential equipment – everything you need for professional vocal, beginner guitar and percussion training. Lessons in Highett are taught by our experienced and friendly Deputy Principal Teacher, Ryan Vox.

This studio is excellent if you are looking for private or group singing lessons in the following Melbourne suburbs: Moorabin, Hampton East, Hampton, Sandringham, Bentleigh, Bentleigh East, Oakleigh South, Clarinda, Heatherton, Black Rock, Beaumaris, Mentone, Mordialloc, Parkdale, Dingley village, Dingley, Braeside, Aspendale and Aspendale Gardens – please, refer to the map: Bookings are available on Mondays with Ryan Vox from 12 PM to 10 PM.  Spaces are limited and filling fast!

Close to public transport and local shops at Southland Shopping Centre, Cheltenham and Highett shops.

Call to book your singing lesson: 0422 278 289

This Sunday is Vox Singing Academy’s next student concert!

1:00 PM
Sunday, the 15th of October 2017

The Palace Hotel
893 Burke Road, Camberwell
03 9813 3566

$10 entry

Our regular student concerts are a great way to gain valuable stage experience in a professional environment, using professional sound equipment, lighting and staging with an audience of your fellow students, family and friends cheering you on!

Fantastic food and drinks are also available. Families are encouraged to book a table if there are more than 4 people attending. Everyone welcome! Free parking is offered by the venue.

Prizes, giveaways, Vox Singing Academy gift vouchers and free lessons, The Palace Hotel food and beverage gift vouchers and merchandise will be given away at the end of the show as encouragement awards! So it’s best to hang around until the end and support your fellow singers!

Warm regards,
The Vox Team