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The Importance of Practicing

Posted on January 25, 2017 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (0)

When attempting any skill, the saying goes: "Don't practice until you get it right, practice until you can't get it wrong. As it relates to music, this couldn't be more true. Daily practice is paramount if you want not only a good voice, but a healthy one as well. Here's why:


Daily Practice Builds "Music Memory"

While your muscles don't actually have a brain that actively stores memory, constant practice creates a stronger psychological connection to the physical process of singing. This makes for more consistent proper tone placement, which is instrumental in helping with nerves when performances come along. Nerves are a singer's worst nightmare. If you have a technique that is constantly falling out of correct placement, performances are when it is easiest to revert to bad vocal habits. Kick up the practicing a notch and watch as your bad habits fade into darkness. 


Practicing Builds Confidence

You wouldn't not study for your finals in school, right? Same goes for musical performances. The more prepared you are for a performance, via practicing, the easier it will be for your tone to naturally fall into place and the more confident you will be in continuing to perform.


Daily Practice Build Discipline

They say that if you do something for twenty-seven days in a row, it becomes a habit. This has been a source of motivation for people up and down the fitness community, and the same could apply to musicians. While it all gets down to the question of how badly you want something, doing your best to practice, even if it's just for ten minutes and you don't really feel like doing it, can only have a positive outcome.

5 Foods to Avoid before you Sing

Posted on November 28, 2016 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Food is a wonderful thing and we all have those select foods that make us jump for joy when eating them. When you're a singer, however, some of our favourite foods can become our worst enemies. Here are a few that come to mind:



1) Dairy Products:


I don't know about you, but I am a huge fan of dairy products. I love milk in my coffee, sour cream in my baked potato and ice cream after dinner. As a vocalist, I find that there are just some instances where I can't always get what I want when I am either performing or preparing for a voice lesson and here's why: dairy products, though, positively delicious, actually create large amounts of phlegm that end up excessively lining your vocal chords that ultimately inhibit your freedom of breath.



How do we combat this in a pinch? Try some mint tea. It will dry things out quickly to ensure a stellar performance!



2) Cold Drinks:


Who doesn't love ice cold water? It is so refreshing and has many health benefits. On the other hand, consuming ice cold drinks that include but are not limited to: Frappuccinos, ice water/soda, actually constrict the vocal cords leaving you with a limited ability to reach those coveted high notes.



How do we combat this in a pinch? Try some warm water. It'll defrost your throat and have you soaring to new heights!



3) Chips and other crunchy snacks:


While positively tasty, chips and snacks like them, can easily get caught in your throat and sit on your vocal cords making it more difficult for them to relax and lubricate properly.



How do we combat this in a pinch? Don't eat chips or snacks like them before a lesson or performance and you'll be good to go!



4) Salty Foods:


It seems as if every food is covered in salt, lately. Salt can be pretty awesome, but not if you're trying to pull off an excellent vocal performance. Salt is an agent known for having drying properties and it's affects do not exclude your vocal cords. In order to function properly, the vocal cords need to have a certain amount of mucus coating them so as not to create polyps and nodules. If the cords are dried out too much, singing like that could bring them to a sand paper quality.



How do we combat this in a pinch? Keep yourself hydrated and away from the salt!



5) Sodas and other sugary drinks:


Soda can be very refreshing, especially on a hot day in the middle of summer. When you're trying to sing, however, the ramifications of soda's sugary properties are less than sweet. By this point in the article we should all know that vocal cords need mucus, but too much can lead to a vocal tone that is less than pleasing to the ear and very difficult to work with. Sugar causes an over production of mucus that sits in the throat and impedes the coveted freedom of breath.



How do we combat this in s a pinch? Stay hydrated and try mint tea!

4 Ways to Know You're Singing Incorrectly

Posted on September 6, 2016 at 9:00 PM Comments comments (0)

1) Your throat hurts

If you notice your throat start to hurt during or after singing, it is likely caused by tension in the back of the tongue and neck muscles. In order for tone to happen naturally and pain free, relax your tongue and let your air float up and out through your nose while supporting with your abdominal muscles.

2) Your tone sounds covered or blocked

The key to having a tone that is round and open is to open your mouth slightly more than you normally would and relax your jaw. By creating this space and allowing your tone to vibrate out of your nose instead of your throat, you will naturally create volume that is supported and open.

3) You run out of breath quickly

If you've had voice lessons at all, you may have been told to "use your diaphragm". While this is technically correct, that sort of advice often leads to shallow breathing when it's not preceded by "take a big belly breath". For proper breathing, you want to pretend that your lungs extend past the rib cage and almost into your hips. This allows you enough breath to carry a tone. Improper breathing technique often leads to my next point:

4) Your phrases are short and disconnected

It seems that the popular style of singing these days is that unsupported, breathy, throaty, indie sound. The primary way to achieve this particular sound is by, what I like to refer to as "scooping". I've seen it time and again in singers who scoop excessively, and it disallows them to successfully complete a phrase, which then leads to breathing in the middle of words. If your phrases are disconnected, try hitting your notes right in the middle, rather than scooping up to them or down from them.