Archive for the ‘Training’ Category

What Are Head Voice and Chest Voice? The Singing Voice Explained

Friday, January 29th, 2010

By Andy Follin

It’s possibly the most common question for those studying voice. But it’s also the least answered. Or, to put it better, the worst answered.

The problem with head and chest

The reason is that the answers that most vocal coaches and singing teachers give seem innately wrong. No matter how hard people try to explain it, you really can’t convince anyone that the voice moves from the chest to the head, because you can always feel just where it is – in the throat!

The terms ‘head voice’ and ‘chest voice’ have some merit in that they can describe the location of some of the sensations you feel (muscle effort, for example) when singing higher and lower, but that merit is outweighed by the confusion caused when singers start to imagine that the sound-producing mechanism changes location.

Head and chest resonance

Head and chest ‘resonance’ can cause similar problems. It’s an acoustic principle that there can be no resonance before the sound source so – given that the chest is below the larynx – there can be no chest resonance. Chest vibration, maybe, but not resonance.

Similarly, the only way the voice can resonate in the head (as opposed to the mouth) is if the soft palate (velum) is opened to allow sound into the nasal turbinates. But this would give an excessively nasal sound – which is undesirable at best.

What’s head, and what’s chest?

Anyone struggling for an answer to this question will come up against a number of answers, even among those singing teachers who still insist on using the terms head and chest. Some say there are only two ‘registers’, some three (head, chest, mixed) and some four (add falsetto to the list).

The problem is that they can’t even agree amongst themelves! Are all high notes ‘head’? Are all loud notes ‘Chest’? So what’s loud and high singing? And what do they call very quiet low singing?

There’s no consensus – because there’s no scientific fact to back up any of their opinions. It’s like asking them to describe ‘blue’ (do you mean royal blue, or French blue, or cyan etc..)

So what’s really happening?

All of this needless confusion can be avoided through a better understanding of the voice.

The vocal folds (vocal cords) are complex and able to vibrate in a number of ways, but whatever you call a sound – Head, Chest, Mixed, Apple, Banana – it can be precisely defined in terms of how the vocal folds are vibrating.

The great advantage of Estill Voice Training™ over more traditional singing methods is that it replaces the vague and inexact concepts of Head voice and Chest voice with a precise understanding of the Vocal Folds and how they are vibrating in different parts of the range.

As a Certified Master Teacher of EVT, Andy Follin can explain how to control and allow the voice to move easily throughout your entire range – with or without a change in sound, and without introducing any confusing terminology!

Andy Follin is a Certified Master Teacher of Estill Voice Training, based in the North West of England. As the only CMT in the area, Andy is uniquely placed to help both speakers and singers who wish to understand and control their voice.

His website Vocal Skills, has an FAQ section that tries to answer some of the most common questions about the voice.
It contains a useful article on head voice and chest voice. Check it out to get the Vocal Skills you want and need. Take your voice and your career seriously.

For Good Singing – Effective Tips to Improve Your Powerhouse Vocals

Friday, January 15th, 2010

By Kyle Hoffman

Singing is a great past time that can communicate powerful emotions to large groups of people with music. The best singers however, really know how to control their voice and leave a lasting impression on the audience.

You might think of yourself as a decent singer that can hold their own in the competitive world of music, but wouldn’t you like to be better? Here are 5 fast tips for good singing that can boost your vocal reputation and have you emerge from the crowd.

1. Learn to control your soft palate.

Raising your soft palate is a way of opening up your throat to allow more air to come in, and more sound to let loose. Raise your eyebrows while you sing to feel the immediate affects of this technique.

2. Adjust your daily habits to accommodate your voice.

If you’re very serious about performing vocals, shouldn’t you do everything you can for good singing? Small things like eating less dairy, drinking more water, and getting more sleep can have such a huge impact on the quality of your voice.

3. Take constructive criticism with dignity.

Every now and then you’ll receive some criticism where someone thought you should change an aspect of your voice and you can’t fly off the handle. Make it one of your strong points to take someone else’s opinions and constructive criticism in a positive way for improvement.

4. Add variation with dynamics.

If someone were to sing an entire piece with the exact same tone and level of volume, the performance would be very boring. Mix things up and create variation by raising and lowering your volume in order to accentuate certain emotions in the song.

5. Communicate the song’s meaning.

You might have the best voice in the world, but you won’t be considered the best singer if you can’t express what the song is saying. Learn to appreciate the true intentions of the song you’re performing and showcase its emotions to your fullest.

There are a lot of great singers out there, but you can be one of them too with practice and hard work. Try out these simple but effective tips and be more confident the next time that you take the stage.

Kyle Hoffman has been a lead singer in acclaimed hardcore and rock bands for a number of years and is considered an authority figure on vocals. Learn his FREE valuable tips for vocal singing and other strategies to sing well now!

Tips and Techniques To Learn To Sing Like A Pro

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

by Skyler Jett

Some people still believe that a singing voice is only something that you are born with. While this is true for some lucky people, not everyone was born with the most beautiful singing voice in the world. Because of this, practice, patience and education is needed in order to achieve the level of singing that you have always wanted.

It’s time to stop making everyone’s ears hurt and you can’t afford to replace any more broken glass so follow these key steps and you will surely be a memorable singer before you know it. Remember, you may not become the perfect singer over night so do not give up. You have to keep trying and hang in there and eventually everything will just click and fall into place.

Relax.

Many people find themselves tensing up when they start to sing. This is typically from nerves. While this is a natural reaction, it is not one that is going to help your singing voice. If there is too much tension in your body, your vocal tone will be destroyed. Keep your shoulders back in the correct position and allow the muscles in your neck to relax.

Push The Stomach Out.

Even though it may feel a little odd at first, it is important to push your stomach out when you inhale. When you do this, you allow more air into your lungs. When it is time to exhale, make sure that you are slowly pulling your stomach in by making use of your diaphragm muscles. All of this will help keep your tone under control.

Do Not Fear The High Notes.

The high notes seems to be what people have the most trouble with which means people tend to find themselves afraid of even trying to hit the high notes. Do not let that fear control you. If you want to sing and you want to sing well, you have to learn how to hit the high notes with grace and style.

When you find that you are not hitting the note high enough, try raising your arms slightly and give a small hint of a smile. These actions will help to casually raise your note. For the extremely high notes, close your eyes and turn your face up slightly, really feeling the note.

For those that hit the notes a little too high, move your arms down a little lower than where they are. You might also want to open your mouth just a bit wider by dropping the lower jaw.

Find Your Own Voice. While you may want to be able to sing like Mariah, not everyone can. Instead of trying to match your voice and tone to someone else’s, find your own, especially if you want to make a career out of singing. Music producers want new fresh sounds. You also want to make sure that you are enjoying yourself every step of the way. Otherwise, you will never make it to the level of singing that you want to be at.

About the Author

Skyler Jett is a prolific singer, songwriter and producer, who has worked with many top musicians, such as Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin. He shares his singing tips and techniques, including how to throat sing. You can find more of his tips to learn to sing like a professional singer at http://howtosing.org.

Resources for Vocalist

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Here is a list of resources to help improve vocal performance.  If you have any others you would like to include please contribute a comment to this post.

Singers.com
Primarily A Cappella is the world’s oldest and largest company specializing in all styles of unaccompanied vocal harmony. We are involved in many aspects of the a cappella music scene – from recording the best of the new vocal bands, to making the music more accessible thru our mail order catalog, along with producing a cappella music festivals and events around the country. Our goal is to expand the growing world wide interest in this wonderful art form. By discovering new talent and developing larger audiences, we hope a cappella will find it’s rightful place as a significant contributor to the greater world of music.

I Lead Worship: Singers
FREE referrals provided to individuals, groups, churches, communities needing a worship leader, musician, singer, team or band to minister or perform for an upcoming event, venue or position.

Singing In Worship Part I and Part 3
Singing has a very definite place in worshipping God in spirit and in truth. We glorify God in our singing praises to His name. There are only nine scriptures in the New Testament which specify the kind of music in the worship of the church that God wishes in order for us to worship Him in spirit and in truth. This is an interactive Bible study on the role of singing in the believers life.

Singing Praises
Article by by Tom Gilbert

Singing The Psalms
Article by Dr. Richard Leonard.  Psalmody is the use of the biblical psalms in worship, as distinguished from hymnody, the creation and use of extrabiblical poetic and musical compositions in worship.

Prophetic Songs
WHAT IS A PROPHETIC SONG? This is a excert from the book, “Songs of the Spirit”

Sight Singing
The Mission of this Web Page is to provide help to those wishing information about the various aspects of the art/skill of sight singing. Whether you are looking for general information on the subject, classes to take, choirs or chamber ensembles to sing with, techniques to improve your sight singing skills, ear-training software or interesting websites about matters related to sight singing

Secrets of Singing on Pitch
Ebook reveals 11 innovative steps to help you sing accurately on pitch. If you’ve had tin ears or been called tone-deaf your whole life, this easy method is for you. Say goodbye to singing off key and singing flat.

Voice Training
The Ultimate Voice Training for Singers.  A complete voice training program on CD or high quility cassette by one of southern Califonia’s premier voice technique and performance teacher.

Choir and Organ
Choir & Organ, the classical music magazine for organists and musicians, directors of sacred and secular choirs, singers, organ builders, and everyone who loves choral and organ music. Choir & Organ provides insights into the careers of leading organists and choral conductors, examines important instruments and provides comprehensive news and reviews of new publications, recordings and events.

A Few Good Tips On Improving Singing Techniques

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

For people that sing, learning to sing well is as important as any other part of the singing process. How do we learn what a good singing technique is though? Learning correct singing techniques takes time and patience, but the first thing you must learn has nothing to do with your voice at all. It has to do with breathing.

When you speak or sing, your vocal chords can’t act on their own or they become strained and you can often lose your voice and damage your vocal chords. Therefore, when you speak or sing or do anything else involving your voice, you need to use the air from your diaphragm so as not to damage the chords.

The breath should come up from your diaphragm, glide over your vocal chords carrying with it the sounds you make so that your vocal chords aren’t strained. When speaking or singing, it needs to come from your mouth and teeth rather than your throat again, so as not to strain your throat. If you use your vocal chords correctly, you could speak or sing all day without ever having a sore throat, but if you use your throat improperly, you are sure to lose your voice quickly.

A problem that many people have is that they don’t know how to operate all the parts of the body that are involved with singing at the same time in the same order. You’re dealing with the vocal chords, your breathing, and the acoustic cavities above the vocal chords, but unless you are instructed how to use these three things your singing techniques will be all wrong. Learn how to use these parts of your body and your singing techniques will skyrocket.

Another good idea is to make sure you are relaxed when you are singing. If you are tense, it will show in your voice. When people are tense, it happens a lot in their face between their jaw and their mouth and for your voice to flow well and come out melodiously, your mouth, teeth, jaw and tongue all need to be loose. Keep tension out of your face and it will stay out of your voice.

One final point for having good singing techniques is to make sure you enunciate your words. When singing in particular, it is important to almost go overboard on enunciation to make sure your words are clear. If you follow these singing techniques, you will surely become a better singer.

About the Author

Skyler Jett is a prolific singer, songwriter and producer. He has worked with many top musicians, such as Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion and Aretha Franklin. Skyler started singing in church and fell in love with jazz and R&B at an early age. Find more of tips on improving singing techniques at http://howtosing.org

Types of Guitar Strumming: Pick vs. Finger

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Here is an article I found at goArticles.com.  In this article Nate Edwards share his insight in different strumming techniques.  I hope you enjoy the article and find it useful.  If you have any comments specific to this topic please feel free to post your comment.

Guitar StringsThere are 2 types of guitar strumming techniques you can use to make a smoother sound. The biggest complaint I hear from beginner guitar players is “I don’t think I’m picking the strings on my guitar right because I can’t seem to hit the note I’m looking for.”

This is frustrating and can be the result of a few things like the thickness of the guitar pick you are using.

So to help you get over this little obstacle I decided to share with you the 2 ways you can strum your guitar and the benefits each one offers.

Technique #1: Using the right pick.

You have to have the right guitar pick for what you’re trying to accomplish if you choose to use one. A guitar pick serves the purpose of producing a clear sound with more than enough treble in it.

Understanding the hardness of the pick is critical: a hard pick will make the sound harsh and a softer pick makes a “sloppy” sound like when you hit a tuning fork.

Technique #2: Strumming with your finger.

When I play sometimes I use my finger instead of a medium thickness pick. Do you know what purpose your finger serves when strumming? Your finger creates a very warm and inviting sound. Make sure you use the nail of your index finger while strumming the guitar strings and use your thumb as support for your index finger.

I prefer using my finger because of the feeling of control I get when strumming.

So now that I have told you what the 2 Types of Guitar Strumming techniques are I encourage you to experiment and find the method that fits your playing style. Click here for more tips to help you improve your guitar playing skills.

About the Author – Nate Edwards
Hi my name is Nate. I’ve been playing the guitar for almost a year now. I’m the lead guitarist and singer of my band “The Deep End”.

Check out These Resources to Help You Play and Learn Guitar


How Can I Build My Confidence With Music?

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

by Gemma Lee

Learning how to play an instrument is certainly a difficult task. Not only do you have to master reading the music, but learning and building the new skills required to play music is also an arduous process. You will certainly need a great amount of determination, patience, co-ordination and a positive mentality to learn a new instrument. But the most important thing you will need is confidence. If you are not confident about playing your instrument, playing music will not only become a lot more difficult, but you might also begin to dislike and not enjoy music altogether. Building confidence is definitely a critical aspect to playing and enjoying great music.

Here are some simple ways to build more confidence with music:

  1. PRACTICE, practice, and more practice!!!

    Practicing your newly found skills every day will not only get you more comfortable with your skills, but it will also build more confidence in yourself. You will begin to feel more confident about playing your music if you practice. Practicing for as little as 10 minutes a day will make a big difference in your skills, and you will quickly become more comfortable with playing music. Try it! It is a simple and sure way to help build your confidence with music.

  2. PERFORM your music skills in front of others.

    Playing in front of other people, whether it is your family members, friends, or even your pet cat, will boost your confidence immensely. You will not only overcome your lack of confidence, but you also get practice in showcasing your skills in front of an audience!

  3. COMPARE your progress with your previous skills.

    Reflecting back on when you started and comparing that with where you are now will help you see the results of hard work, and along with lots of practice, it will help you realize your true potential. You will find that you really have come a long way and have progressed deeply in playing music. This will certainly give you much encouragement to learn and practice even more.

  4. LIST REASONS as to why you are a good musician.

    Listing reasons as to why you are good at playing music before you start your practice sessions will make it far easier to help elevate your confidence in yourself and your skills. Try telling yourself “I am a good musician. I love music, and I have improved a lot since I first started playing. I have great potential to learn more and improve my skills”. It will not only give you much needed confidence when you feel down, but it will also help you calm down to set your thoughts straight so you can move forward.

  5. RECORD yourself when you play music and LISTEN to it.

    This is a great way to improve your music skills! By recording yourself and then listening back on it, you can pick out your strengths and weaknesses. Improving on your strengths and fixing up your weak points will give you more confidence, and it will surely make you an even greater musician.

  6. SET A GOAL.

    Think of a goal or an aspiring musician you want to be like. Setting yourself a goal and disciplining yourself to train to achieve that goal will help you gain confidence in yourself and your skills. Think about how pleasant it would be when you reach that goal! Encourage yourself and keep building on your skills, and you will have reached your goal in no time!

  7. BELIEVE in yourself and HAVE FUN!

    The most important thing to building your confidence in music is to believe in yourself, your skills, and have fun! You should play music with passion and really enjoy it to boost your confidence levels.

Remember, you ARE a good musician; you HAVE IMPROVED immensely since you first started, and you have great POTENTIAL to further develop and fine tune your skills! So be confident about yourself and your music skills and have fun!

About the Author
Registered Teacher and Musician