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Conducting Patterns

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Although some conducting teachers recommend a conducting in a box,beats on the sides will look distorted to people who aren't directly in front of the conductor. Thus they won't be able to tell exactly when the beat is. There should be a slight "bounce" at each of the dots on the line, so that the exact beginning of the beat is obvious.


To create a CUE, exagerate the beat before the beat that the music is supposed to begin on. Example: to begin 4/4 meter music on beat 1, conduct a vigorous--but in rhythm—beat 4, and breathe in as if you are going to sing along. To cue 4/4 meter music that starts on beat 4, breathe in on, and exagerate, a conducted beat 3. The conducted CUE BEAT should always be the correct motion for the beat before music should begin, and the cue beat should always be the same duration as any of the rest of the beats. 4/4 pattern is also used for 4/2, 4/8, and a fast 12/8.

3/4 pattern is also used for 3/2, 3/8, 3/16 and a fast 9/8.

Conducting patterns shown here are for the right hand (as seen by the conductor). Left handed conducting is an exact mirror image -- with the up-beat always coming from the side and the downbeat being directly in front of the conductor.

2/4 pattern is also used for fast 6/8 and cut time (2/2).

2/4 pattern comes straight down and bounces on the line for beat one, then circles out and bounces on the line again for beat two on it's way back up to the top of the downbeat.

2/4 pattern can also be a backwards J that bounces on the line for beat one and then bounces on the line again for beat two on it's way back up to the top of the downbeat. This is more difficult for the players/singers to follow than the McElheran technique but is in fairly wide use and might be easier to use in very fast music because it requires less hand and arm motion.

If the 6/8 rhythm is a fast one, it is often better to conduct it in 2 three-part beats--using the same conducting pattern as 2/4.

One may conduct with or without a baton; however closing the hand is a useful signal to indicate a change from open vowel to a hum.


Conducting Tips and Techniques

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Conducting Tips and Techniques:

  • DON'T SING WITH THE CHOIR. You can't hear what the choir is doing over the sound of your own voice and your own singing distracts you from helping your performers.
  • LEARN EVERY PART. There is no substitute for your own practice. Aim for being able to sing the first notes of every part of every entrance correctly, whenever that choir section needs the help.
  • PRACTICE CONDUCTING EVERY PIECE IN FRONT OF A MIRROR. You need to be able to conduct without burying your face in your music anyway; so this is a good way to check whether or not you have learned your music.
  • MONITOR YOUR FACIAL EXPRESSIONS AND BODY LANGUAGE. Singing is a very emotional action. If people believe they can sing, they can. If you are smiling or have a look of approval on your face, your choir will be much more likely to sing well. (See #8 in this section, new.)
  • TO TELL WHO IS SINGING WHAT PART, assign different nonsense syllables to each part, such as: altos sing all their notes with a "da" syllable, basses sing "lu", while sopranos sing "mi" on all of their own notes, etc. Then if you hear an alto syllable on a soprano note, you'll know the altos are getting pulled off the part instead of thinking that the sopranos are suddenly much stronger, and you'll be able to work on the problem.
  • TO HELP YOUR SINGERS UNDERSTAND HARMONY, instead of relating every part to the melody, start rehearsing the Basses first. Then rehearse Tenors with basses, then Altos, and finally add Sopranos. This makes your basses--the foundation of western music--extremely secure. It also helps your inner voices learn how their parts fit with the harmony--rather than being dependant on the melody. (Warn your accompanist ahead of time; this rehearsal technique requires a different piano skill.)
  • DON'T START AT THE BEGINNING EVERY TIME. START WITH THE MOST DIFFICULT CHORD OR PHRASE OF THE MUSIC. Then move back a bit and lead into that section. When that is mastered, start from even further back and continue through the problem phrase and beyond.
  • *When you are conducting a choir, your face must represent the meaning of the song/music so they can understand how to sing the song.

  • Thank you,
    Teddy Siagian,


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    Do's and Don'ts for a Singer

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    10 Vocal Commandments
    …That Every Singer Should Keep

    I. THOU SHALT keep the vocal cords hydrated at all times:
    a. Consume at least 8 glasses of water a day.

    b. Stay away from excessive amounts of diuretics (substances that dehydrate your body and your vocal cords). Two of the number one culprits are Alcohol and Caffeine. So…think twice before you have that second cup.

    c. The real serious singer will sleep with a humidifier to make sure the vocal cords remain hydrated during sleep.

    II. THOU SHALT get at least 8 hours of sleep a night.
    A singer’s body is his/her instrument. Mistreat your instrument and it will show. Make sure to give your body and voice the proper rest it deserves.

    III. THOU SHALT not smoke.
    Among other incredible health concerns, smoking dries out the mucous membrane lining of the nose & throat which adversely affects the voice.

    IV. THOU SHALT not overuse or mistreat the voice.
    This would include talking over loud noises such as groups of people and loud machinery. Just like other muscles and membranes, your vocal membranes and muscles can suffer from fatigue. In other words, don’t talk too much! It is also stressful to the voice to talk too quickly, so slow it down! Those people that have no choice but to tax their voices on a daily basis — singers, professional speakers, teachers, cheerleaders, auctioneers, etc. — need to take extra precautions to protect the voice.

    V. THOU SHALT protect yourself from stress and nerve attacks prior to performances.
    We suggest the following to fight the gig day jitters:

    a. Develop a checklist for gig preparation. It might include dry cleaning, reviewing lyrics, or getting your hair cut! (Follow these guidelines and you should be calm, cool, collected and able to give your best performance!

    b. Leave a few minutes early for the gig or rehearsal so you can focus prior to the performance. (If this is a new location, be sure you have the proper directions and contact phone number ready ahead of time.)

    c. Develop a habit of warming-up with an organized vocal exercise program on the way to the gig to properly prepare your voice.

    d. Prepare materials to help you during an “off night” or for special circumstances - lyric books, practice CDs and Tapes.

    e. Have promotional material such as business cards and flyers organized so that you can access them easily at the appropriate time. Marketing yourself as a singer is as much a part of the battle as singing and performing well in the music industry.

    Remember, properly preparing yourself allows you to focus all your energy on your performance.

    VI. THOU SHALT NOT eat or drink dairy or milk products before performing.
    Sorry, that means no chocolate or ice cream, among some other great tasting foods. These products cause the mucous membrane lining of the throat to create a great deal of mucous. In case you can’t guess or don’t already know, that makes it very hard to sing well.

    VII. THOU SHALT keep thyself healthy and virus free.
    We suggest eating right, exercising regularly (don’t forget that cardiovascular work to improve your breathing!), and taking a quality vitamin supplement each and every day! Remember, a singer’s body is his/her instrument! A finely tuned and maintained instrument will perform at a much higher level than an instrument that has been neglected.

    VIII. THOU SHALT never sing without properly warming up.
    If you were running in a marathon, would you begin without stretching your legs? Of course not. Doing this would risk reduced performance and possible cramping that would take you completely out of the race. The muscles and membranes associated with the voice would appreciate the same courtesy. Just like those hamstrings, your voice will reward you for taking the time to properly warm up before strenuous use.

    Smiling not only helps with tone placement of the singing voice, it also improves your attitude! Try it! It really works. It’s infectious too!

    X. THOU SHALT enjoy life and celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small they may seem. Sing for fun, sing because you love it, sing because you can. Share your voice with the world and enjoy your journey as you learn not just to sing, but to sing with impact!


    FREE SINGING TIPS provided by http://YouCanSingWithImpact.com
    A daily vocal exercise program available as a book and 2 CDs or instant online download.

    Vocal Terms and Definition

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    Vocal Terms and Definition

    Acapella - One or more vocalists performing without an instrument accompaniment.

    Accelerando - A symbol used in musical notation indicating to gradually quicken tempo.

    Accessible - Music that is easy to listen to and understand.

    Adagio - A tempo having slow movement; restful at ease.

    Allegro - A direction to play lively and fast.

    Atonal - Music that is written and performed without regard to any specific key.

    Baroque - Time in music history ranging from the middle of the 16th to the middle of the 17th centuries. Characterized by emotional, flowery music; written in strict form.

    Beat - The unit of musical rhythm.

    Cadence - A sequence of chords that brings an end to a phrase, either in the middle or the end of a composition.

    Cadenza - Initially an improvised cadence by a soloist; later becoming an elaborate and written out passage in an aria or concerto, featuring the skills of an instrumentalist or vocalist.

    Cadenza - Originally an improvised cadence by a soloist. Later it became a written out passage to display performance skills of an instrumentalist or performer.

    Canon - A musical form where the melody or tune is imitated by individual parts at regular intervals. The individual parts may enter at different measures and pitches. The tune may also be played at different speeds, backwards, or inverted.

    Cantabile - A style of singing which is characterized by the easy and flowing tone of the composition.

    Cantata - Music written for chorus and orchestra. Most often religious in nature.

    Capriccio - A quick, improvisational, spirited piece of music.

    Carol - A song or hymn celebrating Christmas.

    Castrato - Male singers who were castrated to preserve their alto and soprano vocal range.

    Cavatina - A short and simple melody performed by a soloist that is part of a larger piece.

    Chamber music - Written for 2 to 10 solo parts featuring one instrument to a part. Each part bears the same importance.

    Chant - Singing in unison, texts in a free rhythm. Similar to the rhythm of speech.

    Choir - Group of singers in a chorus.

    Chorale - A hymn sung by the choir and congregation often in unison.

    Chord - 3 or 4 notes played simultaneously in harmony.

    Chord progression - A string of chords played in succession.

    Chorus - A group singing in unison.

    Chromatic scale - Includes all twelve notes of an octave.

    Classical - The period of music history which dates from the mid 1700’s to mid 1800’s. The music was spare and emotionally reserved, especially when compared to Romantic and Boroque music.

    Classicism - The period of music history which dates from the mid 1800’s and lasted about sixty years. There was a strong regard for order and balance.

    Clavier - The keyboard of a stringed instrument.

    Clef - In sheet music, a symbol at the beginning of the staff defining the pitch of the notes found in that particular staff.

    Coda - Closing section of a movement.

    Concert master - The first violin in an orchestra.

    Concerto - A composition written for a solo instrument. The soloist plays the melody while the orchestra plays the accompaniment.

    Conductor - One who directs a group of performers. The conductor indicates the tempo, phrasing, dynamics, and style by gestures and facial expressions.

    Consonance - Groups of tones that are harmonious when sounded together as in a chord.

    Contralto - Lowest female singing voice.

    Counterpoint - Two or three melodic lines played at the same time.

    Courante - A piece of music written in triple time. Also an old French dance.

    Da Capo - In sheet music, an instruction to repeat the beginning of the piece before stopping on the final chord.

    Deceptive cadence - A chord progression that seems to lead to resolving itself on the final chord; but does not.

    Development - Where the musical themes and melodies are developed, written in sonata form.

    Dissonance - Harsh, discordant, and lack of harmony. Also a chord that sounds incomplete until it resolves itself on a harmonious chord.

    Drone - Dull, monotonous tone such as a humming or buzzing sound. Also a bass note held under a melody.

    Duet - A piece of music written for two vocalists or instrumentalists.

    Dynamics - Pertaining to the loudness or softness of a musical composition. Also the symbols in sheet music indicating volume.

    Elegy - An instrumental lament with praise for the dead.

    Encore - A piece of music played at the end of a recital responding to the audiences enthusiastic reaction to the performance, shown by continuous applause.

    Energico - A symbol in sheet music a direction to play energetically.

    Enharmonic Interval - Two notes that differ in name only. The notes occupy the same position. For example: C sharp and D flat.

    Ensemble - The performance of either all instruments of an orchestra or voices in a chorus.

    Espressivo - A direction to play expressively.

    Etude - A musical composition written solely to improve technique. Often performed for artistic interest.

    Exposition - The first section of a movement written in sonata form, introducing the melodies and themes.

    Expressionism - Atonal and violent style used as a means of evoking heightened emotions and states of mind.

    Falsetto - A style of male singing where by partial use of the vocal chords, the voice is able to reach the pitch of a female.

    Fermata - To hold a tone or rest held beyond the written value at the discretion of the performer.

    Fifth - The interval between two notes. Three whole tones and one semitone make up the distance between the two notes.

    Finale - Movement or passage that concludes the musical composition.

    Flat - A symbol indicating that the note is to be diminished by one semitone.

    Form - The structure of a piece of music.

    Forte - A symbol indicating to play loud.

    Fourth - The interval between two notes. Two whole tones and one semitone make up the distance between the two notes.

    Fugue - A composition written for three to six voices. Beginning with the exposition, each voice enters at different times, creating counterpoint with one another.

    Galliard - Music written for a lively French dance for two performers written in triple time.

    Gavotte - A 17th century dance written in Quadruple time, always beginning on the third beat of the measure.

    Glee - Vocal composition written for three or more solo parts, usually without instrumental accompaniment.

    Glissando - Sliding between two notes.

    Grandioso - Word to indicate that the movement or entire composition is to be played grandly.

    Grave - Word to indicate the movement or entire composition is to be played very slow and serious.

    Grazioso - Word to indicate the movement or entire composition is to be played gracefully.

    Gregorian Chant - Singing or chanting in unison without strict rhythm. Collected during the Reign of Pope Gregory VIII for psalms and other other parts of the church service.

    Harmony - Pleasing combination of two or three tones played together in the background while a melody is being played. Harmony also refers to the study of chord progressions.

    Homophony - Music written to be sung or played in unison.

    Hymn - A song of praise and glorification. Most often to honor God.

    Impromptu - A short piano piece, often improvisational and intimate in character.

    Instrumentation - Arrangement of music for a combined number of instruments.

    Interlude - Piece of instrumental music played between scenes in a play or opera.

    Intermezzo - Short movement or interlude connecting the main parts of the composition.

    Interpretation - The expression the performer brings when playing his instrument.

    Interval - The distance in pitch between two notes.

    Intonation - The manner in which tones are produced with regard to pitch.

    Introduction - The opening section of a piece of music or movement.

    Key - System of notes or tones based on and named after the key note.

    Key signature - The flats and sharps at the beginning of each staff line indicating the key of music the piece is to be played.

    Klangfarbenmelodie - The technique of altering the tone color of a single note or musical line by changing from one instrument to another in the middle of a note or line.

    Leading note - The seventh note of the scale where there is a strong desire to resolve on the tonic.

    Legato - Word to indicate that the movement or entire composition is to be played smoothly.

    Leitmotif - A musical theme given to a particular idea or main character of an opera.

    Libretto - A book of text containing the words of an opera.

    Ligature - Curved line connecting notes to be sung or played as a phrase.

    Madrigal - A contrapuntal song written for at least three voices, usually without accompaniment.

    Maestro - Refers to any great composer, conductor, or teacher of music.

    Major - One of the two modes of the tonal system. Music written in major keys have a positive affirming character.

    March - A form of music written for marching in two-step time. Originally the march was used for military processions.

    Measure - The unit of measure where the beats on the lines of the staff are divided up into two, three, four beats to a measure.

    Medley - Often used in overtures, a composition that uses passages from other movements of the composition in its entirety.

    Mezzo - The voice between soprano and alto. Also, in sheet music, a direction for the tempo to be played at medium speed.

    Minor - One of the two modes of the tonal system. The minor mode can be identified by the dark, melancholic mood.

    Minuet - Slow and stately dance music written in triple time.

    Modes - Either of the two octave arrangements in modern music. The modes are either major or minor.

    Modulation - To shift to another key.

    Monotone - Repetition of a single tone.

    Motif - Primary theme or subject that is developed.

    Movement - A separate section of a larger composition.

    Musette - A Boroque dance with a drone-bass.

    Musicology - The study of forms, history, science, and methods of music.

    Natural - A symbol in sheet music that returns a note to its original pitch after it has been augmented or diminished.

    Neoclassical - Movement in music where the characteristics are crisp and direct.

    Nocturne - A musical composition that has a romantic or dreamy character with nocturnal associations.

    Nonet - A composition written for nine instruments.

    Notation - First developed in the 8th century, methods of writing music.

    Obbligato - An extended solo, often accompanying the vocal part of an aria.

    Octave - Eight full tones above the key note where the scale begins and ends.

    Octet - A composition written for eight instruments.

    Opera - A drama where the words are sung instead of spoken.

    Operetta - A short light musical drama.

    Opus - Convenient method of numbering a composer’s works where a number follows the word “opus”. For example, Opus 28, No. 4.

    Oratorio - An extended cantata on a sacred subject.

    Orchestra - A large group of instrumentalists playing together.

    Orchestration - Arranging a piece of music for an orchestra. Also, the study of music.

    Ornaments - Tones used to embellish the principal melodic tone.

    Ostinato - A repeated phrase.

    Overture - Introduction to an opera or other large musical work.

    Parody - A composition based on previous work. A common technique used in Medieval and Renaissance music.

    Part - A line in a contrapuntal work performed by an individual voice or instrument.

    Partial - A harmonic given off by a note when it is played.

    Partita - Suite of Baroque dances.

    Pastoral - A composition whose style is simple and idyllic; suggestive of rural scenes.

    Pentatonic Scale - A musical scale having five notes. For example: the five black keys of a keyboard make up a pentatonic scale.

    Phrase - A single line of music played or sung. A musical sentence.

    Piano - An instruction in sheet music to play softly. Abbreviated by a “p”.

    Pitch - The frequency of a note determining how high or low it sounds.

    Pizzicato - String instruments that are picked instead of bowed.

    Polyphony - Combining a number of individual but harmonizing melodies. Also known as counterpoint.

    Polytonality - Combination of two or more keys being played at the same time.

    Portamento - A mild glissando between two notes for an expressive effect.

    Prelude - A short piece originally preceded by a more substantial work, also an orchestral introduction to opera, however not lengthy enough to be considered an overture.

    Presto - A direction in sheet music indicating the tempo is to be very fast.

    Progression - The movement of chords in succession.

    Quadrille - A 19th century square dance written for 4 couples.

    Quartet - A set of four musicians who perform a composition written for four parts.

    Quintet - A set of five musicians who perform a composition written for five parts.

    Recapitulation - A reprise.

    Recital - A solo concert with or without accompaniment.

    Recitative - A form of writing for vocals that is close to the manner of speech and is rhythmically free.

    Reed - The piece of cane in wind instruments. The players cause vibrations by blowing through it in order to produce sound.

    Refrain - A repeating phrase that is played at the end of each verse in the song.

    Register - A portion of the range of the instrument or voice.

    Relative major and minor - The major and minor keys that share the same notes in that key. For example: A minor shares the same note as C major.

    Relative pitch - Ability to determine the pitch of a note as it relates to the notes that precede and follow it.

    Renaissance - A period in history dating from the 14th to 16th centuries. This period signified the rebirth of music, art, and literature.

    Reprise - To repeat a previous part of a composition generally after other music has been played.

    Requiem - A dirge, hymn, or musical service for the repose of the dead.

    Resonance - When several strings are tuned to harmonically related pitches, all strings vibrate when only one of the strings is struck.

    Rhythm - The element of music pertaining to time, played as a grouping of notes into accented and unaccented beats.

    Ricercar - Elaborate polyphonic composition of the Boroque and Renaissance periods.

    Rigaudon - A quick 20th century dance written in double time.

    Rococo - A musical style characterized as excessive, ornamental, and trivial.

    Romantic - A period in history during the 18th and early 19th centuries where the focus shifted from the neoclassical style to an emotional, expressive, and imaginative style.

    Rondo - A musical form where the principal theme is repeated several times. The rondo was often used for the final movements of classical sonata form works.

    Root - The principal note of a triad.

    Round - A canon where the melody is sung in two or more voices. After the first voice begins, the next voice starts singing after a couple of measures are played in the preceding voice. All parts repeat continuously.

    Rubato - An important characteristic of the Romantic period. It is a style where the strict tempo is temporarily abandoned for a more emotional tone.

    Scale - Successive notes of a key or mode either ascending or descending.

    Scherzo - Pertaining to the sonata form, a fast movement in triple time.

    Scordatura - The retuning of a stringed instrument in order to play notes below the ordinary range of the instrument or to produce an usual tone color.

    Septet - A set of seven musicians who perform a composition written for seven parts.

    Sequence - A successive transposition and repetition of a phrase at different pitches.

    Serenade - A lighthearted piece, written in several movements, usually as background music for a social function.

    Sextet - A set of six musicians who perform a composition written for six parts.

    Sharp - A symbol indicating the note is to be raised by one semitone.

    Slide - A glissando or portamento. Also refers to the moving part of a trombone.

    Slur - A curve over notes to indicate that a phrase is to be played legato.

    Sonata - Music of a particular form consisting of four movements. Each of the movements differ in tempo, rhythm, and melody; but are held together by subject and style.

    Sonata form - A complex piece of music. Usually the first movement of the piece serving as the exposition, a development, or recapitulation.

    Sonatina - A short or brief sonata.

    Song cycle - A sequence of songs, perhaps on a single theme, or with texts by one poet, or having continuos narrative.

    Soprano - The highest female voice.

    Staccato - Short detached notes, as opposed to legato.

    Staff - Made up of five horizontal parallel lines and the spaces between them on which musical notation is written.

    Stretto - Pertaining to the fugue, the overlapping of the same theme or motif by two or more voices a few beats apart.

    String Quartet - A group of 4 instruments, two violins, a viola, and cello.

    Suite - A loose collection of instrumental compositions.

    Symphony - Three to four movement orchestral piece, generally in sonata form.

    System - A combination of two or more staves on which all the notes are vertically aligned and performed simultaneously in differing registers and instruments.

    Tablature - A system of notation for stringed instruments. The notes are indicated by the finger positions.

    Temperament - Refers to the tuning of an instrument.

    Tempo - Indicating speed.

    Tessitura - The range of an instrumental or a vocal part.

    Theme - A melodic or, sometimes a harmonic idea presented in a musical form.

    Timbre - Tone color, quality of sound that distinguishes one verse or instrument to another. It is determined by the harmonies of sound.

    Time Signature - A numeric symbol in sheet music determining the number of beats to a measure.

    Tonal - Pertains to tone or tones.

    Tonality - The tonal characteristics determined by the relationship of the notes to the tone.

    Tone - The intonation, pitch, and modulation of a composition expressing the meaning, feeling, or attitude of the music.

    Tone less - Unmusical, without tone.

    Tonic - The first tone of a scale also known as a keynote.

    Treble - The playing or singing the upper half of the vocal range. Also the highest voice in choral singing.

    Tremolo - Quick repetition of the same note or the rapid alternation between two notes.

    Triad - Three note chords consisting of a root, third, and fifth.

    Trill - Rapid alternation between notes that are a half tone or whole tone apart.

    Trio - A composition written for three voices and instruments performed by three

    Triple time - Time signature with three beats to the measure.

    Triplet - Three notes played in the same amount of time as one or two beats.

    Tritone - A chord comprised of three whole tones resulting in an augmented fourth or diminished fifth.

    Tune - A rhythmic succession of musical tones, a melody for instruments and voices.

    Tuning - The raising and lowering a pitch of an instrument to produce the correct tone of a note.

    Tutee - Passage for the entire ensemble or orchestra without a soloist.

    Twelve-tone music - Music composed such that each note is used the same number of times.

    Unison - Two or more voices or instruments playing the same note simultaneously.

    Verismo - A form of Italian opera beginning at the end of the 19th century. The setting is contemporary to the composer’s own time, and the characters are modeled after every day life.

    Vibrato - Creating variation pitch in a note by quickly alternating between notes.

    Virtuoso - A person with notable technical skill in the performance of music.

    Vivace - Direction to performer to play a composition in a brisk, lively, and spirited manner.

    Voice - One of two or more parts in polyphonic music. Voice refers to instrumental parts as well as the singing voice.

    Waltz - A dance written in triple time, where the accent falls on the first beat of each measure.

    Whole note - A whole note is equal to 2 half notes, 4 quarter notes, 8 sixteenth notes, etc.

    Whole-tone scale - A scale consisting of only whole-tone notes. Such a scale consists of only 6 notes.


    Suggestions for Reheasal by Robert Russell,University of Maine,USA

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    • Sing the phrase from end to beginning. This will build your confidence to finish the phrase without losing breath.
    • Sing the piece from end to beginning to build confidence in the conclusion of the piece.
    • At the first rehearsal of a piece, start with that section of the piece that you find most beautiful, most expressive, or most exciting.
    • At concert time the focus must be on expression, not technique. Rehearsal builds vocal (and choral) technique. The singer in concert who focuses on technique risks boring the audience.
    • In developing agility, begin with simple exercises and proceed to more complex.
    • Of the many techniques that I have encountered for singing passagework (the melismas in Handel's Messiah, for example) the one that I like best is a lightly produced [nah]. The ideal, of course, is to sing the passages clearly and on the breath, "like pearls on a string." Amateur singers are often challenged to do so. In my experience rehearsing such passages on [nah] produces clarity without sacrificing vocal health. The [nah] must not be audible to the audience. It is the responsibility of the conductor to coach the chorus as to what is too much and what is not enough. Some singers may be encouraged to sing the passages with [nah] while others may sing the pure vowel.
    • One technique for blending the male voices in a choral setting is to ask the men to sing a descending major scale beginning in falsetto. FIRST ask the women to sing a descending A Major scale, beginning on A=440. THEN ask the men to sing with the women at pitch (men in falsetto). FINALLY ask the men to sing alone. Beginning with the support of the women may encourage the inexperienced tenors and basses to experiment in a vocal range that is unfamiliar to them. Blend and pitch will be mutually supported with this exercise. At the point of vocal passage from falsetto to head voice, add an extra measure of breath, not breath pressure, to ease the transition.
    • If the head voice is the underdeveloped register in males, the chest voice is in females either underdeveloped or used exclusively. For those women who use chest voice exclusively, some commit the Cardinal Choral Sin: singing tenor. Most every choral conductor who has conducted inexperienced or developing choirs has at some point asked women to assist the tenors in singing their part. That is not a crime, because much of the tenor line lies comfortably in the alto range some of the time. The crime is asking, or allowing, women to sing tenor exclusively, developing only the chest voice to the exclusion of the head voice. However, the converse is also true: Some women never use the chest voice and thus lose a powerful vocally expressive part of the voice. Chest voice is a legitimate register, and as long as the voice is not pushed high using exclusively the chest register, it is safe and effective to use this register. All women, sopranos included, should be encouraged to develop ALL of the voice: head and chest registers. The only danger is when chest voice is pushed too high in the range, generally agreed to be a pitch around f'.
    • The technique of "choral roving," assigning singers to move to a different vocal line, has been used effectively to create balance in a choral ensemble. Allowing baritones to sing tenor occasionally, altos to sing tenor occasionally, and sopranos to sing alto occasionally is not only good musical training, it makes for a better choral sound, as long as the voice continues to be used in a healthy manner. I have upon rare occasion moved tenors to baritone and tenors to alto, and, even rarer, altos to soprano. I have never asked basses to sing soprano. J
    • Conducting gesture affects the sound that you get: legato, tenuto, staccato, marcato. If you ask the choir to sing legato, determine that your gesture is not marcato.
    • Train in this order:

    • Tune a single pitch.
      Tune a brief descending scale, sol-do.
      Tune an extended, faster scale.
      Tune a sustained chord.
      Tune a series of chord changes.
      Tune a phrase.
      Tune a song.
    You can't sing a song in tune until you sing a phrase in tune. You can't sing a phrase in tune until you can sing a scale in tune. You can't sing a scale in tune until you can sing a pitch in tune. If you feel that the choir is singing with a generally healthy sound and intonation is still a problem, try simplifying the musical demands according to the suggested order above.


    VOCAL TRAINING IN CHORUS by Robert Russell,University of Maine,USA

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    First we must prepare the body to sing.
    Several exercises can contribute to this readiness:

    • Stand quietly. Take a "sun breath." As you inhale through the nose (to the count of 4) raise your arms, keeping shoulders comfortably relaxed. If you are able to do so, touch your hands over your head. Exhale through your mouth to the count of 4 while gradually lowering your arms. Over time increase the count to 6 and then 8. As you become comfortable with the exercise, add a 4-count hold at the top of the inhalation. (This is a wonderful "centering" exercise, which I was at first hesitant to try with rowdy college students, and I was amazed at how quiet the room got during the exercise. Try it.)
    • Gently shake your wrists. Flop your wrists in front of you. Shake your hands more vigorously as if trying to get water off them.
    • Move your elbows and hands in a circular manner. Wake up the arms.
    • Roll your shoulders in a circular manner up and back.
    • Extend one arm in front of your body fingers pointed up. Pull gently to free the wrist. Point the fingers down. Pull gently to free the wrist. Repeat with the other arm. (Also good for conducting.)
    • Clasp your hands together behind your head. Gently pull down on your head while exhaling. (CAUTION: Those with neck injuries, take care with this exercise or avoid it completely.) Lift your elbows and head while inhaling through the nose. Repeat slowly 3-4 times.
    • Turn 90 degrees to the right, facing the back of your neighbor singer. Rub the shoulders of the person in front of you. Turn around and repeat the process.
    • Finally, stand quietly with arms relaxed at your side. Take a full breath while bringing your arms overhead. Keep shoulders comfortably down and relaxed. As you exhale, lower your arms, keeping sternum elevated and shoulders down. Your posture is somewhere between the typical "teen slump" and the stereotypical "military rigid." The body is now awake and in a position for effective singing.
    These exercises are several from the many effective exercises that singers can do to ready the body for singing. They generally work well in close quarters and are designed to bring a state of readiness to the body with special attention to relaxing muscles in the neck which attach to the laryngeal cartilages. Freedom and readiness are the issues: free the voice and ready the body.

    OBSERVATIONS: I have used all of these exercises with varying degrees of success. The first time many years ago that I used back rubs, the students looked at me with disbelief and genial mocking, "What is this, a phys ed class?" Now if I forget to do back rubs, they ask for them.


    The Process of Breathing: A singer's breath involves the coordination of muscles of the ribs together with muscles of the abdomen, a process called muscular antagonism. The muscles of inspiration–the external intercostals and diaphragm–work to create a partial vacuum in the lungs. Natural air pressure moves air into the lungs. The muscles of expiration–the internal intercostals and several muscular layers of the abdomen–pull the ribs down and in and the belly inward, which moves air out of the lungs across the vocal folds. (See also below: appoggio)

    The Process of Phonation: The vocal folds are brought into vibration through a principle of physics called the Bernoulli Principle. (It is the same principle that gives lift to an airplane or forward motion to a sailboat.) The vocal folds are "sucked" into vibration through the partial vacuum created by the air rushing out of the lungs through the trachea. In an ideally phonated pitch, the movement of breath is met precisely by the approximation (adduction) of the vocal folds, which are brought together with the right amount of muscular energy that is neither too tense (producing a glottal plosive) nor too relaxed (producing a breathy vocal quality). Voice and breath are precisely coordinated resulting in "singing on the breath."

    Exercises: Once the body is alert and energized through a physical warm-up,
    it is time to wake up the breath. These exercises are effective:

    • Place your palms on the bottom of the rib cage, fingers crossing the abdomen and touching in front. Breathe low and deep, observing that the fingers separate as the result of an effective inhalation. Hiss, long and sustained, keeping the rib cage and sternum elevated.
    • Inhale and hiss, five times staccato.
    • Inhale and hiss, twice staccato and then sustained.
    • Inhale and sing on a comfortable pitch in mid-voice, "Sah-sah-saaaaaaaaaaaah." (Sing twice short and then sustained.)
    • Inhale and sing on a comfortable pitch in mid-voice two staccato pitches, "Sah-sah" followed by a sustained five-pitch scalar passage (5-4-3-2-1) on "Saaaaaaaaaaaaah." Repeat several times, each time a half step lower, remaining generally in mid-voice range.
    Other exercises
    • Hold your hand up in front of your face fingers spread. Imagine that each finger has a candle lit at the end. Blow out the candles one by one with five staccato breaths
    • Toss an imaginary ball to someone across the room. As you throw, exhale with a hiss.
    • Toll an imaginary bell. As you inhale through the nose, reach up. As you exhale audibly through the mouth, pull down on the imaginary bell rope.
    (These exercises are from the Ehmann/Haasemann book listed below.)

    The intent of these vocalises is "vocal-ease." Breath flow needs to be uninhibited and immediately connected to the sound. "To sing is to breathe." The flow of breath may be imagined as water pouring forth freely from a garden hose. The sound on the breath is as a leaf on the stream of water, carried effortlessly and completely connected to the stream of water.

    Observations about breathing

    • Never plan to use all of your breath. The singer who sings to the last milliliter of breath may well have done so at the expense of introducing tension into the voice or body, not to mention a likely sacrifice of expressive singing. The "last gasp" of breath is rarely connected to easily produced sound, and it is generally unmusical.
    • The issue with breathing is not who can sing the longest phrase, although it certainly is a goal of vocal pedagogy to increase the length of phrase that can be sung. The primary issue with breathing is to keep a smooth, consistent stream of sound always connected to breath.
    • Young voices may be naturally breathy. Don't be overly concerned about breathiness in young singers. Listen to the sound that is produced "under" the breathiness. Vocal maturity may solve the problem.
    • Avoid holding back the breath. Give the breath into the phrase. Holding back the breath to "save it" for the end of the phrase may lead to vocal tension and erratic voice-breath connection. Ironically, the more breath you give to the phrase, the more breath you have to give.
    • Coordinate the breath with vocal onset, so that the sound is neither breathy nor tight.
    • If the sound is too breathy, try "narrowing" the vowel concept, singing a very rounded [u] for example. (Remember–point #3 above–that young voices may be naturally breathy
    • If the vocal onset is tight, use an aspirated consonant [h] to assist vocal production. Rather than [a] sing [ha]. Gradually reduce the intensity of [h] in the sound until the [h] is only imagined, not audible.
    • Maintain the body in its upright and ready posture. (See below: appoggio)
    • Oversupport can cause as many vocal problems as undersupport.
    • For posture: "Sing in the position of breathing––breathe in the position of singing."
    • Take an easy, silent breath.
    • Breath holding may increase lung capacity, but will not enhance breath management.
    • If the vocal onset or release is jagged or erratic, move the hand in an upward sweeping motion to encourage a smooth onset or release of sound.
    • If the vocal release is tight or constricted, keep the throat open after phonation; imagine that you are continuing to sing, even after you have released the sound.

    The Italian concept of appoggio (support) is amply illuminated by Miller (pp. 23-29). Though it is roughly translated as "support," appoggio is much more: a dynamic balance of abdominal and thoracic muscle movement, coordinated with vocal onset (phonation), which allows cooperative (antagonistic) coordination among the muscles. Its features are

    • an elevated sternum, never slumped
    • ribs expanded and maintained, as much as possible, in the "expanded" position during exhalation
    • shoulders, neck, and head relaxed
    • torso stable in the epigastric and umbilical regions
    • relaxed glottis


    Once the body is ready and energized for singing and the breath vitalized,
    it is time to "wake up the nose."

    The Italian maxim goes something like this: "Put some nose in the sound without the sound being in the nose." Virtually everyone agrees that, in the bel canto style, nasal singing is avoided. The converse is also true: "cut-off nasality" is to be avoided. Nasal sound has a twang that is generally out of place in classical singing. On the other hand, the sound of "cut-off nasality" is dull and monochromatic, flat (not in pitch but in resonance). In a balanced voice there is some nose in the sound, but the sound is not nasal. A good test is to sing and pinch the nostrils. If the sound doesn't change at all, there is no nasality in the sound: it has "cut-off" nasality. If the sound changes a lot, there is a nasal twang: it has too much nasality. If the sound changes slightly, then the balance is probably right. This is a tricky concept to teach. Studio voice teachers use a variety of techniques to get the right mix of nasality in the voice.

    In a choral setting I have found that the best way to "wake up the nose" is through a humming vocalise. Ask the singers to bring the lips gently together as if humming [m]. Place the tip of the tongue easily behind the upper teeth as if singing [n]. Hum using this combination of [m] and [n]. Experiment in mid-range with random humming sounds, single pitches and gentle glissandos. Use the humming "puppy whine" in upper register as a means of developing nasal placement and as a technique to connect with head register.

    Once singers are comfortable with humming, introduce this vocalise: 5-3-4-2-1 (sol-mi-fa-re-do) in major mode and in a comfortable mid-voice range. Hum the first four pitches and sustain the final pitch on the vowel [a]. Repeat several times a half step lower each time, but remaining in a comfortable range.

    Another useful vocalise on the same pitch pattern (sol-mi-fa-re-do) or a more extended pattern
    (sol/mi – fa/re – mi/do – re/ti – do) is [ni-ne-na-no-nu] sung while doing gentle circular gestures with your in front of the body as if lovingly stroking a cat.

    Observations about Resonance

    • A resonator is a secondary vibrator, not capable of initiating pitch, but capable of altering the amplitude and timbre of the pitch for better or worse. If the voice doesn't sound good or if it is not projecting well, it may be because the resonators are not well adjusted.
    • Resonance adjustment (the tuning of the cavities of the mouth and throat) is often most effectively done through vowel modification. For example, if the [ah] vowel is too bright, modify it to [aw].
    • If the resonating cavities (primarily mouth and throat) are not tuned to the pitch from the vocal folds, then the vocal folds must "force" the air cavity to vibrate, rather than vibrating in sympathetic resonance with the voice. Forced resonance is inefficient for singers; sympathetic resonance is the goal.


    Once you have animated the body, initiated consistent breath flow,
    easily connected breath to sound, and energized the nasal placement,
    it is time to extend the range of the vocalises to awaken the full range of the voice.

    There are numerous vocalises that effectively achieve the goal of vocal extension. The two that I use most frequently with choirs are these:

    • This arpeggio: do-mi-sol-do-ti-sol-fa-re-so sung on these syllables: [u - - - a - - - -].
    • The ascending arpeggio is on [u] and the descending arpeggio on [a]. At the same time move your hands in a big "rainbow" arch, beginning in the middle of your body and radiating outward.
    • The scalar passage: 1-2-3-4-5---1-2-3-4-5---1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 on these syllables: [si - - - o], [si - - - o], [si - - - o - - - - - - - - - - - -].
    • On the first five pitches, each time make a small circle with the hands in front of the body; on the 9-notes scalar passage make a big circle with the hands, again radiating outward. NOTE: this exercise may not be as effective if sung too quickly.


    • There is something about movement of the body that exerts a positive influence over the sound that is produced, energizing it with freedom and connection to the breath.
    • When the voice is "cold," it is best to begin the vocal warm-up with descending vocalises in mid-range. This procedure, especially with inexperienced singers, will more consistently deliver vocal sounds that are free of tension and on pitch.


    Once you have animated the body, initiated consistent breath flow easily connected to sound, energized the nasal placement, and extended the range of the vocalises to awaken the full voice, it is time to focus on vocal beauty.
    NOTICE THE ORDER: vocal beauty is the last important vocal component to be addressed.

    The exercise that I use most often for beauty of sustained singing is a single pitch in mid-voice, first hummed pianissimo and then sung with gradual crescendo on a succession of vowels that grows increasingly brighter: [u - o - a]. If the vowel is truly unified, somewhere in the [a] an overtone (or sometimes two) emerges as a result of the vowel unification. When this happens, the choir is truly singing in tune.

    For optimum sound, think in this order:

    • Breathe
    • Sing
    • Sustain
    • Release

    For optimum resonance, encourage the following:

    • A comfortably low larynx
    • A high velum
    • Balanced nasal placement
    • Relaxed lips
    • Relaxed tongue

    For beautiful sound and optimum resonance, use the following:

    • the look of pleasant surprise on your face
    • the look of hopeful anticipation
    • the beginning of a smile
    • the appearance of inhaling a pleasant aroma, such as a rose

    To do all of these exercises every day will probably require 10-15 minutes, and you may not have that much time in rehearsal. I generally use a 20-25% rule of thumb for vocal warm-up and sightsinging exercises. If your rehearsal is 50 minutes, take no less than 10 minutes for vocal and musical exercises. Find a plan that works for you and stick with it. Slight variations from day to day are good, but in general keep the routine the same; in the long run that will produce the most consistent results.

    Research has demonstrated the value of singing every day. The vocal exercise does not have to be complex: easy humming in the shower or simple scalar passages in the car on the way to work are effective; certainly more extensive vocalizing is needed for more rigorous singing. The benefit of humming is holistic: somehow we feel more integrated, grounded.

    If students resist vocal or musical exercises, tell them that we are merely "sharpening our axes." The story is told of two woodsmen, one of whom wanted to get the jump on the other by going immediately into the woods to chop trees. The other stopped first to sharpen his axe. Woodsman #1 felled his tree first, but Woodsman #2 felled many more trees by day's end.


    • PITCH-CENTERED. Singers can and should sing to the center of the pitch.
    • FREE. Good singing feels and sounds effortless; unnecessary vocal tension is released.
    • BEAUTIFUL AND RESONANT. Exercises that encourage a comfortably low larynx, a high velum, "forward" placement, relaxed lips, and relaxed tongue will contribute to a naturally beautiful sound.
    • A PLEASING VIBRATO. In Seashore's classic definition, "A good vibrato is a pulsation of pitch, usually accompanied with synchronous pulsation of loudness and timbre, of such extent and rate as to give pleasing flexibility, tenderness, and richness to the tone." Pitch fluctuation in a healthy vibrato is about a semitone with about six undulations per second. A vibrato that is too rapid is called tremolo; one that is too slow is a wobble. Vibrato is a result rather than a technique. When the voice is free, breath-centered, pitch-centered and resonant, vibrato emerges; it is not taught. Vibrato is a sign of a healthy voice. In Miller's view it is acceptable to call attention to unhealthy vibrato, so that a singer may correct it.

    Much debate among singers, singing teachers, and choral conductors has centered on the topic of vibrato. I believe it is possible for good choral union and vibrato to peacefully coexist. (Consult recordings of The Robert Shaw Chorale or the Swedish Radio Choir with Eric Ericson conducting as examples.) Straight-tone singing to the point of "laser-like" vocal production (as I have heard in some choirs) is unhealthy and unpleasant. Likewise, a vocal free-for-all in which singers are allowed to do anything and everything with vibrato does not yield the most satisfactory choral sound.

    A NOTE ABOUT AUDITIONS: Choral conductors who have a great variety of singers interested in choral ensembles have the joy as well as the responsibility of choosing the singers that best match their concept of choral sound. For example, in a select chamber choir of 30-40 voices that sings primarily a cappella repertoire, I prefer the lyric soprano sound, and (if I have the choice) will seek sopranos who can sing high and soft and who can produce a sweet timbre which is still energized and musical (much like the voice of Emma Kirkby). If during the audition you can choose voices that match one another, then you can use rehearsal time to attend to musical matters rather than matter of vocal unification. The larger ensembles that sing with piano or orchestra can more easily accommodate more vibrant, ringing voices.

    A NOTE ABOUT BLEND: A chorus learns to sing together to the extent that members of the chorus have developed unified concepts of pitch, vowel, diction, rhythm, articulation, dynamics, balance, and timbre. In rehearsal I encourage all singers to

    • Sing precisely the same pitch.
    • Sing precisely the same vowel.
    • Sing exactly the same rhythm (with special attention to consonants).
    • Sing a unified articulation: staccato, legato, marcato, or tenuto
    • Sing a unified dynamic level.
    • Be sensitive to the need to balance all voice parts.
    • Sing with a unified timbre, bright or dark.

    If we do these things, then I rarely find the need to say,
    "Sing with straight tone." OR "Blend the sound."

    References :


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    Posture Do's and Dont's

    Be relaxed and natural
    Keep your movements fluid
    Keep your chin level
    Keep your knees loose
    Keep your head up
    Keep your shoulders sloping and relaxed
    Keep your toes pointed forward with your weight on heels and soles
    Keep the front of your neck loose - don't stretch it
    Keep abdominal muscles relaxed
    Keep your back muscles relaxed

    Drop or hunch your shoulders
    Move stiffly or jerkily
    Drop or tuck in your chin when trying to sing low notes
    Stretch your head upward when trying to sing high notes
    Strain or push your abdominal muscles

    Exercises for Improving Posture

    Exercise 1

    Place the book centrally on the top of your head. Turn your head slowly to the left, return to center then repeat the exercises turning your head to the right. The head movements should be smooth with eyes ahead, chin level, head, neck and shoulders relaxed. If the exercise is done correctly the book will remain in place. Tense up, drop the jaw or move jerkily & the book will fall! Repeat this exercise until you can do it several times without the book falling off.

    Exercise 2

    Stand at the end of the walk space and place the book centrally on the top of your head.

    Walk normally towards the mirror, observing your posture as you walk. If your posture is correct and your movements are smooth then the book will remain in place - if not it will fall! Repeat this exercise until you can walk the length of the space without the book falling.

    Exercise 3

    Stand at the end of the walk space and place the book centrally on the top of your head.

    Walk normally towards the end of the walkspace, turn and walk back towards the starting point. If your posture is correct and your movements are smooth then the book will remain in place - if not it will fall! Repeat this exercise until you can do the exercise without the book falling.

    Note:- This does not mean that you will not be a singer if your posture is less than perfect or that if you suffer with a disability that you cannot sing. Posture is not a substitute for vocal talent, just a means of improving your control and providing your voice with optimum conditions for reaching its potential.


    Pitching Exercise

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    So....... what is 'Pitch' and how can you identify it?

    Notes on a piano produce a fixed sound when played which do not go up or down but gradually fade away. Many instruments including the human voice are capable of producing infinate numbers of fixed sounds between any two notes on a piano with only tiny differences between them. However, all instruments and singing voices normally only use the particular notes of the piano.

    Pitching Exercises

    You will need a 'Cassette Tape Recorder' to record and review your progress and a musical instrument that is tuned to perfect pitch - preferably keyboard, piano although a guitar, violin or other stringed instrument.

    Using a guitar or piano play the note 'C' (any octave within your vocal range is fine) - listen carefully as it sounds then play it again - this time singing the note as you play. If the note is too high or too low for your voice play the note in another octave and/or sing the note in the octave that is comfortable for you - even if the note played is higher or lower than the C note you sing - if you are pitching correctly both notes will 'gel' together. If, however your pitching is incorrect your voice will sound 'sharp' or 'flat' (or may be a completely different note!).


    Breathing Techniques by Dennis Anderson

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    Breathing Techniques by Dennis Anderson

    The most important aspect of good singing technique is AIR. Singers must control their breathing or they become fatigued quickly and their singing suffers. These exercises will produce immediate results, and permanently improved performance if practiced on a daily basis. I have never yet seen a singer--regardless of the style--who didn't make instant improvement by doing these exercises.

    Start by taking a deep breath, filling your lungs all the way down to the abdomen (not just the top half of your lungs). Then let it out very slowly in a constant stream. Imagine that you're exhaling through a very thin straw and the air is going out so slowly that you don't appear to be breathing at all--like playing "possum." It may help to picture a candle out in front of you, and your breath is moving so slowly that the flame doesn't flicker as you exhale.

    Do this ten times.

    Now do five more. But on these next five breaths, pick a nice comfortable note and hold it through the entire breath. Don't let it change in pitch or volume--make it seem like a key being held down on an organ. Be sure that each note is a comfortable pitch--somewhere in your normal speaking register. Low notes are good because they help the throat relax. Use a different pitch for each breath. Don't try to belt out high notes. That strains the vocal chords.

    Now do five more of these, gradually CHANGING the volume for each note from zero up to a medium volume and back to zero over the entire duration of the breath. Always choose a different pitch for each breath and NEVER let the pitch go flat or sharp. In the case of these last five breaths all that is changing is the volume, and that should be changing at a rate that is undetectable.

    For the last set of five breaths (this is now a total of 25 that you'll be doing) do everything you just did in the previous five, but change the timbre of your voice at a faster rate than the volume is changing. This is done by "sweeping" through the vowels: a,e,i,o,u. Make the change gradual in any order you wish. It'll sound like Tibetan chant, so if anyone asks tell them you've converted to Buddhism and you're atoning your spirit.

    You may be asking yourself how this helps you and why results are immediate. The answer is remarkably simple. By concentrating on keeping your pitch constant you focus in on what your body needs to do to sing on pitch. Let's face it, pitch is the most common and important concern of any singer. Another side benefit of doing this exercise is that it pumps extra oxygen into your brain. The brain likes oxygen. In fact, the brain can't function without it. So more oxygen makes you think better and focus more clearly on the task you have at hand: SINGING.

    When you're on the mic remember to keep the abdomen tight (imagine you're going to lift a piano) and the throat relaxed (like yawning), allowing plenty of air to move. If you need higher notes you get them with more air, not by squeezing off your neck muscles (a common mistake make by singers who burn out before they're ready to quit). Test this by imagining you see a friend across a busy street and you need to get his attention. Holler out "hey". You'll notice that you do this in a very relaxed way with lots of air. That's how to hit those notes that are right on the edge. RELAXED throat, pushing the air out with the abdomen.

    One last thought: believe it or not, TALKING is more of a strain on your voice than SINGING (if you're doing it right). In fact, Broadway singers are under contract to not utter a single word on the day of the show until after the performance ends. So . . . if you want to be a successful singer you have to learn to breath, learn to focus, then shut up and sing!


    More Breathing Exercise

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    More Breathing Exercises

    The following exercise may make you feel tired at first, do keep at it as you will begin to notice that it takes less effort to breath, less energy is used when breathing plus it helps you learn to co-ordinate the diaphragm and abdominal muscles when breathing.

    To find out if you are breathing correctly, place a hand on your belly button. This area should expand first when you breathe in and then spread upwards until your chest is expanded (don't lift the shoulders or push the stomach out). If you feel you are not breathing properly, practice the following exercise.

    Lay flat on your back.

    Place your hands on your waist, fingers pointing towards your belly button.

    Focus on filling up your stomach from the bottom to the top taking a slow deep breath. (The aim is not to fill yourself to bursting but to inhale enough air so that you can feel the difference between a shallow breath taken when breathing from the chest).

    You should feel your stomach rise and your hands being raised gently up and outward until you feel your chest expanding. The expansion is not only at the front of the body but also to the sides and back as well.

    Breath out slowly to a count of 5

    Repeat the exercise 10 times

    Practice daily before you rise in the morning and prior to sleeping at night for 5 - 10 minutes gradually increasing this to 3 or 4 times a day.

    Once you get it right, practice as often as possible, sitting, standing and whilst at work until you are breathing naturally from your abdomen.

    Try the following exercise to help increase breath control - Count on one breath singing each number out loud. using one breath at any comfortable pitch. Start with a small number like 5 or 10 and increase this gradually until you can manage 25 or more without straining, tensing or running out of breath.

    BONUS TIP: Are you sure you're breathing right? If you are uncertain of yourself see if this little experiment helps. Sit in a chair and while keeping your back straight, lean over and put your elbows on your knees. Take a deep breath. Feel your back and rib cage expand? Now sit up and work to duplicate the feeling, only the expansion should be a ring around your entire body.(Yvonne DeBandi)


    Breathing Exercise - Hissing and Snatched Breaths

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    Breathing Exercise 1 - Hissing

    * Breathe in to the count of four, breathe out, hissing, for four
    * Breathe in for 6, and hiss out for 10
    * Breathe in for 6, hiss out for 12
    * Breathe in for 2, hiss out for 12
    * Breathe in for 4, hiss out for 16
    * Breathe in for 2, hiss out for 16
    * Breathe in for 4, hiss out for 20
    * Breathe in for 1, hiss out for 20

    The idea behind the hissing is to monitor your breathing, and ensure that you can last through long phrases, and be economical with your breathing. Make sure the hiss is consistent; that it is not louder at the beginning than at the end. You are aiming for smooth even sound.

    Breathing Exercise 2 - Snatched Breaths

    • Breathing in gradually, think of your lungs filling up in fractions, when counting. Focus on the diaphragm, being careful not to hold tension in the throat.
    • On the count of '1' - breathe in (1/4 full)
    • '2' - (1/2 full)
    • '3' - (3/4 full)
    • '4' - (full)
    • 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 - breathe out, gradually. (For a deep effective breath within a short space of time, releasing the diaphragm and filling up the lungs quickly.)
    • Repeat, on the count of '1' - breathe in (1/2 full) '2' - (full)
    • 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 - breathe out gradually.


    Koir Universiti Teknologi Petronas 2009.

    Senada, Seirama, Sejiwa.