... There are many books about technique, and there are some books about the spiritual aspects of performance. The challenge for me was trying to find a way to combine these two elements in an understandable way. I hope this book does that.
As a professional singer and a voice teacher I have been on both sides of the vocal experience. There were times when good technique got me through a tough gig, as well as times when the “book learning” aspects of technique just didn’t apply. Trial, error, and adjustment were the norm. The subject can be very abstract at times and often depends wholly on the way in which you experience your own body.
This book is the product of many years of discovery, both on the gig and through private study. Some of the concepts may be familiar to you; some of them are a direct result of my personal experience. It is not meant to be the “definitive” singing book, merely another source of information to familiarize you with basic concepts. It is up to you to experiment, apply the information, and do the work necessary to put you on the path to discovering your own voice.
... No one can learn to sing well solely out of a book. You will need some good, knowledgeable feedback as you work, so finding a good teacher is important. Look for a teacher who is flexible about style. There is no use studying with someone who wants to turn you into a version of them. A good teacher will help you discover your own style. Also, if the work they have you doing hurts or causes strain, run for the hills! Finally, find someone you can relate to and who makes you feel comfortable. There is nothing worse than dreading your lessons because you are intimidated by, or afraid of, your teacher. Singing should be fun, not scary!
... The exercises in this book are a combination of observation, visualization, and vocalizing. Try them all. You may immediately relate to some and not feel comfortable with others. That is fine. Use the exercises that work best for you. Your progress is a very personal thing, and it is directly proportional to the amount of time you spend working toward your goal. If you take lessons, no matter how bright you are, a 1/2-hour lesson per week with little or no practice on your own will get you nowhere. So please ... make the commitment to yourself to spend the time and energy necessary to reach your goal.
...The best reason to study singing is for the joy of singing. Anything else that comes out of it, such as recognition or money, is merely icing. While the goal of voice training is to become the master of your craft rather than be at the mercy of your lack of mastery, what I really hope you learn from studying is that singing is an act of love. It is spiritual, it is joyful, it is freeing, and finding your voice, whatever it may be, is one of the greatest gifts you can ever give yourself. It is a journey, complete with ups and downs, missed paths, new roads and much discovery. Welcome!
Each chapter concludes with a section of Tips, Exercises and a page for taking notes.
Go to: Table of Contents CD Exercises Intro Back to Zen of Singing
The CD Exercises
The exercises should be done gently, consistently, and most of all mindfully. They are simple enough that you should be able to truly PAY ATTENTION to what you are doing. The CD begins with “Long Tones”. Single notes that you hold to get focused on the sound. The single notes are the building blocks, so we need to make sure they are solid. They are also the least complicated exercises, so you can really concentrate on hearing and feeling everything that is going on. This is a good exercise on which to use “The Scan”. (Pg. 18)
Make sure you are very precise as you work; don’t slide around or use sloppy tone. Take them slowly and don’t overwhelm yourself at first. One or two exercises per session are fine to start with.
Experience Your Breath (pg 39)
Meet Your Diva (pg 97)
Sub-dividing Measures (Pg.112)
5 Ways to Be Creative (Pg. 114)
Scatting Example (Pg.116)
Start your warm up by sighing. A nice relaxed "AAAAAhhh...”
I play the note 3 times. Sing each repetition individually and/ or hold the note as long as is comfortable through the series of 3. For those of you who have trouble matching pitches, use them to learn to focus your ear: 1st time - Listen, 2nd time - Clarify, and 3rd time - Sing. Focus and be precise
I have included very basic interval work based on Scale Degrees. The 1-3-5-8 intervals are fundamental and will help you to sing in tune as well as train your ear.
Once you are comfortable with the long-tones and intervals move on to exercises number 1- 7. They are simple scales and arpeggios. Once you have mastered them, the Alternative Exercises may be substituted for the same numbered exercises. Be sure not to sing higher or lower than is comfortable. Never push or strain!