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Vocal Tips #2

Julie JD
November 29, 2011

So last blog all I talked about was breathing. Why did I spend a whole blog talking about it? BECAUSE IT'S IMPORTANT! Without the proper breathe you risk straining your voice and sounding like a dieing cat. So it all starts with breathing correctly. But what can you do after that? I have a few exercises that can help you use that air properly and train your muscles.

The first one is to start with arpeggios. WTF is that? Well you have your basic vocal scale. I call it a vocal scale because the notes have names, you will recognize it from the movie, The Sound of Music. Do re mi fa so la ti do. When you practice a scale usually you're saying these notes. Well an arpeggio is the dominant notes of this scale which are do mi so do. So if the vocal scale is in the key of C and goes C D E F G A B C, then your arpeggio is the notes C E G C. The reason we say do re mi etc is so that it is engraved in your head the distance between each note. This way no matter what note you start on, the rest of the notes follow in tune. So when you're warming up with a keyboard and you can't play the whole scale, the first note is all you need and you can carry on yourself. Even if you don't have a keyboard you can pick a note, sing the scale, then go back to do, sing re, and make re your new do and you sing the rest of the scale. This is good when you have to warm up alone and have no reference notes.

When you're practicing these scales there's a few things you should remember. Make sure it's all the same volume. When people sing in registers that they're not used to they tend to be quieter. This is the time when you would use more air. If you're unsure of the note and hold back, it won't be the note you're trying to sing. More air is more confidence.

Before I rap this blog up I have one more exercise, that once mastered, your diaphragm will be the strongest muscle in your body. This exercise involves the arpeggios, however when you are singing the arpeggios you are trying to motorboat at the same time. Wait what? Motorboat is when you use air to flap your lips really fast to imitate the sound of a motor. Most people do it to imitate horses as well.

So step one, try to motorboat no sounds. See how much air it takes? Now try doing that and sing an arpeggio. I bet you couldn't make it to the second note. How do you last longer? More air. Remember to concentrate your air intake (the straw/cigarette method from last blog) to bring in the most air into your diaphragm. Don't just use all the air, but try to limit how much you use. You only want to use enough to maintain the motorboat and sing the arpeggio. I swear that once you can sing the arpeggio both ascending and descending (up and down) your regular singing will improve much more. Add these exercises to your regular warm up and practice routines and you will improve greatly.