- Choose the exercises that feel best for you each day - it isn't necessary to sing all of the exercises listed below each day you practice.
- For each exercise, you can sing along with a midi recording with adjustable tempo that follows a score.
- Don't try to follow the recorded exercises into a range that feels uncomfortable for your voice - sing as high or as low as feels comfortable for you, dropping in or out as needed, or, use the loop feature to select the range you want to sing.
- Variations on exercises are marked with an *
- Exercises are grouped into sections based on a suggested technical focus (Breath Support, Vowels, Resonance, Onset, etc...) - however, most exercises can be used to address multiple technical areas.
BREATH SUPPORT / AIRFLOW / VOWEL SHAPES
Instrumentalists use long tones in their daily practice to strengthen their embouchure and concentrate on breath support, steady air flow, and consistency of tone from note to note. Singers can use long tones for similar work:
- Long tones give us the opportunity to listen to our sound. By simply sustaining and listening, we can make observations and adjustments to improve our tone.
- Our focus can be directed to the essentials before building up to more complex technical challenges.
- Long tones help us work on breath support and breath control: keeping our lungs from deflating and keeping our airflow steady.
- Long tones train our body to buttress our sound by using isometric contractions in our core muscles rather than tensing at our neck, throat, mouth, and jaw.
- Focus on taking a good breath, and maintaining a steady stream of air.
- Sustain a note on a single vowel. Choose any of the Italian vowels: Ah [a], Eh [ɛ], Ay [e], Ee [i], Aw [ɔ], Oh [o], Oo [u].
- If vibrato is present in your sound, shoot for a consistent rate of vibrato throughout.
- Try to maintain a consistent dynamic level (volume) until the moment you choose to end the sound.
- Try ending the note by inhaling silently.
- Sing on a single pitch.
- Focus on taking a well supported breath, and maintaining a steady stream of air.
- Connect each vowel to the next (avoid any break in air flow, or any wayward vowel sound). Make sure that the pitch does not waver. As you are seamlessly connecting the vowels, visualize that you are doing the same with the pitch.
- Keep your vowels pure. Pay attention to the shape of your mouth and tongue. Maintain a sense of your tongue relaxing forward. This will help with vowel clarity, consistency of tone quality and pitch, and a general ease of resonance and tone production.
* Mah-May-Mee-Moh-Moo / Vah-Vay-Vee-Voh-Voo / Zah-Zay-Zee-Zoh-Zoo
Yah - Slide up and down a Perfect 5th: 151
- Keep breath supported and connected between notes.
- As an alternate approach, try this exercises with legato, but without glissando. (Seamlessly connecting the pitches, but without sliding.
- Try to do all of the work with your breath support (as you ascend, push down with diaphragm and maintain an expanded rib cage). Try to keep your throat open, and your larynx stable (try not to let it ascend with the pitch). Relax your tongue forward. Keep your jaw comfortably open and free to adjust as you move through registers).
- Use the hard “G” sound before the [u] (“oo”) vowel to help work on adducting (closing) your vocal cords efficiently. This should help make the onset of the tone clean, clear, and focused. This helps us depressurized our vocal folds by placing the pressure at the G above our folds and the small mouth shape of OO increasing inertance (acoustic back pressure). When we release the G into a sung pitch, we feel like our air is moving right out of the gate (we are less likely to have a hesitant / tense onset). It helps get the arytenoid cartilages and their surrounding muscles to work together to adduct the cords more completely and more efficiently. This means, you’ll have to work less hard (healthier) to make a clean, balanced sound. Aim for ease of production combined with a steady tone. Start at a comfortably moderate dynamic - how gentle can your approach be and still have a consistent tone? Your dynamic level might need to increase as you sing higher but see how much mouth shape, throat space, and steady airflow can help you before giving in to loudness and muscle. As you do this, make sure you are not tensing up or gripping your throat muscles, especially on ascents.
- Trill/vibrate your lips while singing up and down a comfortable range. On a single breath, shoot for uninterrupted air flow, uninterrupted lip trilling, and tension free neck and shoulders.
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REGISTER BLENDING EXERCISES
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And many more • • • !