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FRESH OLIVE MUSIC ACADEMY
MUSIC ACADEMY
Convener of the Quarterly Programme, Worship in His Presence
Worship in His Presence
Elizabeth Ola
Sing
Sing
PRACTICE AND EXERCISE-BASED TRAINING
MATERIALS FOR SINGERS
PRACTICE AND EXERCISE-BASED TRAINING
MATERIALS FOR SINGERS
Like A Professional
Like A Professional
1
Sing Like A Professional, FIRST EDITION (e-book)
Published by Fresh Olive Music International Limited
Copyright © 2019 by Fresh Olive Music International Limited
Designed and Produced by Portfolio Contracting Nigeria Limited and Lagos Post Online.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form
or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as
permitted under the relevant Sections of the Nigerian Copyright Act, without either the prior written
permission of the Publisher, or authorization through online validation of the appropriate per-copy
clearance. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to Fresh Olive Music
International Limited.
Trademarks:
Fresh Olive Music International Limited logo, Portfolio Contracting Nigeria Limited logo and Lagos
Post Online logo, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of all the institutions
involved in this work, and may not be used without written permission. All other trademarks are the
property of their respective owners. Fresh Olive Music International Limited is not associated with
any product or vendor mentioned as part of the references at the end this e-book.
2
Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty:
The publisher and the author make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or
completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without
limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by
sales or promotional materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for
every situation. This work is made available free with the understanding that the publisher is not
engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If professional assistance is
required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Neither the publisher nor
the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom. The fact that an organization or website is
referred to in this work as a citation and/or a potential source of further information does not mean that
the author or the publisher endorses the information the organization or website may provide or
recommendations it may make. Further, readers should be aware that books and internet websites
listed in this work may have changed or disappeared between when this work was written and when it
is read.
For general information on our other products and services, please contact me within Nigeria and
outside the country through the phone numbers and social media platforms provided in the next page.
For technical, consultancy and training support, please contact me using any of the channels listed in
this book.
Copyright © 2019 by Fresh Olive Music International Limited
3
FRESH OLIVE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED
fresholivemusic@gmail.com | +234 (0) 805 051 2165 |
Twitter 1 | @fresholivemusic
Twitter 2 | @eola222
Facebook | Elizabeth Ola
Facebook Page | Fresh Olive Music NG
Instagram 1 | @lizzy_fresholivemusic
Instagram 2 | @elizabeth_ola
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
FOREWORD 8
PREFACE: GUIDELINES FOR USING THIS BOOK 10
ABOUT THE AUTHOR & TRAINING CONSULTANT 12
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 14
COVERAGE AREAS: ASPECTS OF TRAINING 15
CHAPTER ONE: MASTERING BASICS OF SINGING TO
ACHIEVE GREAT VOCALS 17
PITCH 18
RHYTHM 18
BREATH 18
VOICE 18
DICTION 19
ACTIVITY ONE: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE 20
BREATHING AND SUPPORT 20
CHAPTER TWO: VOCAL SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES 21
VOCAL INSTRUMENT 21
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VOICE 23
VOICE QUALITY 23
UNDERSTANDING YOUR VOICE TEXTURE 24
BREATHE CONTROL 24
BREATHING FOR SINGING 24
IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF BREATHING 26
POSTURE TO CONTROLLED BREATHING 26
5
BREATHING CONTROL TIPS FOR BETTER VOCALS 26
ACTIVITY TWO: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE 28
BREATHING 28
CHAPTER THREE: MORE ABOUT PERFORMANCE
AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS
OVERALL SATISFACTION
ACTIVITY THREE: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
MORE BREATHING SECRETS
CHAPTER FOUR: PROTECTING YOUR SINGING VOICE AND
ENHANCING VOCAL HEALTH
SINGING OUT OF TUNE: HOW TO CURE TONE DEAFNESS
ACTIVITY FOUR: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
TAKING IN DEEP BREATHS AND EXHALING SLOWLY
CHAPTER FIVE: PREVENTING OUT-OF-BREATH
SCENARIOS
HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR VOCALS
JAW TIGHTNESS: RELAX AND UNLEASH YOUR SINGING VOICE
HOW TO AVOID HEAD LIFTING OR SINGING TO THE SKIES
AVOIDING FACTORS THAT HINDERS VOCAL PROWESS
ACTIVITY FIVE: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
LIP TRILL OR BUBBLE EXERCISE
CHAPTER SIX: HOW WRONG BREATHING CAN RUIN YOUR
VOICE
ACTIVITY SIX: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
6
THROAT AND TONGUE TENSION
CHAPTER SEVEN: VOCAL HEALTH SECRETS FOR
PERFORMERS
KEEPING THE LARYNX HYDRATED
STEAMING
KEEPING THE LARYNX HEALTHY
KEEPING THE LARYNX HARM-FREE
LEARNING GOOD VOCAL TECHNIQUES
AMPLIFICATION
EARPLUGS
ACTIVITY SEVEN: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
CHAPTER EIGHT: THE LARYNX AND THROAT TENSION
BRIDGES
VOCAL CORD ADDUCTION
THE CHOICE
STAGE FRIGHT
VIBRATO
THE BELT MIX
VOCAL DYNAMICS
SPECIAL EFFECTS
R & B STYLE
POP COLORATURA
ROCK STYLE
ACTIVITY EIGHT: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
CHAPTER NINE: VOWEL SOUND MODIFICATION
7
SPEECH VOWELS
REASONS FOR MODIFYING VOWELS
ACTIVITY NINE: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
DO YOU WANT TO BE A GOOD SINGER?
SINGING DICTION
APPENDIX A: HOW OUR VOCAL CORDS WORK
APPENDIX B: GLOSSARY OF MUSICAL TERMS
APPENDIX C: REFERENCES 29
APPENDIX D: IN THE NEXT VOLUME 32
ADDITIONAL NOTES 33
8
FOREWORD
Welcome to Sing Like A Professional, the Fresh Olive Music Academy guide
to singing. Although, you have been in the passive musical mix sometime in the
past, now it is time to have a go yourself. Whether you are an absolute beginner,
or haven’t sung in a while, it’s never too late to get into singing. If you also a
performing voice artiste with peripheral knowledge of your creative art, you can
deepen your understanding for better performance in the future. Singing can
give you courage, get your heart pumping and might even boost your brain
power!
The human voice is a product of function and has no mechanical function of its
own. It is the end result of a coordinative process involving a complex of
laryngeal and pharyngeal muscles, and all devices and techniques employed to
improve the tone after the coordinative pattern has been set are useless. What a
constructive programme of vocal study should attempt is the discovery of a
technique whereby the coordinative process of the muscles engaged in
phonation can be improved and perfected. As no vocal technique is faultless,
success in teaching and learning depends in large part upon a programme given
over to changing a habitual coordinative process.
Attitudes are employed as principles, opinions dignified as facts, theories
accepted without challenge, and, frequently, whenever valid principles are
embraced, they are misapplied. Unable to learn, the student is then blamed for
all short-comings because of an inherent lack of talent. The purpose of this book
is to show a better, more logical path to follow for the fulfilment of vocal skills
– one more consonant with natural order and functional logic.
What is crucial to the training of the voice, in the past and now, is the insight
provided by two important discoveries: First, the theory of registration, which
provided a means for influencing functional mechanics without recourse to
methods of direct control, and secondly, the reflexive nature of the vocal
response which is a testament to the fact that the vocal organs react to an outer
stimulus.
9
The muscular responses causing particular registers to predominate are purely
involuntary while the interplay of the registers, controllable through pitch and
intensity patterns, represents the manipulative device to which the voice trainee
can respond as an act of will. As the reaction of the vocal organs to these simple
patterns involves the involuntary movement of muscles, the movement of these
supposedly inaccessible muscular reflexes can be brought under a very practical
kind of control.
By skilful and practised use of pitch-intensity patterns, the registers can be
separated, developed independently, or made to draw together and act as a unit
in innumerable relationships involving a balance to be shared between them.
These factors, plus temperament, musicality, anatomical structure, and
psychological attitudes, are the contributing elements making each voice and
personality a unique problem.
If voice training techniques are to be re-established on a practical basis, the first
step to be taken in that direction would be to determine the kind of mechanism
we are dealing with and the possible means at our disposal for assisting that
function. Superficially, we are concerned with the organs of voice, but a far
more comprehensive view of the subject will be possible if the mechanism is
recognized for what it truly is – a respiratory organ. Due to the fact that the
respiratory system possesses those elements necessary for making tone, it can be
readily converted into a sound-producing instrument. As such, it is being used as
an adaptive mechanism. There are two phases to this process: First, a series of
muscular contractions which cause the vocal cords to adjust to the required
length and tension for pitch, and second, the positioning of the entire pharyngeal
tract to answer the needs of resonance.
Whether you’re a shower singer or you secretly desire to sing on a stage, this
book is for you. You cannot develop your singing voice overnight; it takes time.
Some people are born with a voice ready to sing at some of the best platforms
for the expression of Class A talent in the world, but most people who like to
sing have to work on their voice to prepare it for the first performance.
Whichever category you fit into, this book has some valuable information for
you.
10
PREFACE
GUIDELINES FOR USING THIS BOOK
The goal of the Training Programme, Sing Like A Professional, is to teach you
all the skills you need to succeed as a singer. For the gospel artiste, this book is
expected to help you serve God in your local Church better and to influence
others around you positively through the art of meaningful music and worship.
Even though you may not feel confident at first with your new skills, a sense of
purpose on your part will help you to improve your skills and give you more
confidence. Here are some suggestions that will help you successfully complete
this training:
● Follow the training in order: This training is arranged to help you learn
vocal skills and concepts in a logical progression. Even if you already
understand a concept, review it and do the practice assignments.
● Try to master each concept and skill before moving ahead: Practice
each vocal skill until you feel comfortable with it. If a skill is too hard for
you, do your best and move on. It is better to finish the training than quit
because you have difficulty with one or two skills. With patience and
practice, you will eventually master all the skills.
● Follow all the practice instructions: This will help you learn the skills
more quickly.
● Use the resources provided: The unwritten instructions and other
reference materials that come with this training has examples of what you
are learning.1
1
The practice and exercises at the end each activity series in this manual refer to practical examples from the
instructor that illustrates basic skills.
11
● Use the Church’s standard worship modes and patterns: The manual
often instructs you to refer to it, and you should use these modes and
prototypes whenever you work on this training.
● Use the Glossary of Musical Terms to learn more about the words
printed in bold type in the manual. Each of these words appears in bold
type the first time it is used.
● Use your skills as you learn them: As you apply the shills learnt through
this channel, you will get better! For the music ministers serving the Lord
in the churches and helping others worship him through music, He will
bless you.
For many users of this manual, simply browsing through the activity series will
yield fascinating insights. Checking out differences in approach to specific
aspects of voice training – for example, breathing, alignment, articulation, and
Resonance – will also be enlightening and useful.
Cross-cultural differences observed through the sections of the manual can
provide practical information for music professionals who work in more than
one part of the country. And, finally, the privilege of interacting vicariously with
each of these dynamic activity series teachers will be a valuable experience in
itself.
Beyond the activity series and directly related to the interconnectedness of
music and voice are the final sections of the manual, which synthesize the
material in specific and practical ways. For some users/readers, this manual is
the logical place to start, so that the practice sessions of activity series then
become an invaluable follow-up, as well as a remarkable tool for personal
exploration and further research.
2
My hope in putting this all together is that this manual will set off a spark,
inspire a leap in music communication, and open doors to performance
possibilities, as it celebrates the multifaceted capabilities of the voice as a vocal
instrument in the context of performance.
2
Individual conclusions are both inevitable and desirable. Therefore, regardless of the users approach, they will
draw their own analogies and make their own pedagogical and performance connections.
12
ABOUT THE AUTHOR & TRAINING
CONSULTANT
Elizabeth Ola is a gospel singer and songwriter. Her personality, inviting
warmth and genuine love for God transcends her music and has earned her lots
of fans and industry accolades. For the past 20 years, she has been focusing on
trend identification and strategy development to address critical business
challenges faced by the music industry. Her home-style management
capabilities had provided strategy, leadership and oversight for the various types
of executive schedules she has been involved in.
She has also led various consultancy tasks responsible for church music
development, deploying hands-on experience and strategies to support music
fora and summits in the past. As part of her work on forward-looking music
activities and solutions, her background includes more than two decades in
consulting, music business and operations strategy, social media systems
development and operations management. Most recently and with the
responsibility for managing choral music and related resources/facilities, she has
led several strategy and team efforts for emerging and collaborative women
groups like the Victorious Praying Women Ministries (VPWM) and Thriving
Business Women Fellowship (TBWF) in Nigeria.
She is an unrepentant Social Entrepreneur and Total Quality Activist who
strongly believes that any system where quality music is not sufficiently
marched by supply is no doubt one with looming social and spiritual crisis. She
is a firm believer in the meaningful role which gospel music can play in
addressing real life issues across all human sectors.
She began singing at her family church as a member of a junior gospel choir at a
very tender age. Afterwards, she began performing alongside her brothers but
was discovered by Karis Music Ministry. Hence, it’s virtually impossible to talk
about Elizabeth without acknowledging her artistic influence on an entire
musical genre of the Karis Music Ministry and the groundbreaking
achievements she’s accomplished over the past twenty-two years. Blessed with
13
one of the music industry’s greatest voices, Elizabeth3
has crossed all stylistic,
social and age barriers with her inspirational delivery and powerful music. This
explains why her long career in music has given her the opportunity to serve as
lead vocalist and choir director for several churches.
From simple, piano-based melodies, lush strings and accompanying sounds of
Elizabeth’s home church choir, her songs cover a range of musical timbres. At
the same time, her simple, poignant words paint a powerful picture and
communicate a message that is paramount to everything else. Whether it is
through the quiet, intimate brush strokes of the worship melodies, or the
powerfully delivered inspirational lyrics, Elizabeth has crafted a lifetime that
demonstrates the spiritual maturity and growth of an artist who has consistently
triumphed as a multi-talented songwriter and performer. Fluently sings in
English, French, Yoruba, Igbo, Efik, Urhobo, Hausa, Idoma among others at
Commercial, Corporate and Church functions.
She is an ambassador to those who have been touched by her life and her music,
while allowing her faith to remain at the forefront of everything she does. In
spite of the fact that she hails from Nsit Ubiom Local Government Area of
Akwa Ibom State, she was born in Bariga, Lagos State where her parent
migrated to in search of greener pastures. She is married to Olaniyi Ola, an avid
music industry watcher and enthusiast. Together, they have four wonderful
boys.
Additional Skills and Attributes:
● Strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills
● Ability to foster teamwork towards achieving joint objectives
● Social disposition to cope with flexible working hours travelling amidst
cultural diversities
● Good leadership qualities and ability to build winning terms
Corporate Achievements/Awards:
● Lead vocalist in Karis Music French Album “Celebrez le Seigneur”
● 2006 Karis Grace Awards for Exemplary Service and Outstanding
Performance
● Implementation of best practices in music management coupled with
ability to develop sound administrative procedures
● CEO, Fresh Olive Music Academy
3
Elizabeth Ola has been training singers for the music profession in churches where she had worked for over ten
years. Her clients include upcoming artists/singers on major record labels as well as independent performers.
The Fresh Olive Music Academy offers lessons and workshops in every aspect of singing from vocal technique
to music business to performance.
14
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
First and most, I want to thank God Almighty whose Grace has brought me this
far today, Secondly, I thank my beloved husband who is a major contributor to
this training manual. His willingness to participate in the project, along with his
generosity and expertise, make this a very special volume indeed. He not only
made time in an incredibly busy schedule for this work, but also reviewed the
written transcript and provided additional information to complete the work.
Special thanks to him for book cover design, photography and editorial counsel.
Thirdly, I am deeply indebted to my colleagues in ministry for their generous
support and willingness to read parts of the manuscript and for their positive
comments, invaluable suggestions, and unflagging encouragement.
Special thanks to Pastor Mayokun Oreofe, the President of Victorious Praying
Women Ministry for her unflinching support and mentoring. I also thank my
numerous students in the last couple of years for their willingness to
demonstrate the exercises at the end of every Chapter which is concluded with
the Activity Series
I gratefully acknowledge the Chief Executive Officer of Karis Music, Reverend
Ekpenyong Bassey, for his amazing attention to detail and endless supply of
encouragement in the course of growing up as a young singer under his tutelage.
Eternal thanks to his beautiful wife, Mrs. Pat Bassey, for her encouragement and
for tolerance while working with Karis Band.
Finally, my sincerest thanks to some close friends and associates for their
immediate and enthusiastic response to my vision, and their wisdom and
guidance throughout the visioning and editorial process.
15
FIGURATIVE COVERAGE AREAS
ASPECTS OF TRAINING
For the purpose of clarity the six major aspects of voice training which will be
covered by this manual are listed below as:
● Alignment
● Breathing
● Range
● Resonance
● Articulation
● Connection (the Performance Dimension)
Now, from the perspective of my own approach and personal experience, there
is a need to specifically explain each of these elements.
Alignment: I work with body alignment with regard to breathing, support,
power, projection, dynamics, and presentation. Breathing and support
coordination is the first and important technique. With good breathing and
support habits, a singer can build the rest of the techniques that go into the
freedom to express the lyrics and music.
Range is expanded and stretched gradually from the highest to the lowest note
in every voice. Every trainee is expected to develop at least a three-octave range,
no matter what their age or singing style.
Resonance is paramount in this training/teaching. Every musical note deserves
to live. Colour, quality, expression, vibrato, and dynamics, with a good
foundation in breath control, are also basic to this training.
16
Articulation: Pronunciation and articulation are very important in the
determination of style.
Connection: Solid technique must be so automatic and free that the singer can
interpret a song every single time, as if it were the first time he or she were
singing those words. Every single word must be explored and personal. The
singer must do the homework. Each song is a monologue and must be treated as
such.
It is important to reiterate at this early stage that the five senses of a performing
musician must be put into effective use to give a full and sensuous performance.
Singers need training in performance. At the Fresh Olive Music Academy, we
give performance workshops, which include microphone technique, stage
etiquette, movement, and image to prepare singers for the stage.4
4
Musicians need to know how to audition, and we work on audition materials at Fresh Olive Music Academy
workshops.
17
CHAPTER ONE
MASTERING BASICS OF SINGING TO
ACHIEVE GREAT VOCALS
A solid foundation in the basics of singing is absolutely essential towards
achieving a great voice. This is why I have decided to break down the basics of
singing into simple and concise components, so that we can all understand the
elementary topics we have to learn in order to improve on our vocal ability.
You may also wish to check out some useful materials on singing that I
personally read, so as to gain a deeper understanding of the various basic aspects
of the art of singing. The five basic components of singing are:
1. Pitch
2. Rhythm
3. Breath
4. Voice
5. Diction
18
Let us take a brief look at each of these components:
PITCH
We all know how it feels like to listen to someone sing off-key or out of tune,
especially if we are in a small confined space with nowhere else to go. This is
why pitch is absolutely essential for great singing.
Pitch refers to the notes and sounds that we hear when someone sings, and it
determines if the song is going to sound great or not. The singer will have to hit
various pitches in a song with a relative amount of accuracy in order to be in
tune with the overall music accompaniment and harmonies.
Training ourselves to recognize pitches and intervals, to vocalize various notes
as well as to correct ourselves when we go off-key is absolutely essential to
achieving an accurate pitch when singing.
RHYTHM
Every song has a certain beat, and it is essential that we keep to the basic rhythm
of the song, or else we might find that we are constantly trying to catch up with
the lyrics or always lagging behind. Rhythm also determines the groove of the
song, and this is what gets us on our feet and dancing when we listen to upbeat
or fast tempo songs.
A great sense of rhythm begins with learning to recognize various beat
durations, to vocalize notes with different beats, as well as to be able to keep to
the basic tempo of a song.
BREATH
Breathing is an essential component of singing, and is what most singing
instructors would introduce to trainees during their first lesson for singing. It is
also what most people would want to learn about and also ask questions about.
What most people don't realize is that breathing is actually a very natural
process, and it is certainly not difficult to achieve better breath control for
singing. Understanding how we breathe for singing will be of great aid to us in
achieving a great breath foundation for singing.
VOICE
Our voice is often taken for granted when we sing, and we usually focus too
much attention on other components of singing, instead of seeking to strengthen
our vocal apparatus in order to produce great sounds when singing.
19
Basic understanding of our voice and vocal cords is essential in order to guide
us towards adopting beneficial singing habits, as well as producing sounds that
are more relaxed and healthy for us to vocalize.
DICTION
Learning how to produce sound with our voice is not enough. We still need to
shape our voice, and form words in a language that our audience will
understand.
This is why diction is also one of the vital basics of singing, because it
determines whether our audience understands what we are singing, and whether
we are able to connect with them through our song. Diction is also a key factor
towards hitting the correct pitches, especially for the high notes, and this will be
explained in detail in other sections of this manual.
There are also other basic musical terms used during singing, and it would be
good for us to understand these terms too, so as to get a more well-rounded
learning experience, and also know how to communicate with fellow singers
and musicians too.
Now that we have a clear understanding of the basics of singing, let us move on
to more challenging topics.
20
ACTIVITY ONE
PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
BREATHING AND SUPPORT
For breathing and support, three areas expand on the intake of breath: the rib
cage, lower abdomen and the lower back. As we sing, the ribs resist collapse and
the lower back remains firm.
For breathing and support, I like to use a very effective breathing and support
exercise: Let me do it first. We sit on the edge of our chairs and drop down
slowly, exhaling our air. We slowly come up, inhaling and imagining the air
filling low into our back and rib cage.
POWER AND PROJECTION
Let’s talk about power and projection. Power and projection is not how loud one
sings, but it is in the intensity of the tone. The vocal folds are muscles and need
to be strong to be able to project a clear and powerful sound. In order to create a
clear tone, the breath pressure must be balanced with the firmness of the vocal
folds. We want a laser beam sound, whether it’s soft or loud, not a breathy
diffused tone that doesn’t project, except when the breathiness is intentional for
emotional expression.
As we age, our muscles get flabby, and the vocal cords are no exception. Weak
and flabby vocal cords affect the clarity of the tone as well as the vibrato
control. This exercise will keep the vocal cords firm and youthful.
Here is an exercise for the chest register that will strengthen the vocal cords will
put a “ring” in your tone, allowing you to project that tone with ease and
intensity.
We use the sound Ow! Because it isolates and strengthens the vocal cords and
brings the tone forward in the mask. A strong chest register is also very
important for the classical and musical theatre soprano.
21
CHAPTER TWO
VOCAL SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES
Singing is communicating a message in a melodious manner. It is an art which
must be developed to bring it to its optimum functioning capacity.
Singing is expressing your innermost in melody through words.
Your singing talents is underdeveloped, raw or unrefined until your voice have
undergone voice training, worked on and developed, then you begin to see the
beauty and other people listening to you get to appreciate your voice quality. It’s
like gold in its raw form, but when worked on brings out the beauty to the
admiration of everyone.
When we talk about singing, most of us rarely talk about our vocal cords, and
would begin by emphasizing our breathing, since the first action that we do is
actually to breathe before we even begin to make any sound. We believe that
once we train ourselves to be able to control our breathing5
well, we will be able
to sing well too.
5
Breathing is the single most important element in singing. In order to control your voice you have to put out
exactly the amount of breath you need for the sound you want. That breath needs to be as focused as a laser
beam. How you exhale controls the quality of the sound, the volume, the pitch and the tone. How you inhale
governs how you exhale.
22
However, equally important is our set of vocal cords, which is the origin of our
strong and healthy voice. Without them, we would have no voice, even if we
have a strong diaphragm and lots of breath in our lungs. Our vocal cords are
actually housed in what we call our 'voice box' or larynx, also commonly known
as Adam's Apple, which is most easily seen as a bulge in most men's throats.
These cords produce sound through rapid vibration with the passage of air
between the set of cords. When the air passes through the cords, forcing them
apart, the cords immediately close back; creating multiple vibrations at a certain
frequency, and this creates what our human ear perceives as the sound of our
voice. This also means that our vocal cords bear the brunt of the air pressure
created when we sing.
Another fact that most people do not know is that these cord muscles actually
can control our breathing too. Sometimes, we focus on how our diaphragm and
its surrounding muscles control our breathing, but one fact remains that our
cords can control our breath, by shutting completely and not letting any air out
of our body.
We can demonstrate this by pronouncing these words loudly: "HAK!!! AH....."
Make sure that you shut your cord muscles completely at the end of the word
"HAK!!!", and only when you let some air pass through your cords; it will allow
you to produce the next word, "AH...." as a form of release...
You can also demonstrate how our cords control our breathing by holding your
breath and leaving your mouth open. It is this important set of muscles that is
holding back the breath in our body, and once our cords are open, the breath will
be able to pass through.
One other important and useful fact about our voice is that for low notes, our
cord muscles are relatively less tense and less stretched out. However, for high
notes, our cords are much more tense and more stretched out! This means that
when we do our humming or lip trill vocal warm-ups and we do progressively
higher notes, our cord muscles are actually being stretched out more and
becoming more and more intense.
This would mean that we need to be more careful when we start to sing higher
and higher notes, as our cord muscles are subject to more and more strain, and
they would then be more vulnerable to vocal abuse. Various vocal warmup
exercises are available in this website to stretch out our vocal cords before
singing to prevent unnecessary harm to our voice. There are also other vocal
training exercises to help us to develop a strong and healthy singing voice.
One very important point to note is that we should not be over-zealous when we
are training our vocal cord muscles. Just as we would not want to strain our back
23
or sprain our shoulders when we lift weights, we would also not want to hurt our
voice muscles by over-training or subjecting them to much fatigue.
A general guideline6
is that whenever we feel fatigue or even slight pain in our
voice or throat, stop and rest. This will prevent any unnecessary damage to these
small but important muscles in our voice box.
VOCAL INSTRUMENT
The voice, just like the string, brass and wind instrument is also known as the
vocal instrument. The voice is an instrument of communication that expresses
your thoughts and when melody is added to it becomes a vocal instrument of
music. It’s a unique instrument that has articulators used in modifying tones into
specific sounds. These are:
● The lips
● The teeth
● The tongue
● The palate
These are used in forming consonants and vowels, this articulators shapes the air
into different sounds as it comes out of your mouth.
Characteristics of the voice
● The voice can glide
● It can be modulated
● It can be muted
● It can be sensuous
● It can be cold, coarse, persuasive and humorous
● It can also be whatever enters the mind of the performer.
● It cannot sustain a tone beyond the lungs capacity of the singer.
Voice quality: It can be nasal, clear, breathy, harsh, piercing and coarse, if you
must copy a particular singer, knowing your voice texture and vocal range is
very important, so you can pose the exact voice texture. There is a difference
between what you hear in your mind and the actual sound produced for others to
hear.
6
Most people, as they walk around in their daily lives, inhale into their upper lungs i.e., their shoulders go up as
does their chest. When the air is in your upper lungs, you don't have the kind of detailed control you need. A
singer (or a swimmer or runner--anyone who has to control their air) should fill their lower lungs. This means
that instead of a breath that is vertical, with your body expanding upwards, the breath should be horizontal,
expanding outwards.
24
Understanding your voice texture
● Understanding your voice texture helps you to choose and follow a
model that you can pattern your voice after.
● Understanding your voice texture makes it easy for singers to be
able to sing and deliver excellently.
Breathe Control
Just like any wind instrument, you can’t make a sound without air. When you
breathe in, air enters your body through your mouth, your larynx down, your
trachea and into your lungs. It takes the reverse route on the way out and it
passes over your vocal cords, making it vibrates, and that is where the sounds
starts. However, the foundation for good singing is good breathing i.e. if your
breathing is right then your singing will be right.
BREATHING7
FOR SINGING
Here, the reasons why breathe to sing will be unveiled. Without breath and air,
we have no voice and ultimately no sound. We need breath in order to produce
the sound that is our voice.
This is why most vocal instructors would emphasize on breath training right
from the very beginning, putting trainees through rigorous breath training in
order to build a good strong foundation for singing.
However, before we move on to even the most basic of our breathing exercises,
we need to first know how to execute good breathing for singing. This would
involve a certain muscle in our body called the Diaphragm8
, as well as other
supporting muscles around the diaphragm.
The Diaphragm9
: Our diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle separating our
rib cage from the rest of our organs below it (including our stomach and
7
Here is a simple exercise: Put one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your back, both at about waist
level. Inhale by filling your lower lungs with air so that your stomach sticks out. Your hands should move apart,
the air filling the space between them. As you exhale let your stomach go back in gently. Think of your stomach
as a balloon that inflates and deflates. Your chest shouldn't move, not even an eighth of an inch. As you get
better at this, your back will also move out when you inhale. Try putting your thumbs one on each side of your
spine, at about waist level. Relax your shoulders. Now inhale into your thumbs.
8
Once you put the air in the right place, you must learn to control it with your diaphragm. The diaphragm is a
muscle that sits below your lungs and causes them to fill and empty. If you exhale out all of your air down to the
absolutely last drop, you will feel your diaphragm under your rib cage as it pushes up against your lungs. On the
outside of your ribs you will feel your abdominal wall pushing in; inside your ribs your diaphragm pushes up.
Not only does your diaphragm need to be strong enough to push hard when you want lots of power, but it needs
to have even more control and strength when you want to sing a fast and accurate lick, or a big jump in pitch, or
very, very quietly. Building the strength and control of your diaphragm begins with proper breathing.
9
To strengthen the diaphragm, again put one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your back. Inhale
into your abdomen and exhale forcibly so that your stomach muscles push in and the air comes out rapidly.
25
intestines). Its function is to regulate the flow of air when singing, by
contracting and relaxing whenever we inhale and exhale respectively.
As you breathe in, and your lungs fills with air, the diaphragm moves down,
when you breathe out, it moves back up, controlling the flow of air. You can
control the way your diaphragm works when you breathe in slowly, you feel
your tummy expanding, and the tummy relaxing when you breathe out. The
same applies when preparing to sing, take a deep breathe and the tummy moves
out, and the tummy steadily moving in when you sing.
Important points to note:
● Do not pull your tummy in and then hold it rigid, this set up tension in the
rest of the body.
● Our shoulders and chest area should be relaxed when we inhale. If we
find that our chest area lifts up high or our shoulders are raised when we
inhale, then just rest both hands on your chest and repeat the inhalation
exercise with our hands resting on a stationery chest.
● Raising our chest and shoulders is a common habit, but it really causes us
to draw a shallow breath, and this creates problems later when we need
more breathe to support our singing, especially for high notes or for long
phrases in a song.
● Avoid shallow breathing, this will only allow you to sing very short
phrases and not give you the necessary support for your singing
Remember you are your instrument, the way you use your body when you sing
is extremely important. So, how do we practise our breathing exercises? Now,
let's begin by first drawing in a deep breath of air.
Imagine that you are sucking in a strand of noodle (we need to suck the noodles
noisily) or sucking a deep breath of air through a tiny straw, and letting the air
go directly into your abdominal area. Try it now and feel the air being drawn
into our abdominal area, moving downwards as well as sideward. Of course, our
air does not actually enter our stomach when we breathe. This is only for
visualization and instructional purposes. (For those who do not know, the air
goes into our lungs.)
Once we have understood how to take in a proper breath of air, we can proceed
to some basic breathing exercises that will teach us to control our breath for
singing, as well as strengthen the diaphragm and its surrounding muscles, so as
to be able to provide better breath support for singing.
Repeat this--inhale, abdomen out, exhale forcibly, abdomen in--thirty times picking up the tempo as you get
comfortable with it. Breathe through your mouth. As you go faster you may find that you've fallen back into the
old habit of breathing vertically again. In that case, stop and start over by breathing slowly and gently into your
lower lungs until you have the feeling again.
26
Important Aspects of Breathing
● Ability to inhale large quantities of air
● Ability to catch or snatch a good breath quickly
● Importantly, ability to control the escape air.
● The shoulders should not rise in the act of breathing.
In essence, maximum intake10
and maximum let out of breathing, the effective
use of the lungs entailing emptying as well as filling them, allows for clarity and
excellent performance in singing.
Benefit of controlled breathing
● Good health: it expands the chest an inch or two
● Flattens sagging abdominal muscles and correct the posture
● Cleanses the lungs
● Re-oxygenates the blood efficiently
● Relaxes you when tensed or nervous.
Posture to controlled breathing
● Sit properly on a firm straight-backed chair
● Hang your arms loosely and move the elbows away from the sides of the
chest without moving the shoulders and with your back touching the chair
back
● Take a long, slow deep breath from the bottom of the lungs
● Try to expand so that your back swells and presses against the chair.
● This exercise should quickly establish the sensation of waist and back
expansion while breathing in.
Breathing Control Tips for Better Vocals
In order for us to achieve the desired effect from our breathing control exercises,
here are some important tips, so that our exercises become more focussed and
effective.
Now, in order for us to practise our breathing exercises effectively, we need to
bear in mind the following points:
1. Downwards and side wards motion: Whenever we do our breathing
exercises, we should 'imagine' the movement of air as coming in from our
mouth and moving downwards towards our abdominal area in a
downward and sideward motion. The muscles surrounding our diaphragm
10
Initially you may feel that you can't get enough air, but that is because your lung capacity is small from
disuse. All infants breathe into their lower lungs, but as we age and our stress levels increase, our breathing tends
to move upwards. With practice you will find that your lower lungs stretch out and that your ribs in the back will
loosen up and make room for the larger inhalation.
27
area, as well as our abdominal muscles, should expand slightly in all
directions, more noticeably sideways. The reason behind this is that our
diaphragm separates our rib cage from the rest of our organs below it
(including our stomach and intestines). When our diaphragm contracts
and flattens during inhalation (when we breathe in), it pushes down on
our vital organs and compresses them slightly, resulting in a slight bulge
all round in our abdominal area, or as we commonly call it, our waistline.
2. Maintaining tension in the abdominal muscles: When we exhale during
our breathing11
exercises, our task is to focus on maintaining a certain
level of tension in our abdominal muscles (since as I previously
mentioned in the earlier section on 'Breath', these muscles are easier for us
to control, compared to the diaphragm muscle itself). We should not let
our abdominal muscles collapse inward too quickly, and should try to
maintain an outward tension, letting our abdominal muscles contract
slowly as our breath is expelled from our body. This will allow us to train
these muscles to be able to withstand greater tension, and also to be able
to control our breath more effectively.
3. Feeling the movement of our muscles as we practise: As we practise
our breathing exercises, it is vital that we feel the movement of our
muscles, especially our abdominal muscles, so that we know whether we
are doing the exercises correctly or not. If we find that our abdominal
muscles collapse inwards too quickly, or that they are not expanding
sideways/all round whenever we practise our breathing exercises, then we
would do well to try to achieve the desired movements. We can test the
tension in our abdominal muscles by 'poking' the front of our abdominals
a few cm below our belly-button, and making sure that this area is tense
whenever we perform our breathing exercises. As long as we bear in mind
these simple breathing control tips whenever we practise our breathing
exercises, we will definitely achieve great improvements in our breath
foundation for singing, especially for those who may not be able to
sustain long notes, or for those who find themselves constantly out of
breath when singing long phrases in a song!
11
Be patient with yourself. After breathing vertically thousands of times a day all the years of your life, a new
way to breathe takes lots of concentration. Remember that your voice is an instrument like any other. It takes
time to learn to play it--time and patience and practice.
28
ACTIVITY TWO
PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
BREATHING
Stand upright with legs apart, lift up your hands, bend and touch your toes.
Breathe in and stay in that position for 10-15 secs, now rise up slowly and
breathe out through your mouth, if you do it well you will feel the pressure on
your abdomen.
Imagine that there is a balloon full of air in your diaphragm area. You can also
call this your personal 'air tank'. First, fill this balloon or air tank with air,
employing the techniques taught to you regarding proper breath inhalation. I
would now like you to slowly release the air from that air tank, or that balloon of
air bit by bit, through a very small hole on the balloon's surface.
In order to do that, I would like you to just produce this sound - 'ssss..' - using
your breath as well as your teeth and tongue. Do make sure that the sound
produced is a single 'S' sound, and not a 'Shhh' sound. (A 'Shhh' sound would be
releasing too much air and would not teach our muscles proper breathe control.)
Now, let's work on our second exercise, which is to produce this 'ssss' sound,
but focusing on making the sound stable and keeping the volume constant. This
trains our diaphragm and its surrounding muscles to be able to maintain a
constant amount of tension when we sing, and also trains our breath control, so
29
that we will be able to manipulate the dynamics or the loud and the soft of a
song with greater ease. Try it now!
That second exercise should have been relatively easy. Now, the third breathing
exercise builds on the second one, but requires more tension in the diaphragm
as well as the abdominal muscles. Produce the same 'ssss' sound, but this time,
try to do it as loudly as you can, expelling the air through that small hole from
your air balloon as quickly as you can!
You will find that you should be unable to sustain this loud sound for too long,
but you would be using more force in your abdominal area when you are
producing this sound. This trains our diaphragm and its surrounding muscles to
be able to handle greater levels of tension, which would be necessary for us to
support the high notes in a song.
Our fourth and final breathing exercise for singing is slightly different from the
first three exercises. Look at this series of 'ssss' and see if you can produce the
sounds that I want. "sss! sss! sss! sss! sss!"
If you produced a series of light and bouncy 'ssss' sounds, congratulations! That
is exactly what I would like you to do! This helps us to be able to train our
diaphragm to be more flexible, and to be able to sing fast songs and staccato
sections of a song with greater ease!
Do practise these exercises for singing at least once everyday, allocating a
minimum of 5 - 10 minutes and making sure that the basic breathing techniques
are adhered to strictly. There are also some important breathing control tips to
note when practising these exercises, and these tips will help you to make your
breathing training more fruitful!
30
APPENDIX C: REFERENCES
Nelson, E.: The Great Rounds Songbook New York, NY: Sterling Publishing.
1985.
Pamelia S. Phillips, DMA: Singing For Dummies, 2nd Edition, Published by
Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana – 2011.
Blood-Patterson, P.: Rise Up Singing Bethlehem, PA: Sing Out Corp. 1988
Junda, M.E.: "Part Singing Revisited," Music Educators Journal Vol. 83 #6,
May 1997
Vennard, W.: Singing, The Mechanism and Technique. New York: Carl Fisher,
Inc., 1967, pp. 94, 157.
Cornelius L. Reid: Functional Vocal Training. Milan, Part 1. 1970: This article
originally appeared in Journal of Orgonomy; Part 1 in Vol. 4, No. 2, November
1970, and Part 2 in Vol. 5, No. 1, May 1971
Schumaker, Alexander, R. “Incorporating Popular Music into the Choral
Classroom.” DMA diss., University of Miami, 2013. In Scholarly Repository,
http://scholarlyrepository.miami.edu/oa_dissertations/986/.
Mancini, G. B.: Practical Reflections on the Figurative Art of Singing. Milan,
1776; trans. by Pietro Buzzi; Boston, MA: The Gorham Press, 1912.
Jander, Owen, and Ellen T. Harris. "Bel canto." Grove Music Online. Oxford
Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed January 12, 2014,
http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/subscriber/ar
ticle/grove/music/02551.
31
Reid, C.L.: The Free Voice. Boston, MA: Coleman-Ross, 1965. pp. 2, 50.
National Association for Music Education “Glee: Making a Difference for
America’s Music Education?” NAfME, http://musiced.nafme.org/news/press-
releases/press-release-gleemaking-a-difference-for-americas-music-students/.
National Association for Music Education “National Standards for Music
Education.” NAfME, http://musiced.nafme.org/resources/national-standards-for-
music-education/.
Lehmann, L.: How to Sing. New York: Macmillan Co., 1960.
Witherspoon, H.: Singing. New York: G. Schirmer, 1945, pp. 21, 35.
Chen, Stephanie. “The ‘Glee’ Effect: Singing is Cool.” Cable News Network,
http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/11/15/glee.effect.show.choir.comeback/inde
x.html
32
APPENDIX D: IN THE NEXT VOLUME
As expected, the next volume of this e-book will be the complete edition which
will be loaded with helpful information covering all aspects of singing, from
posture and breathing to vocal health and techniques for increasing your range
to music, worship and the believer. Absolutely no experience is necessary for
the use of the complete edition! Even if you know zero about singing, you are
going to have a great time exploring your singing voice.
Exercising the singing voice is the ticket to improving your technique. The
exercises in the upcoming book are similar to what you may have encountered
in a voice lesson or a class about singing in the past. By working on exercises,
you give your body a chance to figure out exactly how to make the sounds.
Subsequent upon getting the technical details in the making, you can apply that
information to your songs and sound even better.
As a trainee, you may not have someone there listening to you as you practice,
but you will find suggestions throughout the complete book on how to listen to
your voice and critique it for yourself so that you can improve every time you
practice. This upcoming book is not designed as a reference guide alone! It is a
tutorial, and includes exercises to help you improve your singing. Welcome to
Fresh Olive Music Academy!
33
Closing Remarks
Whew! You made it! Now, it’s your turn to share your own favourite experience
with others. Visit me online to submit your contributions or comment on any of
the practice and exercise examples I have listed in this guide. Thanks for
reading!
About Fresh Olive Music Academy
The Fresh Olive Music Academy (FOMA) teaches singers and musicians how
to own their media instead of having to rent them through advertising. We do
this through events and channels like this and other strategic consulting ways.
Our guided experts have teamed up to help music and voice professionals and
business owners develop content and marketing plans that go beyond theories,
and explains it in a way that can actually be implemented in reality.
In order to create an avalanche of passionate subscribers to your brand and get
more music how-to resources, sign up for FOMA blog alerts which will be
rolled out soon from our website currently under construction. We will keep you
updated on this channel!
Contributing Authors
● Olaniyi Ola, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Lagos Post Online
[www.lagospostng.com]
● Olumide Omowaiye-Wise, Editorial Consultant, Portfolio Contracting
Nigeria Limited
Special Thanks
Bukola Marquis, Managing Partner, Adebola Marquis and Company
Damilare Bankole, Managing Editor, Lagos Post Online
34
/
For further information on these examples, please contact:
Elizabeth Ola
Fresh Olive Music Academy
fresholivemusic@gmail.com | +234 (0) 805 051 2165 |
Sing
Sing
PRACTICE AND EXERCISE-BASED TRAINING
MATERIALS FOR SINGERS
PRACTICE AND EXERCISE-BASED TRAINING
MATERIALS FOR SINGERS
Like A Professional
Like A Professional
The goal of this book is to teach singers all the skills needed
to succeed as performing artistes. Whether you're a beginning
vocalist or a seasoned singer, this practical guide gives
you step-by-step instructions and lots of helpful tips, hints,
exercises, and advice on the mechanics of singing,
discovering your range, developing technique, singing in
performance, and maintaining vocal health.
- Be rock solid: Get up-to-speed with the basics
of singing and master posture, breathing, and
tone
- Get moving and grooving: Improve your
singing by getting the hang of tone,
resonance, vowels, and consonants
- Find your musical style: Get great suggestions
for singing in different genres, including
classical, country, jazz, opera, pop, etc.
- Be rock solid:
- Get moving and grooving:
- Find your musical style:
About the Author
About the Author
Elizabeth Ola is a gospel singer and songwriter. Her personality, inviting warmth
and genuine love for God transcends her music and has earned her lots of fans and
industry accolades. For the past 20 years, her home-style management capabilities
had provided strategy, leadership and oversight for the various types of executive
schedules she has been involved in.
Elizabeth Ola

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ebook_Sing_Like_A_Professional - Elizabeth Ola.pdf

  • 1. FRESH OLIVE MUSIC ACADEMY MUSIC ACADEMY Convener of the Quarterly Programme, Worship in His Presence Worship in His Presence Elizabeth Ola Sing Sing PRACTICE AND EXERCISE-BASED TRAINING MATERIALS FOR SINGERS PRACTICE AND EXERCISE-BASED TRAINING MATERIALS FOR SINGERS Like A Professional Like A Professional
  • 2. 1 Sing Like A Professional, FIRST EDITION (e-book) Published by Fresh Olive Music International Limited Copyright © 2019 by Fresh Olive Music International Limited Designed and Produced by Portfolio Contracting Nigeria Limited and Lagos Post Online. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as permitted under the relevant Sections of the Nigerian Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through online validation of the appropriate per-copy clearance. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to Fresh Olive Music International Limited. Trademarks: Fresh Olive Music International Limited logo, Portfolio Contracting Nigeria Limited logo and Lagos Post Online logo, and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of all the institutions involved in this work, and may not be used without written permission. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Fresh Olive Music International Limited is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned as part of the references at the end this e-book.
  • 3. 2 Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: The publisher and the author make no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this work and specifically disclaim all warranties, including without limitation warranties of fitness for a particular purpose. No warranty may be created or extended by sales or promotional materials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is made available free with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. If professional assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. Neither the publisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom. The fact that an organization or website is referred to in this work as a citation and/or a potential source of further information does not mean that the author or the publisher endorses the information the organization or website may provide or recommendations it may make. Further, readers should be aware that books and internet websites listed in this work may have changed or disappeared between when this work was written and when it is read. For general information on our other products and services, please contact me within Nigeria and outside the country through the phone numbers and social media platforms provided in the next page. For technical, consultancy and training support, please contact me using any of the channels listed in this book. Copyright © 2019 by Fresh Olive Music International Limited
  • 4. 3 FRESH OLIVE MUSIC INTERNATIONAL LIMITED fresholivemusic@gmail.com | +234 (0) 805 051 2165 | Twitter 1 | @fresholivemusic Twitter 2 | @eola222 Facebook | Elizabeth Ola Facebook Page | Fresh Olive Music NG Instagram 1 | @lizzy_fresholivemusic Instagram 2 | @elizabeth_ola
  • 5. 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page FOREWORD 8 PREFACE: GUIDELINES FOR USING THIS BOOK 10 ABOUT THE AUTHOR & TRAINING CONSULTANT 12 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 14 COVERAGE AREAS: ASPECTS OF TRAINING 15 CHAPTER ONE: MASTERING BASICS OF SINGING TO ACHIEVE GREAT VOCALS 17 PITCH 18 RHYTHM 18 BREATH 18 VOICE 18 DICTION 19 ACTIVITY ONE: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE 20 BREATHING AND SUPPORT 20 CHAPTER TWO: VOCAL SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES 21 VOCAL INSTRUMENT 21 CHARACTERISTICS OF THE VOICE 23 VOICE QUALITY 23 UNDERSTANDING YOUR VOICE TEXTURE 24 BREATHE CONTROL 24 BREATHING FOR SINGING 24 IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF BREATHING 26 POSTURE TO CONTROLLED BREATHING 26
  • 6. 5 BREATHING CONTROL TIPS FOR BETTER VOCALS 26 ACTIVITY TWO: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE 28 BREATHING 28 CHAPTER THREE: MORE ABOUT PERFORMANCE AUDIENCE EXPECTATIONS OVERALL SATISFACTION ACTIVITY THREE: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE MORE BREATHING SECRETS CHAPTER FOUR: PROTECTING YOUR SINGING VOICE AND ENHANCING VOCAL HEALTH SINGING OUT OF TUNE: HOW TO CURE TONE DEAFNESS ACTIVITY FOUR: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE TAKING IN DEEP BREATHS AND EXHALING SLOWLY CHAPTER FIVE: PREVENTING OUT-OF-BREATH SCENARIOS HOW TO STRENGTHEN YOUR VOCALS JAW TIGHTNESS: RELAX AND UNLEASH YOUR SINGING VOICE HOW TO AVOID HEAD LIFTING OR SINGING TO THE SKIES AVOIDING FACTORS THAT HINDERS VOCAL PROWESS ACTIVITY FIVE: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE LIP TRILL OR BUBBLE EXERCISE CHAPTER SIX: HOW WRONG BREATHING CAN RUIN YOUR VOICE ACTIVITY SIX: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE
  • 7. 6 THROAT AND TONGUE TENSION CHAPTER SEVEN: VOCAL HEALTH SECRETS FOR PERFORMERS KEEPING THE LARYNX HYDRATED STEAMING KEEPING THE LARYNX HEALTHY KEEPING THE LARYNX HARM-FREE LEARNING GOOD VOCAL TECHNIQUES AMPLIFICATION EARPLUGS ACTIVITY SEVEN: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE CHAPTER EIGHT: THE LARYNX AND THROAT TENSION BRIDGES VOCAL CORD ADDUCTION THE CHOICE STAGE FRIGHT VIBRATO THE BELT MIX VOCAL DYNAMICS SPECIAL EFFECTS R & B STYLE POP COLORATURA ROCK STYLE ACTIVITY EIGHT: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE CHAPTER NINE: VOWEL SOUND MODIFICATION
  • 8. 7 SPEECH VOWELS REASONS FOR MODIFYING VOWELS ACTIVITY NINE: PRACTICE AND EXERCISE DO YOU WANT TO BE A GOOD SINGER? SINGING DICTION APPENDIX A: HOW OUR VOCAL CORDS WORK APPENDIX B: GLOSSARY OF MUSICAL TERMS APPENDIX C: REFERENCES 29 APPENDIX D: IN THE NEXT VOLUME 32 ADDITIONAL NOTES 33
  • 9. 8 FOREWORD Welcome to Sing Like A Professional, the Fresh Olive Music Academy guide to singing. Although, you have been in the passive musical mix sometime in the past, now it is time to have a go yourself. Whether you are an absolute beginner, or haven’t sung in a while, it’s never too late to get into singing. If you also a performing voice artiste with peripheral knowledge of your creative art, you can deepen your understanding for better performance in the future. Singing can give you courage, get your heart pumping and might even boost your brain power! The human voice is a product of function and has no mechanical function of its own. It is the end result of a coordinative process involving a complex of laryngeal and pharyngeal muscles, and all devices and techniques employed to improve the tone after the coordinative pattern has been set are useless. What a constructive programme of vocal study should attempt is the discovery of a technique whereby the coordinative process of the muscles engaged in phonation can be improved and perfected. As no vocal technique is faultless, success in teaching and learning depends in large part upon a programme given over to changing a habitual coordinative process. Attitudes are employed as principles, opinions dignified as facts, theories accepted without challenge, and, frequently, whenever valid principles are embraced, they are misapplied. Unable to learn, the student is then blamed for all short-comings because of an inherent lack of talent. The purpose of this book is to show a better, more logical path to follow for the fulfilment of vocal skills – one more consonant with natural order and functional logic. What is crucial to the training of the voice, in the past and now, is the insight provided by two important discoveries: First, the theory of registration, which provided a means for influencing functional mechanics without recourse to methods of direct control, and secondly, the reflexive nature of the vocal response which is a testament to the fact that the vocal organs react to an outer stimulus.
  • 10. 9 The muscular responses causing particular registers to predominate are purely involuntary while the interplay of the registers, controllable through pitch and intensity patterns, represents the manipulative device to which the voice trainee can respond as an act of will. As the reaction of the vocal organs to these simple patterns involves the involuntary movement of muscles, the movement of these supposedly inaccessible muscular reflexes can be brought under a very practical kind of control. By skilful and practised use of pitch-intensity patterns, the registers can be separated, developed independently, or made to draw together and act as a unit in innumerable relationships involving a balance to be shared between them. These factors, plus temperament, musicality, anatomical structure, and psychological attitudes, are the contributing elements making each voice and personality a unique problem. If voice training techniques are to be re-established on a practical basis, the first step to be taken in that direction would be to determine the kind of mechanism we are dealing with and the possible means at our disposal for assisting that function. Superficially, we are concerned with the organs of voice, but a far more comprehensive view of the subject will be possible if the mechanism is recognized for what it truly is – a respiratory organ. Due to the fact that the respiratory system possesses those elements necessary for making tone, it can be readily converted into a sound-producing instrument. As such, it is being used as an adaptive mechanism. There are two phases to this process: First, a series of muscular contractions which cause the vocal cords to adjust to the required length and tension for pitch, and second, the positioning of the entire pharyngeal tract to answer the needs of resonance. Whether you’re a shower singer or you secretly desire to sing on a stage, this book is for you. You cannot develop your singing voice overnight; it takes time. Some people are born with a voice ready to sing at some of the best platforms for the expression of Class A talent in the world, but most people who like to sing have to work on their voice to prepare it for the first performance. Whichever category you fit into, this book has some valuable information for you.
  • 11. 10 PREFACE GUIDELINES FOR USING THIS BOOK The goal of the Training Programme, Sing Like A Professional, is to teach you all the skills you need to succeed as a singer. For the gospel artiste, this book is expected to help you serve God in your local Church better and to influence others around you positively through the art of meaningful music and worship. Even though you may not feel confident at first with your new skills, a sense of purpose on your part will help you to improve your skills and give you more confidence. Here are some suggestions that will help you successfully complete this training: ● Follow the training in order: This training is arranged to help you learn vocal skills and concepts in a logical progression. Even if you already understand a concept, review it and do the practice assignments. ● Try to master each concept and skill before moving ahead: Practice each vocal skill until you feel comfortable with it. If a skill is too hard for you, do your best and move on. It is better to finish the training than quit because you have difficulty with one or two skills. With patience and practice, you will eventually master all the skills. ● Follow all the practice instructions: This will help you learn the skills more quickly. ● Use the resources provided: The unwritten instructions and other reference materials that come with this training has examples of what you are learning.1 1 The practice and exercises at the end each activity series in this manual refer to practical examples from the instructor that illustrates basic skills.
  • 12. 11 ● Use the Church’s standard worship modes and patterns: The manual often instructs you to refer to it, and you should use these modes and prototypes whenever you work on this training. ● Use the Glossary of Musical Terms to learn more about the words printed in bold type in the manual. Each of these words appears in bold type the first time it is used. ● Use your skills as you learn them: As you apply the shills learnt through this channel, you will get better! For the music ministers serving the Lord in the churches and helping others worship him through music, He will bless you. For many users of this manual, simply browsing through the activity series will yield fascinating insights. Checking out differences in approach to specific aspects of voice training – for example, breathing, alignment, articulation, and Resonance – will also be enlightening and useful. Cross-cultural differences observed through the sections of the manual can provide practical information for music professionals who work in more than one part of the country. And, finally, the privilege of interacting vicariously with each of these dynamic activity series teachers will be a valuable experience in itself. Beyond the activity series and directly related to the interconnectedness of music and voice are the final sections of the manual, which synthesize the material in specific and practical ways. For some users/readers, this manual is the logical place to start, so that the practice sessions of activity series then become an invaluable follow-up, as well as a remarkable tool for personal exploration and further research. 2 My hope in putting this all together is that this manual will set off a spark, inspire a leap in music communication, and open doors to performance possibilities, as it celebrates the multifaceted capabilities of the voice as a vocal instrument in the context of performance. 2 Individual conclusions are both inevitable and desirable. Therefore, regardless of the users approach, they will draw their own analogies and make their own pedagogical and performance connections.
  • 13. 12 ABOUT THE AUTHOR & TRAINING CONSULTANT Elizabeth Ola is a gospel singer and songwriter. Her personality, inviting warmth and genuine love for God transcends her music and has earned her lots of fans and industry accolades. For the past 20 years, she has been focusing on trend identification and strategy development to address critical business challenges faced by the music industry. Her home-style management capabilities had provided strategy, leadership and oversight for the various types of executive schedules she has been involved in. She has also led various consultancy tasks responsible for church music development, deploying hands-on experience and strategies to support music fora and summits in the past. As part of her work on forward-looking music activities and solutions, her background includes more than two decades in consulting, music business and operations strategy, social media systems development and operations management. Most recently and with the responsibility for managing choral music and related resources/facilities, she has led several strategy and team efforts for emerging and collaborative women groups like the Victorious Praying Women Ministries (VPWM) and Thriving Business Women Fellowship (TBWF) in Nigeria. She is an unrepentant Social Entrepreneur and Total Quality Activist who strongly believes that any system where quality music is not sufficiently marched by supply is no doubt one with looming social and spiritual crisis. She is a firm believer in the meaningful role which gospel music can play in addressing real life issues across all human sectors. She began singing at her family church as a member of a junior gospel choir at a very tender age. Afterwards, she began performing alongside her brothers but was discovered by Karis Music Ministry. Hence, it’s virtually impossible to talk about Elizabeth without acknowledging her artistic influence on an entire musical genre of the Karis Music Ministry and the groundbreaking achievements she’s accomplished over the past twenty-two years. Blessed with
  • 14. 13 one of the music industry’s greatest voices, Elizabeth3 has crossed all stylistic, social and age barriers with her inspirational delivery and powerful music. This explains why her long career in music has given her the opportunity to serve as lead vocalist and choir director for several churches. From simple, piano-based melodies, lush strings and accompanying sounds of Elizabeth’s home church choir, her songs cover a range of musical timbres. At the same time, her simple, poignant words paint a powerful picture and communicate a message that is paramount to everything else. Whether it is through the quiet, intimate brush strokes of the worship melodies, or the powerfully delivered inspirational lyrics, Elizabeth has crafted a lifetime that demonstrates the spiritual maturity and growth of an artist who has consistently triumphed as a multi-talented songwriter and performer. Fluently sings in English, French, Yoruba, Igbo, Efik, Urhobo, Hausa, Idoma among others at Commercial, Corporate and Church functions. She is an ambassador to those who have been touched by her life and her music, while allowing her faith to remain at the forefront of everything she does. In spite of the fact that she hails from Nsit Ubiom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, she was born in Bariga, Lagos State where her parent migrated to in search of greener pastures. She is married to Olaniyi Ola, an avid music industry watcher and enthusiast. Together, they have four wonderful boys. Additional Skills and Attributes: ● Strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills ● Ability to foster teamwork towards achieving joint objectives ● Social disposition to cope with flexible working hours travelling amidst cultural diversities ● Good leadership qualities and ability to build winning terms Corporate Achievements/Awards: ● Lead vocalist in Karis Music French Album “Celebrez le Seigneur” ● 2006 Karis Grace Awards for Exemplary Service and Outstanding Performance ● Implementation of best practices in music management coupled with ability to develop sound administrative procedures ● CEO, Fresh Olive Music Academy 3 Elizabeth Ola has been training singers for the music profession in churches where she had worked for over ten years. Her clients include upcoming artists/singers on major record labels as well as independent performers. The Fresh Olive Music Academy offers lessons and workshops in every aspect of singing from vocal technique to music business to performance.
  • 15. 14 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and most, I want to thank God Almighty whose Grace has brought me this far today, Secondly, I thank my beloved husband who is a major contributor to this training manual. His willingness to participate in the project, along with his generosity and expertise, make this a very special volume indeed. He not only made time in an incredibly busy schedule for this work, but also reviewed the written transcript and provided additional information to complete the work. Special thanks to him for book cover design, photography and editorial counsel. Thirdly, I am deeply indebted to my colleagues in ministry for their generous support and willingness to read parts of the manuscript and for their positive comments, invaluable suggestions, and unflagging encouragement. Special thanks to Pastor Mayokun Oreofe, the President of Victorious Praying Women Ministry for her unflinching support and mentoring. I also thank my numerous students in the last couple of years for their willingness to demonstrate the exercises at the end of every Chapter which is concluded with the Activity Series I gratefully acknowledge the Chief Executive Officer of Karis Music, Reverend Ekpenyong Bassey, for his amazing attention to detail and endless supply of encouragement in the course of growing up as a young singer under his tutelage. Eternal thanks to his beautiful wife, Mrs. Pat Bassey, for her encouragement and for tolerance while working with Karis Band. Finally, my sincerest thanks to some close friends and associates for their immediate and enthusiastic response to my vision, and their wisdom and guidance throughout the visioning and editorial process.
  • 16. 15 FIGURATIVE COVERAGE AREAS ASPECTS OF TRAINING For the purpose of clarity the six major aspects of voice training which will be covered by this manual are listed below as: ● Alignment ● Breathing ● Range ● Resonance ● Articulation ● Connection (the Performance Dimension) Now, from the perspective of my own approach and personal experience, there is a need to specifically explain each of these elements. Alignment: I work with body alignment with regard to breathing, support, power, projection, dynamics, and presentation. Breathing and support coordination is the first and important technique. With good breathing and support habits, a singer can build the rest of the techniques that go into the freedom to express the lyrics and music. Range is expanded and stretched gradually from the highest to the lowest note in every voice. Every trainee is expected to develop at least a three-octave range, no matter what their age or singing style. Resonance is paramount in this training/teaching. Every musical note deserves to live. Colour, quality, expression, vibrato, and dynamics, with a good foundation in breath control, are also basic to this training.
  • 17. 16 Articulation: Pronunciation and articulation are very important in the determination of style. Connection: Solid technique must be so automatic and free that the singer can interpret a song every single time, as if it were the first time he or she were singing those words. Every single word must be explored and personal. The singer must do the homework. Each song is a monologue and must be treated as such. It is important to reiterate at this early stage that the five senses of a performing musician must be put into effective use to give a full and sensuous performance. Singers need training in performance. At the Fresh Olive Music Academy, we give performance workshops, which include microphone technique, stage etiquette, movement, and image to prepare singers for the stage.4 4 Musicians need to know how to audition, and we work on audition materials at Fresh Olive Music Academy workshops.
  • 18. 17 CHAPTER ONE MASTERING BASICS OF SINGING TO ACHIEVE GREAT VOCALS A solid foundation in the basics of singing is absolutely essential towards achieving a great voice. This is why I have decided to break down the basics of singing into simple and concise components, so that we can all understand the elementary topics we have to learn in order to improve on our vocal ability. You may also wish to check out some useful materials on singing that I personally read, so as to gain a deeper understanding of the various basic aspects of the art of singing. The five basic components of singing are: 1. Pitch 2. Rhythm 3. Breath 4. Voice 5. Diction
  • 19. 18 Let us take a brief look at each of these components: PITCH We all know how it feels like to listen to someone sing off-key or out of tune, especially if we are in a small confined space with nowhere else to go. This is why pitch is absolutely essential for great singing. Pitch refers to the notes and sounds that we hear when someone sings, and it determines if the song is going to sound great or not. The singer will have to hit various pitches in a song with a relative amount of accuracy in order to be in tune with the overall music accompaniment and harmonies. Training ourselves to recognize pitches and intervals, to vocalize various notes as well as to correct ourselves when we go off-key is absolutely essential to achieving an accurate pitch when singing. RHYTHM Every song has a certain beat, and it is essential that we keep to the basic rhythm of the song, or else we might find that we are constantly trying to catch up with the lyrics or always lagging behind. Rhythm also determines the groove of the song, and this is what gets us on our feet and dancing when we listen to upbeat or fast tempo songs. A great sense of rhythm begins with learning to recognize various beat durations, to vocalize notes with different beats, as well as to be able to keep to the basic tempo of a song. BREATH Breathing is an essential component of singing, and is what most singing instructors would introduce to trainees during their first lesson for singing. It is also what most people would want to learn about and also ask questions about. What most people don't realize is that breathing is actually a very natural process, and it is certainly not difficult to achieve better breath control for singing. Understanding how we breathe for singing will be of great aid to us in achieving a great breath foundation for singing. VOICE Our voice is often taken for granted when we sing, and we usually focus too much attention on other components of singing, instead of seeking to strengthen our vocal apparatus in order to produce great sounds when singing.
  • 20. 19 Basic understanding of our voice and vocal cords is essential in order to guide us towards adopting beneficial singing habits, as well as producing sounds that are more relaxed and healthy for us to vocalize. DICTION Learning how to produce sound with our voice is not enough. We still need to shape our voice, and form words in a language that our audience will understand. This is why diction is also one of the vital basics of singing, because it determines whether our audience understands what we are singing, and whether we are able to connect with them through our song. Diction is also a key factor towards hitting the correct pitches, especially for the high notes, and this will be explained in detail in other sections of this manual. There are also other basic musical terms used during singing, and it would be good for us to understand these terms too, so as to get a more well-rounded learning experience, and also know how to communicate with fellow singers and musicians too. Now that we have a clear understanding of the basics of singing, let us move on to more challenging topics.
  • 21. 20 ACTIVITY ONE PRACTICE AND EXERCISE BREATHING AND SUPPORT For breathing and support, three areas expand on the intake of breath: the rib cage, lower abdomen and the lower back. As we sing, the ribs resist collapse and the lower back remains firm. For breathing and support, I like to use a very effective breathing and support exercise: Let me do it first. We sit on the edge of our chairs and drop down slowly, exhaling our air. We slowly come up, inhaling and imagining the air filling low into our back and rib cage. POWER AND PROJECTION Let’s talk about power and projection. Power and projection is not how loud one sings, but it is in the intensity of the tone. The vocal folds are muscles and need to be strong to be able to project a clear and powerful sound. In order to create a clear tone, the breath pressure must be balanced with the firmness of the vocal folds. We want a laser beam sound, whether it’s soft or loud, not a breathy diffused tone that doesn’t project, except when the breathiness is intentional for emotional expression. As we age, our muscles get flabby, and the vocal cords are no exception. Weak and flabby vocal cords affect the clarity of the tone as well as the vibrato control. This exercise will keep the vocal cords firm and youthful. Here is an exercise for the chest register that will strengthen the vocal cords will put a “ring” in your tone, allowing you to project that tone with ease and intensity. We use the sound Ow! Because it isolates and strengthens the vocal cords and brings the tone forward in the mask. A strong chest register is also very important for the classical and musical theatre soprano.
  • 22. 21 CHAPTER TWO VOCAL SKILLS AND TECHNIQUES Singing is communicating a message in a melodious manner. It is an art which must be developed to bring it to its optimum functioning capacity. Singing is expressing your innermost in melody through words. Your singing talents is underdeveloped, raw or unrefined until your voice have undergone voice training, worked on and developed, then you begin to see the beauty and other people listening to you get to appreciate your voice quality. It’s like gold in its raw form, but when worked on brings out the beauty to the admiration of everyone. When we talk about singing, most of us rarely talk about our vocal cords, and would begin by emphasizing our breathing, since the first action that we do is actually to breathe before we even begin to make any sound. We believe that once we train ourselves to be able to control our breathing5 well, we will be able to sing well too. 5 Breathing is the single most important element in singing. In order to control your voice you have to put out exactly the amount of breath you need for the sound you want. That breath needs to be as focused as a laser beam. How you exhale controls the quality of the sound, the volume, the pitch and the tone. How you inhale governs how you exhale.
  • 23. 22 However, equally important is our set of vocal cords, which is the origin of our strong and healthy voice. Without them, we would have no voice, even if we have a strong diaphragm and lots of breath in our lungs. Our vocal cords are actually housed in what we call our 'voice box' or larynx, also commonly known as Adam's Apple, which is most easily seen as a bulge in most men's throats. These cords produce sound through rapid vibration with the passage of air between the set of cords. When the air passes through the cords, forcing them apart, the cords immediately close back; creating multiple vibrations at a certain frequency, and this creates what our human ear perceives as the sound of our voice. This also means that our vocal cords bear the brunt of the air pressure created when we sing. Another fact that most people do not know is that these cord muscles actually can control our breathing too. Sometimes, we focus on how our diaphragm and its surrounding muscles control our breathing, but one fact remains that our cords can control our breath, by shutting completely and not letting any air out of our body. We can demonstrate this by pronouncing these words loudly: "HAK!!! AH....." Make sure that you shut your cord muscles completely at the end of the word "HAK!!!", and only when you let some air pass through your cords; it will allow you to produce the next word, "AH...." as a form of release... You can also demonstrate how our cords control our breathing by holding your breath and leaving your mouth open. It is this important set of muscles that is holding back the breath in our body, and once our cords are open, the breath will be able to pass through. One other important and useful fact about our voice is that for low notes, our cord muscles are relatively less tense and less stretched out. However, for high notes, our cords are much more tense and more stretched out! This means that when we do our humming or lip trill vocal warm-ups and we do progressively higher notes, our cord muscles are actually being stretched out more and becoming more and more intense. This would mean that we need to be more careful when we start to sing higher and higher notes, as our cord muscles are subject to more and more strain, and they would then be more vulnerable to vocal abuse. Various vocal warmup exercises are available in this website to stretch out our vocal cords before singing to prevent unnecessary harm to our voice. There are also other vocal training exercises to help us to develop a strong and healthy singing voice. One very important point to note is that we should not be over-zealous when we are training our vocal cord muscles. Just as we would not want to strain our back
  • 24. 23 or sprain our shoulders when we lift weights, we would also not want to hurt our voice muscles by over-training or subjecting them to much fatigue. A general guideline6 is that whenever we feel fatigue or even slight pain in our voice or throat, stop and rest. This will prevent any unnecessary damage to these small but important muscles in our voice box. VOCAL INSTRUMENT The voice, just like the string, brass and wind instrument is also known as the vocal instrument. The voice is an instrument of communication that expresses your thoughts and when melody is added to it becomes a vocal instrument of music. It’s a unique instrument that has articulators used in modifying tones into specific sounds. These are: ● The lips ● The teeth ● The tongue ● The palate These are used in forming consonants and vowels, this articulators shapes the air into different sounds as it comes out of your mouth. Characteristics of the voice ● The voice can glide ● It can be modulated ● It can be muted ● It can be sensuous ● It can be cold, coarse, persuasive and humorous ● It can also be whatever enters the mind of the performer. ● It cannot sustain a tone beyond the lungs capacity of the singer. Voice quality: It can be nasal, clear, breathy, harsh, piercing and coarse, if you must copy a particular singer, knowing your voice texture and vocal range is very important, so you can pose the exact voice texture. There is a difference between what you hear in your mind and the actual sound produced for others to hear. 6 Most people, as they walk around in their daily lives, inhale into their upper lungs i.e., their shoulders go up as does their chest. When the air is in your upper lungs, you don't have the kind of detailed control you need. A singer (or a swimmer or runner--anyone who has to control their air) should fill their lower lungs. This means that instead of a breath that is vertical, with your body expanding upwards, the breath should be horizontal, expanding outwards.
  • 25. 24 Understanding your voice texture ● Understanding your voice texture helps you to choose and follow a model that you can pattern your voice after. ● Understanding your voice texture makes it easy for singers to be able to sing and deliver excellently. Breathe Control Just like any wind instrument, you can’t make a sound without air. When you breathe in, air enters your body through your mouth, your larynx down, your trachea and into your lungs. It takes the reverse route on the way out and it passes over your vocal cords, making it vibrates, and that is where the sounds starts. However, the foundation for good singing is good breathing i.e. if your breathing is right then your singing will be right. BREATHING7 FOR SINGING Here, the reasons why breathe to sing will be unveiled. Without breath and air, we have no voice and ultimately no sound. We need breath in order to produce the sound that is our voice. This is why most vocal instructors would emphasize on breath training right from the very beginning, putting trainees through rigorous breath training in order to build a good strong foundation for singing. However, before we move on to even the most basic of our breathing exercises, we need to first know how to execute good breathing for singing. This would involve a certain muscle in our body called the Diaphragm8 , as well as other supporting muscles around the diaphragm. The Diaphragm9 : Our diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle separating our rib cage from the rest of our organs below it (including our stomach and 7 Here is a simple exercise: Put one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your back, both at about waist level. Inhale by filling your lower lungs with air so that your stomach sticks out. Your hands should move apart, the air filling the space between them. As you exhale let your stomach go back in gently. Think of your stomach as a balloon that inflates and deflates. Your chest shouldn't move, not even an eighth of an inch. As you get better at this, your back will also move out when you inhale. Try putting your thumbs one on each side of your spine, at about waist level. Relax your shoulders. Now inhale into your thumbs. 8 Once you put the air in the right place, you must learn to control it with your diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscle that sits below your lungs and causes them to fill and empty. If you exhale out all of your air down to the absolutely last drop, you will feel your diaphragm under your rib cage as it pushes up against your lungs. On the outside of your ribs you will feel your abdominal wall pushing in; inside your ribs your diaphragm pushes up. Not only does your diaphragm need to be strong enough to push hard when you want lots of power, but it needs to have even more control and strength when you want to sing a fast and accurate lick, or a big jump in pitch, or very, very quietly. Building the strength and control of your diaphragm begins with proper breathing. 9 To strengthen the diaphragm, again put one hand on your abdomen and the other hand on your back. Inhale into your abdomen and exhale forcibly so that your stomach muscles push in and the air comes out rapidly.
  • 26. 25 intestines). Its function is to regulate the flow of air when singing, by contracting and relaxing whenever we inhale and exhale respectively. As you breathe in, and your lungs fills with air, the diaphragm moves down, when you breathe out, it moves back up, controlling the flow of air. You can control the way your diaphragm works when you breathe in slowly, you feel your tummy expanding, and the tummy relaxing when you breathe out. The same applies when preparing to sing, take a deep breathe and the tummy moves out, and the tummy steadily moving in when you sing. Important points to note: ● Do not pull your tummy in and then hold it rigid, this set up tension in the rest of the body. ● Our shoulders and chest area should be relaxed when we inhale. If we find that our chest area lifts up high or our shoulders are raised when we inhale, then just rest both hands on your chest and repeat the inhalation exercise with our hands resting on a stationery chest. ● Raising our chest and shoulders is a common habit, but it really causes us to draw a shallow breath, and this creates problems later when we need more breathe to support our singing, especially for high notes or for long phrases in a song. ● Avoid shallow breathing, this will only allow you to sing very short phrases and not give you the necessary support for your singing Remember you are your instrument, the way you use your body when you sing is extremely important. So, how do we practise our breathing exercises? Now, let's begin by first drawing in a deep breath of air. Imagine that you are sucking in a strand of noodle (we need to suck the noodles noisily) or sucking a deep breath of air through a tiny straw, and letting the air go directly into your abdominal area. Try it now and feel the air being drawn into our abdominal area, moving downwards as well as sideward. Of course, our air does not actually enter our stomach when we breathe. This is only for visualization and instructional purposes. (For those who do not know, the air goes into our lungs.) Once we have understood how to take in a proper breath of air, we can proceed to some basic breathing exercises that will teach us to control our breath for singing, as well as strengthen the diaphragm and its surrounding muscles, so as to be able to provide better breath support for singing. Repeat this--inhale, abdomen out, exhale forcibly, abdomen in--thirty times picking up the tempo as you get comfortable with it. Breathe through your mouth. As you go faster you may find that you've fallen back into the old habit of breathing vertically again. In that case, stop and start over by breathing slowly and gently into your lower lungs until you have the feeling again.
  • 27. 26 Important Aspects of Breathing ● Ability to inhale large quantities of air ● Ability to catch or snatch a good breath quickly ● Importantly, ability to control the escape air. ● The shoulders should not rise in the act of breathing. In essence, maximum intake10 and maximum let out of breathing, the effective use of the lungs entailing emptying as well as filling them, allows for clarity and excellent performance in singing. Benefit of controlled breathing ● Good health: it expands the chest an inch or two ● Flattens sagging abdominal muscles and correct the posture ● Cleanses the lungs ● Re-oxygenates the blood efficiently ● Relaxes you when tensed or nervous. Posture to controlled breathing ● Sit properly on a firm straight-backed chair ● Hang your arms loosely and move the elbows away from the sides of the chest without moving the shoulders and with your back touching the chair back ● Take a long, slow deep breath from the bottom of the lungs ● Try to expand so that your back swells and presses against the chair. ● This exercise should quickly establish the sensation of waist and back expansion while breathing in. Breathing Control Tips for Better Vocals In order for us to achieve the desired effect from our breathing control exercises, here are some important tips, so that our exercises become more focussed and effective. Now, in order for us to practise our breathing exercises effectively, we need to bear in mind the following points: 1. Downwards and side wards motion: Whenever we do our breathing exercises, we should 'imagine' the movement of air as coming in from our mouth and moving downwards towards our abdominal area in a downward and sideward motion. The muscles surrounding our diaphragm 10 Initially you may feel that you can't get enough air, but that is because your lung capacity is small from disuse. All infants breathe into their lower lungs, but as we age and our stress levels increase, our breathing tends to move upwards. With practice you will find that your lower lungs stretch out and that your ribs in the back will loosen up and make room for the larger inhalation.
  • 28. 27 area, as well as our abdominal muscles, should expand slightly in all directions, more noticeably sideways. The reason behind this is that our diaphragm separates our rib cage from the rest of our organs below it (including our stomach and intestines). When our diaphragm contracts and flattens during inhalation (when we breathe in), it pushes down on our vital organs and compresses them slightly, resulting in a slight bulge all round in our abdominal area, or as we commonly call it, our waistline. 2. Maintaining tension in the abdominal muscles: When we exhale during our breathing11 exercises, our task is to focus on maintaining a certain level of tension in our abdominal muscles (since as I previously mentioned in the earlier section on 'Breath', these muscles are easier for us to control, compared to the diaphragm muscle itself). We should not let our abdominal muscles collapse inward too quickly, and should try to maintain an outward tension, letting our abdominal muscles contract slowly as our breath is expelled from our body. This will allow us to train these muscles to be able to withstand greater tension, and also to be able to control our breath more effectively. 3. Feeling the movement of our muscles as we practise: As we practise our breathing exercises, it is vital that we feel the movement of our muscles, especially our abdominal muscles, so that we know whether we are doing the exercises correctly or not. If we find that our abdominal muscles collapse inwards too quickly, or that they are not expanding sideways/all round whenever we practise our breathing exercises, then we would do well to try to achieve the desired movements. We can test the tension in our abdominal muscles by 'poking' the front of our abdominals a few cm below our belly-button, and making sure that this area is tense whenever we perform our breathing exercises. As long as we bear in mind these simple breathing control tips whenever we practise our breathing exercises, we will definitely achieve great improvements in our breath foundation for singing, especially for those who may not be able to sustain long notes, or for those who find themselves constantly out of breath when singing long phrases in a song! 11 Be patient with yourself. After breathing vertically thousands of times a day all the years of your life, a new way to breathe takes lots of concentration. Remember that your voice is an instrument like any other. It takes time to learn to play it--time and patience and practice.
  • 29. 28 ACTIVITY TWO PRACTICE AND EXERCISE BREATHING Stand upright with legs apart, lift up your hands, bend and touch your toes. Breathe in and stay in that position for 10-15 secs, now rise up slowly and breathe out through your mouth, if you do it well you will feel the pressure on your abdomen. Imagine that there is a balloon full of air in your diaphragm area. You can also call this your personal 'air tank'. First, fill this balloon or air tank with air, employing the techniques taught to you regarding proper breath inhalation. I would now like you to slowly release the air from that air tank, or that balloon of air bit by bit, through a very small hole on the balloon's surface. In order to do that, I would like you to just produce this sound - 'ssss..' - using your breath as well as your teeth and tongue. Do make sure that the sound produced is a single 'S' sound, and not a 'Shhh' sound. (A 'Shhh' sound would be releasing too much air and would not teach our muscles proper breathe control.) Now, let's work on our second exercise, which is to produce this 'ssss' sound, but focusing on making the sound stable and keeping the volume constant. This trains our diaphragm and its surrounding muscles to be able to maintain a constant amount of tension when we sing, and also trains our breath control, so
  • 30. 29 that we will be able to manipulate the dynamics or the loud and the soft of a song with greater ease. Try it now! That second exercise should have been relatively easy. Now, the third breathing exercise builds on the second one, but requires more tension in the diaphragm as well as the abdominal muscles. Produce the same 'ssss' sound, but this time, try to do it as loudly as you can, expelling the air through that small hole from your air balloon as quickly as you can! You will find that you should be unable to sustain this loud sound for too long, but you would be using more force in your abdominal area when you are producing this sound. This trains our diaphragm and its surrounding muscles to be able to handle greater levels of tension, which would be necessary for us to support the high notes in a song. Our fourth and final breathing exercise for singing is slightly different from the first three exercises. Look at this series of 'ssss' and see if you can produce the sounds that I want. "sss! sss! sss! sss! sss!" If you produced a series of light and bouncy 'ssss' sounds, congratulations! That is exactly what I would like you to do! This helps us to be able to train our diaphragm to be more flexible, and to be able to sing fast songs and staccato sections of a song with greater ease! Do practise these exercises for singing at least once everyday, allocating a minimum of 5 - 10 minutes and making sure that the basic breathing techniques are adhered to strictly. There are also some important breathing control tips to note when practising these exercises, and these tips will help you to make your breathing training more fruitful!
  • 31. 30 APPENDIX C: REFERENCES Nelson, E.: The Great Rounds Songbook New York, NY: Sterling Publishing. 1985. Pamelia S. Phillips, DMA: Singing For Dummies, 2nd Edition, Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana – 2011. Blood-Patterson, P.: Rise Up Singing Bethlehem, PA: Sing Out Corp. 1988 Junda, M.E.: "Part Singing Revisited," Music Educators Journal Vol. 83 #6, May 1997 Vennard, W.: Singing, The Mechanism and Technique. New York: Carl Fisher, Inc., 1967, pp. 94, 157. Cornelius L. Reid: Functional Vocal Training. Milan, Part 1. 1970: This article originally appeared in Journal of Orgonomy; Part 1 in Vol. 4, No. 2, November 1970, and Part 2 in Vol. 5, No. 1, May 1971 Schumaker, Alexander, R. “Incorporating Popular Music into the Choral Classroom.” DMA diss., University of Miami, 2013. In Scholarly Repository, http://scholarlyrepository.miami.edu/oa_dissertations/986/. Mancini, G. B.: Practical Reflections on the Figurative Art of Singing. Milan, 1776; trans. by Pietro Buzzi; Boston, MA: The Gorham Press, 1912. Jander, Owen, and Ellen T. Harris. "Bel canto." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press, accessed January 12, 2014, http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.offcampus.lib.washington.edu/subscriber/ar ticle/grove/music/02551.
  • 32. 31 Reid, C.L.: The Free Voice. Boston, MA: Coleman-Ross, 1965. pp. 2, 50. National Association for Music Education “Glee: Making a Difference for America’s Music Education?” NAfME, http://musiced.nafme.org/news/press- releases/press-release-gleemaking-a-difference-for-americas-music-students/. National Association for Music Education “National Standards for Music Education.” NAfME, http://musiced.nafme.org/resources/national-standards-for- music-education/. Lehmann, L.: How to Sing. New York: Macmillan Co., 1960. Witherspoon, H.: Singing. New York: G. Schirmer, 1945, pp. 21, 35. Chen, Stephanie. “The ‘Glee’ Effect: Singing is Cool.” Cable News Network, http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/11/15/glee.effect.show.choir.comeback/inde x.html
  • 33. 32 APPENDIX D: IN THE NEXT VOLUME As expected, the next volume of this e-book will be the complete edition which will be loaded with helpful information covering all aspects of singing, from posture and breathing to vocal health and techniques for increasing your range to music, worship and the believer. Absolutely no experience is necessary for the use of the complete edition! Even if you know zero about singing, you are going to have a great time exploring your singing voice. Exercising the singing voice is the ticket to improving your technique. The exercises in the upcoming book are similar to what you may have encountered in a voice lesson or a class about singing in the past. By working on exercises, you give your body a chance to figure out exactly how to make the sounds. Subsequent upon getting the technical details in the making, you can apply that information to your songs and sound even better. As a trainee, you may not have someone there listening to you as you practice, but you will find suggestions throughout the complete book on how to listen to your voice and critique it for yourself so that you can improve every time you practice. This upcoming book is not designed as a reference guide alone! It is a tutorial, and includes exercises to help you improve your singing. Welcome to Fresh Olive Music Academy!
  • 34. 33 Closing Remarks Whew! You made it! Now, it’s your turn to share your own favourite experience with others. Visit me online to submit your contributions or comment on any of the practice and exercise examples I have listed in this guide. Thanks for reading! About Fresh Olive Music Academy The Fresh Olive Music Academy (FOMA) teaches singers and musicians how to own their media instead of having to rent them through advertising. We do this through events and channels like this and other strategic consulting ways. Our guided experts have teamed up to help music and voice professionals and business owners develop content and marketing plans that go beyond theories, and explains it in a way that can actually be implemented in reality. In order to create an avalanche of passionate subscribers to your brand and get more music how-to resources, sign up for FOMA blog alerts which will be rolled out soon from our website currently under construction. We will keep you updated on this channel! Contributing Authors ● Olaniyi Ola, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Lagos Post Online [www.lagospostng.com] ● Olumide Omowaiye-Wise, Editorial Consultant, Portfolio Contracting Nigeria Limited Special Thanks Bukola Marquis, Managing Partner, Adebola Marquis and Company Damilare Bankole, Managing Editor, Lagos Post Online
  • 35. 34 / For further information on these examples, please contact: Elizabeth Ola Fresh Olive Music Academy fresholivemusic@gmail.com | +234 (0) 805 051 2165 |
  • 36. Sing Sing PRACTICE AND EXERCISE-BASED TRAINING MATERIALS FOR SINGERS PRACTICE AND EXERCISE-BASED TRAINING MATERIALS FOR SINGERS Like A Professional Like A Professional The goal of this book is to teach singers all the skills needed to succeed as performing artistes. Whether you're a beginning vocalist or a seasoned singer, this practical guide gives you step-by-step instructions and lots of helpful tips, hints, exercises, and advice on the mechanics of singing, discovering your range, developing technique, singing in performance, and maintaining vocal health. - Be rock solid: Get up-to-speed with the basics of singing and master posture, breathing, and tone - Get moving and grooving: Improve your singing by getting the hang of tone, resonance, vowels, and consonants - Find your musical style: Get great suggestions for singing in different genres, including classical, country, jazz, opera, pop, etc. - Be rock solid: - Get moving and grooving: - Find your musical style: About the Author About the Author Elizabeth Ola is a gospel singer and songwriter. Her personality, inviting warmth and genuine love for God transcends her music and has earned her lots of fans and industry accolades. For the past 20 years, her home-style management capabilities had provided strategy, leadership and oversight for the various types of executive schedules she has been involved in. Elizabeth Ola