Sunday, October 30, 2011

Breathing Exercise #1: Inhale, Hold, and Release

To fashion our breathing to the way we should when we sing, breathing exercises should be undertaken so that our body will get used to it. Our body has the capability to record certain actions that we do regularly resulting in an effortless routine.

When we set our alarm clocks to wake us up on a certain time then it becomes a habit that sometimes we get up ahead of our alarm clocks. That is one proof that our body can adjust to whatever we tell it to do. That is why regular breathing exercise can help accustom our own breathing to the required way of breathing when we sing.

The first basic exercise to practice is taking in air gently, holding it for a few seconds and releasing it slowly. But first, we have to change the way we breathe for us to sing properly. We need to activate our diaphragm to do the work for us. We will focus in delivering air to our lower abdomen where our stomach is also located.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Your body makes up for your voice

Most people sing with their throats (vocal chords). Since our voices comes from within the larynx where the voice box is, we do exert so much effort pulling all the sound that we can get from our vocal chords. We all depend on the power of that single muscle not knowing that sound production does not solely depend on the voice itself. In turn we end up falling short in the middle of our performance as we try to reach for the high notes as hard as we could possibly get.

There are certain things we should consider in the proper creation of sound when we sing. In this way, it would be easier for choir members to determine "where" to acquire or produce that particular sound. Singers, vocal teachers and experts has termed it the "vocal register" or better yet "vocal registration."

There have been many discussions made over the Internet about the vocal register which is too technical for most of us. I will be discussing this portion a bit simpler (if possible) for others to understand. Most of the information I will be sharing are purely based on observation, reasearch and experience as I have used and relayed it to my own choral group.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Breathing: the key to proper singing

When I joined a choir when I was still a kid, no one has ever taught us of the proper singing habits. For years, we sang just like any normal kid that usually ends up with an itchy throat or a lost voice (either a sored throat or "malat") for the next few days after stressing our vocal chords.

Never did we know that singing involves the proper use of air and how we use the air in creating the sound plays an important role specially in choirs or choruses.

Technically speaking, our vocal chords generates the sounds. Sounds are produced when air passes trough our chords. They take shape according to the sound produced. Consequently, passing enough air through the vocal chords will aid in proper sound production. Only through proper breathing exercises can we develop our breathing habits for singing.

To sing properly, we need enough air to pass through our vocal chords. We also need to hold enough air to make sound production smoother and more powerful.

Look at the flute. It is a wind instrument that depends largely on air to be able to produce the right sound. An ample amount of air is required to pass through the holes as the fluist plays on it. Just like our voice, we cannot sing properly without passing air through our vocal chords.

Adapting this concept will make it easier for us to understand the idea of sound production. Singing does not solely depend on our vocal chords, air helps to produce the sound through the chords. We need to control the flow of air to produce the right sound as we intended to do while we sing.

Starting my journey

My passion to play and teach music in church choirs (Catholic) dates back 12 years ago as I started to handle and teach my own youth choir.

I do not have a degree in music. I only have some formal lessons in minor schools plus the 12 year experience in the field.

I have been aiding my former mentors and colleagues in teaching their own choral groups for quite sometime now. My musical prowess and knowledge on music dynamics and theories have provided much help in the performance of various choral groups in our community. Up until now, I give service to those who asks for whenever possible.

Teaching music, particularly liturgical in context, to young people has never been so easy. So much to say, not all people has strong affinity to their spiritual side. Religion is not a strong magnet specially to teens and young adults. Keeping up with the group is quite a painful challenge.