Last night for our worship team development time as we focused on capability – leading with excellence, I decided to bring in a vocal expert: my wife. Amanda has her Master’s in music education and focused on vocal pedagogy. So, she got us moving and thinking about some ways that we can use our vocals more effectively at the beginning of practice. We had all our musicians and techies go through the exercises, because it will help everyone out. Don’t worry, our vocalists are going to be working on the soundboard soon.
Here are some of her great notes that she gave us last night:
Focus: Vocals–Warmups and Practice
A FEW REMINDERS…
- Singing is a learned skill. With motivation and knowledge, anyone can improve their performance considerably.
- The vocal folds are a muscle. Like any other muscle in the body, it improves and strengthens when used carefully and consistently.
- The key to improving the voice is careful and consistent practice.
- Singing should be a comfortable and enjoyable experience, not something that leaves you hoarse and exhausted (generally). Listen to your body!
- While listening to oneself sing can be uncomfortable, it is a quick method for recognizing vocal issues. Record yourself singing.
- The body is a substantial factor in the singing process.
VOCAL PRACTICE &WARMUPS
- Jog in place, Jumping-Jacks–increase heart-rate
- stretches (do not strain)
- feet planted, slightly apart and knees bent, one foot in front of other
- sternum lifted
- weight forward portion of the feet (more energy, expression)
- shoulders down and back (not tense or dropping)
- arms, head, and neck relaxed (generally chin is parallel to floor)
- When we are born our breathing is naturally correct, babies can breathe, yell and scream with optimum effect because they use their lungs without conscious thought. As we grow older, some people become lazy in their habits only using the upper part of the lungs, taking a shallow breath instead of a normal one.
- Breathe in, lower the diaphragm, control the air as you release. A singer must learn to use the muscle system to control the exhaled breath. Inhalation and exhalation are equally important.
- Practice straw, also good to practice breathing through nose
- Key is natural breathing
- Descending yawn (open throat found at beginning yawn), followed by ascending yawn (high palate, lowered tongue)
- Look at sample exercises-move up by half-steps generally
- Start in comfortable range and work toward higher, lower range
- Vocalizes should go above and below the highest and lowest note of your song or repertoire
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE…
- Vocalize at least 5-10 minutes a day for a week
- Hydrate the voice by drinking eight glasses of water a day (you can’t cram water down before a performance to hydrate the voice, it takes a few days before)
- Record yourself singing