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Singing Technique for Beginners

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Singing Technique for Beginners So, you want to be a vocalist? Well, it is not as easy as it looks. Famous singers such as Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti may make singing appear to be effortless. But, in reality, there is a lot of technique involved in order to achieve the desired sound. Proper technique is very important when vocalizing. If you do not practice proper technique you could risk damaging vocal folds, it will also help you to reach your full potential as a vocalist. In order to sing correctly, one must learn to use proper breath support. It is a common misconception that when we inhale our chest or stomach should expand. This is not true; when singing, neither of these areas should expand. Expansion should actually occur in the back and the sides. A way to test if you are doing this correctly would be to stand and bend 90 degrees at your waist. Put your hands on your lower back then breath in. If you feel your back expanding then you are breathing properly. Once you have mastered this fundamental of singing you can move on to the next: posture. Posture is the alignment of the body. It is important to keep your spinal cord straight and align your rib cage when vocalizing. Beginning singers often “assume an exaggerated upright stance or “swayback” position. This restricts the upward pull of the abdominal muscles necessary for correct support” (Klein 17). One way to make sure your posture is correct is to sit on a stool and adjust your lower back against a wall to fix any sign of the “swayback” posture. Then make sure your shoulders aren’t thrust backwards to a point that makes it uncomfortable. Proper posture allows all the breathing muscles to work correctly to relieve any tension that would interfere with singing. Proper breath support and posture are required to have resonance. Resonance is also known as timbre or the quality of sound. It also has to do with the placement of sound. In order to accomplish good resonance, all vowels must be sung into the mask. This means that when singing, you should feel sympathetic vibrations in the cheek bone area of the face. If you do not feel vibrations in the mask then there is a chance you are singing in a hooty tone. This happens when you are singing in the back of your throat rather than in the mask leaving you with no resonance. A way to access that resonance is to sing on an “ng”. If you are doing this correctly you will feel a slight buzzing in your cheek bone area. Once you have your vowels placed correctly you should form them and pronounce them correctly as well. Articulation is very important in singing. Without it, we would not be able to understand anything the singer is saying. When singing a piece, before you enter, be sure to inhale with your lips in the shape of the vowel you are entering on. Then, be sure that the consonant you enter on is the same pitch as the vowel that follows. Be careful not to scoop into the vowel. Scooping occurs when the consonant is sung on a lower pitch than the vowel. This is very unpleasant to listen to. Have you ever noticed how your voice seems to change naturally when you transition from a lower range to a higher range? That means you are changing registers. A register is a transitional point in the voice. Men have two registers: the head voice (the lower register) and falsetto (the higher register). Women usually have two registers as well: the chest voice (the lower register) and the head voice (the higher register). However, there are quite a few women who have a third register called the whistle register which is also known as the high-C extension. Men do not have a chest voice and women do not have a head voice. The head voice in men and women functions quite similarly. The head voice can also be known as the “pianissimo voice”. The tone tends to be light, forward and relaxed sounding. Phonation (touching) of the vocal folds occurs in this register. Falsetto is an even lighter sound and there is no phonation. The chest voice has a heavier and darker sound. It sounds more like the speaking voice. Phonation does occur in this register. Classically trained singers use these registers for their repertoire. Classically trained vocalists are often recognized by the general public by their use of vibrato. Many people claim that they cannot sing with vibrato. Little do they know, they actually can sing with vibrato! All they need to do is relax. Vibrato is the natural impulses of our larynx therefore, it should occur naturally. However, if it doesn’t seem to come naturally, don’t fret. It can. The reason one might lack vibrato is due to a tense larynx. So, like I said, you just need to relax. Still not getting it? Well, the first thing you should check is your breath support. Are you using the right muscles to breath? If so, check that off the list and look at the next thing that could be causing a tense larynx. Is your spine aligned correctly? If it’s not either of those then check your resonance. Raise your cheek muscles and see if that helps! All of these techniques go together. Breath support is the foundation of singing technique. You cannot have proper breath support without correct posture. Then, you cannot have superb resonance without breath support and posture and so on. There is a lot more information on vocal technique, but you learn a lot from experience. So practice using these techniques and once you have master those, then incorporate more advanced techniques into your singing. Who knows? Maybe you could be the next Pavarotti.…...

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