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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Dec 25

O Holy Night Singing Tips

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

O Holy Night singing tips on this Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas! I hope it has been a great day for you as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

This wonderful Christmas Day I would love to give you this lesson so that you can enjoy singing this song as much as I do! It is definitely a world-wide favorite carol, and one of the most sung and most requested Christmas songs, loved by all ages. Take this lesson and see if it helps you find a little more freedom and expression as you sing this beautiful song.

Take another free lesson here and read about a healthy voice while you’re at it.

So – have yourself a merry little Christmas, and may you be blessed in the new year!

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

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Dec 17

How to Sing O Holy Night

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

Unknown-1 This Christmas would you like to know how to sing your best on O Holy Night?

Watch a video tutorial here after you read this article and I will demonstrate some tips to help you with this beautiful song.

First, I would love to wish you a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year.  May your life be filled with joy and peace as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is our hope and our help.  He is the forgiver of sins and the giver of life and life eternal.  He is love.

One of my most beloved Christmas songs is “O Holy Night.” I would love to give you some tips that will help eliminate some of the difficulties of singing this beautiful song.

O Holy night

The stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth

Long lay the world

In sin and error pining

Til He appeared and

The soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope

The weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks

A new and glorious morn

 

Fall on your knees

Oh hear the angel voices

Oh night divine

Oh night

When Christ was born

Oh night divine

Oh night

Oh night divine

It is very helpful to begin practicing this song on the word Mohm, in order  to help set your voice from the top down.  You will want to approach this whole song this way instead of pushing up from the bottom end of the notes.

If you will sing the verses on Mohm, then sing the words in the same placement as the Mohm, you will be set for success as you move into the chorus.

A  little trick to help you become a better singer is to point the sound where you want it to go, or to place your fingers on either side of your lips and allow the sound to start and remain past them.  If you notice that your sound sneaks in behind your fingers, then you are most likely trying to check your pitch before you actually let your voice out.  This is a very common practice among my students and the one thing that causes so much trouble with tension and pitch. Once you have tried to listen inside with your inner ear before letting the sound escape, you have created tension in the throat that is then hard to release.

Another visual trick to help you go on the first note of the chorus is to set a water bottle or something one or two feet in front of you, and then picture the sound starting and continuing past the bottle. End the phrase past the bottle, breathe, then start the next phrase past the bottle.  If you will do this, you will never feel tension in your throat when singing, because you will be forced to use the proper body muscles to support your sound. Try it and see what you feel happening!

If the Mohm exercise does not work well for you, try singing the song on your best vowel, or the vowel that allows you to feel the most freedom when you sing. Once you feel freedom and ease when singing the song on the vowel, try singing the words, keeping them in that best vowel place.  So if ee is your best vowel, you might try singing: “Fall on your knees” by first singing “Feel Een Yeer Knees,” so you can feel what that phrase should feel like.  Then sing the real words as close to the ee placement as you can.  Try to keep the jaw and the back of the tongue relaxed and OUT OF THE PICTURE. If you take the time to find your best voice using some of these little tricks, you will soon be singing “O Holy Night” as you’ve never sung before!

Merry Christmas!

Suzanne

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I would love to help you find your own amazing voice!

Happy Singing!!!

Suzanne

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Dec 15

How to Sing Better High Notes, Part 3

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

How to ing better high notes part 3One of my favorite students just left my studio on cloud nine because she was able to sing much better high notes after working on the song O Holy Night for her Christmas Eve services next week.  We have been working on opening up her higher range using many exercises, including the lip trills.  She went from being very tight as she moved into the chorus to sailing free and easy.  Even the high note at the end was effortless and beautiful. How did she achieve this ease in singing? By applying months of release techniques to this gorgeous song.  She has been patiently working to find total freedom in her singing and has taken time to let go of the old habits that were holding her back from her most beautiful singing.  Although she has been consistently making big leaps forward each lesson, she knows that retraining muscles takes time and practice.  She had trained the wrong muscles to sort of push her voice and had limited her range and squeezed out a lot of her naturally beautiful sound. She has become so much better at singing!

Today she was getting stuck on a few words and those words were the limiters, not the notes.  She was sort of ” putting on the brakes” as she approached the consonants, which made her tighten up as she would move to to the next word.  For example, when she was singing “Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices,” she was anticipating the r on the word hear, which caused her to be tight on that higher note. We got her to stay on the ee vowel on the word hear, and to just ignore the r.  The result was amazing, because she was able to keep the breath going all the way through the word and to the end of the phrase, resulting in a free and spinning sound!

Another small adjustment that really helped that high note was to approach the word “fall” as if she were already singing that higher note. She would hold out one hand, palm up, and then point into her palm with the other hand just as she made the sound on the word “fall.” This gave her voice a picture of what she was wanting it to do. It’s really cool how your voice will follow your hands, so a great trick when practicing is to show your voice where to go by using your hands and arms to direct it.

We also used the Mohms to help her approach each note as if she were singing the highest note in the song.  This really helped to take away the shelf that limited her approach from bottom to top. She was trying to start the sound start the sound from the bottom of the note and then pushing the sound up from there. I asked her to sing the song on the word Mohm. She sang Mohm as if the only word in the song was Mohm. Her voice became free and effortless, and moved me to tears.

Would you like to find total freedom in your voice and be able to sing better high notes without tension, effort, or restrictions?  I would love to have the chance to help you do that very thing and so much more!

Check out my video teaching you the Mohm exercises and then see if you can apply that to the song “O Holy Night”.  The Mohms will help you to approach each note freely and without restriction.   Once you can sing the song on the Mohms with no tension, then try singing the real words in the Mohm spot. Try not to say the consonants to the word until the very last second. Stay on the open vowel as long as you can and then use the tip of the tongue, lips, and teeth to say the consonants, while keeping the jaw and back of the tongue relaxed. You will be amazed at the ease that you will begin to feel and you will be excited about how much better you can sing your high notes!

If you want to find your own amazing voice take your free lesson and check out all the other free stuff!

I would love to have you as a member of The Pro Singer family!

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

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