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We cover theatre in private singing lessons

How to apply vocal technique

How do I apply vocal techniques I learn from my singing lessons?

Our Office Manager who use to do performing arts in threatre has been having private singing lessons here at Vox Singing Academy as she wants to get back into singing again.  So l thought I'd ask her a sneaky question! We'll hand the mic over to you Sarah!

Thanks Kevin!

So, you’ve been taking vocal lessons and rehearsing your song choices. The question now is, “How do I apply vocal techniques I learn from singing lessons?” The techniques that we teach our students during a vocal coaching session here at Vox Singing Academy will improve your voice only if you are willing to practice both during and outside of singing lessons. Your vocal range, breathing ability, and mouth placement will begin to improve by correctly applying the techniques you learn in singing lessons every time you sing! Simply knowing what or how to do something won’t enable you to actually do it. You have to be patient with your voice and keep in mind that it is a muscle that needs continual training and strengthening.

The key to being able to apply techniques to your songs is to keep your voice healthy and strong. Before doing any of your vocal exercises, be sure to warm up your voice. We do this by gently humming or buzzing some simple scales so that the vocal chords gently vibrate together in preparation for rehearsal.

Most people when singing continually aim to improve their vocal range. This needs to happen at a gradual pace so that you avoid damaging your vocal chords. By increasing your vocal range, you will not only be able to sing a wider variety of songs, you will be able to do so, on pitch, in the correct key and seamlessly moving through different vocal registers. Allowing your voice to develop a wider range at a pace that is safe and comfortable is the key to avoiding sounding breathy, squeaky, or thin when you sing in a higher or lower range.

Learning to breathe in from your diaphragm and allocating the correct expulsion of air through and around your vocal chords is also a key to keeping your vocal chords in good shape. If you are taking short breaths in through your chest, or expelling too much air at one time, you will cause the vocal chords to vibrate together much faster than they should. This will not only strain your throat but you will not be getting the even sound that you would get by gently expelling the correct amount of air as you sing.

Finally, we use a number of different scales to improve our mouth and tongue placement when singing certain vowels and words. Something we always tell our students during singing lessons is that the majority of your songs consist of vowel sounds. Knowing how to correctly form and sing our vowels allows every word of a song to sound as it should. Once you have practiced these “vowel” scales, your mouth will start remembering the correct placement and naturally form words and sounds correctly.

So, if you are wondering how to apply technique to your songs remember to warm up, practice regularly and have patience. If you are taking care of your voice, practicing your techniques correctly and giving your voice the time it needs to improve and strengthen, you will soon see your techniques consciously and subconsciously being applied to your songs. Your vocal chords, diaphragm, and mouth will begin to know exactly how to perform correctly whenever you sing because they will have practiced doing it over and over again safely and correctly.

Above all, don’t forget to have fun singing!

Sarah Vox

We cover theatre in private singing lessons
Prepare for your red curtain moment!

Singing with feel

How to sing with feeling and emotions

Vox Singing Academy Dandenong Studio
Kevin Vox rehearsing and singing with emotion at Vox Singing Academy, Dandenong studio.

How many singing schools, singing teachers, vocal coaches, musicians or artists can relate to this question?  I'm sure we all get asked this.  The question we continually get asked during singing lessons is, “How do I learn how to perform and sing with feeling and emotion?” Well let us answer that question for you.

Singing is both an emotional and physical activity.  The truth is, anyone can sing.  You can be a fantastic singer however in saying that, reaching an emotional level when singing or performing will take you to the next level.  You must always think about how you can relate to your audience and most importantly, allow yourself to connect with the songs personally.  Connecting emotionally is what takes you from being a singer, to a great performer. When we look into developing our emotions we need to focus on the three following things.

private singing lessons with Thomas Vox
Thomas Vox expresses himself by singing LIVE and playing guitar.

Firstly, it starts with the larynx and the vocal chords. This technique is a placement of the vocal chords which will add distortion and texture to your voice, allowing you to convey different tones, emotions and feelings when you are singing during a song.  We understand that all students have their own unique voice so during singing lessons, our singing teachers as they are vocal coaching will customise and tailor different scales and show various placements for the students to achieve a “cry” or “sobbing” sound.  We also customise so students are comfortable singing within their vocal range.  It really sounds as though you are crying or sobbing as you are singing certain notes or parts of the song. Another vocal technique is to bend, distort or finish off certain notes with your voice.  If you listen to “She’s out of my life by Michael Jackson”, you’ll notice how he seems to convey so much emotions and one of the reasons is because he is adding cries or sobbing during the song.

Ryan Vox is a singing teacher in Melbourne
Ryan conveying his character through a Theatre production.

Secondly, you must relate and emotionally connect with your song. Read the words and relate the lyrics to a situation in your life.  Music is usually written from a place of emotion so if you can connect with it, you will be able to paint the emotional picture and express these emotions with your audience.  Everyone relates to a song in their own way, for most people songs remind them of a relationship, an important event or significant time in their lives.  You must always pick and sing songs you can relate to, especially if you want to reach your audience and touch their hearts and minds. Always remember to connect with your audience through conveying and delivering your emotions.

Finally, always enjoy what you are singing. If you are dedicated, committed and passionate in your craft, it will show through your singing and performance. Your facial expressions, hand or body gestures during a performance will happen naturally if you believe in what you are doing and this certainly helps with your stage presentation. Don’t ever pretend or force yourself to do anything in your performance that doesn't feel natural, it will be apparent to your audience. As we all tend to say “Keep it real”, be true to yourself and audience and always remember to have FUN!

Private singing lessons, group singing lessons and vocal coach in Melbourne, Rebecca Vox.
Singing teacher, vocal coach and former lead singer of We Rob Banks, Rebecca Vox is using hand gestures to convey her emotions during a LIVE performance.

Peter having a vocal coaching session

What's vocal coaching?

What is vocal coaching? Please explain

Quite often we get people asking us what is vocal coaching and can you differentiate the difference between a singing teacher and a vocal coach? So I thought about it and today I am going to answer this question according to my knowledge.

Basically, vocal coaching is where your singing teacher guides, develops, provides you with direct instruction and tips on how to perform and sing better with various techniques and singing exercises to help you achieve a type of vocal sound or goal. This process is where they develop your voice and show you how to sing better either during a normal routine class or on a song you wish to perform and sing in front of an audience or studio.

Singing teachers can have one-on-one vocal coaching sessions during private singing lessons, group classes or coach you at rehearsals on stage or recording session.  Vocal coaches are used in all modern contemporary genres of singing, as well as classical music.

So in a vocal coaching session, your singing teacher will provides you direct instructions and constructive feedback in the the following areas of singing: -

  • Vocal warm up exercises
  • Breaking down a song and apply various techniques
  • How to sing using your diaphragm
  • Singing using vowels (It's all about your mouth)
  • Posture or hand gestures
  • Singing with feel, emotion and conviction
  • Stage presentation
  • Microphone technique
  • Preparing and how to audition

I am quite amazed that even on the search engines such as Google, Yahoo and BING, a lot of people are asking the same question. I've read a lot of posts on other websites and blogs and there are a lot of different answers out there when it comes down to this particular question.

So what am I saying? Am I declaring that my explanation is right?

Maybe because I am only answering this question based on what we do here at Vox Singing Academy.  We do vocal coaching sessions on our students because we always must make key decisions that's going to benefit the student's aspirations, goals and most importantly provide them with quality tuition.

To conclude on this article, I want to share this with you all.  I overheard one of our singing teachers, Ryan Vox say to a student: -

"You come to rehearsals or to your singing lessons to hear and pick out those mistakes.  You should always expect that. That's the only way you're going to be able to fix them and it's always about evolving as an artist and also to become a better singer and performer." - Ryan Vox

So that concludes my article regarding this FAQ. I totally agree with Ryan's wise words and Peter, you taught us all well much respect sensei!

Vocal coaching is essential and in our world, it's an additional process we guide our students when we're developing their skills. We do this because we all really do believe in providing quality singing tuition and that we're contributing to society in such a positive way.  We all truly believe that.  We always look upon on all people who wish to learn how to sing, as a special individual.  One day, they are going to reach and touch the lives millions of people and I'll be able to say this to myself: -

"hey, that's my student! I'm their singing teacher and the vocal coaching session paid off!".

Peter having a vocal coaching session
The one and only Peter Vox going through a vocal coaching session with a student during a private singing lesson.

5 Piece Drum Craft kit for SALE!

5 Piece Drumkit
5 Piece Drumkit

3 x DRUM KITS FOR SALE – NEAR NEW

Drum Craft 5 Piece Drum Kit - Series 4
– Including 22” Kick, 3 cymbals, 2 toms & silencers with wetsuit skins plus stool
– Near new, played less than 10 times
– $1899 per drum kit

NOW $1799!

Melbourne CBD area

Contact Kevin Vox for more details

P: 1300 183 732
M: 0432 826 287
E: kevin@voxsingingacademy.com


Jericco debut album Beautiful In Danger

Jericco Beautiful in Danger Tour
Jericco Beautiful in Danger Tour

According to the band's facebook, Jericco rocked the Espy Hotel in St Kilda over the weekend and their next live show will be FRIDAY June 7th at the Enigma Bar in Adelaide, South Australia. Further shows will be announced soon.

Jericco performs with great pride and power and their prominent Middle Eastern influence and sound are completely authentic, which resonates at the core with their rapidly expanding fan base.

Their debut record 'Beautiful In Danger' is available on iTunes and all good music stores https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/beautiful-in-danger/id626092879

Well done boys! We look forward hearing of more tour dates!


This Is The Warning receives GOLD status

Dead Letter Circus signs with UNFD
Dead Letter Circus signs with UNFD

Dead Letter Circus debut This Is The Warning has been accredited Gold (35,000 sales) and their second debut album is set for a release in August this year under the most progressive label in the country, UNFD.

According to reports, the band's vocalist Kim Benzie said he said UNFD are thriving in today's new modeled industry and are getting bigger and bigger everywhere they go.

This Is The Warning was voted by Triple J listeners to be one of the Hottest 100 Albums Of All Time. It debuted at two on the ARIA Charts in 2010, staying in the top 50 for three weeks!

The band have recently toured Australian capital cities after a year of international exposure kicked off by a SXSW performance in 2012.

http://youtu.be/bPuEiXOkf64


Airbourne top i-tunes rock charts

Airbourne Top Download Charts Around The World
Airbourne Top Download Charts Around The World

Aussie rock sensation Airbourne may be old dogs but they are dominating the iTunes Rock charts worldwide with their latest album Black Dog Barking.

Airbourne released their third album recently and the international pick-up has been outstanding.

Last week the album was number one on the iTunes rock chart in the UK, France, Germany and Switzerland. Airbourne also ranked number two in the US rock charts.

They are still ranked within the Top 10 iTunes rock charts all across Europe and the album is number two in Canada!

Congratulations boys! Well done and well deserved!


Cold and Flu Management for Singers

Mixdown Magazine Article

Once again, winter is upon us, bringing with it the cold and flu season. When you are sick, you don’t even want to get out of bed, much less want to sing. This time of year can prove to be a nightmare for both amateur and professional singers. I am going to give you some tips on how to ease the pain and vocally survive this time of year so that you can keep on singing.

cold and flu management for singers
cold and flu management for singers

Nip it in the Bud

One of the most important things you can do as a performer or singer is to begin managing a cold or flu on the first day you start feeling symptoms. You must begin taking care of yourself on day one, not three or four days later when the illness is fully blown. A common cold should last five to seven days; the flu may last a few days longer. So, if you feel the onset of a bug, please take the following preventative measures as soon as possible.

Physical Rest

If you feel a cold coming on, don’t go running around, socialising, exercising and physically exerting yourself. Your body is fighting the cold; help it fight by getting plenty of rest.

Eat Well

Garlic and onions both contain immune boosting compounds to help fight off colds and flus. Try cooking with garlic and onions every day while you are sick. Your partner and friends may not appreciate it but this will greatly improve your immune system.

Big Doses of Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an important vitamin and antioxidant that assists in keeping the body healthy. Vitamin C is found in many citrus fruits so try to have four or five oranges or grapefruit per day when you are sick. If you do not like citrus fruit you can purchase ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder or tablets) from the chemist. Again, vitamin C will massively boost your immune system.

Vitamins

A high quality multi-vitamin is essential to your everyday health and you can find specific cold and flu multi-vitamins at most chemists. Cold and Flu supplements will be higher is immune boosting vitamins such as echinacea, zinc, garlic and vitamin C. Cod liver oil tablets are also highly recommended as they are high in vitamin D and vitamin A to assist your body in absorbing nutrients.

If your throat is sore, suck on some good-quality throat lozenges, not lollies or anything with menthol in them as the menthol will strip back the natural mucus lining of the vocal chords. I recommend Strepfen, Difflam, or Throat Clear lozenges. I would also suggest gargling warm salt water every hour if you have a sore throat. Salt water will dehydrate your throat creating an environment in which bacteria is unable to survive.

You should try to not speak for the first hour after you wake up. The first thing to do when you wake up is to drink 300-500ml of water, hydrating your body quickly. Before you start to speak, warm up your throat by humming gently within a small section of your vocal range. If you can, limit your talking during the day. If you need to speak, support your voice with a proper diagrammatic breath (refer to my article on diaphragmatic breathing).

Avoid all dairy products when you are sick. Dairy will create more mucus and phlegm for bacteria to form. This will cause your voice to strain, making it harder for you to sing. Keep your body hydrated when you are sick by drinking plenty of room temperature water throughout the day. Allow your body to stay at an even temperature by keeping warm and dry. Do not stand in the rain and dress warmly if you have to venture out into the cold.

In conclusion, You want to nip a cold or flu in the bud as soon as you possibly can! If you are following all of the above mentioned tips and find that your cold or flu continues to worsen after five days I would highly recommend seeing your local doctor or GP. If you are coughing up a lot of green, yellow or grey coloured mucus and phlegm this could be a sign of a bacterial infection and your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics if they deem necessary. Also consult with your doctor if you have lost or are losing your voice as this could be a sign of laryngitis.

Performing When Sick

When performing or rehearsing while you are sick, it is important that you are able to hear yourself clearly and adequately through either your foldback or ear monitors. Never scream or yell over the top of the band. If you find the band is too loud, your ears are blocked or you are getting a bad mix, use your head voice and focus on listening to your vocals. Do not push your voice past its’ limits when you are unwell.

When you are unwell, it generally takes longer to warm up so leave yourself plenty of time to focus on using the correct vocal and warm up techniques.  I recommend beginning with a humming, burble or baby buzz scale exercise. Then, move on to light scales until your voice feels fully warmed up. Once you feel that your voice is

It is imperative that proper diaphragmatic breathing and support is used when singing whilst you are sick to come to the aid of your voice so that your voice does less work and your diaphragm more.

If you are losing your voice, then you really don’t have much of a voice to use in the first place. Tune your set or songs down as many steps as you think you need for you to safely sing through the whole set. If you happen to start losing your voice midway through a set or performance, cut the peaks and high notes off your melodies to make it easier for you to sing and complete the performance.

So should you sing when you have a cold? Well the answer is YES!

A cold or flu generally will not impair any areas needed for singing, but laryngitis and bronchitis will.
98% of the time you will not lose your voice with a common cold or flu. Yes you may lose one or 2 notes from your range, but laryngitis, meaning losing your voice completely is very rare. Please always sing with caution and correctly warm-up when sick.

A cold or flu will generally not impair your ability to sing however, laryngitis and bronchitis will.

98% of the time you will not lose your voice due to a common cold or flu. Yes, you may lose one or two notes from your range, but laryngitis, losing your voice completely, is very rare. Although you can still sing when you are unwell, please always remember to follow the correct technique when warming up and sing with caution and care.

Summary of rules when you are sick are:

  1. Start precautionary measures at the 1st sign of a cold or flu.
  2. Take care of yourself and your voice.
  3. Always warm up before singing and use proper diaphragmatic breathing and support.
  4. Monitor, feel and gauge how your voice is feeling.

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


It's all about your mouth

Mixdown Magazine Article

Have you ever been to a performance or heard a song and thought to yourself, "I cannot understand a single word they are singing?" The main reason this happens is because the singer is not using their mouth properly. One of the biggest downfalls we see here at Vox Singing Academy is a vocalist not using their mouth to assist their singing voice and using incorrect placement when moving between vowels. To put things simply, they are not using their mouth properly.  The singers’ mouth placement isn't forming the right shape for the particular word or vowel they wish to sing.

If you do not use your entire mouth correctly when you sing, and even speak, you are not going to be understood clearly because your mouth is inhibiting your sounds. Your words and sounds will be unclear resulting in not being able to perform to your full potential. You will have less volume and projection, especially in your higher vocal range.

Your jaw, lips and tongue are responsible for your pronunciation, articulation, and diction. It is vitally important to get your mouth moving! You want your mouth to be able to move to the correct placements for the particular words, vowels, and sounds that you are singing. This not only applies to "clean" singers but is just as important for singers who apply screaming, growling and distortion to their vocal technique.

Here are some pointers to free your voice, allowing you to sing and sound great!

I am going to start by telling you the cardinal rule to singing and sounding great! Ninety five percent of what you sing are vowels! That's right, vowels. Try it for yourself right now. Try Singing the word "I", "me", "art" (or any word for that matter) and hold that word for 3 seconds. The sound that you are making and holding is a vowel. For instance, if you are singing the word "art" you are holding the vowel sound of ah, and then right at the end of the word you would be putting the constant of T to finish the word "art". When you sing, you hold vowels for ninety five percent of the time and the other five percent would be syllables and consonants.

The attached diagram shows what mouth placement you should be using for all long vowel formation. Here at Vox Singing Academy, we use the words "air", "see", "heart", "soul", and "you" to practice using our mouth to correctly form long vowel sounds. As in all of our singing lessons, we are using words and sounds that we can directly and practically apply to songs.

Vowel Chart

Three points you should keep in mind when singing these different vowel sounds are:

  1. Always be sure to have a more relaxed mouth placement when singing through the lower section of your vocal range.
  2.  Use and “overdo” your mouth placement as you sing up into the higher section of your vocal range
  3. Smile on your long E vowels (such as those found in the word “see”) as you go into the higher range of your voice.  However, you still want to keep the lower section of this “see scale” round, If you smile all the way through the “eeee” sound you risk sounding nasally or pinched.

If you are able, always stand in a relaxed posture when singing and rehearsing scales. With all of the above vowel words, (“air”, “see”, “heart”, “soul” and “you”) it is recommended to sound out each of the vowels separately on a major 5th scale. In other words, sing the same word over and over again as you work your way up and then back down the scale. Focus on making sure that you are keeping the mouth in the right shape throughout the entire scale.

Once you have mastered all five vowels, begin practicing them one after another on a single note.

For example: If you are singing a C minor (any note will do) then sing “air”, “see”, “heart”, “soul” and “you” one word after the other all in a C minor. Hold each vowel in the word for 2-3 seconds a piece. Make sure that your mouth is staying open and relaxed allowing the correct vowel to be sounded out to the very end.

As I have said in past columns, please ensure you are watching you mouth in the mirror as you work through the 5 separate mouth shapes and formations. One of the most important practice techniques is to look at yourself and your mouth in a mirror when singing and rehearsing scales. In a very short time, you will not only see the difference, but you will hear and feel your free flowing sound projecting forward.

After practicing these scales for between five and ten weeks, most of our students begin automatically moving to the correct mouth placements subconsciously in both their songs and scales.

This is why better singers tend to make their song performances look so easy. Most of their skills come naturally and subconsciously, without effort. With the right teaching, technique and practice this is also available to you within a short period of time.

Another fantastic learning technique is to watch what your favourite singer does with their mouth when they are performing. You will quickly notice that better singers will use their mouth well, especially through their middle to higher ranges. They will also be singing with consistent energy, passion, and feeling in all songs. We will be covering song interpretation, as well as singing with energy and feeling, in our future columns.

Summary: The 6 rules for "Mouth Placement when singing”

  1. Ninety five percent of what you sing will be vowels.
  2. Maintain bigger mouth placements when singing higher, and a more relaxed placement when singing lower.
  3. Practice! Practice! Practice!
  4. Look at your mouth in the mirror and listen to yourself when rehearsing.
  5. Observe what better singers do with their mouths when they are singing.
  6. Experiment with different mouth shapes

Always remember to have fun singing and until next time, have a great month!

 


Breathe In, Breathe Out

Mixdown Magazine article

Why am I going red in the face, running out of air, or sounding breathy and thin when I sing?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions of me and our singing teachers here at Vox Singing Academy.

We find the main cause for students running out of breath is that they are pushing through, using, and expelling too much air when they sing.  Simply, too much air is being taken into the bronchial tubes and not enough is being taken into the diaphragm.  To correct this issue we work to teach and apply correct breathing techniques enabling our students to sing more clearly, with more stamina and breath control.

How it all works

The outer laryngeal muscles are what bring the vocal chords together. When we push air gently through the vocal chords, they will vibrate together allowing us to sing or speak in the desired pitch. As you sing higher through your vocal range the vocal chords will thin out and vibrate together at a much faster pace. As you sing lower through your vocal range the vocal chords will thicken and vibrate together more slowly. This is the same principle that applies to the strings on a guitar or piano.

We have been using the vocal chords for thousands of years as a communication tool, one that allows us to make various noises. We are now going to look at using them with a little more control so we can sing the correct vowels, notes and sounds

Your diaphragm sits directly under your lungs between the “V” of your ribcage. If you have ever been forcefully hit in this area you would have felt the uncomfortable sensation of being “winded.”  Being winded means that your diaphragm has actually gone into a spasm. The diaphragm plays a very important role in your vocal abilities as it is the engine room for all breathing and breath control.  It is in charge of allocating the right amount of air support from underneath and through the vocal chords, creating the desired pitch and clarity of all the notes you sing. Your ear controls the diaphragm and your diaphragm controls the pitch. If any muscle in your body is going to tighten up or work while you sing, it should be the abdominal or diaphragm area, not your face or neck. Diaphragmatic breathing, use and support are vitally important, especially when you are sick or very tired -you don't want to strain the vocal chords. So, your diaphragm must come to your aid to support, work and function to preserve your voice and get you through the show, recording, performance, rehearsal or whatever it may be.

HOW TO USE YOUR DIAPHRAGM WHEN SINGING

Firstly, I recommend standing up in a relaxed posture when conducting all breathing and singing exercises. Now, start by taking a conversation sized breath into the V of the rib cage, or what is known as the diaphragm. Place your hand on your diaphragm. You want to feel this area move out slightly. Look sideways into a mirror when doing your breathing and try to see your upper stomach expand and stick out slightly. If you are not having any success breathing into your lower lung capacity or diaphragm, I strongly recommend this exercise to activate this area.

Secondly, roll up a towel into a ball or purchase a size 3 basketball or soccer ball. Lie face down on the ball or towel and make sure it is placed up into the V of the ribs for 10 to 30 seconds.

Next, relax your stomach and legs while holding yourself up with your shoulders and then place your arms in an “L” shape. If the ball or towel is placed in the right area you should be feeling a heartbeat or a pulse and a slight winding sensation. The V area should now feel stretched out and loosened.

Finally, stand up immediately and place your hand on your diaphragm or the V of your ribs trying to breathe into this area and not into your upper chest. You should now be breathing into your lower lung capacity or diaphragm.

Now that your diaphragm is full of air, you can proceed to tighten or relax your stomach muscles in accordance with how much breath pressure you want underneath the vocal chords and for any specific note you may want to sing. If you desire to sing higher or louder, more breathe support is needed from the diaphragm. If you want to sing lower or softer, less breath support is needed from the diaphragm. Now that you are breathing correctly and into the right place, this next exercise will allow you to gauge the correct amount of air to be inhaled.

Steps to a Great Breath

Exercise 1

1. Begin by taking the biggest breath in that you possibly can. Hold that breathe for 5 seconds   while focusing on how full it feels.

2. Then, breathe it all out. Completely relax.

3. Now, breathe in about a quarter to a half breath of what you just took in. Hold this breath for 5 seconds and focus on the sensation of how a quarter to a half lung capacity feels.

A quarter to a half a breath is what you will use as a beginner to intermediate singer. A full half breath is to be used for any singing that is a little bit higher, louder or with longer sustained notes. This may sound silly and contrary to the common belief that you need to take a big breath in before you sing however, this technique will greatly reduce the tendency the singer has for exhaling excess air, thinning your voice out and subsequently running out of air.

Exercise 2

1. Place your hands firmly over the "V" area of your ribcage and breathe in a half breath (see exercise 1)

2. Next, Pretend that you are hailing a cab by saying, "Hey". Sing it firmly and in a key. You should feel the diaphragm or stomach muscles firm up and even push slightly outward. If you didn't feel it, sing "Hey" more firmly until you feel your stomach muscles activate and come to your aid. This is your diaphragm coming to your aid naturally. This is very important; this is your engine room. Your diaphragm or stomach muscles control your power, projection, support, vibrato, breath control and support of your singing.

If you are running out of air when singing try pronouncing your words with less of an "H" sound and physically expel less air. You can test this by putting a candle in front of your mouth and keeping it alight, or by standing close to a mirror and making sure it doesn't fog up. Alternatively, you can put your hand in front of your mouth gauging how much air is coming out. You will naturally have more air expulsion pronouncing syllables and consonants and a lot less when pronouncing vowels.

All breathing when singing should be done through the mouth, not through the nose.

HOW TO SING USING ADVANCED DIAGRAMMATIC BREATHING TECHNIQUES

When you have mastered the above techniques you may begin trying what we call an 80% - 20% diagrammatic singers breath. This is when you breathe 80% of your air into your diaphragm, also known as your lower lung capacity, and 20% into your bronchial tube, also known as the top of your lungs or windpipe. You will need to try inhaling this breath in one smooth simultaneous action. Once you have mastered that breathing technique you will exhale all the air in what we call a "V" or vase shaped expulsion. Meaning, you will pull the ribs in as you are singing and expel air for greater power. This technique is specifically used for long phrases with very few breaths. As you run out of air your rib cage will hold its  "V" shape as you expel that breath. This keeps the appropriate amount of air support underneath the vocal chords at all times.

SUMMARY: RULES FOR BREATHING WHEN SINGING

1. Only Inhale a quarter to a half diaphragmatic breath.

2. Use Less stomach support and take in less air when you are singing down low. Use more stomach support when you are singing up higher. This does not mean that you expelling more air when singing higher, it just means you have more breath pressure and support behind the vocal chords.

3. Firm and tighten your stomach muscles and diaphragm as you travel higher up your vocal register.

4. If you are going to sing a long phrase or hold long sustained notes, take in a little more air.
5. Explore your vocal range and always remember to have fun singing!


How do I warm up my voice?

Mixdown Magazine Article

Hi I'm Peter and welcome to my regular monthly column on singing.

I started singing for many reasons but the main one was it was just purely and simply fun. I started singing at the age of 6 at the local church choir and formed my first band at the age of 13. This led me to the United States to study my craft for 4 and a half years from the age of 18, performing extensively and song writing. I have trained with some of the worlds most sought out and renowned singing teachers.

Vox Singing Academy has been established for 20 years and I have taught  many prominent and successful students with major label record and performing contracts including Dead Letter Circus, Rob Mills, Airbourne , Gyroscope, The Panics, Paris Wells, The Butterfly Effect, Dream On Dreamer, Cut Copy just to name a few. As you can tell I can teach a very broad spectrum of contemporary singing, from screaming to crooning and everything in between.

I’m always looking for new ways and techniques to build and improve our vocal coaching syllabus. “There’s not a day that goes by that I am not developing new and different innovative techniques to push the boundaries of singing and vocal tuition and I want to share as much of my knowledge as I possible with you in these future columns.

Does this happen when you sing?
Always remember that it is important that you warm up your voice before you sing.

So let's start this column with one or most frequently asked questions, how do I warm up my voice?

In simple terms, your instrument, your voice is physical, you are like an athlete, and you use muscles to make a sound. Your vocal chords are two white tendons brought together, then when air is passes through them they vibrate together to make a sound. They oscillate approximately 440 times per second, that's 26,400 times per minute, and that's only when speaking, if singing in your higher vocal range the vocal cords can oscillate more than 1000 times per second. That is an amazing 60,000 plus times a minute.

We at Vox Singing Academy gets so many people coming in with incorrect technique and damaged vocal chords, which purely and simply could have been avoided by correct warm-ups, scales and breathing techniques that can be taught in a very short amount of time! This is why it is very important to warm up and cool down before and after you sing, perform or do scales. Just like you would stretch, limber and warm up before and after you play sport and the same thing should be done with you as a singer.

Stand up when singing or doing your scales workout in a relaxed posture. If you are sitting please try to keep your upper torso relatively straight and relaxed.
Let's start by taking a conversation sized breath into the V of the rib cage or what’s known as the diaphragm area. If you feel this area move out slightly that is fantastic, but if it’s not moving that’s fine as well. As we will be covering breathing techniques in depth in next month’s column. It will greatly help you out if you can look into a mirror when you're doing your singing, scaling and breathing to see and monitor what you are doing.

Stay hydrated, drink room temperature water before, during and after scales and singing.  Room temperature water will keep your vocal chords lubricated as we have already spoken about, they will be vibrating together at an extraordinary rate.

For beginners and intermediates I recommend warming your voice by gently humming with the lips closed. Personally in my classes I would do this with a major 5th scale and start at the lowest point of the students range and work my way all the way through to the very highest falsetto (false voice) until the voice naturally stops. If you do not have access to a piano, guitar, teacher or a program that can play this, I recommend that you hum at the lowest point of your voice and begin  raising & sliding up slowly towards  the top of your for vocal  range  then come back down your range  again in a circular motion. This circular motion is also called in singing in terms "sirening". Please keep the sound very light and pure. Do not force the sound down or onto the throat. As you go higher gradually tighten your stomach a little bit to support the sound and let the sound resonate (vibrate) to the back of the head or in between the ears as you are going higher.

Please do this for 2 to 5 min. After you do this you should feel that your voice is warmed up, invigorated and stretched out, as you would feel if you stretched are and limbered your body for playing sport. After this I would highly recommend doing some open mouth vowel scales, such as Art, See or Soul. Again on a major 5th or a triad down (5, 3, 1 scale). Do these until you feel YOUR voice is warmed up. After you feel your voice is warmed up, eased into a song.

For my Advanced/ professional students I recommend that you spend 5 minutes doing some mild stretching and limbering up of the body. As we are going to be using most of the muscles in the body when performing. The stretching will consist of some light stretching of every major muscle in the body, but let's spend a little more time stretching the abdominal and core muscles and loosening up and stretching the neck and shoulder area.

Then I would start with the Ung warm-up exercise for as long as is necessary and until your voice feels limbered, flexible and warmed up. The Ung exercise is the same as the humming exercise except we will block off the back of the uvula (throat) with the tongue to make a light Ung sound. This exercise resonates and circulates warm air around the most important parts of the vocal cords which are the true and false vocal chords.

Then you would continue to do some scales that are going to warm up the specific parts of the voice that I'm about to use in my performance. E.g. if you are going to use a lot of falsetto , do more falsetto exercises, if you're mainly singing in your higher register, use some higher range scales like crying scales, if you are mainly singing down lower, do some lower range scales, if you're screaming, do some screaming scales. Warm-up what you were going to use.

Then 10 min before I go on stage would have another light limber and stretch of my body, then very importantly I would proceed to sing the 1st half of the 1st song I am about to sing on stage so that I know I have complete confidence in what I am about to do in 5 min. Then the bottom line is get up on stage and have some fun. That's what it's all about in the end, is just having some fun and enjoying what you're doing.

After the show I recommend a light body stretch and vocal cool down with the hum or Ung vocal exercise, with plenty of water.

Thank you for taking the time to read my 1st column. If you have any suggestions for subject matter that you would like to know more about for write-ups or any questions regarding singing please have no hesitation to contact me at peter@voxsingingacademy.com

 "Sing with passion"

 


Student Concert this SUNDAY!

Bridie O'Reilly's, Brunswick
Bridie O'Reilly's, Brunswick

It's finally happening, that's right! Vox Singing Academy's student concert held this SUNDAY at BRUNSWICK'S Bridie O'Reilly's is going to be an spectacular event! The concert starts at 3PM and don't be late!  All beginner to intermediate students will have the opportunity to bust out a couple of tunes LIVE ON STAGE!  We all know everyone has been practicing hard and we can't wait to witness first hand our upcoming new talent! You never know who's watching and bring all of your family and friends!

 

We hold our student concerts every 3 months and I have had the privilege to witness first hand many wonderful talented students who are now renowned world-wide for their music and performance - Peter Vox

The event details: -

Vox Singing Academy's Student Concert

Time: 3PM

Date: Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Venue: Bridie O'Reilly's

Address: 29 Sydney Rd, Brunswick VIC 3056

 

 




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