This singing lesson video is a interesting one that will really help you!
In it you'll see how making a few simple changes can make a big difference to the sound of your voice, as well as giving you more range and freedom.
Kenneth does a lot of acting and singing and what he found was that after a busy season of auditions and jobs his voice started going backwards.
When we were working together earlier in the year his voice was expanding nicely.
His range was increasing and his tone was getting better and better.
But unfortunately we didn't work for that long together and when he went to work and was singing a lot, the old habits and techniques kicked back in.
If you ever feel that your voice is starting to go backwards, here's the good news (and this is exactly what I told Kenneth!)
While it might feel like you've gone back to square one, this is never the case.
If you were making progress before, but then you seemingly lost that progress, it's much easier too get it back than you think.
See, when I work with singers the goal is to get them singing with correct vocal technique - and have their body producing sound correctly.
Usually when I begin with a singer, they are doing things that is stopping them from producing sound correctly.
So when we reverse this, their voice immediately improves.
The thing is though, it's very important to practice these new techniques enough so they become habits.
If you don't practice them enough, it's very easy to revert to the old habits which is what happened to Kenneth in the video.
The good news though, is when you practice the techniques enough, they will take hold and become "the new way" that you sing.
This is how you get the most out of your voice in terms of range, tonality, freedom and flexibility.
The first thing I'm always looking to do with clients is to remove as much of the swallowing muscles from the singing process as possible.
If you watch the video at the 4:00 mark, you'll see the first exercise that I use is the "Lip Trill".
(The video below will begin at the correct time)
This is a funny sounding exercise where you put your hands on each sides of your chin and then make a "bubbly" sound, keeping your lips loose so they vibrate as the sound comes through.
As you watch Kenneth do this exercise, you will notice that initially he is "pinching" his sound a little bit. So we make two changes to overcome this.
Firstly I have him adjust the positioning of his hands slightly lower to help him get his sound out of the back of his head and further upwards into his mask. (See 4:41)
Secondly, I have him do what I call "reverse thinking", which is where he changes his thinking so he's "singing down into the notes" instead of pushing up.
Both of these adjustments (as you will hear!) go a long way to removing some of the blockages that the muscles around his neck are causing.
You can watch the execution of this exercise from 5:24 to 6:33.
The next exercise we move to is the tongue trill. This one is quite similar to the lip trill but instead it's kind of like "rolling your R's". Check out 6:33 for the exercise.
(The video below begins at the correct time for the demonstration)
You'll see I'm having Kenneth place his thumb under his jaw for this one. The reason is that this gives him an awareness for when those swallowing muscles tighten up. And it makes it easier to "release them" when it happens.
(NOTE: Some singers aren't able to do the tongue trill for genetic reasons. So if you are unable to "roll your r's" it might be out of your control. If this is the case you can simply use an "A" sound on the scale.)
Another tip I give Kenneth as his does this exercise is to really exaggerate in his face, kind of having a silly looking smile! Watch from 8:00 to see this in action.
What this does is once again keeps his sound up in the mask and out of his throat.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
The more you can keep your sound out of your throat and up in the mask, the more freedom you will feel because it really helps prevent your swallowing muscles forming a blockage in your voice.
Next we go to using a vowel sound, in this case the letter "A".
(Press play on the video below to see the demonstration)
At this point some of the exercises we've just done will be paying off and things will feel more free and effortless.
You'll notice that Kenneth is still pushing up to some notes as we begin this exercise, but it only takes a small reminder to start "singing down into the notes" again.
Another thing that I add in here is I get Kenneth to have his tongue on the floor of his mouth as this gives him an experience of openness that's really important in the genre that he sings.
What happens if you're singing with a bad habit or two is very often your tone production will start from a lower place then where it needs to be.
This is particularly true if you have the problem of pushing for notes and getting your voice stuck in your throat.
So you'll notice in this exercise that I'm prompting Kenneth to try to get him to start his tone production higher in his head.
The idea thing to "think" is that you are starting your sound at a spot in the middle of your forehead.
This "thinking exercise" is often enough to get you starting to produce your tone in the right spot, and can prevent a whole range of issues.
At the 13:00 mark we begin to see the effect that the exercises are having when Kenneth goes to sing a song.
(Watch the video below to see)
His voice is already sounding very nice indeed, but we make a few tweaks to really give him a sense of openness and freedom.
Watch as I show him how to "pull his notes down" instead of pushing up, which really helps open things up.
As had been discussed earlier in the video, one of the reasons for the lesson was that Kenneth had been reverting to previous old habits.
So this session was really about getting back on track and tweaking things to bring back some of the new techniques.
And as he practices the line in the song, you can really start to hear his tone start to sing through and become less strained.
The great news is that if you feel yourself slipping backwards, you have never gone back to where you started. With a bit of practice and rethinking what you are doing you can get back to that great place where things are flowing nicely.
And if you would like the plan and exercises should really help you discover how to sing to a level you never thought possible for yourself, I'm offering a $50 discount on my Singing Made Simple program for the next 24 hours here.