Friday, 13 September 2013

Through Gerwyn's Eyes #26 - Sing it out .

Through Gerwyn's Eyes #26
Sing it out .
So , I'm NOT any professional singer or anything ..
But I've been in a choir before .
Recently , I've seen a few people asking around for tips to sing better ; so I feel that I should share as a whole instead of just keeping it to a few people & having to repeat myself .
The following were taught to me , either by my conductor / from Youtube .
1) Train your core muscles .
By core muscles, I mean your stomach mostly. This is because singing from the diaphragm is the best way to sing, and it requires a lot of core muscles to be able to sustain a very long line.

Training your core muscles involve various types of exercises from leg raises, situps, bridges etc. Running helps to build stamina as well, so it does work too. For situps, it is required to do 60 per day in my choir. But, if you're just starting out, you can try 10 per day. Then, slowly increase the amount of situps. Same goes for the rest, except that you can do them regularly instead of daily as we have tight school schedules.

2) Vocal training .
Vocal training is important as you can't be straining on your vocal cords for too long, or you'll suffer sore throats.

There are videos on YouTube which you can practice scales to train your voice to be in pitch. The best way to do this is to lock yourself in the room with your earpiece. However, don't turn it up too high so that you can hear yourself as well.
One way to listen to yourself is to press the 'soft bone' of your ear inwards while you sing. One of the good vocal training is a song called "Santa Lucia" , but you'll just need the basic piano tutorial version so that you can just sing to any vowel instead of learning the words.
The vowels you use is also important. For example, normally O and E are used. Humming also works but your lips would be like.. numb.

3) Vocal warmups . 
Warmups are equally as important as training, so that your voice is ready to perform or be recorded.

Warmups can be done with scales, but since it's just singing for leisure, you can try listening to songs that you like.. preferably with a range of vocals. DO NOY strain your throat. If you're recording a particular song, you can also warmup with that.
4) Singing with diaphragm .
By singing with your diaphragm, your voice is able to be less "airy". It also makes the sound stronger.

I can't really teach you how, but you can actually feel it when you shout. For example, you can go HA like a karate kid and you'll feel your diaphragm helping you. You can also feel it while doing physical training by pressing the area around 2 fingers below your ribcage, in the middle of your tummy. It part should be rock solid if you try to do a 45° situp position for long, and you'll be trembling as well.

5) Protecting your voice .
As important as everything above, you have to protect your voice from sore throats/ coughs.
Basically, whenever you feel like a cough or sore throat is coming, TREAT IT before it happens.

One common mistake people do is to take STREPSIL. Based on advertisement, STREPSIL may seem good. However, have you ever had the tangy feeling when you finished the lozenge? Its because it only TEMPORARILY saves it, but makes it EVEN worse. Honey mixed in warm water ( 1 tablespoon to one big cup ) can help soothe it. Also, a chewy gummy known as Eumenthol Jujubes ( comes in a tin can, red is the best as it tastes better ) helps a lot for soothing as well. When you have a bad sore throat, gargle salt water ( 1 teaspoon salt to 1/2 cup warm water ) will help. However, be sure to tilt your head back while battling so that it really clears the throat. Salt and honey are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory substances. Also, inbetween songs and practices, be sure to replenish your body with water. NEVER DRINK ICED OR COLD WATER.

6) Think of ways to help you .
My conductor used to give many tips for singing. However, they were all taught to us in real life situations. And it applies mostly to professional choral singing.

Some aid you can get is to lean backwards ( without falling over ) , to engage in the diaphragm support. Another tip is to NEVER sing till you're out of breath. You can follow the lines of the song, or print them out and figure out where you can breath without being awkward. This will help the song be more "cohesive" instead of being like a bullet train.

7) Feelings .
When you sing sad songs, or songs that you want to touch someone's heart, feelings come into place.

Thus, it's easier for audience to hear the lyrics and meaning you're trying to convey when you add feelings. For example, I was rather upset yesterday and felt a little empty inside. Did a "cups" cover, but it doesn't sound right because the mood is wrong. Thus, I tried "Secrets" and it went better together.

This is because "cups" is somewhat like a song that is saying you're relieved to be going and people is at a loss. Thus the mood you're conveying is more positive.

However, "Secrets" is more like you're telling the world.. stop trying to tell me lies. And, stop criticising this world. So, "tell me what you want to hear" and the minor rap part is for more a troubled person trying to literally tell people to express themselves and stop hiding secrets. Or also can be somewhat like a cry for help to stop things..

Like I said , these are NOT professional help ; but I hope I've helped one way or another ><

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