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Singing Lesson Myth: Classically Trained Singers Can?t Sing Popular Music

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Myth: Classically trained singers are not able to sing popular music without sounding strained or fake. Similarly, a pop singer would not be able to sing classical music. Think about how differently the two genres sound. Can you imagine Ke$ha singing a piece from La Traviata or Cecilia Bartoli trying to sing Ke$ha?s Tik Tok? The two styles of music are so radically different that it seems impossible the two artists could cross over. Classically trained singers are trained to focus on the vowels in the song rather than consonants. With popular music, consonants are absolutely not the afterthought and are often emphasized. The consonants are what give popular music its unique rhythm and beat. So, does that mean that the two genres cannot cross over?

Fact: Anyone can sing any genre of music, but it?s going to take a lot of practice! Classically trained singers are taught one way and in order to sing pop music, they need to forget most of what they already know. Classical singers will need to drop all their training and rules and just go with the flow to sing pop music. That sounds much easier than it is. However, half of learning something new is identifying what makes them different, which I just did above.

Here are some tips to switch from classical music to popular.

-Listen to as much pop music as you can. Try to mimic the techniques and sound like the artist.
-Understand the different techniques pop music uses. Pop singers often suppress their vibrato in most cases unlike classical singers who are taught to usually hold notes with vibrato.
-Try to sing with the emotion of the song. If you?re trying to sing a song about someone tough or seeking revenge, make your voice sound angry.
-Listen to other styles of songs and try to mimic them. The more you can add to your range and repertoire, the easier it will be to learn new techniques.

More singing lesson myths:
Vocal Lesson Myth: Singing lessons are not for me because I?m interested in singing popular songs.
Singing Lesson Myth: Singing should hurt since it?s building the muscles.
Vocal Lesson Myth: I cannot sing in pitch and therefore am tone deaf.

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Breathe Easy: 10 Tips for Vocal Students

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For most singers, it?s easy to identify problems and know when something is wrong with your voice. Singers know what their voice sounds like and feels like on a regular basis, so when something doesn?t seem right, it?s usually easy to identify the problem. While you may be able to identify vocal problems, it?s easier to prevent them than fix them.

Here are some tips for keeping your voice and vocal cords healthy.

1. Posture. Posture is one of the most important things singers need to master! In order to breathe easy and get the most air through your lungs, your rib cage needs to be open.
2. Relax. Your body and throat should never feel tense or like you are trying to force sound out. The best sound comes from relaxed singers.
3. Practice. Practice makes perfect. That saying definitely applies to singers. The only way to excel is to practice. Try to aim for 30-60 minutes 5 times a week.
4. Warm up. Vocalists need to remember to always warm up before a performance and practice! If you forget this important part, you can cause serious damage to your voice.
5. Diet. Singers should be conscious of what they are eating and drinking at all times. Some foods and drinks should be avoided before a performance. Other things, like alcohol, should be avoided at all times.
6. Tilt. Tilt your head back slightly when singing. This can open your throat and vocal cords more allowing for a relaxed sound.
7. Hydrate! Make sure to always keep your vocal cords hydrated by drinking lots of water. Dry throats will produce cracked sound and damage vocal cords.
8. Don?t clear your throat! Clearing your throat too much can irritate your vocal cords and make them hoarse. If your throat feels plugged, try drinking a glass of water and resting your voice.
9. Rest. Make sure to get plenty of sleep each night! Especially make sure to spare your voice when you?re sick. You never want to overwork your voice.
10. No smoking. Inhaling smoke, even secondhand smoke, can seriously irritate your vocal cords.

More vocal tips for students:
Dos and Don?ts for a Healthy Voice
10 Foods and Drinks Not to Consume Before a Vocal Performance
10 More Vocal Tips

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Improve your overall well being and start singing!

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I?ve already covered the mental health benefits to singing and music lessons, but there are many more reasons to learn to sing!

Emotional benefits of singing lessons:

-Singing lessons increase self-esteem and confidence because singing is something you will be able to do better than your peers.
-Singing enhances your mood. Think about when you?re feeling blue and your favorite song comes on. You can?t help but smile and sing along.
-Singing reduces stress. When you?re singing, you can?t really think about other things because you need to focus on the music and lyrics. If you?re not thinking about the things that stress you out, then you can?t be stressed.
-Singing is energizing. Most people have a playlist for when they work out of fast paced, upbeat songs to keep them energized. If you?re one of those people, think about how much faster you run when one of your favorite workout songs comes on.
-Singing can be healing and evoke emotion. Similar to songs enhancing your mood, songs can also evoke sad feelings. Sometimes that?s a good thing and can be healing if you just need a good cry.

Social benefits of singing lessons:

-Singing enables you to meet new people. Local choirs, church choirs etc. have different people coming together to sing. This is a great outlet to meet new people with similar interests.
-Singing provides support. Choirs often act like support groups where everyone in the choir is supportive of others. The people you meet while singing can become a great place to turn to in times of need.
-Singing brings people together and creates a sense of community. Think about how you feel if you?ve ever watched a choir perform. Often the audience sings or claps along because they feel engaged by the performers.

More singing lesson articles:
Dos and Don?ts for a Healthy Voice
Music lessons = Better Communication Skills
Singing Promotes Youth

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Singing Your Way to Good Health

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Singing isn’t just for fun anymore! Studies show that singing actually improves your health and can help with some chronic conditions. But how?

Here are some ways singing can improve your health.

1. Asthma. This is one benefit that definitely makes sense. Proper singing requires deep breaths and breathing techniques. It?s no surprise that this helps people who suffer from asthma or other chronic respiratory illnesses.
2. Aging. Singing promotes youth for lots of reasons! Think about all the muscles in your face that you?re working by singing. You also feel younger since singing makes your feel happier and reduces stress.
3. Memory. Learning to play any instrument helps with your cognitive skills, but singing especially requires you to memorize lyrics and notes. This helps with your overall memory.
4. Immune system. Everyone knows that you?re more susceptible to illnesses when you?re stressed out. Singing reduces stress; therefore singing increases immune system health and keeps you healthier.
5. Posture. This may not seem like a great benefit, but good posture means better breathing and healthier muscles and joints. Slouching is not good for your body in any way and singing doesn?t allow for bad posture.
6. Self-confidence. When you feel better about yourself, you instantly feel healthier. Confidence plays a big part in your health because there are parts of illnesses and recovery that are mental. If you want to feel good, then the majority of the time, you will. Singing increases self-confidence because you?re not stressed, you?re meeting new people and you?re in a good mood.
7. Healthy diet. Believe it or not, there is a vocal health diet. Singers cannot be constantly eating processed foods and ice cream because it messes with their vocal chords. A diet for vocal health includes lots of water, no alcohol or caffeine and lots of healthy foods. You need to keep your body healthy in order to sing properly.

Similar articles:
Singing Lesson Myth: Singing should hurt since it?s building the muscles.
10 Foods and Drinks Not to Consume Before a Vocal Performance

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Making the Most of Music Lessons

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Music lessons can be an expensive investment; you have to pay for the instrument and materials that go along with it, upkeep, lessons etc.? With the money you?re spending on lessons, it?s definitely a good idea to make sure you?re making the most of each lesson!

Here are some tips to make the most of music lessons.

1. Begin music lessons at the right age.? Adults can begin lessons at anytime because their success is based on their dedication.? For children, they need to be mentally and physically able to play an instrument.? Starting a three year old out with vocal lessons isn?t a great idea because they aren?t developed enough to get everything from the lessons.?
2. Take private in home music lessons.? With group lessons or lessons in a classroom setting, students do not get much one-on-one time.? If you?re trying to get the most you can out of each music lesson, private lessons are the way to go.
3. Make sure you have a qualified instructor.? If you want to learn to play the piano like a professional but you?re getting music lessons from someone only qualified to teach beginners, then you won?t progress past beginner level.? Not qualified instructors could also teach you bad habits, which would be hard to break later.? It?s best to learn from a qualified instructor from the beginning if you would like to progress quickly and efficiently.
4. Use practice time wisely.? Don?t sit and practice your instrument in front of the TV or try to cram in practice right before bed.? Set aside designated time each day to practice your instrument and always practice in the same place.? If you?re practicing at the same time in the same place, practice will become routine.
5. Have fun!? If you hate practicing or taking music lessons, then you?re not going to want to progress.? Try finding a different teacher that uses different techniques before giving up on lessons.? Sometimes a new teacher can make things fun again!

Similar articles:
How to Keep Kids Interested in Music Lessons
Benefits Of In Home Music Lessons
10 Benefits of Music Lessons

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Dos and Don’ts for a Healthy Voice

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Just like with any other instrument, you need to take proper care of your voice. Unlike other instruments, your voice is irreplaceable and if you don?t take care of your voice, you could lose it.

Here are some dos and don?ts for a healthy voice.

DON?T: Clear your throat! Ever! That means when you feel like something is in your throat or your voice sounds scratchy, resist the urge to clear your throat. Instead, drink or eat something acidic to help break down the phlegm like pineapple or lemonade.

DO: Wear a scarf! You know when you have a sore throat and drinking warm liquids soothes it, it?s because your vocal chords need to stay warm to maintain clear sound. Your throat should also stay warm since when your body is cold, your muscles constrict.

DON?T: Drink caffeinated drinks or alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol dehydrate you and that is the worst thing for a voice. You want to make sure and steer clear of any foods or drinks that will dehydrate you.

DO: Drink lots of water! Since dehydration is the worst thing for your voice, water is the best. You want to make sure and drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. You can also get hydration from fruits and vegetables that have high water content. Just be sure not to eat too many acidic fruits.

DO: Rest! Singing is a workout for your voice and just like after any other workout, your body needs rest. Make sure and get 6-8 hours of sleep each night so you are fully energized throughout the day. If your voice gets tired mid vocal session, take a break and rest your vocal chords.

More about vocal health:
Singing Lesson Myth: Singing should hurt since it?s building the muscles.
10 Foods and Drinks Not to Consume Before a Vocal Performance
Tips for a Healthy Singing Voice

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How to command the stage: 10 Vocal Performance Tips

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1. Dress to impress. Wear a nice outfit that you feel comfortable in. If you feel like you look great, then you?ll have more confidence, which will radiate on stage. However, always be comfortable. If you?re wearing a great outfit that you don?t feel comfortable in, you?re mood will show it and you might hide.
2. Don?t hide. Don?t wear a big hat or a bunch of makeup to hide your appearance. Be comfortable and let the audience see you.
3. Mean what you?re singing and act like it. If one of your songs speaks to you, don?t blow through the lyrics with little emotion. Feel the music. Make the audience believe in what you?re singing.
4. Make eye contact. Don?t just stare off into space; look at the audience. They want to feel engaged and their love for your music can motivate you. If you don?t feel comfortable looking at strangers, have your friends come and sit in the audience and keep your eyes on them.
5. Open your eyes! Just like making eye contact, the audience identifies with you through your eyes. It makes them feel part of the show. You may feel more emotion with your eyes closed, but your audience will not feel the emotion.
6. Stay calm. If you make a mistake, move past it. Don?t stand on stage awkward or make it known that you are having trouble; act natural. The audience does not know what is and is not part of your show.
7. Think about your set list. Make sure the songs flow and that you can keep up. Don?t put everyone?s favorite songs right at the beginning of the performance or the audience might lose interest.
8. Relax. Give yourself time on stage to relax. Don?t play a succession of fast paced dance songs; break them up with a couple slower songs. You don?t want to give your all right in the beginning and have the rest of the performance be dull.
9. Have a Plan B. Make sure you have some songs as back up in case you are feeling under the weather and are unable to hit the high notes or you can?t keep up your energy. Make sure your band is aware of the possible changes as well.
10. Rehearse! Make sure you are prepared for a live concert. Practice everything through and do practice runs to make sure you are able to do the set list. With all the other things that can go wrong during a show, make sure forgetting the lyrics isn?t one of them.

More vocal performance tips:
Tips for Vocal Performers
10 Music Performance Tips
10 Foods and Drinks Not to Consume Before a Vocal Performance

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10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Practice Area

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It?s easy to become distracted, especially if you have a lot of other things on your mind. If you want to learn to play a musical instrument, you need to focus and practice. Learning an instrument doesn?t happen overnight. One thing that can help motivate you to practice is creating the perfect practice area.

Here are some tips for creating the perfect practice area.

1. Choose a place where you can practice every day. If your sibling watches TV shows every other day for a few hours, don?t practice in a room where there will always be other people.
2. Pick a place where you can have your lessons and practice. If you?re taking lessons in the same place you practice, things will become familiar and you?ll be more likely to remember your lessons when practicing.
3. Rid the area of distractions. Don?t choose the family room as your practice area because that?s a room that has a lot of traffic.
4. Choose a place you feel comfortable in. The living room will probably be much more comfortable than the kitchen.
5. Make sure the room you choose has adequate lighting. You don?t want to have to strain your eyes to see the music.
6. Don?t practice near the kitchen if you?re going to practice around dinnertime. You?re more likely to become distracted if you?re hungry and can smell dinner cooking.
7. Choose a quiet area. If there are lots of noises around you, you may easily become distracted without even knowing it.
8. Don?t pick a small area! You need to have enough room to create a nice sound and to move around if your instrument requires it. If you play the french horn and are trying to practice in the corner of the kitchen, you?re probably going to hate practicing and not want to do it anymore.
9. If your learning an instrument that?s stationary, like the piano, set up practice times every day and make sure your family knows they are not allowed to interrupt you during that time.
10. Make sure all the tools you need to practice are in your area. Keep your music stored in the area and have a glass of water near by. You want to make sure you have everything you may need handy so that you do not need to get up and leave the area.

More practice tips:
10 Tips for Creating the Perfect Practice Session
10 Piano Practice Tips
Common Mistakes Piano Students Make When Practicing

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Tips for Vocal Performers

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Vocal performances are different than other instrument performances because your voice is your instrument. If you play the guitar and show up to a gig and have a cold, you can still make it through the performance. Not so with a vocal performance. Singing takes practice and dedication just like all other instruments, but there are some things that you will need to work on if you sing rather than play an instrument.

Here are some things that vocal performers will need to worry about that other instrument players may not.

Articulate your words. Articulate literally means to make clear. Your words should sound clear so that people can understand you. Have you ever gone to a rock concert where you couldn?t understand a word the singer sang? That?s because he/she didn?t articulate their words. A song will be more effective if the audience can understand the lyrics.

Overcome singing complications. All singers have had to overcome some unforeseen hurdle in their singing career. Even if the hurdle is just a common cold, you will not be able to perform as usual. Try not to strain your voice and cut your performance short if you feel exhausted. Always remember to err on the side of caution if something does not feel right with your voice.

Follow a healthy vocal diet. Everything you put in your mouth affects your instrument. Smoking and drinking during a performance are definitely not good things to do, even if the rest of your band is drinking. You?re vocal cords should always stay hydrated and healthy to make sure you give the best performance possible.

Don?t overdo it. Over practicing isn?t just going to exhaust you, it could permanently damage your voice. With other instruments if you practice and strain yourself, you?ll just have to take a break for a few days/weeks, but not so with vocal performers. If you think you?ve overdone a performance, take a break and go to the doctor if necessary.

More tips for vocal health:
10 Foods and Drinks Not to Consume Before a Vocal Performance
Is Karaoke Bad for a Singing Voice?
Diet for Vocal Health

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Vocal Lesson Myth: Singing lessons are not for me because I?m interested in singing popular songs.

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Myth: Vocal lessons are for people who want to sing opera or classical music. Since I?m interested in singing popular music, singing lessons are not for me. Opera and classical singers will usually say they started taking vocal lessons at a very young age. Similarly, many rock legends say they have had no professional vocal training. It makes sense to think that singing lessons are only for people who want to become classically trained, but that?s not true.

Fact: Music lessons are for everyone and many instructors teach a variety of styles, including pop and rock. A vocal instructor?s job is to improve the student?s singing ability and range. They do this through breathing techniques, tone productions, expansion of ranges etc. They want the students to have well-rounded musical knowledge and talent. Vocal instructors will be able identify the student?s voice type and characteristics. If they feel you?re voice would do better more classically trained, then they might try to steer you in that direction. However, if you are completely against classical music training and only want to be able to sing karaoke like a pro, your instructor will listen to your needs and get you where you want to be.

Not all vocal teachers are alike and you may find an instructor that believes you should be classically trained before learning any other styles. If this really is not for you, you will be able to find an instructor that can meet your needs. Before signing up with music lessons, make sure and ask if your instructor is able to teach a variety of vocal style or if they only specialize in one genre. Switching instructors may not seem ideal, but if the choice is quitting music or switching instructors, finding a new instructor is definitely the way to go.

More music lesson myths:
Music Myth: Listening to classical music makes you smarter.
Singing Lesson Myth: Singing should hurt since it?s building the muscles.
Vocal Lesson Myth: I cannot sing in pitch and therefore am tone deaf.

Read More