Singing With Others

As a vocalist, we must learn to be versatile. Just like we cannot learn to sing only one style of music, we must be able to sing in more than just one setting. This is why we must learn to sing with other people. Singing with others isn’t as easy as singing a solo. There are more variables because there are more people, but learning to sing with others, we add value to our skill set.

Learning to Blend

Learning to blend with others is one of the most important things you can do. When we sing in a group, we are not there to steal the spotlight on our own. We are singing together so that we shine together! When you sing, listen to those around you. Do not make your voice stand out, make it sound like you are all singing with one voice.

We can sing with one voice by making our tone softer. This will remove any harshness that is making our voice stand out. If you have a very distinct vibrato, try using more breath control and tightening your vibrato. Doing these things can help your blend significantly.

Practicing Rhythms

This subject is not an easy task, especially when the song has been heard by others in different variations. It is so important to be able to follow the music, even if it is written differently than you have heard it. Practice your cut-offs, if they are uneven it will be very noticeable.

Try to finish words with the letters “t” and “s” together because they are very harsh sounds and will be obvious if not. If you change something in the song, make sure to write it down so that it is sung the same way consistently. Learning how to do these simple things, can make singing with others more enjoyable.

Singing With Others

Singing with others can seem like a piece of cake, but unless you take the time to practice and work together, it can turn out to be a mess. Pick the song together, and make sure that it compliments the group well. If your group is a mixed group, this can add a bit more difficulty to singing together.

See if can you practice one part at a time. This way you can lay a better foundation for the group. Start with the lead, and then work your way up to the highest harmony. If you sing in a group you can make beautiful harmonies that you could not create alone, it just takes practice!

We can create beautiful music on our own, but there is a joy that comes in singing with others. If we learn to put these tips and ideas to use, we can create a wonderful experience for the listener. Singing with others can be a pleasant experience, it just takes a little time and effort.

If you would like to further your abilities as a vocalist and are looking for opportunities to showcase your talents, contact the American Opera Studio for further information.

master class American Opera Studio Overland Park KS

Conveying A Message Through Song

Have you ever listened to a song and thought, “this song means something to this person.” The way they are conveying a message, or presenting a song, is like a story they themselves have been through. The way a song is portrayed can shift the way the song is perceived by the audience. We, as musicians are storytellers, and it is our job, our responsibility, to make sure the audience is swept into it.

Conveying a Message

Conveying a message of a song goes beyond just the lyrics. A pianist has just as much responsibility to convey their message to the audience as a vocalist. As vocalists, we have it a bit easier than they do. But nonetheless, we are to shape the song in such a way that it captivates the mind, and appeals to the emotions of the audience. To do so, there are a few aspects we have to implement to our singing.

Understanding the Song.

This one might be a bit obvious, but it is necessary for us to know what it is we are singing about. And just as important is making sure that our accompanist understands the song. They are laying the groundwork, and you are painting the picture. Understand what it means to you, and make sure they get it too.

Body Language

This is a way we communicate on a daily basis. You can say one thing with your words, and something else entirely with your body. That is why it is so important that you practice in front of a mirror. It’s not always fun to do, but it can help you with flaws you didn’t really realize were there. Whatever you are trying to convey, your body should match.

Know Your Audience

When you sing to a large audience your facial expressions probably won’t be visible by the person in the back row. So you can’t only rely on your body language to communicate the message. You will have to really believe what you are singing about. You have to convince the audience that what you are saying is real. But, this will vary depending on your audience.

A group of children might be moved by you singing with enthusiasm. Whereas an older crowd of people might respond better to a more sincere and relatable approach. Knowing your audience will help you better convey this message.

An old Chinese proverb says, “The tongue can paint, what the eye can’t see.” But I suggest to you that the tongue can paint, what the ear can’t hear. Music goes beyond words, and notes on a page. Music in the right hands is a powerful tool, we can use to shape minds! But only if we can convey a message with it.

If you would like to further your abilities as a vocalist and are looking for opportunities to showcase your talents, contact the American Opera Studio for further information.

The Art of Making Mistakes

As a teacher we often find my students trying to go back and fix every mistake they made when singing or playing a song they’ve practiced all week. They accidentally stumbled over the words, or played the wrong note. Sometimes they just completely blank. The embarrassment of making mistakes when you are in a lesson is far less than when it is the real deal. Which is why it is important to learn how to keep moving forward.

Avoiding Mistakes

In preparation for a performance, there are often countless hours involved in making sure you are ready. Whether that be vocal exercises to strengthen the voice and widen the range, or singing a song over and over until the words are memorized. There’s no doubt that it takes a large amount of work and effort. But in the end we aren’t perfect so making mistakes is inevitable. But, doing our best to avoid those mistakes by practicing as often and as long as needed can really help minimize the chance of any colossal mistakes.

Learning How to do it

Making mistakes while practicing for a performance is inevitable. But rather than starting over and going through the song again, try to keep moving forward and pretend it never happened. If you are singing a song in another language, pay attention to the way the language sounds. Knowing what it sounds like will help you to make something up on the spot if necessary. Never ever, show it on your face. This is like telling everybody at the poker table that you’ve got a terrible hand. Nobody needs to know you made a mistake, and if you show it on your face, you’re telling everyone. Just bluff!

Making Mistakes an Art

In a woman’s senior vocal recital in college, she had to sing a number of pieces in a foreign language. She chose one in Spanish, two in Italian, and one in Hebrew. she practiced those pieces until she knew them backward, but in the end, she forgot the words to one of the Italian songs. Her mind blanked, and She panicked. She was performing not only for an audience but for a grade, so she had to think quickly. She said something that vaguely resembled something Italian and took it in stride. Only she and her vocal instructor ever
knew it had happened. This young woman’s’ ability to think on her feet became an invaluable tool in covering her mistakes. Quickly realizing your mistake and moving past is key to being a successful musician.

In the end, mistakes happen, and things don’t always go as planned. But, if we do our part to make sure we are prepared for whatever gets thrown at us, we can walk away from any performance with our head held high. Next time you make a mistake, convince your audience you meant to do it.

If you would like to further your abilities as a vocalist, and are looking for opportunities to showcase your talents, contact the American Opera Studio for further information.

warm-up routine

Building a Personal Warm-Up Routine

When it comes to singing, there are many different parts of the body working together to create music. Those parts, like most parts of the body, need to be maintained and kept in good condition in order to perform at its full capacity, but also to remain useful for longer periods of time. That is why it is so important to have a good warm-up routine.

Building a repertoire of exercises can seem like a daunting task at first, but after putting together a few exercises, you’ll find it much easier to sing, and with less strain on your voice!

What Exactly Am I Exercising During a Warm-Up Routine?

Vocal Cords

If you’ve been singing for any amount of time, you have probably been told not to strain your vocal cords. Singing with an improper technique, or without having warmed-up your vocal cords yet, can lead to straining them. If there is too much tension, or if you are trying to reach the entire span of your vocal range before ever warming up, you can seriously damage your voice. This is why we must always exercise our vocal cords.

The Diaphragm

While studying music, I have found that proper breath control is just as important as proper vocal technique. The diaphragm is what you use to control the tone of your voice. You must train this muscle. In order to master the art of singing this muscle needs to be used to its maximum capacity. That means exercising on a regular basis. Just like all muscles, the diaphragm will weaken if not exercised often.

Building Your Warm-Up Routine

Think of what you want to achieve. If you want to add to your range try implementing the chromatic scale into your daily routine. This exercise takes you very slowly and gradually up to your peak and allows you to take small steps farther and farther without shocking your vocal cords.

If you are looking to achieve vocal agility, consider looking for exercises that have you sing through quick passages of music within your range. If you are aiming for pitch accuracy, exercises that include unusual intervals or chromaticism can be very helpful.

When considering your breathing exercises, you should have in mind exercising the endurance, control, and strength of the muscle. An exercise that will strengthen all three of these aspects is, the candle method. This is where you take in a deep breath and very slowly let the air out to blow the flame away, but not out. It is a very effective exercise for endurance and control. Exercises that include these three aspects will take you a long way.

With the number of resources around us, you can find an exercise for almost anything you’d like to improve when it comes to singing. It is so important to maintain proper practices when it comes to music. Many habits are hard to unlearn. So if you start building good habits from the get-go, you will have more success in the long run.

If you would like to further your abilities as a vocalist and are looking for opportunities to showcase your talents, contact the American Opera Studio for further information.