Singing

Just like any instrument, a singer needs to take care of the voice, this includes good and efficient vocal warm-ups.

When it comes to music education, most teachers will make use of their students’ voice, so singing is an important part of learning music, even if being a professional singer is not your students’ main focus.

Of course, if you are teaching how to sing, you have to take your time with warm ups, not just so they can imitate the teacher and do it well in class, but help them learn to make it part of their routine.

Why Warm-Ups Are Important

Most students just assume that everything the teacher says is ok, but there are some things that should be justified, not because they are that cuestionable but because a singer should know what every warm up is for.

There are several ways to do vocal warm ups, each for a different function, for example, some improve your breathing, help you relax and others improve your range.

Explaining what every warm up is to your students will improve the exercise and make them take it more seriously.

Monitor Warm-Ups

A teacher should be very present during these warm ups, so that he can correct them and make sure that they will do it the right way when nobody’s watching.

Many students can get very dependent on their vocal coaches and teachers when it comes to warming up their voice, and this is not ideal at all, mostly because singers also have to warm up their voice hours or even days before a performance.

Breathing

This is maybe one of the most important and most overlooked aspects of singing for beginners but it should be made very clear that it can do a lot of damage to your voice if not done properly.

It is very clear that there is a specific way your students should learn how to breath instead of just breathing as they would normally.

You can show them the importance of breathing by telling them to sing while breathing normally and then try again after teaching them how to breath with their diaphragm.

The difference will be very obvious, and of course they will want to do it after that, but as a teacher you have to check once in a while that your students are breathing properly in order to avoid

Cooling Down After Singing

This may seem strange but it’s actually very important and recommended to cool down your voice in order to avoid vocal fatigue.

However, it’s also something that it’s very easy to forget for your students, first because it’s not a common thing you hear, second because all you want to do when you stop singing is to rest and that’s it, but if you take 15 minutes to do some exercises to cool down your voice, resting will be more effective.

According to Francisca M. these are some of the best exercises to do to cool down your voice after singing.

  • The Siren Wail – move from your highest (comfortable) note on an “ahh sound,” sliding down to the octave below
  • Chords – move from your highest note down 5 steps
  • Bubble Trill – Similar to your vocal warm-up exercises, incorporate lip trills into your cool-down

Warm-ups

The most important thing to have in mind as a singing teacher when it comes to breathing and vocal warm-ups is to be constantly on the lookout for lack of warm-ups, bad breathing techniques or anything that can put strain on the voice and eventually contributing to not learning how to sing properly.

Remember, your students can only reach their full potential if they take care of their voice.

Did you know it’s easy to add vocal exercises as an assignment in your students’ lesson notes within Music Teacher’s Helper software? MTH likes to make things easy for you and your student to remember what was assigned each week and lesson notes are a great feature for this!

Read More

One of the toughest way to sing is to learn how to sing Opera, the strength and passion that the voice manages to have is almost unbelievable. There are specific ways to train the voice and be able to sing with such powerful sound.

However one of the most important things to understand about opera singers is that they don’t use microphones, so the way that the body has to work as an instrument needs to be as refined and polished as it can be, with of course, lots of care and training

Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti was one of the greatest and most famous opera singers to date, and while he is from the world of opera, he has been known to sing along with other artists like Elton John and Bono.

He was born in 1935 in Northern Italy, and while he was growing up, his big dream was far from music, he wanted to be a profesional football player as a goalkeeper, however, he eventually turned his attention towards music, and began his studies at the age of 19.

Music has an incredible value. Because I remember, myself, the Second World War. I was ten when the war finished, and the first thing everybody wanted was to have light – because during the war we cannot have light in the night. And secondly, to gather round the fire in the open air and to sing and play. Stupid things, but together. And singing and singing and singing. I think that music, art, is the bread of the soul. So we would like to participate to give nutrition to the soul.

Today Opera is not one of the most popular genres of music in the world, however it does retain a level of prestige and recognition due to its history and the technical prowess it requires. Pavarotti said about the music industry today that:

They buy records, but what they want is song and they want songs written today. If you make a record of songs of today you will sell more than if you record antique songs.

I am not pessimistic. I am realistic. It is an attitude of the audience. Audiences like novelty – they like new operas, they like new singers, they like everything new. [By new he doesn’t mean contemporary, but rather music that he and other popular classical artists haven’t done before.] I have almost recorded everything in opera that I can. One thing I am going to do which I have neglected recently is recitals with piano. It’s the most difficult thing of all because it is yourself up there, alone with the pianist.

Interview from gramophone.com

There are still however, many people interested in becoming opera singers, and the first step to get into opera is to know about the world of opera, on this note, Pavarotti has some recommendations for those who want to start the journey:

They always should go for a good drama. For example, Puccini is a good way to meet – ToscaBohème. Comic opera like Elixir Of Love [by Donizetti] is fantastic, Barber Of Seville [Rossini]. And then, little by little, they should go to Verdi, who is more important than all the other composers … For me, I like Mozart and Beethoven in the classic, I like Verdi in the operatic. If I have to choose one composer I will be a traitor of Italy because I will choose Mozart, because he has done classic and opera. In the way he has written, I think, he is the greatest genius of all.

Interview from Pauldunoyer.com

Why Should You Learn Opera Singing

For starters it’s not for everybody, meaning it’s not easy to get into, it takes a lot more time to adjust than regular singing (meaning, to sing with the help of microphones or any other genre). There is an amount of practice and devotion that will be needed in order to achieve a good level of understanding of what opera is. However this is an art that seems almost superhuman to most singers, and the tradition and history behind it is long and rich.

Opera can eventually find its way back to the spotlight, and with how musical genres are experimenting today, it just may be around the corner.

Read More

composing music techniques

There is nothing quite like the thrill of writing your own piece of music or helping your student to compose but sometimes it can be extremely hard to get started. What can you do to get the ball rolling as it were?

1 Numbers: A great idea I picked up the other week is to pick an easy key, roll three or four dice and convert the numbers (1-6) into degrees of the scale to generate the start of a melody. For example, say we picked G major and the numbers were 3, 4 and 1, that would equate to B (3rd note of the scale of G major), C (4th) followed by G (1st). After toying with these three notes, you should be inspired to know what comes next. If not, roll again! You could try something similar with a phone number. After writing out the number, cross out any zeroes or nines (not degrees of the scale) and see what happens!

 [···]

Read More