The ‘NG’ Exercise

Happy Summer!!!

The ‘ng’ sound is a quite useful tool in training the singing voice. It aids in establishing a good adduction of the vocal folds while allowing the singer to experience good nasal resonance (not to be confused with nasality, which is a topic for another day). For some, exercising on this sound may also help in keeping the tongue from pulling too far back in the mouth while ascending their vocal range.

Like the lip trill and fricative warmups I covered in the preceding posts, the ‘ng’ is a semi-occluded sound. They are all created with two places of closure within the vocal tract- one being the vocal folds and the other being some combination of lips, tongue, or the roof of the mouth. There is a positive energy boost to the folds in this setup that aids in good adduction and an easy, consistent flow of air. They are also useful as cooldowns after a lot of vocal activity.

Try using the ‘ng’ sound on the various patterns I demonstrate in this new video, being mindful to keep the tip of the tongue right behind the lower front teeth as the back of the tongue raises towards the roof of the mouth. Pay attention to the buzzy sensations in the mask area- that nasal resonance is good for you.

ENJOY!!! KEEP SINGING!! 🙂

Lip Trills Revisited

Lip trills have become an ever-present exercise in the modern voice training landscape. Like the fricative sounds I presented last time, they are semi-occluded sounds, meaning they are produced with two places of closure within the vocal tract- one being the vocal folds and the other being created by some combination of lips, tongue, or the roof of the mouth. A positive energy boost to the folds in this setup results, aiding in good adduction (cord closure)and an easy, consistent flow of air. They are also useful as cooldowns after a lot of vocal activity. What I have found, though, is that a lot of students have a hard time executing them properly and can get frustrated in the process. This video gives helpful hints to allow you to perform these lip bubbles more efficiently. You can thank me later. 🙂

Go forth and SING….SING…..SING!!!!!!

Fricative Vocal Warmups

HEY Y’ALL!!! Happy June!!

Along with lip trills and tongue trills, fricatives are very effective sound sounds to vocalize on to warm up the voice. They are all semi-occluded, meaning there are two places within the vocal tract that experience some closure- one being the vocal folds and the other being created by some combination of lips, tongue, or the roof of the mouth. There is a positive energy boost to the folds in this setup that aids in good adduction and an easy, consistent flow of air. They are also useful as cooldowns after a lot of vocal activity. Check out my video for more info and demonstrations.

HAPPY SINGING!!!

Where It All Began

Baxter Riggs books

Back in late 1992 or early 1993, I purchased these two books, “The Rock N Roll Singer’s Survival Manual” by Mark Baxter and “Singing For The Stars” by Seth Riggs. By the time I finished reading them, I knew that I would end up teaching voice in addition to performing. Mind you, I hadn’t even started studying voice myself at that point. But I knew that part of my calling would be to train other vocalists. You could say that they changed my life. They have held up pretty well after all these years of use, I might add.

Columbia College Music

I realized just a few days ago while chatting with a fellow voice teacher friend that I began my journey of vocal training 20 years ago. I was in my first semester as a transfer student at Columbia College Chicago when I enrolled in the Technique In Singing I class with Brad Nitzchke. Then it was on to private voice with Brad as well as great voice classes with Bobbi Wilsyn and H.E. Baccus. In 2001, I began study with Randy Buescher and the whole game changed. Wow!! Where has the time gone? LOOK AT ME NOW!!!  I am so thankful that I am now sharing my passion for the voice with other singers, helping to develop other vocal coaches, and making music of my own. I’m fortunate to be doing what I love, passing on the knowledge that was poured into me. I am very blessed and humbled.

There is no way I can look back and not mention my first two college music instructors. I began piano studies with Barbara Cunningham in my second semester of my freshman year at Indiana University Northwest, not even a music major yet. The next fall, I enrolled in a Rudiments Of Music class taught by Dwight Davis. Over the next two years, these generous teachers fostered the talent that they saw, even when I still had my doubts. They both believed that I could and should pursue my passion. It was Mr. Davis, in fact, who brought Columbia College Chicago to my attention and convinced me to apply to the world famous Berklee College of Music (I got accepted!!!). He even gave me free theory and ear-training lessons for a few weeks to make sure I was ready to become a music major. I owe them so much for helping me follow the path to my life’s work. I try to pay it back everyday that I teach and make music.

Can You Feel It?- The Meaning Behind The Words

Hey everybody!!!

In my work as a voice teacher, I largely work with people on developing  healthy and dependable vocal technique so they can sing their material without undue strain and fatigue. It’s hard to deliver a song at your best when you’re fighting with your own instrument. Good technique, though, is not where the work ends. Remember, it is supposed to help us communicate more freely but not be the sole focus. Our principal job as singers is to relay the message in our songs to our listeners. Whether we are singing a love song or belting out a jingle about the best fast food chain, we have got to make the audience believe the words coming out of our mouths. But are we doing the work that it takes to make that happen? Do we know what the lyrics mean to us? How will the audience buy in if we haven’t done so?

In this new video, I share ideas for getting into the words yourself and finding meaning in them. When you can do that, you can truly connect with the listener and have a shared experience. That’s really what music is supposed to be about, after all.

ENJOY!!! Keep singin’!!!