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SOUNDS GOOD TO ME - Eliminate Throat Tension
As a vocal coach, I hear it all the time. I love to sing but when I do, I get hoarse and need to shout to be heard after only a few hours. Some days I just want to give up. What am I doing wrong? What can I do about it?
Sadly, this is an all too common problem for many singers. The good news is that it is not your fault. Many people sing from a place of passion without having the control to protect their voice. We are encouraged to do so from other musicians, choir leaders, friends, our audience etc. Oh yes, and because we love to belt out our favorite tunes. It is no wonder we forget that the voice is "our" instrument and that it is to be treated with care and respect.
Some singers are born with a gift to sing but most need to understand how the voice functions naturally and take considerable care not to sing in a way that will limit their ability.
What are you doing wrong you ask? While you are probably doing many things right, I suspect you have developed one or two bad habits throwing everything off track. Let me explain. The throat does only two things. One, it produces the tone that differentiates one sound from another. This is what makes you sound the way you do and me sound the way I do. Second, the vocal cords vibrate creating a pitch. Slower vibrations occur for lower tones with faster vibrations for the higher tones. If we push too much air through the vocal cords to reach up to high notes or sing louder then we are able to control, the vocal cords slam together cutting off the sound. If done for an extended period, the voice will get tired and sore. If done on an ongoing basis, it will cause damage decreasing your ability to sing. Many people who sing well in their 20's lose their voice early in life because of this lack of information. Sounds simple doesn't it? That's because it is.
What can you do about it? Singers have an enormous amount of fear when it comes to singing. They worry about what people think so they inevitably put far too much emphasis on the throat. This must stop. What you need to realize is that only 25% of your voice comes from the gift you have been given. 75% comes from understanding how the voice works and how to bring out the best in your voice. Taking the emphasis off the throat will eliminate the tension that cuts off the sound we produce. Use proper breathing techniques to support your singing, taking in only as much air needed to sing a phrase. Remember, the voice has the ability to get stronger and better as it matures rather then deteriorate.
From time to time, we all push our voices beyond their limits, become ill, or need a little something to sooth the throat. Please consider products without sugar or alcohol. They will only dry the vocal cords. Herbal teas such as mint is very soothing. Choose natural products and not products that only have artificial flavors. They will not take the edge of an already overused and tired throat. Drink lots of water 48 hours before singing and more if you are ill. Avoid anything that will coat or dry the vocal cords the day of singing such as dairy products, greasy food, decaffeinated drinks, alcohol, high-carbohydrate foods and smoking.
To wrap things up?.what I am saying is please stop putting emphasis on the throat when the throat has very little to do with your singing ability. One last thing?.relax, relax, relax. Singing was meant to be enjoyed by you and your audience, so don't take things too seriously. In time, with a little practice, it will all fall into place. Trust that you are on the right path and that you will reach your goals. It's really that simple!
All the best, Donna
After moving to Toronto from Montreal 22 years ago, Donna began a journey of vocal training that connected her with coaches in Nashville, Los Angeles, San Francisco, as well as the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.
Although she found the techniques to be practical and was taught scales designed to improve the voice, she soon realized that no one was able to offer a method that allowed her to sing the many different styles of music she enjoyed singing.
It was clear that the only way she would find training that would bring out ALL the qualities that are UNIQUE to her voice, would be to develop it herself. So she did???..
Over the years, Donna has developed a complete mind / body / spirit / voice method designed to access the energy from the body to eliminate any pressure that may prohibit us from singing our best. She combines yoga and tai chi breathing along with specific exercises designed to building proper breath support while gently working the entire vocal range, top to bottom.
Pakistani Pop Music
Pakistan is blessed with talent and when we talk about Pakistani Music, you can never stop picking up one of the best Pakistani pop song uptill now because there are number of such hit songs nobody can judge the best one in past decades such as "Dil Dil Pakistan" , "Huwa Huwa", "Mehndi ki Raat", "Na Kaho", "Dil Haray", "Ankhain Milanay Walay", "Wakt", "Neeli Neeli Ankhain", "Jaisay Chao Jeo", "Garuj Burus", "No More", "Ankhoun ki Sagar", "Na Tu Aigi", "Addat" left the audience agape and many more. Our artists' are popular all over the world. Many new talented artists in Pakistan are still working hard to bring quality Pakistani music.
Record Collecting Still Thriving in the Twenty-first Century
It may surprise many to find that the hobby of record collecting, long thought dead after the introduction of the compact disc, is still alive and well. Granted, many music fans have long replaced their records with CDs, but for many Baby Boomers and Generation X-ers, the hobby of buying and collecting record albums and singles continues to be a focal point in their lives.Records offer the tactile sense of a substantial product, unlike the CD. The seven-inch, 45 RPM single often came with a picture sleeve that has no equivalent among compact discs. The nostalgia of records draws many back to their younger days. And records still sound great. A recent check of the Bay auction site showed 959,857 records for sale. That's just under one million records!These records aren't selling at garage-sale prices, either. At any given time, there might be six thousand records by the Beatles for sale, some of which have sold for up to $40,000. Elvis isn't far behind; his first five singles, issued on the small Memphis-based, Sun label, routinely bring $2000 at auction in nice condition. Other artists, such as the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, James Brown, or Madonna have issued records that not only command sky-high prices, but also draw a lot of bids. The greatest interest in record collecting is in artists of the 1960's and 1970's, but newer bands, such as Nirvana, draw a lot of attention from younger collectors. Nivrana's first single, Love Buzz issued in 1988, sells for up to $2000 and there are several other bands, such as the Misfits, that have released numerous records that sell for more than $1000. What do collectors do with these records? Some play them, some frame them, some simply put them on the shelf. There are collectors who only buy records that they intend to play and others that simply want anything that was ever commercially released by the artist that interests them. There is no pigeonholing a collector; they come in all shapes and sizes. For them, finding a long-unavailable single that has eluded them for years is like winning the lottery.For those who are interested, there are literally thousands of Websites devoted to artists, records, and record collecting. There are well-known magazines, like Goldmine , Discoveries, and in the UK, Record Collector. Anyone who thinks they might be interested in collecting records has more resources available to them than ever before. Twenty years ago, people thought that records would be long forgotten by now. They couldn't have been more wrong.
Guitar Facts: A Glossary of Terms
It is said that the forerunner of the guitar, the lute, was created by the Greek god, Apollo. In India, it is believed that the sitar, another stringed instrument from which the guitar is descended, is sacred to the goddess Saraswati. And one of the most popular tales about the guitar is the story of how it was pressed into service to play a hymn of praise to Jesus Christ at a Christmas Eve mass when the organ of the church broke.
Spectral Muses Revisited: The Channeled Melodies of Rosemary Brown
Rosemary Brown (1916-2001) was a middle-aged South London widow, making ends meet as a grade school kitchen assistant, who rocketed to international fame in 1968 through a BBC broadcast recounting her purported collaborations with long-dead composers. These included Liszt, J.S. Bach, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert (who of course no longer needs spectacles), Monteverdi, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Brahms, Robert and Clara Schumann, Mozart, Grieg, and Poulenc. And after he died in 1971, Igor Stravinsky joined them.
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Boy, I really detest how some people do websites. Bands are some of the worst. Seems like any band that wants to look "professional" feels they must create a website using pop-ups and flash. Why? Cuz that's what the Majors do?
Right-Hand Techniques for New Age Piano
Recently, I had a student ask me to offer some techniques for using the right hand. Usually, it's the left hand that causes the most difficulty but I had to think about it because up till then, I really did not have any "techniques" for the right hand.
They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano... but When I Started to Play...
Remember the old ad that used to run endlessly in magazines and newspapers:
Liberate your iPod
When Akio Morita came up with the idea of the Sony Walkman all of his colleagues at the thought he was completely insane. The general consensus was that people wouldn't want to walk around the streets wearing headphones. Everyone thought the idea was ludicrous and that it would never catch on.
Piano Music, Perfectionism, and Self-Expression
Is your heart in the music? If so, it won't matter what you play so much as what is received through your playing. Do you still think you need to learn 43 chords to sound good or are you concerned with the joy of expressing yourself through this wonderful instrument called the piano? People who sound like they know what they are doing may indeed know what they are doing but does that mean you want to listen to the music?
Piano Playing Your Way: How To Have More Fun Playing The Piano Than You Ever Have Before
Piano playing doesn't have to be boring. There's no law that says you have to play a song the same way everyone else plays it. By learning some basic music theory and chord formations, you can have the time of your life playing music like you've always wanted to.
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Review: Coheed and Cambria - Second Stage Turbine Blade
Ever wonder what would happen if you mixed the progressive showmanship of Rush with Dashboard Confessional's emotional escapism? Me neither, but Coheed and Cambria has been described as that exact mix-up more times that I'd like to recall. While it's easy to understand the Rush comparison, with lead singer Claudio Sanchez's high-pitched vocal delivery. The emo label is a little less obvious, the band's sound may fit into the 'emo' genre, but the lyrical content certainly does not.
Guitar Practicing or Guitar Playing?
Just because you're holding your guitar doesn't mean that you're playing it, and just because you're playing your guitar doesn't mean that you're practicing. There is a real difference and it needs to be acknowledged if you want to improve your level of playing skill. Some people say they have spent the entire day practicing their guitar when in reality, all they've done was sit in front of the TV all day eating cheesy poofs. The sad thing is that they really do believe it was practicing since they had their guitar on their lap next to their cheesy poofs all day. Most of us know someone who does this and we may even be guilty ourselves.
Review: Audioslave - Out of Exile
Every once in a while a band comes along that really changes the way you perceive music, for me one of these bands was Rage Against the Machine. I'll be the first to admit that I, like most angsty teenagers was lured into Rage's music by their anti-authoritarian songs, and honestly dude, they said "fuck" a whole lot. Not only did the vulgar language lure me in but instead of writing about girls and cars, they took the time to write music about something that actually mattered, politics. Gimmick or not, the music was compelling. Soon after I first heard Bulls on Parade on the radio I started to really question why I was listening to a lot of the other music that interested me at the time. Slowly I began to drift away from happy songs about love and sunshine, and turned to songs that really had a purpose. That being said, I was very excited when I first heard that one of my favorite bands of all time was going to reform, and motherfucking Chris Cornell is going to be their singer. It was like some sort of early-90s rock wet dream. Soundgarden and Rage against the Machine coming together to form a band that would revolutionize rock! Or so they all said.
Improvising On The Piano: Jazz Musicians Do It -- Why Not Other Styles?
Why jazz piano improvisation?
Top Rap Song
After months of email and posts, we've finally compiled and rated what you submitted as the top rap songs of all time. At first we tried to rank these, but we realized that due to the diverse nature of these songs it seemed unfair to do so. Depends on personal opinion, right? Wrong!
Tips on Performing Your Music for Others
Have you ever dreamed of performing a piece you created for others. Imagining that they are captivated and held spellbound by the music? If you have, you know that it can be a long road from actually coming up with something, practicing it, and then giving it to an audience. In my own case, I had a good opportunity to perform. It was in a coffeehouse that already had a decent piano.
The First The American Idol Kelly Clarkson
There is a lot more to the story that meets the eye, at least, where Kelly Clarkson, the American Idol, is concerned. Her rise to the top of the charts was not an easy one and any struggling singer-wannabe can probably identify with the grit and determination this young pop singer has shown. Kelly Clarkson was born Kelly Brianne Clarkson April 24th 1982 in the small town, Burleson in Texas.
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