Learning to sing better doesn’t happen overnight. Once you make the decision to improve your voice, it’s very much like commiting to go to the gym regularly. Except you commit to vocalise regularly. How and what you vocalize is important. There is lots of free information online to help you, if you know what you’re doing. However, one of the biggest mistakes singers make is singing “too big” too soon. In other words, singers need to learn to not push to make the sounds they want, but instead get very familiar with their head voice and the coordinations that are necessary to increase power and strength in the correct way. This isn’t the path that the amateur singer is naturally inclined to take. Most singers want to work their voice from the bottom and go up, instead of from the top and go down. This can cause problems if you do not know how to bridge through your 1st passagio. However, in saying that, there are some singers who have opposite problems, and in fact need to work from the bottom and go up.
So, take the time to learn about your unique voice and the proper ways to train your unique vocal habits. Learn what your passagio is, (there is more than one, but let’s start with the 1st one!), where it is, what it feels like, and why it causes so many singers such havoc! Then, figure out how to get through it correctly to make some fabulous sounds!
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So you’ve been taking lessons for quite some time, and you are not sure if it’s worth it. It costs a lot of money, and you cannot tell if it’s worth your while.
Here are a few suggestions to help you determine progress. Make sure lessons are recorded and dated so you can go back and compare.
1. Listen for the breath in your sound production. You should be less breathy in your exercises now, compared to the first few months.
2. Listen and compare the tonal quality of your low notes up to your high notes, and back down. Is your sound more “focused?”
3. Consider whether you are running out of breath when vocalizing? Is it different now from the beginning? You should be finding it easier.
3. Are you “mixing” in the middle? In other words, are you able to go from the bottom of your range to the top of your range without a “battle” or sensation of flipping in the middle? Compare this to the first six months of lessons.
4. Do the following test. Sing a comfortable note in your low range. Can you increase the volume without involvement of throat, neck, jaw or tongue, and just have the sensation created by the breath pressure you are creating? Do the same thing for a high note? Can you get a sense of the acoustic space you are creating while doing this?
5. Did you know it takes much longer to strengthen the high part of your voice compared to your low part. Specifically listen to the differences in your high notes when listening back to old lessons. Are you clearer and stronger sounding?
These are just a few ways to know if your voice lessons are working.