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Singing Tip A = ARTICULATE

Using your articulators (lips, teeth, tip of the tongue) more specifically to create your words will help you sing better and more easily. So many of us swallow our articulation (meaning farther back in our mouth) and that habit gets in the way of resonance, tone placement and other important singing mechanics. To improve your skill, quickly say the articulator tongue twister five times in a row: “lips, teeth, tip of the tongue. Lips, teeth, etc.” Be sure to really concentrate on exaggerating the movements with the articulators. See where all the action is? That is where you feel the action of articulation when you sing. Keep in mind that you will probably feel like you are moving them in a ridiculous fashion if you are not used to using them actively. Check a mirror, you’ll probably be surprised.

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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 = COMMUNICATE

Communicate the music's message. During performance it is very important to communicate the message of the song. If you make a "mistake" don't point it out to your audience. It is most likely they did not even notice.

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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 = FREE YOUR NATURAL VOICE

Don't be a slave to any music style – even your favorite one. Learn to sing with your full and natural voice by developing your vocal strength and coordination. Then add stylistic nuances to achieve any singing style you desire.

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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 = HUMMING

Humming should be easy and sound alive. If you cannot hum well, you are not singing up to your potential. Humming is a good way to determine which part of your vocal instrument is not warmed up or pulling its weight. When you hum you should be able to feel the resonant vibration on the front of your face.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip I = INCREASE YOUR AIR SPEED

Increase your air speed for high notes and decrease your air speed for lower notes. Each frequency requires a specific air speed to create the absolute best tone. Many singers push too much air, too quickly, while singing low notes in an attempt to make the note louder. All this does is add stress and tension to the tone. Use your ears to tell you when the proper balance is reached. The tone should sound clear and pure before adding stylistic nuances.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME

Singing Tip J = JUMPING JACKS

If you are having trouble getting your body completely involved with singing, try doing some cardiovascular activities, like jumping jacks, for a few minutes before getting started again. Sometimes your instrument simply needs an airflow wake-up call.

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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:
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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:
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Singing Tip M = MONEY NOTES MATTER

Let’s face it. If you are singing a song with a big money note, let’s be real. You can knock the rest of the song out of the park, but if you miss the money note that’s all your audience will remember. A lot of times singers miss money notes because they are worried about it and if you even think for a moment that it “might not happen” you just increased your odds of it not happening by a great deal. Usually it is only one or two notes of a phrase that reach that “money” potential. When you focus specifically on the note, you compartmentalize it and tell your subconscious to watch out for it. Instead, in practice try concentrating on the phrase. Figure out how to use the phrase to your advantage. Sometimes changing your placement on the note(s) just before your money note can make a huge difference. And of course, during performance…see yourself hitting that note like a pro. If you can see it and you believe it, you’ll hit it almost every time.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip N = NEVER DISRESPECT YOUR INSTRUMENT

Never sing if it hurts to swallow.

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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 = PREPARATION MAKES A DIFFERENCE

Singers are very much like athletes. Take care of your body/instrument by stretching out the vocal muscles and relieving the body of unnecessary tension before singing.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip Q = QUIT SINGING THROUGH YOUR NOSE

Nasal tone qualities occur when there is too much resonance in your nasal cavity and not enough sympathetic resonance or overtones being created in other cavities. One quick fix is to simply open your mouth taller.

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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:
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Singing Tip S = SING THROUGH THE VOCAL BREAK

If you do not teach the muscles the necessary actions to sing through the trouble spots, success will never be achieved. If you constantly stop every time you hear a crack or break…how will you ever get past it? Easy. Practice singing through those notes repeatedly. Don't PUSH through the break, LIFT through the break, keeping your chin in a down position. If your chin starts to lift to the sky and you are not properly prepared underneath (diaphragm, palate, etc.), you're gonna crack.

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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 = UNIFY YOUR VOWELS

You know how you can sing one word on a specific note easily, but another word seems much harder? You could probably use some practice and training on unifying your vowels. The ability to unify your vowels and make them sound as if they come from one instrument, having about the same high and low frequencies and blended with no cracks or breaks is one skill that separates the accomplished singer from an amateur.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip V = VOLUME AND POWER

Volume and power should be gained by using the muscles in the back and abdomen. If you are losing your voice after 4-6 songs or if you hear a lot of “effort” in your tone (it doesn’t float in a pure fashion), then you are probably using your throat.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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Singing Tip W = WATER WATER WATER

Drink room temperature water as often as you can to keep hydrated. If you only have cold or hot water available, swish it around in your mouth for a moment. This action will keep related muscles from being startled or stressed by different temperatures. Keep in mind that if you only drink water when you feel the dehydration during performance, the water you intake will be dispersed to the larger muscles in the body, not your vocal cords. In order to avoid vocal dehydration during performance, pay attention to your body's hydration all-day, every-day.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
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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:
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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:
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Singing Tip Z = ZZZZZZZZ

Be sure to get your rest. Singing well is a very physical art form. If you are tired, your voice will show it. A tired body/instrument will not allow you to produce your best possible sound.

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Singing Lesson Tip provided by:
Yvonne DeBandi, BME