This may sound like something extremely obvious, but many times we forget completely about it: we sing as we train, as we practice. That means that, in order to be able to achieve a specific result when we sing a song, we need to practice that a good deal consistently. We need to train our muscles and our mind to get whatever we’re looking for. And that can take time. Because of that, is important to be patient 😊 .
The attitude we bring to our practice sessions also plays a role in this learning process. According to my voice teacher during this skill building project, ideally, we should practice as if we were meditating (with the same focus and mindfulness), or as if we were in a music performance. We don’t want to practice carelessly or just go through the motions. Practicing carefully and mindfully can make a difference over time.
In the past couple months, I also found out that decisiveness and a certain type of determination were also important for me. I had noticed right from the beginning that, sometimes, I tended to be extra cautious or careful when singing. This carefulness (closer to shyness) is the opposite of what I’m looking for. That’s why I tried to adopt a more decisive and assertive attitude, which helped me gain confidence and get better results overall.
It’s interesting to note that I observed this pattern in other learning experiences I’m having. For example, while playing padel. Being extra careful and shy doesn’t help in padel (I guess it doesn’t help in any sport!). What I tried to put into practice was the exact opposite: being more aggressive, more proactive. The good thing is that I think being more proactive in one domain (ie. padel) has positive results in other activities (ie. singing).
The Twelfth Week of Practice
This week I tried to keep in mind something we had talked about with Patrick in one of the last lessons. That is, the importance of the emotional component when singing or practicing at home. From an evolutionary standpoint, when we sing we are using our voice to communicate a message to another human being. Our most rudimentary communication means (previous to the articulated speech we use today), were howls, cries, and shouts loaded with emotion. That’s how we got our (emotional) messages across.
Taking advantage of this place where we come from, it makes sense to give these emotional aspects the importance they deserve. Even while practicing dry or boring exercises (especially in those moments!) is key to setting these emotional intentions. After all, when we put together all these things we’re practicing to sing an actual song, that’s going to be a performance loaded with emotions.
These are a few recordings from the last lesson I took in December. In the first one, I’m working with the ‘I’ vowel, by far the easiest one to bring the sound forward (at least for me!). Anyway, in the higher notes, I felt a lack of breath support, which produced a weaker sound and brought the voice a bit backward.
In the following excerpts, I work with the ‘E’ vowel in two different ways. The first one is a common arpeggio, without duplicating the octave (I’m singing 1-3-5th intervals, like a major chord). I like especially the ones at 00:48 and 00:52 because they show the determination I spoke about above. The last ones were quite high, and there I also had issues with proper support.
This is the second one with the ‘E’. This is a gliding fifth, with glissando (connecting the notes between the 1st and the 5th on purpose). The higher ones are the worst: I knew they are out of reach for me at the moment, but I still need to get there to continue expanding the voice. Even though these notes don’t sound good, with patience and practice, they will get better and better!
That’s all for now! 😊