Dec 11

Vocal Therapy Exercises

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

vocal therapy exercises

If you are suffering from vocal fatigue, vocal strain, vocal nodes, vocal polyps, or if you just feel that your voice needs a little TLC, then you have come to the right place for some good vocal therapy exercises! It is important to care for your voice, and vocal therapy exercises are great to add to your regime even if you are not suffering from an ailment. Not only can these exercises help restore a tired or injured voice, they can also help prevent vocal problems from starting in the first place.

The exercises I am about to show you are great for freeing up your speaking voice and then helping you to sing in that same free way. It is important to sing where you speak, if you want to unlock any restrictions that may be hindering your best singing.  Try my free lesson, and I will help you sing with more ease and freedom than you can imagine! But for now, let’s do some Mohm exercises to find your free resonant center. From there, you are well on your pathway to freedom in singing.

Say the word mohm with a long “o.” Release the back of your tongue and let tip of it rest against the back of your bottom teeth. Let the jaw unhinge and be as relaxed as you can manage.  The tongue is asleep and still.  No action is required of your tongue to make the sound. The first goal is to say “mmm” without tightening your tongue or jaw in any way.  Spend some time practicing that thought before moving on to the next step. As you find the release in the tongue and jaw, you will notice that your body naturally takes over the work of supporting the voice. That is because our bodies are made to support our sound. Babies and young children breathe and support the sounds they make from the diaphragm and supporting muscles. Most of us develop poor breathing habits and begin using the jaw and tongue to support the voice. We just get lazy, let our posture sag, take shallow breaths, and poor vocal production results.

Now say “mmmmohm.” Let the sound stay very forward even when you say the “o” part. Say mohm 5 times, spending a good bit of time on each mmm sound. Now say mohm 4 times, on descending speaking pitches very connected; spending time on each “mmm,” allowing the “o” to stay very forward  and in the “mmm” spot.  Do this several times each day.

Start the word mohm on a very soft speaking pitch, gradually get louder, and then softer as you continue to speak through the “mmmm” placement.

Now sing the word “mohm” on on pitch in a very comfortable spot in your range. Sing it five times in sequence – “mmmohmmohmmmmohmmmohmmmohm.” You may be like me and become a mohm addict because it feels so good and sets everything so free!  Singing from here is so much easier!

Mohm’s the word!

Happy Singing!!

Suzanne

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Dec 04

Why should I Warm up My Voice?

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

canstock2656723        Why should I warm up my voice?   I hear this question very often from my students and from many of the professional singers that I work with.  I mean, let’s be honest, how many of us actually look forward to doing our vocal warm-ups  before we sing?  Wouldn’t it be so much more fun if we could just sing the house down without warming up, or doing any of the things we should to maintain great vocal health and get better at singing?

The fact is that we, as singers, are athletes with our voices if we are required to use our them daily or weekly in order to earn our livings.  And just like those athletes, we have to train in order to be great singers. The difference between us and other athletes is that ball players and such have an off-season where they don’t train as intensely, in order to let their bodies rest and recover from such hard work. Sometimes professional singers will be able to take some down time from performing, but even then they really need to keep in shape during the off season, because it’s no fun to have to get back into good form once you have become great at your craft!

In order to keep our voices healthy and able to make gains and sing with no restrictions, it is important that we take care of them, which includes warming up properly everyday before we sing or speak. Talking can be much more taxing than singing, so it is imperative that we speak with the same freedom we are developing in our singing.  We want to sound the same whether talking or singing, so always warm up first thing in the morning before you have a conversation. Make it a habit. Something you do without even noticing. The pay-off is terrific!

The mornings at our house would sound really funny to someone listening in, because I live in a family full of singers. Often the car rides when we are heading out to sing include some pretty funny sounds, but to us it seems perfectly normal. I’m sure people driving around us sometimes wonder what we are doing with all the lip trills, whooping sounds, and straw singing. It has become a natural part of our routine to warm up a little before long conversations, and to remind each other if we notice that we are talking without proper breath support or without using our Mohm placement. It should always feel very easy and natural to move from talking to singing, and warming up the voice before either activity will do the trick. You will have access to these and many other great vocal warm ups as a part of your membership in TheProSinger family.

Some days you will feel warmed up before you even start, so those days will require less time to be ready to sing. On those easy days, just some lips trills and whoop slides might be enough. Choose any warm -up or choose several, depending on how your voice feels on that day. Some days singing just never feels good because maybe you only slept a few hours, or maybe your allergies have flared, or you might be sick, or your voice just feels really tired. If possible, take the day off from singing, limit your talking, drink lots of water, and go to sleep early that night. Sleep and water are so great and necessary for good singing.

One of the main reasons to warm up your voice and learn to sing without restriction is so that you will have vocal longevity. You will want to sing for your whole life, and you should only get better with time. Take care of your amazing voice and it will last you a lifetime. It is one of my greatest joys to help singers like you discover total ease and freedom of singing and the joy of expressing all that you feel inside. Check out my free lessons and let the fun begin!

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

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Dec 02

How to Sing Like a Disney Princess

By danny | Uncategorized

SnowWhiteSo many of my students are wanting to know how to sing like a Disney Princess or Prince that I have decided to record some lessons on this subject! It is SO much fun to sing the songs from the movies and live productions that I thought I would give you some pointers for this particular sound. Actually, if you take my singing course, you will be able to sing any style you prefer, and all without any vocal restrictions at all!

Watch this free  video lesson of Christina and me working to prepare her to sing the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for her audition for a Disney musical. It’s a fun and extremely helpful lesson. Watch to the end and hear her lovely, heart felt rendition at the end of her lesson.

Also, watch my website for an upcoming demonstrations of how you can sing like a Disney princess using the same great vocal technique that everyone from my rock singers all the way to my classical singers use. It’s so much fun to be vocally free and emotionally free, and really, pretending to be a Disney character is a fun exercise in letting it all go! Did you see what I did there?;) So if you want to sound like a Disney Princess or Prince, this is your ticket – and if you don’t, try these exercises anyway. They will help set you free to sing what you want to sing! (By the way – have you ever seen the movie Enchanted? If not, you should – even if you’re a guy. We took our extended family, which included a lot of guys,to see the movie and everyone loved it!)

When I use this technique with my students, whether they are actually wanting to sing these songs to audition for a part in a musical, or are just caught up in vocal restrictions and die laughing for a while before I can get them to actually try it, it does amazing things in every singer’s voice.

I like to start with thinking about when the Prince says “Oh Giselle” in his big round sing-song voice. Imagine the most melodramatic version of those two words that you can. You can find this voice by warming up on the vocal warm up “Mohm.” This will help you approach each note from the top instead of pushing up from the bottom. We want our voices to be connected from top to bottom and bottom to top to gain full use and release of range of voice and emotion. So you can see how freeing it can be to play the part of the prince or princess, and how it can help with freedom in singing!

Find your favorite song and speak the words in your sing-song voice, very smiley, and allow the sound to fill forehead, cheeks, and head. Say the line, then sing the line. Try to sing the line exactly as you say it when you are speaking in your lilting, smiling voice. The voice should be connected from the top down, so approach each note as if you are coming down on top of it rather than trying to push the sound up from the lower register. I will show you how to be the best singer you can be, no matter what style you choose to sing. Check out my free lessons at TheProSinger today!

Tune in soon for a demonstration video and be prepared to have a lot of fun finding your Disney voice!

Watch Christina learn to sing like a Disney Princess

Part 2 of this article!

Happy Singing!
Suzanne

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Nov 26

Top 10 Steps to a Healthy Voice

By danny | Uncategorized

Taking care of your voice is of utmost importance if you want to be a successful singer for a lifetime. It takes some discipline, but the payoff can be tremendous. You definitely want to avoid vocal issues such as polyps and nodes, or even vocal strain and hoarseness. These things can usually be corrected with vocal therapy, but sometimes surgery is required, which can lead to permanent damage. Obviously, the best defense is to avoid things that can cause vocal problems in the first place. So many of my students have come to me with no idea about vocal health that I am giving you an easy to follow top 10 steps to a healthy voice.

top-10-steps-to-vocal-health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Never yell.

If you are at a sporting event or a concert and you are compelled to cheer, you can whoop like the vocal warm up. This can be heard about the yelling voices of the crowd, yet poses no threat to your precious vocal folds.

2. Avoid talking over the noise in crowded places like restaurants and parties.

It is a bit of a social limitation, but haven’t you noticed that talking in situations where the noise is so loud that you have to yell to be heard causes you to feel vocal fatigue? Save the prolonged conversations for a quieter venue where you can be heard without having to push your voice to the point of strain and fatigue.

3. Always warm up your voice in the mornings before you speak or sing.

You can find some great vocal warm ups.

4. Learn the melody of a new song on your favorite vowel before singing the words.

This will help you set the song in your free and natural voice and prevent you from having to go back and fix problems that may arise if you memorize the notes on the vowels and consonants that may not be as free. Once the melody feels easy on your favorite vowel, form the words of the song without adding tension to the jaw and tongue. I have several lessons in my members area that will help you understand and achieve your very best sound.

5. Relax your tongue and jaw and use your body to support the sound.

As you release tension in your tongue and jaw, the natural breath will take over and you will be able to properly support your voice as you practice and learn to release you best sound.

6. Get plenty of restorative sleep.

The first place the body shows fatigue is the voice, so you need to get 7 to 9 hours of great sleep to be in top vocal form.

7. Hydration.

Drink lots of pure water to keep the mucous that covers your vocal folds nice and thin and protective. Limit caffeine to one serving per day because it is a natural diuretic and will dry you out. If you drink a caffeinated beverage, follow it with the same amount of pure water or a nice herbal tea.

8. Feed your body well.

Eat lots of green vegetables and a variety fruits. Eat healthy, clean protein and complex carbs. Avoid sugary foods as well as simple carbs that turn quickly to sugar in your body. If you eat in a healthy way, you will have great energy to sustain great singing.

9. Get plenty of exercise.

Not only will this provide strength and energy for great breath support, you will be able to sing for hours without fatigue, so if you have a performance, you will be able to give it your all. Exercise also releases happy chemicals in your brain, so you will have a great attitude. Plus, you will look as great as you sound.
10. Have fun!

Remember that singing is fun and is a lifelong endeavor. Practice everyday and enjoy the ride! Happy singing!

Joyfully,

Suzanne
TheProSinger.com

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Nov 25

What Do You Consider to be Singing Success?

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

 

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One of my students recently asked what I would consider to be singing success. I try to answer as many of the questions posted by my students as I possibly can, so, if you are a member of TheProSinger.com, please keep them coming. Sometimes I will answer in an article, and sometimes I will answer with a video so that I can demonstrate if needed.

In terms of singing success, we probably have many different ideas, don’t we? Many of us feel that we must “make it” in the music world and become a famous artist, heard by millions and put on a pedestal by our adoring fans. We must push and self promote using whatever means possible to be seen and heard. We have dreams of money, fame, and a glamorous life style with never a dull moment. We will hang with the beautiful people and life will be one grand party.

While having a great career as a singer is a worthy goal, many of us feel that unless we attain that sought after status of “stardom,” that we have failed and feel defeated, and sometimes even give up on our great love of expressing music through the gift of singing.

This is where I want to step in today. Singing is so much more than the world will tell us these days. Your worth as a person is not wrapped up in your singing success, though being a successful singer is attainable. Your worth is granted to you because God loves you and gave Himself for you. The Bible tells us that “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son (Jesus), that whoever( you) would believe in Him (Jesus), would not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. God’s word is full of good news for all of us, so I would challenge you to read the Bible and ask God to teach you how great is your worth.

In light of God’s grace and mercy, the gift of singing takes on a new life. The ability to express thoughts and ideas, values and beliefs, love and hope, joy and sadness, loss and gain, in a way that touches the hearts of your fellow man is nothing short of miraculous. What a great gift. What a great responsibility to use and develop this gift for a cause greater than ourselves!
What if we are driven to improve our voices so that we can promote something greater than our own platform? What if we measured our singing success in terms of helping others make it through hard times or to help them celebrate good times? Perhaps singing for a funeral or a wedding would take on new meaning and would seem to carry more success on the grand scale of life. Don’t we all just want to make a difference and find meaning and purpose in this life?

The music industry is scrambling these days and becoming a super star is more elusive than ever. It is a gamble and there is really not a formula to be followed that will ensure major singing success, fortune, and fame. Don’t be fooled by people telling you to follow their program and they will teach you to “make it” . You must work hard and put yourself out there if that is your goal, but there are no guarantees.

My purpose, as your vocal coach, is to help you become the very best singer you can be. I want to help you achieve amazing singing and complete freedom and expression in your singing. I will help you have great technique and longevity, but most of all, I want you to have joy. Joy in your heart and joy as you sing. My hope is that you reach your greatest dreams and have the success you hope for. But more than this, I wish for you to know the One who gives us eternal life, true joy, and real success.

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

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Nov 24

Breathing Exercise for Better Singing

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

Here’s a great little breathing exercise to help you sing better!

 

Breathing Exercise for Better Singing

Get a pretty good sized book, like a dictionary, or even a little stack of several books will work. You’ll love this next part. Lie down on the floor. Seriously! Bend your knees so that your back is flat against floor.  Isn’t that great?

There are two reasons that you need to lie down sometimes when you are practicing your breathing. Three if you include the fact that it is relaxing and wonderful to get to lie down and relax while accomplishing something as great as becoming a better singer!

The other two reasons are simple.

1. This is a picture of perfect posture.  Great alignment is key in breathing well, while supporting the voice and being able to sing without restriction.

2. It is very hard to breathe shallowly in your chest while lying down, thus enabling you to find a more relaxed belly breath.

This brings us to the point of this exercise which is learning to support your sound using your body instead of the muscles of your throat, jaw, shoulders, neck, or tongue.

Now that you are lying down, place the book on the center of your belly.

Completely relax.  Pretend your are falling asleep.  Notice how your heath moves from your chest to your belly. Notice how the book rises and falls gently and naturally.

Now take a breath and notice that the book rises on the intake.

Make a hissing sound through your teeth as you exhale  and try to gently resist letting the book collapse.  Don’t push or squeeze.  Just try to let your body continue to feel open.

When you are almost out of breath, release your abdominal muscles and then take a comfortable breath and continue this relaxing exercise for several breaths.

This exercise should feel very relaxed.  You will feel some work in your abs and lower back as your natural and proper breathing muscles remember how to do their jobs.

We will talk more about this soon in a video lesson.

Happy Singing!

Suzanne

TheProSinger.com

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Nov 22

Singing Auditions – How to Prepare

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

singing auditions - how to prepare

Getting ready for singing auditions can be quite a challenge. Sometimes the process of getting ready to audition can seem overwhelming and insurmountable. I know I have had my share of torturous auditions and competitions! It has been my privilege to help so many of my students through many auditions, including American Idol’s Jason Castro and his brother Michael Castro. Let me help you put some things into perspective and see if we can simplify the process a bit. Here are seven things to help you have a successful singing audition.

1. PREPARE YOUR INSTRUMENT

Eat fruits and veggies.

Drink plenty of fresh water. Hydration is key to a healthy voice.

Sleep seven to nine hours and go to  sleep before 11:00 pm if at all possible so that your body can properly restore itself while you sleep.

Warm up your voice everyday and work up to singing your songs several times a day as you get your voice into tip top condition.

Exercise your body. Your whole body is your instrument.  Enough said:).

2. CHOOSE A SONG THAT YOU LOVE, BELIEVE, AND CAN CONNECT TO EMOTIONALLY

Obviously, if you don’t know what you are saying, the judges won’t get it either. If you cannot express feeling and emotion, the judges won’t  feel it either. One of the most important things you can do to insure a great audition is to sing a song that moves you so that you can move others.

3. CHOOSE A SONG THAT IS WITHIN YOUR VOCAL LIMITS

It is important to sing a song that does not push you beyond your abilities, even if you are working hard to extend your abilities. Sing something that feels good to you and that you are confident you can pull off when you are under pressure.

4.  BE YOURSELF

You are an amazing human and your listeners want to hear your voice, not you trying to sound like someone else. Be real, natural, and authentic.

5. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

You have worked hard to prepare for your audition! You are ready and you can do it! Step out of your comfort zone and let it go. It will be so much fun and empower you in so many ways. Just take a breath and have a great time!

6. MAKE IT ABOUT YOUR AUDIENCE

In this case, you will be singing for judges. What if you could turn your mind to think about them instead of yourself? What if you could focus on creating an emotional experience for your listeners intend of worrying about what they are thinking about you? There is so much freedom in releasing your worry and instead sharing yourself with others. Go for it!

7. REMEMBER THAT IT IS ONLY A MOMENT IN TIME AND IT DOES NOT DEFINE YOU OR YOUR ABILITY

The judges are only people just like you. They have preferences just like you do. They may prefer a different type of singer than you are. They may be tired or hungry when it is your turn to sing. They may be distracted in some way and not giving you their full attention. They have an opinion and a preference. Your ability to sing is not defined by the tiny period of time that you will be singing for them. If you win the audition, then congratulations! If you do not win this one, try again and be happy with yourself. You are the only you in the whole wide world!

Happy singing!

Suzanne

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Nov 21

Singing in the Shower

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

 

singing in the shower

Why do we love singing in the shower? Why do you love to sing in the shower? Don’t you sometimes feel that you do your best singing in the shower? I certainly feel that way. For one thing, the acoustics are wonderful and we can sing our hearts out and actually sound great with very little effort. The steam opens up our sinuses and lubricates our throats and everything just feels great and we can sing and sing and sing. Also, usually we are alone with the doors closed, so we have no worries of anyone listening in with a critical ear, and giving us an opinion of how we sound.

Whether it be a positive or negative review, knowing that someone is listening can cause us to pull back some, or maybe completely stop singing altogether. Wouldn’t it be great if we could sing as freely in front of our audience as we can in the comfort of our wonderful acoustic steam chamber?

Perhaps we can take some of what happens while singing in the shower with us into our real world singing. Obviously, moist vocal cords are a must, so drinking a lot of water every day is very important.  The water doesn’t actually touch our cords, unless we accidentally inhale while drinking, and we all know how that ends! However, proper water intake hydrates our tissues and keeps the mucous that covers the vocal folds nice and thin, preventing the need to cough and clear our throats.  This protects our vocal cords from the friction that would result from unprotected vocal folds rubbing together, which can lead to problems like nodes, polyps, or just hoarseness.

Breathing the steam of plain hot water is helpful. There are some good personal steamers on the market if you want to invest, but it is just as effective to steam up your bathroom and sit in there for 10 or 15 minutes.  Bonus! You get a nice facial! Also, you can keep a humidifier running in your house, or just keep a big pot of boiling water on the stove. Especially in the winter time when we are running our heaters, the air can be very drying. So drink and drink and steam and steam! Be careful not to burn yourself!

The freedom we find in the shower can be found on dry ground too! It is possible to sing beautifully without the pain of pushing and straining. My vocal methods are wonderfully freeing and I can help your find your free, awesome, singing in the shower voice, even when you are singing for an audience! Come on and take your free lessons
and then join TheProsinger.com and we will have an awesome journey to free singing!

Happy singing!

Suzanne

 

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Nov 17

Online voice lessons

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

Are you looking for the best online voice lessons? Do you want to sing with your own best voice and sound better with each passing year? Would you like freedom from limitations and complete ease of singing with increased range, power, and emotion? Suzanne Davis is a world class vocal teacher/coach who has helped thousands of singers reach their full potential. Her passion is to see her students grow as singers, musicians, and communicators. Her gentle, encouraging spirit helps each student believe that they can become a much better singer. Suzanne cares about her students. She encourages growth in all areas; mind, body, and spirit. You will become a better singer when you put Suzanne’s methods into practice.

Suzanne teaches privately in her studio and by Skype, but not everyone can afford the high cost of private one on one lessons with a vocal coach. It is difficult to find a voice teacher who won’t try to mold the student into a version of themselves, or who doesn’t teach with a one size fits all attitude. Every singer is different and not all people learn in the same way. Online voice lessons with a voice teacher you trust can work wonders. Suzanne is an expert at meeting each student where they are and developing on the spot ways to help eliminate vocal limitations. She can diagnose the problems upon the first lesson. She discusses all of the problems she has encountered in her 30 plus years of teaching, so certainly each online student will greatly benefit by joining and participating in the program.

TheProSinger online voice lessons was developed so that Suzanne can help many more singers than she can see in her studio. The price is very reasonable for the students that want to have access to the endless lessons Suzanne teaches online. Each lesson is taught as if the student is having a private lesson with Suzanne and many have had great success with this program. New lessons are being added all of the time, so online students will benefit from Suzanne’s vast experience and creative new ways of making clear the path to great singing.

TheProSinger.com is also full of free lessons, so that everyone can benefit. All lessons are designed with you in mind. Try the free lesson and see what happens. Suzanne’s clear instruction will certainly help unlock your greatest potential. She cares about you and you will feel the warmth joy that she desires to share. Come on and try your free lesson!

Happy Singing!!!

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Nov 16

Voice Training Online

By Suzanne Davis | Uncategorized

Voice Training Online

Many singers avoid seeking a professional to help them with voice training with good reason.  All voice coaches are not equal, and all singing methods are not helpful. Many are actually harmful to the vocal mechanism while others will change the singing production so drastically that the student no longer sounds like themselves. It is important to train your voice with someone who understands the unique problems of each singer, and who is able to help remove vocal restrictions without causing new problems or creating a less than authentic sound.

There are many phrases passed down through classical training that just mess things up for singers.  I spend half of my teaching time undoing the effects of poor classical training and poor choral training.  The phrases, “lift your palate,” “breathe from your diaphragm,” “round out your vowels,” “cover the sound,” well, you get the picture.  All of these are taught with the best intentions, yet they all create tension in the throat, tongue, face, shoulders, and torso, leading to a swallowed and often hollow sound.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are many contemporary teachers out there who are essentially killing the voices of their students.  Endless exercises, like gug gug gug gug gug gug gug gug, starting at the bottom of the range and pushing through the top can cause such tension to the vocal apparatus that damage can occur. There are many exercises along this line that just don’t help the singer achieve a lifetime of great singing.  If your teacher uses the term, “vocal compression,” please consider running away! This type of vocal production not only often leads to nodes and polyps, which can require surgery followed by endless vocal therapy, it also squeezes the beauty out of the voice.

The voice is designed to work its magic when we learn to get out of the way and allow our bodies to make vocal sound the natural way. When we learn to relax the jaw, tongue, face, and body and use only the correct muscles for singing, the resulting free voice is astonishing.  When we can sing without tension, pain, fatigue, pitch problems, and such things, the resulting sound is awesome. When we set the voice free, we can sing any style that we choose; be it rock, jazz, broadway, indie, R & B, art song, and even opera.

Now I know that no teacher sets out to harm their students. We love our students and want them to have great success. I would love for these teachers to try my methods at TheProSinger.com, so that they can find their own voices and help set their students on the path to finding their own free, natural, authentic sound. Try these FREE  online voice lessons today! Simply click on Free Lesson and get started today!

Happy Singing!

Joyfully,

Suzanne

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