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“If you can walk you can dance and if you can talk you can sing”

Do I have potential? Is my voice good enough to sing professionally? And will I improve?

I have received a considerable amount of e-mails and messages on our website and Facebook over the last few months regarding different questions and concerns regarding the voice and singing. Thanks for your support and please keep them coming. Most of these questions I can answer via correspondence but some I need to actually hear the voice.

Quite a few of these e-mails and messages have brought up the following concerns of self doubt, lack of confidence or lack of technique. And strangely enough, not lack of ability.

Because the bottom line is that everybody has the ability to sing. It is just a matter of getting the right skills, singing in the right key and coming to terms with your own voice and tone.

I have a saying “If you can walk you can dance and if you can talk you can sing”. Because we are using the same vocal chords to sing as we are to to speak and converse.

So here are a few tips to get rid of those demons, self doubt and lack of confidence and set you on your way to becoming a great singer.

  1. Please come to terms with and embrace the tone and sound of your own voice. Bob Dylan, Al Jolson, Freddie Mercury and Amy Winehouse have all got the most distinctive voices and have all embraced their own distinctive tone and range and so must you ! The tone of your speaking voice is generally a good indication of what the tone of your singing voice will sound like. E.g if you're speaking voice is light and airy your singing voice will generally be light and airy or if you're speaking voice is husky and rough your singing voice will generally be the same. And also accept the natural range of your voice, or in other words, how low and High your voice can go.You can work on extending your range higher and lower with a good teacher, scales and techniques. But please be patient, as everyone's voice and vocal range is different,like a fingerprint, they are all unique and beautiful.
  2. To the best of your natural ability you need to try to focus on singing the right notes or what we call singing in key or in pitch. Myself and everyone else listening to you sing would rather hear you sing a song in key than out of key. One of the main points of scale practice is to improve your ear and musicianship. This is where good technique generally comes into play. If you're breathing, articulation (mouth) and ear are all working spontaneously together you will generally be singing well.
  3. I know every body out there likes particular songs or artists, but just while you’re starting out, make sure that the 1st few songs you sing are songs that are comfortable for you to sing in your natural range. Do not do songs that are too high or too low for you! No pulling faces, sounding like someone else, straining or hurting your voice.
  4. Don't be too hard on yourself if you make a few mistakes or are not progressing as fast as you would like. Life is a marathon not a sprint. Have some fun and do the best you can. Remember, practice makes perfect. So the more quality practice you do, the quicker you will improve. *Guidance on picking out songs and keys to best suit your vocal range.

At Vox Singing Academy, we promote you choosing your own songs to sing for your enjoyment. A lot of students ask me what style of singing best suits their voice. And I respond by saying please choose the style of singing that you love.

If I said you would be a great rock singer and you don’ t like rock, you are not going to enjoy it and potentially lose motivation and passion for it very quickly. So pick a style or genre you love .The main point it is to have fun singing the songs of your choice.

Do you think I can improve?

Everybody will improve with the right training, guidance, work ethic and practice routine. A little bit of practice every day is the best. Always remember focus and quality over quantity any time.

Do I have potential?

Everyone has the potential and ability to sing. As I've said before, if you can walk you can dance and if you can talk you can Sing. It’s really all about your dedication and how far you want to take it. You might just want to be a hobby singer, to sing in the choir, in few talent quests, karaoke or want to record a song for your loved one. Or you may want to become a star, a professional singer and make a living out of it. The choice is yours, the world is your oyster, chase your dreams, believe in yourself because you only live once!!

Do I sound okay?

When doing your scales or singing I don't want you to listen to yourself, I simply just want you to hear yourself and monitor what you are hearing. Listening and hearing are to completely different things. In the future you may want to record yourself doing scales and singing songs. And you will find out how well you are progressing for yourself. The proof is in the pudding, listen back to yourself and the recordings and go back and work on those bits and pieces that you think needed improvement . This is where a good teacher comes in handy to tell you what you need to work on and show you how to fix or correct your concerns or problems.

How do I gain more confidence?

It is my job when I teach to build confidence in your abilities so that when you open up your mouth the right notes and sounds will come out all the time. The best way to gain confidence in your abilities is to keep practising your craft. Practice makes perfect.
 Once you are singing well by yourself in your room, start singing in front of your friends and relatives and then up on stage or at karaoke at every opportunity. But make sure you know the song 110% before you step up on stage.


Also practice what you are going to say to the crowed if you are going to introduce the song or yourself before you get up on stage. Just remember the stage is a sacred place and should never be disrespected, so before you get up on stage please know your songs 110% and also what you’re going to say to the audience.

How long will it be before I sound good?

This all depends on how long you practice for everyday, how many times a week you practice and how good the focus and quality of your practice is. The more good quality practice you put in, the quicker you will progress. It's that simple.
Recapturing our 4 main points:

1.Always sing songs in a vocal range that is comfortable for you and sing in your own voice and personality.

2.Focused and quality practice, practice, practice makes perfect.

3.Believe in yourself and your vision because if you do not know what else will.

4.Have fun! If it is not fun don't do it!

Until next time, Rock On!

Peter Vox


Student Concert this November

After a smashing success with our previous student concert in April and August, we are so eager to announce that our next student concert will be in November!

The event details: -

Vox Singing Academy's Student Concert

Time: 1PM

Date: Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Venue: Bridie O'Reilly's

Address: 29 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056


Why is my voice fatiguing?

Mixdown Monthly

I hear this a lot from singers and performers that I speak to and new students that come into Vox Singing Academy say " Half way through my live performance my voice is fatiguing, halfway through rehearsal my voice is fatiguing, I'm singing a handful of songs at home and my voice is fatiguing, after a big night my voice is fatigued and has no stamina"

WHY?

There are many reasons. But right now I am going to give you the top 6 reasons why your voice is most probably fatiguing and how to prevent it!

1. Vocals stamina and fitness

By far this is most probably why your voice is lacking stamina or fatiguing whilst singing. The bottom line is that your voice is a MUSCLE! And you have to train, strengthen and take care of your voice as an athlete would train and strengthen their body to perform to the best of its ability.

A lot of singers out there are only singing when they are in rehearsal or performing live. This is exactly the same as you jogging 10 km once a week. You are not going to build any resistance, fitness or stamina by doing this. And guaranteed, the next day after your jog you will pull up very sore and it will take you a few days to fully recover again. If you keep on jogging with this regime sooner or later you will cause yourself a serious injury and exactly the same goes for your voice.

To gain stamina and vocal fitness and with any physical regime that you are doing, you must start off slowly but surely. And practised singing and scaling at least 5 times a week. I highly recommend getting some good quality singing lessons. So as a minimum, your teacher will show you how to correctly warm your voice up and give you some skills and scales to go home and practice to. Then once your voice is correctly warmed up and you have done a few skills and scales I would then recommend singing your songs for as long as you wish. But never push your voice if it is starting to feel tired or fatigued. Immediately stop and come back to it later on in the day or the next day.

2. Technique

If your technique is incorrect you can forget about singing for any length of time.

The most important factor regarding your technique is to do with your proper breathing and diaphragmatic support of all notes when singing.(Refer to April's article regarding breathing) You should not be using or pushing down on your throat to sing. Your voice should always be flowing out and forward like a river.

When doing scales and singing please do not feel any strain, horsiness, scratchiness, irritation, pain or discomfort. If you are please stop and focus on the right technique. Do not continue singing when you feel your voice fatiguing!

After you finish your scales and singing regime your voice should feel invigorated and your body energised. Your voice is a muscle and should feel like it has had a workout, the same as if you had worked out a muscle in the gym or had gone for a jog etc.

It is very important to warm up and cool down after you do you scales or sing. Just like you would stretch, limber and warm up before and after you play sport, the same thing should be done before and after you sing.

3. Sleep

Know it sounds strange but a sleep deprived voice is not going to last as long as a voice that has had a good rest. When you are asleep, this is the only true time when your voice is resting and recuperating. As you know during the day we are always speaking. We are using the same chords to speak as we do to sing. So they are always being used. So I recommend getting a good night's sleep especially before a performance, rehearsal or recording session.

4. Misuse

Try to avoid yelling or shouting over loud music or background noise excessively for long periods of time. This will fatigue and wear the voice out very quickly.

Excessive amounts of Alcohol will dehydrate your voice and make it more difficult for you to sing and maintain control. Alcohol also gives you a false sense of security, confidence and brings your pain threshold down. Meaning you can abuse your voice or body for longer periods of time without realising that you are causing serious damage.

Smoking is just plain bad for your voice and general health, especially if you have been smoking more than 5 to 6 years. After this time it will start to diminish your range and change the tone of your voice.

The bottom line is that the better you feel physically and mentally the better your voice will naturally sound.

You will only feel as good as the food and drink that you put into your body. If you are putting bad things into your body, that is how you will feel and how your voice will react and sound sooner or later.

5. Singing in the wrong key

When you 1st start to sing you obviously start singing to other people's songs or along with your favourite artist or band.

This can be detrimental for 2 reasons.

1. You could be mimicking the person that you're singing along to.

2. You could be singing in a key is not suitable for your voice.

If you are singing along to other people's songs please sing the songs in your own voice and personality and do not try to mimic or sound like them. Be yourself and let your natural personality and tone come forward.

The most important criteria when singing is to sing in a key or vocal range that best suits your voice with out sounding strained or causing your vocal chords to fatigue.

Singing should be fun and feel good. It should not be a burden where you have to over think what you are doing or feel vocally, mentally or physically drained after singing.

The bottom line is that we all sing because it is fun, others and ourselves get pleasure out of it and it makes us and others feel good! So please feel good, relaxed and sound natural when singing!

Till next month, sing your heart out!

 


Live'n'Loud

Live'N'Loud Cranbourne 2013

Live'n'LoudFreeza and Spectrum Entertainment will be hosting Live'N'Loud at Cranbourne Public Hall this FRIDAY September 13, 2013.  The event will feature some of our most finest local talent including: -

  • Trainwreck
  • Sierre
  • Surrender
  • Void of Vision
  • Searcher
  • Heathercross
  • Uncharted Waters

Performers that Spectrum Entertainment has worked with in the past include The Getaway Plan, Dream On Dreamer, House Vs Hurricane and Phrase.

Spectrum Entertainment is the Youth Advisory Committee who organise these drug, alcohol and smoke free music and cultural events.

The event starts at 6.15pm to 11.15pm.

For more information please visit www.casey.vic.gov.au/insideinfo/ or www.facebook.com/pages/Spectrum-Entertainment-Casey-FReeZA-Committee

Live-N-Loud-2013


Are you up for a challenge?

2014 Legacy Somers Camp

8 - 20 January 2014

Want to be apart of history?  This is your chance to become part of history of Melbourne Legacy by participating in their very last Somers Camp.

This camp has been a significant event in the lives of many Legacy Dependents and Leaders who were involved over the last 70 years.

To be apart of this event, please speak to Legacy Volunteer Kevin Vox or Vladimir Keca directly at Melbourne Legacy http://www.legacy.com.au/melbourne

http://youtu.be/SDSI0mVankA

 


Read about vocal care and technique on Mixdown Magazine

Peter's Mixdown Monthly

Read about vocal care and technique on Mixdown MagazineRead Peter's column every month on Mixdown Magazine

Every month principal singing teacher, Peter Vox writes an exclusive article for Mixdown Magazine, written by musicians for musicians.  "I really love that motto!"

If you have missed previous articles, you've come to the right place! You can read all previous articles in Peter's Mixdown Monthly section.

In additional to that, if you want further hints and tips on what you want know to get the best out of your voice, please feel free to ask in the comment section below!


Dedicated section for parents!

Singing lessons for children

Being a parent, finding the right tutor for private lessons and tuition shouldn't have to be hard. We've put together a dedicated kids corner section is to inform parents in the community about the things that matter and related to singing tuition.

Read about our latest articles in our kids corner section!

  1. Confidence building for children
  2. Finding the right singing teacher

I can't help but hearing a very popular tune in my head by The Wiggles.  Ahhh.. Fruit salad! Yummy Yummy!  If you haven't heard this tune, here it is! Have a great weekend and remember to have fun singing! Enjoy!

http://youtu.be/gB4MNu6W9sg

 


voice training and vocal coaching for your children

Finding the right singing teacher

Voice training for children

I have been teaching singing and voice training for the past 20 years and it's imperative that the students and their teacher have a strong relationship because that strong bond is key in proper tuition. - Peter Vox

When looking for a singing teacher for your children keep in mind that voice training for children is taught differently to that of adults. Children’s vocal chords are still growing and can be damaged much more easily, so it is important to select a singing teacher who will keep this in mind since greater care needs to be given to their singing lessons. We also believe that children need to be positively encouraged and motivated in their singing tuition. Most children will not want to continue singing lessons if they are not truly enjoying themselves and having fun.

The 5 things a singing teacher must ensure are: -

  1. A good singing teacher who specializes in voice training will spend time finding out what your child’s individual goals are and what type of personality they have. Some children are outgoing while others tend to be more reserved and it is the vocal teacher’s job to develop their voice and training curriculum that will best suit the child’s personality and style in lesson plans.  In other words, singing lessons for children should focus on the child’s individuality and strengthening their voice.
  2. Singing teachers should always keep the students best interest a main priority and that is health and care during their voice training and development. Always remember to properly warm up and stretch their vocal chords before singing songs or scales so that they are not feeling uncomfortable or straining their voice. Children are probably most enthusiastic about practicing singing outside of lessons and it’s extremely important to always aim to give them the tools to do so without damaging their voices.
  3. Cultivating and encouraging younger students is extremely important as well through positive and supportive environments. An adult may understand a certain level of training through constructive criticism but we know that children tend to take instruction better when it is directed to them through positive encouragement and confidence boosting methods.
  4. Always choose a voice teacher who teaches correct vocal techniques and methods. This is especially important in children because the voice training techniques they learn today will become their singing habits as they get older. Now is a time where their vocal and singing foundation is being developed. It will be much harder to break bad habits when they are older; now is the time to begin training and using the right ones.
  5. Remember to always, always, always ensure that children are having fun in their activities.  Whether it may be singing, piano or even sports, kids need to be kids. If they are feeling pressured or forced into singing, it will reflect in their performance. If a child is having fun singing they will be relaxed, confident, and be able to perform to the best of their ability.

“It’s not just about being a singer; it’s also about being an entertainer.  So relax and just have fun! Don’t worry!” Singing teacher – Bec Vox

To conclude, if they have fun and make others around them smile, we grown ups are happy and that’s what counts the most.  The more people smile and the more happier our children are; we all make the world a better place.

Until next time, have a great weekend and have fun singing!

voice training and vocal coaching for your children

 


Vox Singing Academy | Official Facebook Page

Free Singing Lesson Promo

Vox Singing Academy Free Singing Lesson Giveaway!

Attention all students!

We are giving away 1 singing lesson per student every 14 days! That's right! To register for your chance to WIN a free singing lesson, all you have to do is "check in" before your singing lesson via your Facebook application on your smartphone.

Check in stations are available at

Dandenong | Brunswick | Bayswater | Balaclava – St Kilda

Vox Singing Academy | Official Balaclava - St Kilda Studio
Click "LIKE" and check in!

Peter Vox with Christopher De Cinque and Kim Benzie

The Catalyst Fire Tour On Sale today!

The Catalyst Fire Tour

The boys from Dead Letter Circus announced recently that they're going back on the road again to celebrate their latest album release due this August, The Catalyst Fire! What makes this a spectacular event is Closure In Moscow will be joining the line up!  AWESOME! Tickets go on sale today! Don't miss out!

http://deadlettercircus.oztix.com.au

Check out their latest music video "Lodestar"

Peter Vox with Christopher De Cinque and Kim Benzie
Peter Vox takes a happy snap shot with his successful students Christopher De Cinque (Closure In Moscow) and Kim Benzie (Dead Letter Circus).

group singing classes

Confidence building for your children

How do I build my child's confidence in their singing ability?

At Vox Singing Academy we believe that teaching our kids through group singing classes is one of the best ways to build their confidence and boost their self-esteem. Not only that, through group lessons kids will learn to work as a team, be accountable to a lessons group and receive the support they need from other students and teachers in their lessons.

We believe that overcoming anxiety or nerves needs to happen one step at a time and not be done before the child is ready.  With the ever growing popularity of kid’s talent shows and singing platforms such as The Voice or Australian Idol, we see a lot of kids coming in feeling pressured or pushed into singing and performing without truly enjoying what they are doing. Our group singing classes aim to break down the “Hollywood” stigma attached to singing and allow kids to realise their own uniqueness and potential.

Each class is developed to boost confidence, inspire and direct your child towards their next singing challenge and promote an enjoyment of music and singing. Most kids find that when they begin having fun in a group, they start to forget about or put aside their singing inhibitions.  Kids become more open to learning when they are actively participating in a group activity.

Through these lessons the whole group will be taught proper vocal techniques such as warming up, breathing, mouth placements and singing scales. Kids will work on these techniques as a group, helping one another out and learning from each other. The group will firstly sing chorus together, including harmonies and sections, then work towards individual confidence by offering kids solo singing parts and one on one critiques.

The main goal through this is to have fun, build confidence, learn proper techniques and hopefully even make a few new friends along the way. We’d love to see kids progress to private one-on-one singing lessons, however if group singing classes are where they are most comfortable than we will encourage them to continue singing in a group setting.

group singing classes
Group singing classes is a great way to build your child's confidence.

mic technique at Vox Singing Academy

Microphone Technique

Mixdown Magazine Article

mic technique at Vox Singing Academy
Christopher from Closure In Moscow

At some stage being a performing singer whether you’re a backing vocalist or lead the singer you are going to have to sing into a microphone.

First and foremost, it does not matter whether you are an aspiring singer that has never sung live before or you’re a hardened forty-year veteran of the music scene.  I strongly recommend as a lead singer you should have your own microphone. I am constantly surprised at them amount of singers that come through our doors that don’t have their own microphone and simply just have blind faith in what will be dished up to them at the venue or rehearsal studio. So if the guitarists and drummer bring their own equipment? So should you.

The reason for bring your own microphone is purely and simply for hygiene reasons as you never know what the person using the microphone before you has got. However the main reason for having your own microphone is that you get acquainted to the sound and feel of your own microphone as they all slightly different.

What type of microphone should I have as a beginner?

There are 2 types of more microphones out there directional and unidirectional. The differences between the 2 are: -

  • What gets sung into a directional microphone will be picked up, used and come out of the PA system on the other end.
  • A unidirectional microphone will pick up all the other sounds in the room. This will make it a nightmare to the guys handling the EQ.

That is why I recommend as a beginner you spend between $80 and $150 and buying an entry-level directional microphone. I also recommend that you buy a microphone lead, microphone stand and a small cheap guitar or keyboard amp to practice at home with.

Always keep the microphone close to your lips and horizontal when practicing. (Referred to example 1).

Do not cup the Microphone (referred to example 2) and hold it in a relaxed manner for a ballad and whichever way you want to hold it for a rock song.  Just make sure that you feel relaxed and your grip is secure so you do not drop the microphone.

If you are a performing singer, proper microphone technique cannot be taught it must be learnt!  You will learn this through experience while rehearsing at home through a fold-back, amp or at the rehearsal studio.

There are lots of different directional microphones out there. They are a bit like cars, there are lots of different brands, some cheaper, some more expensive but they all basically do the same thing. So what I am about to tell you may vary slightly from microphone to microphone.

I highly recommend that you test drive and use the microphone before you purchase your microphone. Again I am surprised with the amount of singers that purchase a microphone just off the recommendation from what they have read or the salesperson (who is most likely not a vocalists) suggests they should buy.  Would you purchase a car without test driving it? The answer is no! And the same thing should go for the purchase of your microphone. You want to feel, see and hear what sounds best for your voice and genre of music before you buy!

Microphone technique

The cardinal rule is to keep the microphone horizontal and close to the lips but not touching the lips directly.  As you are singing a phrase with more power or volume pull the microphone slightly away from your mouth so that the sound coming out of your fold- back or speaker is slightly quieter, therefore preventing distortion of your sound or deafening the people that are listening to you.

So technically you are using the microphone as a volume control. As I have stated before, you learn this by practicing into an amp or fold-back speaker at home or in the rehearsal studio.  Do not hold the microphone too close to your fold back or front of house speakers as it will feedback (make a high pitched squeal). If you are receiving this sound pull the microphone away from any speakers.

I recommend practicing most of your singing at home into a microphone. I would also recommend some singing without your microphone, so that you can hear your voice in its natural state.

So just to re-cap, the 4 main things with microphone technique are: -

  1. Have your own microphone
  2. Practice your microphone technique at home and in the rehearsal studio
  3. Microphone technique is not taught.
  4. Practice, practice, practice.

Until next time, much respect and always remember to have fun singing!




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