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ArtistWorks Vocal School Lessons: Important: Vocal Exercise Information and Tips

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This is the time for
me to ask how long you've worked with
rib cage exercise two and three.
If you're still getting started with that.
If you aren't yet able to keep the ribs
For, you know, through the exercises that
you're doing and
especially through ribcage exercise to
three, sorry, where you're counting.
Then I want you to continue working only
with those ribcage exercises,
and any warm-up exercises for sure
until you get to a point where you're
confidently keeping the ribcage expanded,
it may not be perfect, it may still you
know take a certain amount of effort.
But in order to move into these vocal
exercises, I need for
you to be able to at least keep the ribs
open a certain amount.
Often that can occur with daily practice
let's say two weeks two to three weeks, if
you're doing daily.
If, so if that's not the case, then okay
if you wanna sneak peek and
hear what else I have to say in this
lesson that's fine, but
please do not start these vocal exercises
until your rib cage is at a point,
the rib cage expansion is at a point where
you can keep the ribs expanded and
we can start employing them into vocal
Which again,
is separate from the warm up exercises
where you do not use rib cage expansion.
Okay, so now, your first objectives will
be to
just think rib cage expansion when you're
getting into these exercises.
And there's going to be two sections of
vocal exercises,
what we're just about to get into and then
the next section, which I consider to be,
the beginnings of employing rib cage
expansion to the act of doing vocalizing.
So I prefer that you think of it more as a
rib cage exercise than a vocal exercise,
and you'll find that very helpful.
Keep in mind that the better open your
ribs are, the more naturally and
precisely your actual in, instrument,
which is internal, can work for you.
And the better it can work for you, the
better sound you get.
So instead of constantly listening to
yourself and, you know, having
anxiety maybe about how you sound, if you
just work on the rib cage expansion,
everything starts going into place.
As that occurs in the course of practicing
your vocal
exercises that I'll be moving you into,
the next step would be
getting your jaw so, so that you can keep
it open and still.
So for example, it would be like this.
If you're singing it wouldn't be
[LAUGH] It would be just this.
So you keep it still.
Now actually, some of the exercises will
use and
some of them will use other vowels.
As you move between one vowel to the next,
because we're not eating, and you're
not using words, you're just using vowel
sounds for many of these vocal exercises.
The jaw does not need to move, this may
take some time, so
you can use your hand here.
The best way of using the hand is similar
to the La-Ga series,
but I want you to drape this part of the
palm on your chin,
and then drape these fingers and this
thumb on either side.
If you keep the forearm leaning against
your chest,
that'll provide a foundation to keep the
jaw open and still.
I don't care if your mouth is open very
Will get it a little more open as you get
more comfortable with the vocal exercises,
but it won't be a big, jaw drop.
It'll be, just a certain amount, and we'll
get into that as we move along.
The next point is you'll begin getting
more and more comfortable just taking
a short, quick inhale, prior to each of
the melodies of the vocal exercises.
There's a number of reasons why, and
hopefully with rib cage exercise three,
you're getting accustomed to just a quick
short inhale before you count out loud to
I'll give you more details on this as we
move along, but
I just wanna itemize a few things that
have to do with the vocal exercises now.
The reason why
we're using the vowels that we'll first be
is because they are the most basic vowels
that the voice creates.
E, and pretty soon,
the vowel a are the key vowels that we'll
Then as we move forward in the curriculum,
we'll start using words as well, and
start getting into stylizing.
But for now the sounds that most quickly
develop the voice are E,
and A only because A has a certain kind of
way of working with resonance and when
it's time, I'll get you into that.
Essentially you can consider that we're
using some of the purest sounds of the
voice so
as to exercise the muscles of the voice
develop it and its full function.
The reason why all singers start with the
same exercises is
because it's really pretty rare that most
singers sing with rib cage expansion.
So, I, I'm taking you step by step through
a full development of the voice and as you
may be aware,
I've trained many very successful singers
who have been in the industry for many,
many years, from opera singers to country,
jazz, folk, RnB, rock, you name it and,
they all start with the same exercises.
So certainly as someone just starting off
developing your voice if that's you.
There's you know, that initial reason of
getting you familiar with your voice.
But a lot of times the bass of
physiological development and
the voice is skipped with a lot of
people's training, or
they may be singing and had no training at
all and just kind of naturally
had a good feeling for using their voice
and such,.
But I've trained very successful opera
singers who missed the step
of developing the precise movements of the
muscles of the voice and
at a certain point, their voice started
going downhill.
So getting all of this in now will provide
you with the foundation
that will open many gates and then you get
to choose which ones
you want to walk through and include in
your, in your singing.
The design and goals of the vocal
exercises is to develop the natural
functions of your voice,
as a result, we're going to use your
speaking approach in making vowels.
And I mentioned that many lessons earlier,
but time to bring it front,
and center now.
So, the way you say, naturally is the way
that we want to walk it into the exercise.
It should not matter what range you're
singing in.
Or what the series of notes is, we're
gonna be searching for
what is your natural approach in speaking
the vowel, and
get that linked in with how you're singing
I'm going to end up using a little more,
and a little more range within
each exercise up to a point and at first
some of it may be too much for you.
Don't worry about it, I'm giving you room
to grow.
[NOISE] So try first, it's okay like if
you're soft, or
breathy, or that type of thing if you
can't sing a note.
If it seems to high for you, right now.
Just wait for my piano to come back down a
little bit, and
pick it up as soon as you can.
Or, for example, if we're here, [SOUND]
you're going,
and that's the highest note you can do.
[SOUND] Then, either
if you could sing it like that,
it's okay, but I don't want you to strain.
[SOUND] Don't push it.
That is going to reduce the functioning of
your voice not help it.
So, just wait for the piano to come back
down, or, you can sing [SOUND] down here.
So, we're here.
And then this is [SOUND] too high so
you could go,
and then [SOUND] wait for
it to bottom out.
And let's say, this note is [SOUND] now
low for you, [SOUND] not for me, but if it
is for you [SOUND] then you can come back.
Similarly, with the,
some of the warm up exercises that we did
using piano.
[SOUND] If you are a male singer, [SOUND]
and your speaking pitch
hovers [SOUND] around this area [SOUND]
then [SOUND] you would start on that note.
I'm gonna play [SOUND] here.
[SOUND] So, if you're a female singer, you
would start right where the piano is.
The final point to keep in mind
is working with volume, which means don't.
No, [LAUGH] no, it means that I want you
to use a natural speaking volume.
We aren't working with resonance yet,
which gives you greater projection.
We're working with, and looking for a
focused vowel sound.
Now, [NOISE] if when you speak, you happen
to talk like this, hi how are you.
I'm not, I'm not trying to be picky on you
or, or make you feel weird.
But if that is how you talk,
that's not the sound we're looking for in
working with these vocal exercises.
We're looking for
something that's not breathy but that's
not squeezed, tightened, or pushed.
So, if you can go, let's try this
Open your mouth and say, now if you went
[NOISE] that's
not what I want to have happen, I'd like
you to open it first,
then say just speaking voice.
All right, now, on the other hand if you
went that's releasing air,
that's an exhale.
Which is breathing not,
you know, not vocal sound, not when your
vocal folds need,
so that's one of the reasons why it's so
important to be able to expand your
ribs and keep them open enough that we can
start getting
accustom to what a regulated air stream is
going to give you, vocal sound wise.
There's one very last point, and it has to
do with the stomach area.
You're, you may be experiencing stomach
as you're working with the rib cage
And still trying to figure out how to use
the lats to hold the ribs open, and
isolate that area so that the front of
your body and your stomach can relax.
It's very common that the stomach gets
tight, or that the shoulders do, as you're
trying to figure it all out, and get those
muscles strong enough to work for you.
I mean, I know I mentioned this earlier.
But bring it again, forwards and center
for you, right now.
We're looking to be able to do these
exercises, and
to sing in general without stomach
The tension in the stomach does not hold
open the ribs,
but it certainly makes you feel like
you're doing something, you are.
You're tightening the belly, but that will
reduce your ability to use the lats,
because it kinda pulls things in from the
It can take a little bit of [NOISE]
frustrating but trying to be patient time
of just working that through, and figuring
out how to strengthen those,
those lats and I'm here to help you with
But just know that it's very common, and
it's very usual, and
when you are first getting started with
these vocal exercises,
there still may be stomach tension.
But I just wanna say, that our goal is to
be able to expand the ribs, and
keep them open from the sides of the back,
have everything else totally relaxed and
working naturally for you, no tension.
That's our goal, and I'll get you there.