Vocal training is important for singers and actors at every level. Keeping your instrument in the best shape possible requires daily exercise & consistent sessions with a teacher to make sure you are doing everything correctly. I know it sounds like a hassle, but check with the singers and actors you admire most and see what their vocal regimen is, and I bet they do the work with persistence and patience!
It’s a new year and I’m reminded again how little patience and persistence our modern, fast paced, technologically advanced society will put up with. When it comes to voice training, patience and persistence are two things that can ensure success! With the immediacy of the Internet and the fast pace of video games, a lot of singers and actors want their voices to be trained in a few lessons. Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen like that
If it did, there would be an abundance of excellent singers and actors with amazing vocal abilities When you train your voice, you’re training muscles. Muscles take time to grow strong and flexible. It’s just like going to the gym. Can you imagine going to the gym for a week and being “done”, having your body look like a fitness model for the rest of your life? Ask any fitness model about persistence and patience, and I’m sure you’ll get a good lecture!
There is a great article in the New York Times about Opera Singers keeping themselves in shape. The cliche about the “Fat Lady” no longer applies. Opera has become more physical and directors are casting to type, meaning that the ingenue looks like an ingenue, and the young leading man looks like the young leading man. Check out the slide show at the New York Times and see what these singers are doing for their workouts!
Something came up again this week that I would like to talk about. That’s “Being Ready”. I have a student who has been away from my studio for almost a year and hasn’t been working on his voice during that time. Now something has come up that he wants to do that requires a pretty good singer. He came to me to “fix” his voice so he can do the work. Unfortunately, he’s lost all of his upper register. It’s breathy and airy without a solid sound. That’s going to take some time to correct and he will have to miss out on this opportunity.
I have another student, a young woman who has been working steadily with me for about eight months, and a couple of opportunities came up for her this past week. She didn’t feel like she was ready to audition. I encouraged her to audition because she needs the experience, and she’s a good singer. There is more work to be done, but she’s been consistent and her voice is the best it’s ever been. She can do the job, she needs to learn that.
Two examples of “Being Ready”. The point is, keep working on your voice! You never know when an opportunity will come your way and you want to be ready.
One thing I want all students of voice to understand, voice training is a process. You have to be patient with yourself and your progress. Learning new techniques take time. Don’t be in a hurry. Of course we all want to be fabulous singers/speakers, as quickly as possible. Re-think that. Some aspects of vocal technique take a while to develop. Accept this and learn to enjoy the journey. Your voice is where it’s at right now, and with training and discipline, it will improve weekly. So don’t get impatient and try to rush your progress. Rushing will lead to tension, frustration, sloppiness, and even damage to your voice. So relax. Stay focused, but relax. You will progress as you explore your own vocal instrument under the guidance of your teacher. With daily exercise and discipline you will get the voice you want!
For now, No tension in the throat! If there’s tension or even pain when you sing, somethings not working correctly! I know it sounds obvious, but a lot of people will “sing through it” and wonder why they’re hoarse all the time. Continuing to sing this way will cause damage to the cords. Get to a teacher and figure it out!
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