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Feb 20

Lack of Sleep is One of the Worst Things for Singing

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

Lack of sleep is one of the worst things for singing.

lack of sleep terribl for singersMost of us are aware that logging 7 to 9 hours of sleep is of utmost importance to our physical and emotional well being. Sleep helps us to combat stress, which has been shown to be the basic cause of most of the dreaded diseases we would prefer to avoid. We are aware that we have more energy and focus and feel more able to accomplish the things we get to do each day. Most of us notice that we are considerably more tolerant and loving towards others when we are well rested. Great sleep gives us the energy to choose to eat healthy foods and to get adequate exercise. We reach for water rather than caffeine or sugary drinks to provide a rush of energy. Being well rested gives us a greater ability to make good life decisions which benefit us in every area of our lives. We look better. Our skin glows and our eyes sparkle. Well rested people smile more and are more engaging to others. Energy breeds energy, so a well rested person can be a lifter of others as well as feeling upbeat themselves.

All of these good habits contribute to becoming or continuing to be a great singer and effective performer, but without proper sleep, at proper times, the voice becomes tired and sluggish, and the body slumps out of alignment and has a difficult time supporting the voice the way it is meant to. A tired body causes the singer to use throat muscles for support which is bad anytime, but when the poor vocal cords are already fatigued from lack of sleep, vocal problems such as strain, polyps, and nodes can begin to develop. The best hour to fall asleep is anytime before before 11:00 pm. It’s a scientific fact that there’s a small window of time (usually between 11:00pm and 12:00am) that our body releases human growth hormone, which is necessary for the nightly repair that our bodies provide while we sleep. Sleeping is rest for our souls, restoration for our minds, and repair for all of the cells and tissues that make up our wonderful bodies. There is no way around it – singers must sleep well to sing well for a lifetime!

It’s best not to sing at all on days when the voice and body are tired – but many of you, like me, have to sing to make a living. There are a few things we can do to try and compensate, but the best idea is to avoid much singing and talking on those tired days.

1. Drink lots of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol.

2. Eat healthful, natural, energy promoting foods.

3. Relax and reduce stress.

4. Gently exercise and stretch to help the body with energy.

5. Practice good alignment, posture, and breathing.

6. Warm up your voice very slowly and carefully. 

Get a good sleep tonight and see for yourself how much better you can sing in your own amazing voice!

Happy singing!

Suzanne

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Feb 19

How to Sing Like a Disney Princess, Part 2

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

how to sing pretty like a disney princess part 2

Would you like to know how to sing pretty like a Disney princess? Of course you would or you wouldn’t be reading this article!  You are a person who knows that singing like a Disney princess is one of the most fun ways to sing!  Not only are the songs beautiful, fun, and heartfelt, they just plain old evoke great emotion with their lilting melodies and expressive lyrics. Everyone can enjoy singing these songs.  So what are some things that can help you sing more like a Disney princess?

 

1.  A Disney princess always sings with lots of emotion and expression. 

Have you noticed that when one of the princesses sings a song, you really feel how she is feeling?  Her emotions are not hidden in any way, and her voice is full of passion.  She lets us, her audience, fully feel how the situation she is singing about is affecting her. In turn, we can connect to her, and we feel like we are part of the story.  A Disney princess is the queen of connecting with her audience.  She draws us in with her freedom of expression without thought or worry about how she sounds.  Her authentic expression is what makes us want to sing along at the top of our lungs.  She is captivating and engaging. She delivers her song with warmth and captures our hearts.

exercise:

An exercise that can help you develop this freedom of emotion is to dance around, throw your arms out wide, lean upside down and slowly roll to standing while you sing the song.  It helps to distract yourself from your usual singing stance.  The movement helps your voice to break free of the restrictions you may be placing on it.  Try to turn off your ears when practicing this exercise and just go for feeling nothing in your throat except total release.  Don’t allow your ears to pull you back to your tighter sound.  Just let it go and see what happens!

2.  A Disney Princess always sings where she speaks.

This natural singing is what makes her sound authentic and believable.  Just listen to your favorite princess singing and you will see that her singing voice sounds very much like her speaking voice.  She has a lot of natural resonance, or mask, in her voice.  Most of us do have this resonance when we speak, but lose it when we sing because of tension in the tongue, jaw, throat, and shoulders.  We feel that singing is work and we really have to try to make a good sound.  What really needs to happen is the opposite.  We need to learn to breathe on the body, relax the tongue and jaw, and then just let the sound go.  If we can learn to let go of the restrictions we place on ourselves, both physically and emotionally, we will be able to release a song and let it sail like a Disney princess!

 exercise:

One of my favorite exercises to help find this resonant, masky sound, is to simply say the line I want to sing, and then sing it just like I say it. So if you are singing “Who is that Girl I See” from Mulan, you would want to say the line “who is that girl I see,”  in your natural speaking voice. Then say it freely with feeling, like you are delivering a line in a play.  Watch the sound travel all the way to the back of the room, not by pushing the sound, but by releasing the sound. Once you feel you are speaking with a free and natural sound, try singing the line without changing anything. So basically, you are speaking on pitch. Keep your tongue and jaw relaxed and you will feel your body taking over the job of supporting the sound, allowing your own amazing voice to go free. Say it, sing it!  It will make singing more and more fun as you begin to find freedom in your voice.

Stay tuned for more exercises and videos on this subject!

Happy singing!

Suzanne

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Feb 18

Singing, Singing, Singing

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

singing singing singing

Singing, singing, singing!!!  Can you think of many thing you’d rather do? What an amazing gift we have been given. What an awesome way of expressing joy, sorrow, love, loss, excitement, longing, fulfillment, and all of our human emotions and circumstances. What a powerful tool of communication and connection with other people and with God!  Singing helps us express the things that move us to the depths of our souls. Words connected to melody. Melody coupled with emotion evoking chords that touch and move us beyond any other form of communication.  What a marvelous thing it is to be given a voice to sing about everything that we feel inside. Amazing!

I have often tried to figure out what singing is, but it is something that God has given us that is just a gift beyond our human understanding. I mean, I have studied the anatomy, trained and trained to become the best singer I can be, sung for thousands upon thousands, taught thousands of singers to be their best, but for the life of me, I can’t understand how the human voice can make such lovely sounds. We have a speaking voice and a singing voice. This boggles my mind:) To be chosen to be a vessel of such glorious expression is humbling beyond words. To be given the gift of teaching others to find their full singing potential is one of my greatest joys. To be in the room with a singer when they make a break through, and seeing the pure joy it brings to them is some of the best fun to be had! To receive communication from my online students at TheProSinger.com, telling me of the vocal breakthroughs they are experiencing while following my program makes me jump with joy. Seriously! Helping other singers become their very best is one of my very favorite things to do. I am the biggest fan of and the craziest cheerleader for each and every one of them.

Singing is so much more than a good sound, though that is a very important part to be sure. But beyond the beauty of the notes is the depth and authenticity of emotion. The singer has to connect emotionally with the audience. The listeners need to feel what the singer is trying to say through the song. The singer must learn to step out of the comfort zone and let the audience in. It is a very vulnerable position and much easier said than done. A singer must sound like they are simply speaking to the audience, but on pitch.  The sound should be authentic, unique to that singer. In other words, the singer should sing in his or her own voice, not copying someone else.

An easy exercise to help achieve this goal is to say the line you are going to sing, then sing it just like you say it. Practice each line of the song in this manner, saying and singing each line as many times as it takes to sing in your natural voice. You will begin to find your own amazing voice, and I promise you that you will have fun while doing it!

Happy singing!

Suzanne

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Feb 12

Why Can’t I sing High Notes?

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

10848464-vector-illustration-of-an-afro-american-jazz-singer-on-grunge-background

Why can’ t I sing better high notes?  This is one of the most asked questions I hear from my students.  Everyone would like to sing be able to sing higher and sound good while doing it, right?  The short answer to this question is simply “you can.”  You can sing high notes and sing them well if you are willing to work on a few things in order to find your pathway to easy high notes.  Wouldn’t that be so much fun?  And guess what?  An added bonus to singing better high notes is that you will also develop more and better low notes!  Can you guess what else?  Yep!  Every note in between will better than you ever dreamed!  I have been coaching singers for 35 years, and have seen the following reasons for limited high notes.  Keep reading and see if you are trying to sing high notes in a restricted manner.

 

10 INDICATIONS YOU ARE RESTRICTING YOUR HIGH NOTES

 

1. Reaching for the high note by jutting the jaw and straining and pushing up from the bottom of your range.

 

2. Carrying your chest voice to the breaking point, and then flipping into a teeny little false voice.

 

3. Singing only in your false voice, so there is really not much to the quality of the sound you make.

 

4. Tilting your head either up or down as you try to reach the note.

 

5.  Yelling the note.

 

6.  Tightening the back of the tongue and sounding a bit like Kermit the frog.

 

7.  Breathing high in your chest rather than using your body to support your sound.

 

8.  Approaching the note with a flat palate and working hard to produce the sound.

 

9.  Feeling pain or tension when singing or even thinking a high note.

 

10.  It seems that singing is a lot of work and makes you tired.

 

All of us have experienced at least some of these things.  The good news is that these things that cause restrictions and prevent our best singing can be overcome with some training.  Your muscles are used to making sound the way you have always sung, so you have developed muscle memory that needs to be redirected so that the sound you produce when you sing is free and easy.  When you let go of the old muscle memory and teach the right muscles what to do, creating new muscle memory, great things start happening. And guess what?  All of the problems listed above begin to melt away as your own, natural, amazing voice begins to emerge.  Singing becomes so much more fun and your sound improves drastically.

To get started on freeing up that amazing voice of yours, do this vocal warm-up. This easy exercise will gently stretch and warm your vocal cords and help you on your way to increasing your range.  Be gentle and gradual in adding high notes.  It takes time to develop new muscle memory.  Try to keep your tongue and jaw relaxed as you do this exercise, and check yourself throughout the day to see if you can develop the habit of a relaxed tongue and jaw.

I would love to help you become the best singer you can be.  Check out a FREE LESSON!!!!!

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

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Feb 04

How to Sing Like Ariana Grande

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

How to Sing Like Ariana GrandeI often have students asking me how they can sing like Ariana Grande. I can surely understand why they would want to sound like she does, because she has a beautiful and remarkable voice. Her speaking voice and her are laugh are filled with music. I just finished listening to YouTube posts of her singing from the age of eight until the present. While she was born with an unusual amount of vocal talent, she works hard to develop, train, and grow with it as she matures. If you listen to early recordings, you can tell when she started training with a vocal coach because her voice became less strained, more free and filled with emotion. She began taking lessons at the age of thirteen, which is a great age to begin training! Girls go through vocal changes during puberty too, so unless a singer is really singing with bad form, it is usually a good idea to let the voice develop naturally until the child has gone through puberty.

Ariana trains with a vocal coach who helps her warm up her voice and care for it before and after her performances. You will find this to be a common practice among the elite singers of the world. They realize that just like dancers and other athletes, singers use the muscles of the body in an athletic manner and so they must do boring things like warm-up and stretch the voice in order to sing the songs they need to sing without hurting their voices.  Just like a ballerina can’t just start out on point, singers must train to reach their fullest potential.

To sing like Ariana, it is very important to set the voice from the top down, so you will find her doing many lip trills, starting high, sliding down through the range and then back up to her highest whistle tone. This exercise opens and connects her entire vocal range without putting any strain at all on her voice, allowing for free, relaxed singing. It also opens the pathway to free singing throughout the registers of the voice without having to make big shifts while moving low to high or high to low.  This exercise will help remove limiters, obstacles, tension, and anything that stands in the way of your best singing.  Try doing lips trills every morning before you speak or sing, and then periodically throughout your day, and you will experience unbelievable freedom in your singing!

I have helped thousands of singers find their own best voice and I would love to help you too! Take a  FREE LESSON! and let me help you on your way to your own amazing voice!

Happy singing!

Suzanne

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Jan 12

Singing Posture :: 8 Steps to Align the Body

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

singing posture

We could all use some help with our posture, so check out these 8 steps to align the body for great singing posture!

Do you struggle with proper posture? I would say that posture is one of the first things I work to correct in 99 percent of my students.  Sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror and realize that I can get lazy about proper alignment too, and so I try to remind myself throughout the day to straighten up.

Good posture is very important to great singing as well as great health. It allows for flowing and supported breath, the relaxation of muscles, good blood flow, and is actually invigorating.   Poor posture leads to aches and pains, shallow breath, fatigue, and is energy sapping.  Every great singer needs to be able to use good breath support in order to support the voice using the muscles of the body rather than those of the throat, neck, shoulders, tongue, and jaw.  Without proper breath support, it is impossible to sing with complete ease and freedom.  Without proper posture, it is nearly impossible to support the voice the way our bodies are intended.

I know that many of you play the guitar, especially those of you who are worship leaders. It will benefit you to practice your posture and singing away from your instrument some of the time.  I will be posting some videos very soon showing you some stretches and postures that will help with your particular struggles.  But either way, it is a good idea to begin by working on the following exercise several times each day.  You can also practice while seated if you sit up straight and put your feet flat on the floor.

1.  Stand with your feet hip width apart.  Start with your feet.  Allow your bones to hold you up as you soften your muscles.

2. Soften your calves, soften your quads and hamstrings. Let your bones hold you up.

 

3. Now point your tailbone to the floor.  This will probably require a gentle tilt of your pelvis and will begin to bring your body into proper alignment.

4. Lengthen your spine, one vertebrae at a time.

5. Pretend there is a string coming through your spine with one end coming out of your tail bone and one end coming through the crown of your head.

6. As you lengthen your spine one vertebrae at a time, let your chin drop to your chest and then slowly allow your head to come up one vertebrae at a time.

7. Pretend that someone is gently pulling each end of the string and that will help you keep this posture.  Your core muscles should be gently engaged, but try to notice where you may be holding tension.  Once you identify the tense spots, breathe and allow that tension to melt away.  Practice this several times throughout the day and you will begin to release tension naturally rather than holding it where it can cause many problems.  This will be great for your over all health.

8. Check to see that your shoulders are relaxed and your tailbone is pointing to the floor. The ears should be aligned with the shoulders and the chin parallel to the floor.

This posture will help as you take your lessons and learn to sing without jutting the chin and jaw.  It will help enable you to belly breathe because the body will be in it’s natural alignment. This posture alone is one of the best things you can employ to help you on your way to free and natural singing that will last you a lifetime.

I will be constantly posting many videos and articles to help with releasing tension and developing proper posture and great breath support for singing!  The added benefit is what it will do for your health, emotional well being, and over all energy!!

You can take a FREE LESSON and see what we are all about here at TheProSinger.com.

Happy Singing!!!

Suzanne

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Jan 07

Learn How to Read Music Notes for Singing

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

how to read music notes for singing

Learning how to read music notes for singing can be a daunting task, but if I could encourage you to do anything to improve your musicality and increase your value in paid situations, it would be to learn to read music and to understand music theory. There are many online classes that are very good, or you could take theory from a good piano teacher and take piano lessons while you are at it. I know of many private teachers that focus on music theory. Junior colleges and universities offer classes that will really get you going.

I realize that there is a current attitude about just being natural and feeling the music. While I am all about authenticity, expression, and emotion, I  believe that there is a problem with laziness among some of our young musicians that is disguised as arrogance. I have so many young singers and players that really have no idea about the notes or chord structures in the songs they sing, play, and write. They often can’t even tell me what key they are playing in or the names of the basic  chords. They can only speak in numbers, if even that. I was trying to talk to a young worship leader last weekend about a wrong chord that he was playing during the worship set and he had no idea what I was talking about. The rest of the band are true, educated musicians, and while we were of course very graceful, it was embarrassing for everyone.

Recently I was singing on a recording session with some fairly famous singers, and it did not go well because the music was difficult and none of them could read notes. We had to sing it line by line, teaching them as we went, which took forever, costing precious studio time. I have encouraged them time and time again to learn some music theory, but they say it’s too hard and they are fine without it, or that they wish they had stuck with it while they were in school. I keep encouraging them to go ahead and learn now. Maybe they will.  It would open many more doors for them as singers.

I would encourage every singer to educate themselves in music theory and to learn to play at least one instrument well so that they can be a musician in the band, not just a singer. I say that as one singer to another, because too often the players don’t consider singers to be musicians. So surprise them! Become a great musician as well as a great singer!

My theory training began with piano lessons when I was in the first grade and continued through graduate school. My kids didn’t start theory until college, and they are now excellent musicians, making a living in music. I tell you this because it is never too late to start, and it will only help you to be so much better at your craft. If you want to be a musician, then go all out! Learn to read music for singing and playing and learn to understand how the chords work together. It will open up a whole new world of music!!!  Take your FREE LESSON today!

Go for it!!  It’s so much fun!!!

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

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Jan 06
1

How To Sing With In-Ear Monitors

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

Learning how to sing with in-ear monitors can be a bit of a challenge. I have been using them for about 12 years now, and I am still making adjustments to be able to sing without straining and without damaging my hearing. The first few times we used them, I thought we would never adjust. While they are incredible for players, they can cause trouble for singers unless the singer employs some practical techniques to overcome the unnatural sound of hearing the voice deep inside the ears. We’re used to hearing our voices go away from us, and we are used to hearing a more ambient sound when singing on a mic. Some singers will sing with only one ear monitor in to overcome this problem, but that can cause other problems. We will discuss these problems and how to resolve them.

Wear you in ears like this…How to sing with in ear monitors

 

Not like this…how to sing with in ear monitors

Although there are times when it absolutely necessary to pull an in-ear out because of technical issues, it is best to leave them both in to save your ears and your voice.

Often you will see stars take one out on award shows because time may not allow for getting good settings on everyone’s monitors, because of all the quick changes between performers.  I would not want to be in charge of all of those technical issues. That sounds like a nightmare to me! But no worries – no one would hire me for that position anyway, so we are all safe haha!

In those situations, the singer does whatever is necessary to make it through the song in the best way possible. We must remember to extend grace to those performers under those circumstances because we have no idea what their in-ear mix sounds like.  There is always a very good chance that they can’t hear their own voice, which is why they pop one in ear out. The problem with not being able to hear their own voice is that they have to push and over sing in order to hear themselves over the band in the house mix. This can cause pitch problems and just all-around bad singing. So let’s be sure to cut them some slack and give them the benefit of the doubt if they aren’t sounding up to par. They could be dealing with a number of stressful obstacles, as if singing for millions isn’t stressful enough under the best of circumstances.

Hear are some strategies for singing with in ear monitors that we have found helpful for preventing vocal problems, hearing loss, and allowing for free and easy singing.

1.  It is a great idea to allow plenty of time for getting your settings the way you want them before show time.

2.  Set your voice above all other levels. Set the levels where your comfortable loud singing is comfortable to your ears. If you push past the point of comfort and begin to strain your voice, it will sound too loud in your ears and remind you that you are over singing which never your best sound and can hurt your voice in the long run.

3.  Remember to use air when you sing and don’t sort of hold your breath. With the sound directly in your ears, it is sometimes hard to remember to sing freely. A little trick that we have been having success using lately is to pretend that we are directing our voices to go through the mic into the room. Sort of like the vocal warm up exercise that you can watch here.

4.  If you have the luxury of room mics, or audience mics, turn them to a good level to help you hear a more ambient and natural sound.

5.  Set your levels in the safety range to protect your hearing. This is one reason it is best to keep both monitors in your ears. When you take one out, often it is necessary to turn the other one to compensate. This can damage your hearing and that damage is not reversible. You also may over sing, which can cause trouble with your vocal mechanism. We want to avoid both of these things for certain! Take great care of your whole instrument.

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

 

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Jan 05

How to Sing With Expression

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

SuzHandUpOne of the most exciting and important aspects of singing is knowing how to sing with expression. What is the purpose of music if not to express emotion, feeling, thought, and, yes, music. There is nothing quite as much fun or rewarding than holding an audience in the palm of your hand through the expression of a song. What a gift to be given to be able to move people by expressing the words and music of a song in such a way that it evokes emotion in the listener.

How, then, do we learn to sing with such expression?  A lot of the equation is choosing to sing songs that you can connect with both musically and textually.  What does the song mean to you and what do you want to convey to your listeners? What do you feel when you think about the words of the song and how can you make that come to life? Many times I have had students bring songs to work with me and when they sing them, I feel nothing. Even if the singing is good, if there is no emotional expression, it is fruitless. Once we bring the words to life, the song takes on life, and the student can bring me to tears, or make me laugh, or give me chills. Of course we want to work on the technicalities of singing and have the voice the best possible, but it is the emotional expression that is the icing on the cake. The song that moves is the one I am going to pay to hear. How about you?

Once the song has been chosen, and it is one that the singer can relate to, then there are some things that can help bring about the natural emotion in the singer’s voice.

The first is to speak the words. Just speak the first line. Then speak it with as much emotion as possible, but still naturally.

Next, sing it right there, just like that. Speak the line, then sing the line. Feel the emotion and let it go, so when you are singing, it is the same as when you are speaking with passion. Your singing should feel as easy and as natural as your speech. The thing is, when you begin to sing with more emotion and expression, you feel even more vulnerable, because singing for an audience does make you vulnerable.  Singing for people is an invitation into your very heart and soul, because that is where music and song is born. Practice this speech singing often to find this freedom path to more expressive singing. Once you begin to let go, singing takes on a whole new level of fun.

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I will be writing and videoing many more helpful tips on how to sing with more expression, so stay tuned and check in often.  Now go and sing with passion!!!

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

 

Dec 31

New Year’s Resolutions for Singers

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

New Years Resolutions for SingersHAPPY NEW YEAR!

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for singers?

Wishing you  joy and peace as we move into a wonderful new year.  There are many  things to be thankful for and the new year is a good time to contemplate our blessings, our sorrows, our hopes, and our dreams. What are your personal hopes and dreams? What are the things that motivate you to grow in all aspects of your life? What is it that gives you the most joy? Do you have peace and contentment in your life? What do you long for? Maybe you would like to take a few minutes to reflect on some of the blessings in your life today. Take some time to be thankful for the gifts that you have been given? Think about the things you would like to do this year? Are there people that you could help out of the abundance you have received? There is so much joy in giving! We all have something that we can give; some way that we can help others have a better day.

Are you a person who makes New Years Resolutions? I like to make a few reasonable resolutions, but not so many that I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes it helps me to set some goals and maybe even make myself a little schedule so that I can actually make some changes. I like to make sure that my spiritual goals receive top priority because my relationship with God is the source of my joy and gives direction to my life. This year I am asking Him to help me practice gratitude every day. I want to dwell on and thank Him daily for all of the blessings He bestows on me and my family, and that out of that abundance we will in turn be a blessing to others.

In the spirit of New Years Resolutions, perhaps we could think about a few we could make as singers.  Since this post has had the theme of joy, peace, contentment, giving, and gratitude, let’s apply these to some resolutions that might help us to be more free and joyful in our singing.

1. Sing for the love of singing.

2. Sing to bless others.

3. Sing to connect with God and to connect with others.

4. Practice some aspect of singing every day.

5. Again, sing for the love of singing.

May this be your best year ever!

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

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