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Singing Tip A = AIRFLOW

Never hold your breath while singing. The airflow is what creates and carries your vocal tone, so keep it flowing. Avoid Clavicular Breathing and Belly Breathing -- instead, learn the proper way to breathe for singing, called diaphragmatic breathing. Fill the lower portion of your lungs as if you had an inner tube around your waist, evenly filling the entire area.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip B = BREATHING

Breathing properly for singing requires the shoulders to remain down and relaxed, not rise with the breath intake. A singer will gain power to their voice by strengthening the muscles in their rib cage and back.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip C = COPE WITH THE UNEXPECTED

Singing events and challenges occur with every performance. Deal with them the SMART way. Figure out which part of your vocal instrument is out of balance and make an instant adjustment. If you are not sure what actually makes up your “vocal instrument” you would definitely benefit from learning vocal mechanics.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip D = DARE TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

So many singers practice the same song, the same way, over and over and over again. If it didn’t work the first twenty times, why is it going to work the twenty-first? Try altering different aspects of your singing and attempt to find an easier way to accomplish your best sound. For example, increase/decrease articulation, increase/decrease the amount of airflow, increase/decrease diaphragm support, alter tone placement, alter resonance…get the picture?

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip E = ENERGY NOT EFFORT

This is one of the most confusing concepts in singing. Energy in the tone is what we want and Effort is something we want to desperately to avoid. Energy is created naturally when our vocal instrument is in balance and our body is involved in the singing process. It feels good. It feels easy. Sometimes it occurs naturally and other times we may have to make adjustments. Effort usually occurs when singers use their throat muscles/membranes and vocal cords improperly to create volume. We should actually feel and see very little happening in our throat area.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip F = FEATHERS

When learning to sing your full range and accomplish the desired one voice (same power with similar tone throughout the whole range) singers often experience cracks and breaks. One way to test this is to practice a siren. Slide on the syllable “he” from the bottom of your range to the top. If you do not experience cracks or breaks, try it on all syllables at all volumes. When you find yourself faced with this challenge, it is the common response to “try harder” or “give more effort” on those notes. This is not the way to solve this issue. What you want to do is to lighten up just a bit on these notes, let them float like a feather instead of trying harder and stomping on them. Understand that most often this is caused because muscles and membranes not having the memory they need to make the transition you require, as quickly as you want it made. Repetition will give them memory, so keep practicing. Lighten up just a bit on those notes and sing through the break. Don’t develop the habit of stopping when you “crack” or it will come back to bite you later.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip G = GET OVER IT and GO FOR IT

So many talented young singers come into my studio with a good voice and with work, really shine on their vocal skills…but when it comes to performance they suffer the “I’m afraid I’ll look stupid” syndrome. Why do we do that? We see music videos and concerts every day when artists give us their all, and yet we feel less stupid singing like a statue than we do really going for it? Makes no sense, but this is not a random occurrence. And unfortunately, when you don’t really “perform” the song, you will never be able to give your absolute best performance. Why? Performance involves some sort of emotional connection with the song, when you put the emotion on your face and in your body, you will sing completely differently than the statue, no matter how knowledgeable.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip H = HIGH NOTES

High notes require consistent and steady fast moving airflow. Many students tend to hold their breath as they sing higher. Let the air flow. Try increasing your airflow and gauge your result.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip I = INCREASE YOUR BREATHING SKILLS

Increase your breathing capacity and control by doing breathing exercises every day. Be sure to avoid patterned breathing. Singers must negotiate phrase lengths of all different sizes, so it is important to be versatile.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip J = JAW TENSION

Most people don’t realize how tense their jaw is…because it feels perfectly natural to them. Be sure to stretch out your face and jaw muscles and even make a specific point to monitor your jaw when singing to be sure it truly is relaxed. If your jaw is tense, you will not receive your best tone and perhaps even have trouble hitting some of the higher tones.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip K = KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Don't sing too high or too low. Don't sing to the point of vocal fatigue. Never strain or push your voice. Doing so will not result in a higher or lower singing range, or a stronger voice, only a voice that has suffered undue stress.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip L = LOW NOTES

Low notes are often sung with too much, or more specifically too fast of an airflow. Try decreasing your airflow speed, keeping it focused, not pushed, to achieve a more natural, more relaxed tone.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip M = MIRROR

Training in front of a mirror can help a singer discover many things about their instrument, as well as confirm that other actions are being done correctly. Be sure to rely on a mirror during vocal training, but be able to leave the mirror to face an audience.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip N = NEVER LET THEM SEE YOU SWEAT

The perception of the audience is the reality. Say that out loud, “the perception of the audience is the reality.” What they think is true, is true. So if you sing with confidence and handle that “creative” phrase you accidentally added like a professional, most of your audience will be convinced that you meant to sing it that way. Professionals sing creative nuances, amateurs make mistakes.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip O = OPEN YOUR MOUTH WIDER

Nine times out of ten this will help you achieve a stronger, more defined vocal tone.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip P = PLACEMENT OF YOUR TONE

PLACEMENT OF YOUR TONE refers to where the tone is centered. Mastering tone placement will make your singing incredibly easy and consistent. Some people are born with the skill of good tone placement and others have to really work at it. To get technical, there is both a horizontal and vertical placement. For example: horizontal placement, the tone can be centered at the front of your mouth, the middle or the back (back never preferred). For example: vertical placement, draw a line from the middle of your chin to the top middle of your head. The higher the note, the higher the placement.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip Q = QUIT BAD HABITS

Quit smoking. Quit talking too loudly. Quit talking too much. Quit clenching your jaw. Quit holding your breath. Quit beating yourself up for vocal imperfections.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip R = RAISE THE SOFT PALATE

Creating a larger space inside your mouth by raising the soft palate, or fleshy part of the back of our throat, helps achieve a deeper more well rounded singing tone.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip S = SING THE STORY

Singing is acting through song. Why sing the song and not convey the message? Get emotionally involved with the lyrics. Figure out what would make you spontaneously speak the words and sing them with conviction.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip T = THINK SING

The most efficient way to learn a song is actually to NOT sing it right away. By listening to a song you can learn what you are supposed to do a lot faster, without creating any bad habits you are only going to have to break later. If you can think sing a song from beginning to end, anticipating every breath and melody nuance, then you are ready to sing. It’s like a playbook for football. Study the play first before jumping in the game. Not successfully “think singing” the song before you actually sing it is like a ball player running around the field with no idea of the play.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip U = UNIQUE VOICE UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Remember that your voice has its own unique fingerprint and is constantly changing with our actions, environment, health habits, etc. With this in mind, listen to your own voice often and use vocal training tools to keep your voice on the right track. Stylistically embrace the changes that occur over time, but discipline your vocal machine to remain in balance to support your artistry. Embrace your uniqueness and enjoy your voice.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip V = VIBRATO

Vibrato is a natural or forced fluctuation of a singing tone. Do not concentrate on learning how to sing with vibrato. Instead, concentrate on the basic foundations of singing, breathing and support. When the proper coordination is achieved, vibrato will occur naturally. While forced vibrato can be used effectively, natural vibrato gives the tone a life of its own. Pure and natural vibrato is an unexplained musical phenomenon and can only be achieved through balancing the breath in the vocal instrument.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip W = WISHING

Wishing your voice was pro quality won’t get it there. You’d be surprised what one hour of specific vocal practice five days a week can do. Sorry, this doesn’t usually apply to singing your favorite songs during commute time or singing the same song over and over again in your bedroom. While you may make some improvement this way, making a productive practice vocal plan would be much more efficient and of course, help you make much faster progress.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip X = (E)XERCISE YOUR VOICE REGULARLY

So many singers shy away from actually doing exercises, claiming they can train and warm up by singing their favorite songs. While some professionals will do this in a pinch, most of them train using exercises and warm up their voice prior to performance the same way. Pros know that warm ups will take you through muscle movements that a song never could. Not only will warm ups tell you where you voice is “not awake”, but using them during training can help you develop necessary muscle memory for difficult passages you encounter later. Today it is easy to accomplish these tasks as there are many vocal exercise CDs available. There is even a dynamic and interactive style vocal warm ups system now available at http://VocalWarmups.com. Here is another quick tip…when you go to sing your song, you should be singing it like you sing the vocal exercises. Most of us will exercise with good placement, support, resonance, etc., but when we add words and our favorite melody all that goes out the window. Work at being consistent. If we were a football quarterback, would we practice throwing the ball one way and then throw it completely differently during a game? I don’t think so.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip Y = YOUR STYLE

So many students avoid improving certain mechanical skills because they claim that it is their style. While it is true that certain things a singer does, shape of their mouth, how they pronounce words, etc., contributes to their signature voice… improving how you create your tone will only make your signature voice better. Don’t back away from understanding your voice; learn all you can about your instrument in order to create your best sound.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip Z = ZEN

The show must go on! Sometimes we can’t help but let our emotions and personal life circumstances affect our performances. We are human, after all. However, with practice and meditation you can learn to clear you head and totally focus on connecting with your song and the appropriate emotions of your selection, instead of whatever else was distracting you. Your body language and expression communicate your focus…but it’s your eyes that communicate your thoughts most of all.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME