Now that's a great great great question, Aaron, because legato is a prized skill for singers. It's so, so important to be able to sing legato. Whether you're doing classical or pop and rock or anything in-between, legato is something that we absolutely need.
First of all, getting technique over into your songs is one of them.
I know a lot of you are studying and working hard on your vocal technique exercises. And maybe it's going great. You see that you're making tons of improvement with your voice in technique. But it's not translating over into songs like you want. One of the reasons why is missing some legato. So that's one thing.
You'll also have a more effortless sound. You'll be able to sing longer phrases. It's going to demand that your breath support, you're holding of air back with the body, is increased. It's going to give you greater control over your voice overall.
So now what I'm going to do is create a very mean exercise for you where I give you some consonants that we tend to lock up on, and give you a chance to move smoothly through them. This is going to give you a chance to practice being legato in a very unfriendly situation.
We're going to do this... “Boh - Goh - Doh” With the tendency of course being... “Boh - Goh - Doh” And having all that [tension] in the consonant. But you're going to do... “Boh - Goh - Doh” And get those locked consonants to be smooth.
Awesome job. So that was a challenge. I know it's a tongue twister. I know it's very easy to get locked up on stuff. But that gives you a big old challenge for getting legato through a tough situation.
So I think you guys see it - the importance of legato and some ways to navigate it in challenging setups. And I know it's going to make a huge difference in your voice, Aaron and all, if you master those legato skills in your technique exercises and also in your song work.
So we just encourage you don't lose the joy, don't lose the passion, get with a great voice teacher in your area or if you guys are in the New York City area or you want to Skype with one of our staff, you can visit us at www.NewYorkVocalCoaching.com.
And I also encourage you to download our free app. It's for iPad, iPhone, hopefully more in the future. A lot of great resources, tips, articles, great stuff to help you guys get to the next level with your singing voice.
Now Tess, that’s a fantastic question. And I thank you for asking it because so many singers are scared of getting vocal nodes. So what we’re going to do today is talk about “What is a node?” and also “How can you prevent this problem from happening in your voice?”.
Now the vocal cords are ingenious design. They’re made up of mucus and cells and even muscle. And what happens is as the breath passes through the larynx, the vocal cords kind of do a wave like motion.
Now let’s say there’s a problem with one of the vocal cords. It kind of got a roughed up, it’s a bit swollen, irritated, there’s a spot on it that’s a little puffy. Then, with repeated vocal pushing and force, this spot is going to be pushed into the other vocal cord.
And we get a slamming - slamming, slamming, slamming, slamming, slamming. Eventually, this vocal cord is going to start to thicken as well. Now we have two thickenings or two nodes. And now we hear a problem.
Now the vocal cords don’t make such good contact anymore because of these nodes, because of this bump. Really, it’s just the vocal cords trying to protect themselves from injury but it ends up in a vocal problem that we can hear.
You’re allowed to have a bad vocal day. If you’re sick, you’re going to have some vocal problems a little bit. If you pushed your voice around or yelled one day, you’re going to have some vocal problems the next day.
Similarly, you’re going to not be able to get rid of the vocal problem. So if you have one or two bad vocal days, you don’t have nodes. But if you had two, three weeks or months of vocal problems, then that’s more of an indication that you might have nodes or another problem.
So, how do we hear that we have nodes or a problem?
First of all, you might lose some of your head voice or falsetto if you’re a guy. It’s really the equivalent - falsetto for men and head voice for women. But up top, if you lost notes that you once had, that might be an indication of nodes.
There also might be a change to your vocal quality. It used to be clear and strong and light, but now it’s low and raspy and groggy. That is a kind of sign, too, that you have vocal nodes especially if you can’t get rid of them.
Another thing is a sort of air leak that we hear when folks have nodes. So, I try to make a clean sound, “AH”, but instead I get “(H)AH, (H)AH”. I can’t do “AH”, but “(H)AH”. I always get that air leak in my singing or in my speaking. That’s an indication, too, that there could be a problem.
Another thing is in your singing voice. If you have to get louder in order to go higher, that’s a bad technique. And if you keep pushing and keep getting louder and louder as you go up, this is going to be something that can wear out the vocal cords and cause nodes.
You also need to be a little bit careful when you are sick or when your voice is swollen. It’s not wrong to sing when you’re sick. But you have to make sure you’re not pushing. That’s when there’s some extra swelling to the cords and we know that that’s the kind of thing that can lead to nodes.
So that’s actually a time to make sure that you’re not doing only loud belting. It’s not wrong to belt, but you don’t want to only be doing that. You also want to watch the volume in your speaking voice.
And then there’s also this issue - speaking on the vocal fry all the time. This is something that can also tire out the voice. We know that vocal fry isn’t bad. But if you’re only talking in the vocal fry all the time, that can also wear out your voice and contribute to nodes.
So, finally, what if you already have nodes? What if you know that you have a problem with your voice?
Well, you could see a vocal doctor. This is not a bad idea, right? Sometimes vocal nodes require surgery. But don’t worry. First thing to do is not be afraid, right? So many singers have overcome vocal nodes and gone on to do just fine. So don’t be afraid.
But usually vocal nodes or other vocal injuries can be overcome with great technique and some vocal rest. So if you can rest your voice and then focus on building a great head voice, great mix, not pushing your voice around but really focusing on good vocal technique, you will be able to overcome vocal nodes.
So, Tess and all, I hope that's been helpful for you guys today as singers. If you've got questions that you'd like to see us answer on the show, you can send an email to Questions@VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
They just sort of slop through them and the notes are not precise and they're not really actually on every pitch. They never took the time to break it down, to go slow with it, and to make sure every note is right. If you can do that I can pretty much guarantee eventually you're going to be a very good riffer.
Riffs are not actually so hard. We talked about it in the past about them being based on the pentatonic scale. It's a very simple scale, it's really only five notes with a couple bluesy notes thrown in there.
So if you can get good at the patterns within simplicity, you're going to be a great riffer. But it takes finding riffs that you understand first, breaking those riffs down and then speeding them up. So that's what we're going to do today. I'm going to show you what I mean by this.
And it's so exciting to have found that riff and broken it down. Now I'm gonna do that for you right now. I'm just going to show you this riff and you're going to see it's not really that complicated even though it's a cool one. So check it out...
Fantastic. So now you see how you can look at just one little riff, become obsessed, break it down, slow it down, speed it up, put it back into the song, change the key, make an exercise out of it - all kinds of ways where you can take these little riffs that you hear and make yourself a master of them through obsession, okay.
So Alexa and all, I hope that's been helpful for you guys today as singers. If you've got questions that you'd like to see us answer on the show, you can send an email to Questions@VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
And it just is causing all kinds of problems for the voice. I mean limited vocal range, overall tension in the sound, vowels don't even sound like themselves anymore, registration problems, breaks and cracks, songs with a lot of words in them are very difficult to sing.
And you know I personally feel bad for the "little people"- the larynx and the vocal cords. I mean they're just trying to do their job. Meanwhile the jaw the tongue are always at it together and they can't even do it.
And I think if we do we're going to really improve the voice in an incredible way. So today, two exercises- One where the tongue gets to be awesome on its own, independent of the jaw for once. And, same thing, the jaw gets a chance to be awesome, independent of the tongue for once.
So nice. So, that was great. The tongue got to be back on its feet, independent of the jaw.
Now how about the jaw? We can't neglect the jaw. This exercise is going to be just the jaw moving, tongue totally out of the equation. With BE. Okay, we're going to do BE - BE - BE. Make sure that jaw just gets to be really free and active. And the tongue, out of there.
I mean it's great to see the tongue moving freely and independently without the jaw, and the jaw moving freely and independently without the tongue. I just know that causes a major growth for people singing to see that kind of freedom.
We also encourage you to download our free app. It's for iPhone, iPad, and hopefully more in the future. A lot of great free resources, articles, tips, all kinds of stuff to help you guys as singers. Or you can visit us at www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
The reason why this is true is if you can do a great EE vowel, things tend to go really well for the voice and really well in the universe. If there’s problems with the EE vowel though, there tends to be some kind of limitations.
And what that means is as we’re going up the voice tends to want to flip to falsetto if you’re a male or head voice if you’re a female as you’re going higher. But the compression that’s naturally in the EE vowel is very good for preventing that crack from happening.
So a great EE vowel will be the front of the tongue forward touching just behind the bottom teeth, and the back of the tongue lifted very high and tall. “EE”. That’s the EE vowel that we’re really looking for.
Now we like to have the dark sound of the voice, too. But we often want the bright to be present.
And singers get the brightness of their voice sometimes by pushing, sometimes by raising the larynx too high, by compressing the cords, or by spreading the mouth. There’s lots of ways to get the sound too bright.
Don’t squeeze it as an “EE, EE”. We don’t need all that extra compression. Just that natural compression of a pure EE vowel is enough. So watch that you’re not squeezing the larynx up or squeezing the cords too tight with the EE.
So many people will do either “EE” and we have a retracted tongue where the front is moving back, “EE”. Watch out for that because that’s stabilizing the larynx with your tongue. We don’t want this “EE”.
Or singers sometimes do, “O’er the land of the FREH” “FREH” Right? Now that’s not even the vowel. That doesn’t sound all that bad, but “FREH” - that’s an EH vowel. So I had to compensate with my tongue.
“O’er the land of the free” If I’m singing the EE vowel properly, I get a nice ringing sound and it’s very effortless. It stays connected, it stays bright, and it’s easy to do. “O’er the land of the free” And there’s my EE vowel in the great place.
This time, with “GWEEN”. G-W-E-E-N, “GWEEN”. The “G” is going to get your tongue in the right place. And the “W” is going to prevent you from spreading. And the “N” is going to help you keep the air inside the head.
Great, great stuff! So, that will help you keep your EE vowel in the magical place and start learning what it feels like to do a really proper EE vowel. And like I say, it’s going to make all right with the voice and all right with the universe, too.
So, Arnold, thank you so much for your great question. And I hope that’s been helpful for you today as singers. If you guys have questions that you'd like to see us answer on the show, you can send an email to Questions@VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
I also encourage you to download our free app. It's for iPhone and iPad. A lot of free resources, tips, articles, videos - so many things there to help you guys grow to next level as singers. So check that out. Or you can visit www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
Now that's an awesome question, Maria. And so today we're going to be talking about the singer's diet and really looking at foods that can help and foods that might be harmful. We get this question all the time so I'm so thrilled to be able to answer this for you today.
Too many singers are concerned that if they eat this or that food, it's going to destroy their voice, they're never going to have a singing career, there's too much fear attached to the voice in general.
There's no food that is inherently destructive and there's no food that's just going to be a magical cure. Great vocal technique is always the king. And we want to just be wise though about what foods we’re eating.
Now, some of these things will really affect people and other people are different and it won't affect them so much. There are singers that are more sensitive dietarily than others. So really listen to your body and find out which of these things applies to you. And know that everybody is different.
So here are some foods that we want to be mindful of that could be harmful, okay.
First is foods that could cause acid reflux. Acid reflux is one of the number one killers of the voice. It can cause damage to the voice, it really can, and it can certainly cause swelling and fatigue.
This is a kind of reflux that is harder to know about. You kind of maybe feel fatigued, you feel a little scratchy, you feel like you always have to clear your throat, maybe like there's something that you have to cough. These are symptoms of acid reflux.
But some foods that can cause acid would be spicy foods, citrus, foods that have excessive sugar, excessive fats, fried foods, often caffeine and alcohol, and even dairy products can be all contributors to too much acid in your diet which can cause acid reflux.
The vocal cords rely on their slippery moist surfaces. So if the body is dry, the surfaces of the cords may be dry and this can cause some problems. So we want to make sure that we don't have foods that dehydrate.
Like, say, dairy and sugary products can often cause mucus for the voice. And that isn't quite as negative as the hydration and the acid problems. But on the other hand if you have a mucus issue, you don't want to just be drinking a big milk and then going out on stage and you're going to have all that gunk that you don't want to deal with.
Now the good news! Here are some foods that I would highly recommend for your overall vocal health and growth.
水 - グランドチャンピオン！
First of all, the grand champion, water, right. We know that having a great amount of water throughout the day is very helpful. And we don't need to overdo this. Some people actually drink too much water.
But water first thing in the morning, water before you sing, during, or while you're practicing or having a lesson is very important. And just staying hydrated all the time is very very healthy for you and definitely for your voice.
Anti-inflammatory foods are often things like fruits and vegetables. A lot of singers swear by apples as something that can reduce swelling and inflammation. So check that out. You can look for lists of anti-inflammatory foods. They're very healthy for you overall, but they're definitely healthy for your voice as well.
Now there's also foods that are soothing, right? Things like warm tea with lemon and honey. A lot of singers swear by this. This is true, this does give you a soothing effect on the musculature of the instrument.
And honey and lemon also have some anti-inflammatory and healing properties as well. So honey, tea, and lemon can definitely soothe the voice.
タンパク質 - 声の筋肉のために
Then finally, I highly recommend having a great balance of protein in your diet.
Now we don't think of the voice as muscular but it is. We're trying to work out the thyroarytenoid. Whoa. The cricothyroid. Whoa. The lateral cricoarytenoid. Whoa. We're trying to get these muscles buff and live and functional. They're muscles just like any other muscle in the body. So we need to have protein in order to keep them strong and functioning at their best.
So I highly recommend protein in your diet overall, but definitely after you've practiced or had a great lesson or sung a performance. It's nice to replenish the system with some protein that you're going to need.
And Maria and all, I hope that's been helpful for you guys today as singers. If there's questions that you'd like to see us answer on the show, you can send an email to Questions@VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
And I also encourage you to download our free app, it's for iPhone, iPad, hopefully more in the future. A lot of great resources, tips, articles, videos there to help you guys grow as singers. Or you can check out www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
Okay yes, Alex, yes I can. The solar plexus. This is about the biggest deal I can possibly think of. And I'm so thankful that you asked this, because I'm gonna hype this up for you guys. You better buckle up, the solar plexus can change your life.
This is one of the most important things in all of singing. It can revolutionize your voice. I could go on and on about this following thing. I'm just thrilled to give you guys this information because this is a voice changer, my friends. The solar plexus.
Okay, what is it? The solar plexus is essentially your upper ab region, right in through here. This is kind of the area where if you got punched in the gut you could really get the wind knocked out of you.
Now in the medical world and in anatomy this is called the celiac plexus. It's the same thing. But the anatomical world would call it the celiac plexus. But it's also known as the solar plexus, which means "sun". We need a shiny solar plexus, okay.
Now it's not so bad to be built in the ab region. Not bad at all. But if it's so tight that it's always gripped and this core strength is just always tight, a lot of times those folks have a lot of problems singing. And that's not a coincidence.
Okay, now we've done some breathing together before but we're going to focus today on the solar plexus. Here's what I want to see, watch as I press into my solar plexus with my hand. If I breathe properly I get this... This comes out. And then as I exhale, watch this... It comes out again.
Now I'm going to have you guys first try this with me and then we're going to put it to an exercise. And I can almost promise you that you're going to feel a physical difference in your sound production just by trying this trick, okay.
Fantastic, I think you're already getting the hang of it. But work with it until you can coordinate it so that this does the same thing on both the inhale and the exhale. Now you've tried it, you've learned what it feels like to have a very free solar plexus on your exhale breath.
Awesome work. Okay so that's it. I know you're going to have to work with that a little bit to incorporate that into your exercises and then also into your song work and maybe you might even just try doing it a little bit on your own with some hisses or maybe even an "S-H", shhh, at first just to get the mechanics of it.
But I promise you guys if you implement this into your voice, the solar plexus being shiny as the brightest sun, that's going to change your singing, change your life.
So Alex thank you for enlightening us on this great topic of the solar plexus. And I hope that's been helpful for you guys today as singers. If you have questions that you'd like to see us answer on the show you can send an email to, Questions@VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
We just encourage you to download our free app, it's for iPhone, iPad, hopefully more in the future. A lot of great resources, tips, articles, things to help you guys as singers to build your voices. Or you can visit www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com