When Training Makes a Difference

Giles has been singing for 9 years and training with me for 10 months. He practices every day and had countless gigs over the holidays. He finally had a realization recently.⁣

Have a listen to the video below.

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Giles has been singing for 9 years and training with me for 10 months. He practices every day and had countless gigs over the holidays. He finally had a realization recently.⁣ ⁣ If you are consistent with your training and practice, then you are going to build consistency in your voice. If you want to change your voice for the better, it starts with daily focused practice. (and that doesn't mean practicing and wearing your voice out for 2 hours, more on that later…)🤪 ⁣ ⁣ So how do you hit those high notes? You have to build the right muscle memory and the only way to build muscle memory is through specific tools. And the tools have to be catered to your specific tendencies as a vocalist. ⁣ ⁣ So that's why you need a vocal coach to help guide you to mastering those high notes.😎⁣ ⁣ Keep training, keep practicing, keep having breakthroughs.🤩 ⁣ ⁣ Love ya!🤓

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Q&A Live: Vocal Health for Singers Dec. 6th

It’s the end of a fantastic year and as we head into the holiday season, let’s make some time to reflect on our vocal health and what changes we can make for 2020!  Join the discussion!  Please let us know your questions ahead of time, or jump on the live chat with us!  Click here to watch our facebook live at the Surrey Voice Clinic alongside Sherri Zelazny, Surrey Voice Clinic Clinical Director.

Vocal Confidence

When it comes to vocal confidence, our mindset truly matters.  Check out my latest Insta post on False Confidence vs Authentic Confidence.

 

Vocal Health Webinar

Thank you to all who attended our Vocal Health for Professional Voice Users webinar. I was happy to host this as Sherri Zelazny presented on a topic I am so passionate about. Here is the replay in case you missed it!  Lots of great information on vocal anatomy, understanding your instrument and how it works, plus vocal pathologies.  My personal favourite was when Sherri covered voice myth busters!

Thanks again to Sherri Zelazny from the Surrey Voice Clinic for her wonderful insightful presentation!

Advancing Your Vocal Health – Free Webinar

Please join us for a free and informative webinar on vocal health. Learn the latest and greatest info on voice therapy, and innovative vocal health strategies from Sherri Zelazny. If you are a voice user or voice professional don’t miss this free opportunity to learn more about your instrument. Bring questions if you have them!

Sherri Zelazny is a Registered Speech Language Pathologist with more than 30 years of experience. She pursued advanced clinical expertise in the area of Voice and Laryngeal Airway Disorders at the University of Wisconsin Madison Voice and Swallow Clinics. Her areas of special interest include voice evaluation and treatment, paradoxical vocal fold motion, voice therapy for Parkinson Disease, and community education.

Alida Annicchiarico is a vocal consultant has been a private voice instructor for over 12 years, based in Vancouver, Canada. A graduate of UBC, a Certified Vocal Mentor Instructor as well a member in good standing with NATS, she has worked with some of the world’s top groundbreaking voice instructors as well as vocal health professionals. She is passionate about helping singers and performers to understand their instrument better and train so they can avoid vocal fatigue or injury.

Click here to register.

5 Ways to Maintain Vocal Hygiene

I recently had a discussion with a speech therapist who suggested that a lot of singers don’t actually know what their voices look like.  Sometimes, it’s only when they are at a visit with the ENT or SLP that they finally get to see the vocal folds on a screen upon examination.  She also made me further aware of how important it is that singers are educated in how the voice works and especially how to care for it, after all, it is their instrument.  Preventing injuries and voice disorders can be challenging especially considering the crazy scheduling demands on professional singers these days.  However, I agree that it’s crucial singers are educated on the importance of maintaining vocal hygiene because by doing so it can minimize the risk of vocal health issues later.  Not only that, it can ensure longevity in their career.

So what is ‘vocal hygiene’ anyway and what steps can we take to make it happen?  Vocal hygiene is the practice of maintaining and caring for your instrument both on and off stage.  A lot of times we as singers are more focused on the music, the songwriting, the performance, the audience, the rehearsals…the list goes on and on.  Those are all very important aspects to the art of singing.  But equally important are steps we can take to maintain our instrument.  Here are just some of the ways to keep your vocal hygiene in check:

Maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle.  Simply put, if the body is healthy, the voice is healthy.  Ensuring you get restorative sleep nightly, and maintaining a nutritious diet are both contributing factors to vocal hygiene.  With nutrition it is all about researching what works best for you.  If you suffer from acid reflux or allergies (which can effect the vocal folds) seek advice from a medical professional.  Whatever you put in your body affects the voice, so avoid toxic substances.  Physical exercise can help increase your lung capacity and can contribute to better stamina when singing on stage.  Plus it gives you more energy and awareness of posture which is important in singing. So taking steps towards a healthy lifestyle definitely counts towards vocal health.

Commit to overall hydration.  Vocal folds work much better and don’t fatigue as fast with moisture.  Hydration doesn’t mean chugging down huge amounts of water the day of your performance or lesson.  Rather, experts suggest that a commitment to overall hydration (daily intake of water) is much more efficient.  You want to keep your vocal cords moist all the time.  If you live in a dry environment, or suffer from dry throat, steaming the voice has been recommended by vocal professionals as a way of keeping the area moist.

Exercise your voice daily.  Daily vocalizing sessions to warm up the voice are so important.  But also vocal development and honing in on the areas of the voice that are challenging to develop on your own. For example areas above the chest area (as we refer to as the “mix” area or even head voice) can be difficult to sing into without any training.  A qualified voice teacher will be able to assign you specific exercises to warm up the voice but also increase your vocal balance in those difficult areas.

Work on your speaking voice.  How you use your speaking voice on a day to day basis counts towards vocal hygiene.  If you are speaking aggressively or shouting excessively, or using it way too much, you are more likely to fatigue your voice.  If your occupation requires you to speak for long periods of time, ensure you are speaking with enough pitch inflections.  Moving your voice in pitch will allow it to not just stay in the same position all day. (Imagine just standing in the same position all day long and not moving around much). Vocal cords needs to be stretched a little here and there and using more than just one pitch to speak on will allow more movement.

Take time for vocal rest.  If you use your voice frequently throughout the day in your occupation, or for singing or public speaking, be sure to take time out of your day to rest your voice.

The process of keeping your voice healthy requires awareness and commitment and can be quite challenging.  Start today to make small changes in keeping vocal hygiene in check.  Your voice will thank you for it!

Book an online voice lesson.

6 Steps to Learning Riffs

Are you a singer who really wants to get better at singing riffs? A riff (sometimes called ‘run’) is a stylistic melodic pattern of descending or ascending notes usually on one syllable (a vowel) at a fast pace.  Riffs in contemporary music have their origin in Gospel and Jazz and can be found in many contemporary genres.

In order to get better at singing riffs, you have to build vocal agility.  Vocal agility, simply put, is the ability to get your voice to move from note to note with precision, pitch accuracy, free from any tension.

Before starting the steps below, it’s best to warm up your voice (check out my vocal workouts).  Then practice basic major scale patterns moving from note to note on some pure vowels such as “ee” or “oh”.  So for example, take the C major scale and sing it on an “ee” or “oh” vowel. (ascending and descending)

Then, you may be more warmed up to take on a riff from a song!

Find an easy and short riff pattern to start and follow these tips:

Step 1:  Pick an easy riff with not too many notes, from a song you like.  Play the riff on piano or guitar to make sure you have all the right notes. Or simply ‘break it down’ listening to it in smaller sections.  Count how many notes there are.

Step 2:  Sing the riff with a consonant on each note, such as  “no, no, no” or “nuh nuh nuh”.  Be sure there isn’t any tension and not too much volume when you are aiming for that precision in each note.  Sing each note slow with pitch accuracy and get the riff precise, and then slowly repeat it and start to speed it up.

Step 3:  Take the consonant out and sing it on a pure vowel (such as “oh” or “oo”)  Get your voice to feel that separation between each of the notes within the pattern. Don’t add a ton of volume yet, keep your volume at a medium level.

Step 4:  Start to speed up the riff, slowly increasing the tempo until the notes are all clean.  Don’t merge any of the notes, if you have done that, then you have sung it too fast.  Try not to push too much air while singing the riff.  (This will help you keep that resistance of air pressure to be able to sing several notes in succession at a quick pace)

Step 5:  Repeat the riff many times until you have it smooth.  Repetition of the riff pattern will also build muscle memory on how to move from one note to the next with a clear separation of the notes. (versus clumping the notes altogether)

Step 6:  Then go back and sing it with the original singer to get the tempo down.

To get better at riffs, practice riff scales on a regular basis.  Download “Funky Vocal Licks” by John Fluker on iTunes.  Natalie Weiss’ web series “Breaking Down the Riffs” on youtube is also super fun!  Keep listening to Gospel music , Motown, R&B, Jazz and artists who riff quite a bit.  (Callie Day, Karen Clark Sheard, Smokie Norful, Steve Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, Usher, Tori Kelly, Jessie J, Demi Lovato just to name a few)   Even if you are a country, pop or musical theatre singer, listening to Gospel or R&B will help you gain a better ‘ear’ for riff patterns.  Before you know it, you willl be riffing effortlessly!

Dealing with singing breathy?

Check out my new vocal workout for breathy singers!

Book an online private voice lesson.

How to Change Your Mindset About Singing

In her best selling book Mindset – The new Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck outlines the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.  A fixed mindset is the belief that what you are capable of is a fixed trait, like eye colour, you’re born with it and you can’t change it.  Whereas a growth mindset is like a muscle, when you put in the hard work and effort, your abilities can grow and flourish.

Singing is an activity that is notoriously known for being either you have “it” or you don’t.  In other words, the genius singers were singing from the moment they were born.

Yeah right, nothing can be further from the truth.  Btw, check out this great diagram:

Getting back to singers….take any genius singer and Wikipedia them and find out about how long they have been singing for and their training and background….

And even if they and “talent” (whatever that means) they were most likely  brought up in an environment that encouraged singing daily (whether at home church or school)

(Ps…parents don’t ever discourage your kids from singing even if you think it sounds bad….children need to be encouraged to use their voices….more on that in a later blog)

When it comes to growing as a singer here are some SHIFTS that need to happen:

1) train – work with a qualified singing and voice professional weekly or bi-weekly

2) learn from the constructive feedback that you’ve been given – record your lessons so you can practice daily -find out what you need to improve on

3) embrace the vocal challenges – it’s not always going to be easy, keep going, keep working – the challenges are what make you stronger as a singer

4) keep going…did I mention keep going?

5) view other’s success as inspiring – don’t worry, there’s room for everyone!

6) When you hear a good singer, L I S T E N!  Get inspired!  

7) One more thing…ignore the haters….and only work with people who offer you constructive feedback and effective tools!

 

 

Alida is a vocal coach and singer/performer based in Vancouver, Canada and has been teaching private voice lessons for 10 years.  A graduate of UBC School of Music, Alida is also a Level 5 Certified IVA Voice Teacher.  

 

Are your vocal issues holding you back?

What if there was a miracle cure for all of your vocal troubles?  Well there kind of already is…

The number one game changer for singers is vocal technique, that’s right, you’ve heard it before, technique technique, technique….

As much as we try to avoid it, we may be bored by it, confused by it, don’t want to bother with it, wanna warm-up and go straight to songs, have better things to do like scroll through insta feeds….

The truth is:  your voice needs a daily workout.

Here’s why:

-When we avoid technique, we’re avoiding the problematic areas that will show up for us in the songs…so you will always ‘miss the mark’ if you just keep practicing the song only.

-Technique prepares you for the challenges you face in the song!  

-Also, it helps prevent vocal fatigue and injury…it makes singing easier!

Wanna game plan?

  1. book your next voice lesson

  2. record your vocal technique exercises with your phone during your lesson

  3. practice those tools daily BEFORE you hit the songs

  4. THEN…wait for my next blog….it’s coming soon….

  5. in the meantime keep do steps 1-3 

 

Alida is a vocal coach based in Vancouver, Canada and has been teaching voice to singers for 10 years.  A graduate of UBC School of Music, Alida is also a certified Advanced IVA Voice Teacher.