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Singing exercises for a beginner

Mo the caller 10 Jun 21 - 12:39 PM
Steve Gardham 10 Jun 21 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 10 Jun 21 - 03:56 PM
The Sandman 11 Jun 21 - 02:25 AM
The Sandman 11 Jun 21 - 02:54 AM
leeneia 11 Jun 21 - 12:48 PM
Tattie Bogle 11 Jun 21 - 06:57 PM
The Sandman 12 Jun 21 - 03:46 AM
Planetluvver 12 Jun 21 - 04:45 AM
Mo the caller 13 Jun 21 - 08:12 AM
The Sandman 13 Jun 21 - 11:00 AM
leeneia 13 Jun 21 - 11:16 PM
The Sandman 14 Jun 21 - 02:24 AM
Joe Offer 14 Jun 21 - 03:07 AM
GUEST 14 Jun 21 - 09:28 AM
leeneia 14 Jun 21 - 10:54 AM
Mo the caller 15 Jun 21 - 03:24 AM
Nick 15 Jun 21 - 04:30 AM
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Subject: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: Mo the caller
Date: 10 Jun 21 - 12:39 PM

A friend was listening to a TV programme claiming that anyone could learn to sing. The tutor gave them exercises to do and finished with singing 3 blind mice.
Sounded like the kind of exercises our choir does to warm up (blowing raspberries etc).
She then had the idea I could teach her to sing (???!!).
Says her voice won't do what she wants it to.

Having listened to the workshop Carolyn Robson gave at Chester/Chippenham FF I wonder if she is having difficulty getting the notes in her high register (across the break???). She would like to be able to sing hymns in church properly. I think maybe Anglican hymns are quite high??

I don't really know what I'm talking about, so even if I could find some exercises online I wouldn't know if they were helpful. And perhaps the cost of singing lessons would be more than she'd want to pay.
Any ideas?


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 10 Jun 21 - 01:32 PM

Several points, Mo, but I'm far from being an expert so this is just common-sense suggestion.

She could start by finding her comfort range. Get a cheap keyboard and see which white notes you can sing. Make a note of your lowest comfortable note and the highest. That is your range. If that comes to less than an octave (7 notes) you're in trouble and need a doctor's advice.

Regarding singing along in church. If the notes are too high several options.
Drop an octave. Practice dropping an octave mid tune. That way if you can't sing the high notes you can drop into a more comfortable octave.
Try starting the hymn in a lower octave if you know it's going to be too high for you.
Lots of practice at home till you are happy with a particular tune then play that tune back and try some simple harmonies lower than the note. Trial and error is fine. It's all good practice.

Regarding changing octave mid tune, for quite a while now there have been some female folksingers who do this all the time even when singing solo. When I first heard it I was a bit taken aback, but now it sounds quite natural to me.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 10 Jun 21 - 03:56 PM

I doubt that you can get better than.

> The Hokey Pokey


Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Be careful...many of those seniors at easily aroused


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 21 - 02:25 AM

if you search on this site , there were posts from jim carroll about exercises the singers club used to do for breathing and singing


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jun 21 - 02:54 AM

learn to take deep breaths and hold your breath.
i use a simple breathing exercise that involves breathing from the diaphragm, take a deepbreath and hold for as long as you can then breathe out slowly for 10 seconds.,or as long as you can
here is one of the exrcises used by the critics group and jim carroll for breathing, sing a verse of rocky road to dublin, taking a breath after every line then make it two lines and eventually the whole verse.
get a guitar and sing a chromatic scale.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: leeneia
Date: 11 Jun 21 - 12:48 PM

Here are some things she can do without risking damaging her voice with advice from an amateur teacher:

Join a regular choral group.

Sing around the house, in the shower and in the car when traffic is relaxed. Concentrate on singing accurately, not on singing loud.

Before church, drink lukewarm water. Avoid caffeine, chocolate and alcohol, which dry out the voice. If the voice is phlegmy, drink lukewarm water with a little citrus juice in it.

Try this 8-minute warm-up for the female voice before going to church:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTMSwPq4KIo

These exercises are like the exercises I've done for years in various groups, and I feel confident they are safe. I do them every Monday before the Mudcat Singaround.


I'm an alto, and most hymns have a couple notes which are too high for me. I merely sing them very softly and move on. If there are plenty of other singers, I might just be silent during a high note.

If I were you, I'd leave the question of high notes to an expert.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 11 Jun 21 - 06:57 PM

My Dad used to do the drop an octave thing when we were in church: made me laugh, but it was effective!
Of corse, if you are just singing for yourself/solo, you can pick your easiest key and range. But if you are singing in a situation where everyone has to sing to the prescribed notes and key, it is more tricky. However, I did find that singing in a Gilbert & Sullivan company for about 10 years did extend my vocal range, as it was stretched beyond my folk song range. I’m an alto too, so what Leeneia said.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 03:46 AM

it is easy to extend your vocal range , you do it gradually, you find the lowest and highest notes that you sing, locate them on a musical instrument then practise the semitone blow or above .
leenia, i am not an amateur


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: Planetluvver
Date: 12 Jun 21 - 04:45 AM

The most important things I learned in four years of group classes. (Actually, mostly I was unlearning bad habits.)

If it hurts at all STOP!

Have very good posture.

Eliminate any tension in the face, neck, shoulders, throat, tongue.

She may be able to enroll in free non-credit classes singing classes at sbcc.edu

The classes are advertised as being for older adults, but anyone over 18 can enroll. I am not sure if you need to live locally. Once someone from Japan came to class. They are currently being taught online using Zoom.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: Mo the caller
Date: 13 Jun 21 - 08:12 AM

Does anyone else sing while still lying in bed?
I do live alone, so I sing at the kitchen sink and everywhere else. And I was la-laing a hymn tune this morning before I got up, and wondering if it was easier lying down, and while still relaxed.
Is it easier to pitch accurately while humming or singing vowels, than putting the words in.

Thanks for all the tips, I'll forward this thread to her later.
Planet lover - we are certainly older adults, we live in England.
I've just done a bit of searching and found an online Singing for Fun with a Natural Voice teacher https://naturalvoice.net/choir/sing-for-fun. Not meeting till Autumn now, maybe that's what's wanted.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jun 21 - 11:00 AM

as regards posture this is partly what alexander technique is about


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Jun 21 - 11:16 PM

Be comforted, Sandman. When I referred to an amateur, I meant Mo the Caller, who said herself that "I don't really know what I'm talking about."

There's no shame in being an amateur. Nobody can be an expert in everything.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: The Sandman
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 02:24 AM

yes leenia, sorry for being prickly , i was trying to deal with a sick cat, you are right my apologies


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: Joe Offer
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 03:07 AM

I confess to often showing up late for choir practice so I'll miss the boring warmup exercises. Our choir director did find one book of warmups based on pop songs. I liked that one, but I can't remember the title. Searching Amazon or YouTube for vocal warmup will bring up loits of resources.

I like to sing a song or two in the "sweet spot" of my vocal range to start out - nothing that is a strain.

I've never tried singing in bed, Mo the Caller. I think I'd choke....
But if it works for you, more power to you.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 09:28 AM

Church singing puts some people off,because the melody line is often scored for sopranos or trebles. In a church choir, lower voices can take the harmony parts, but the poor congregation get lumbered with a line that for many voices is not in the comfortable range. Dropping a whole octave will usually be too low and you'll end up growling.

There isn't really an answer to this for your friend, other than to realise it's not her fault that some hymns are pitched too high. Yes of course, there are exercises and techniques that will help her extend her range, but she shouldn't let church hymns make her feel inadequate.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: leeneia
Date: 14 Jun 21 - 10:54 AM

We're good, Sandman. I hope your cat gets better.
==========
Here are some observations about Americans.

There was once a brief time when my church didn't have a musician, and I filled in by leading with my guitar. I found that people really sang happily if I transposed the key downward. From G to E was popular.

It didn't seem to bother the sopranos.

I was once in a recorder class with a teacher from the Netherlands, and she commented that Americans, in general, talk lower than Europeans. As an example she said, "Hello, how are you?" in English. Then she raised her pitch a noticeable amount and said it in Dutch. The difference was striking. (Of course there are exceptions. Some Americans have high voices.)

I figure that a lifetime of talking low has to affect the average American's ability to hit the D's and Eb's in hymns.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: Mo the caller
Date: 15 Jun 21 - 03:24 AM

Joe, shame on you, missing the warm-ups.
I don't know if it's doing the exercises in choir, but I before I joined a choir I used to get very bunged up after a cold and I haven't for the past 5 years.
The other thing that has improved is my knee. When I first joined I couldn't stand with weight evenly shared for long without it twinging. Maybe that's co-incidence.
Leenia. you are right I am an amateur. I hear what MDs say but couldn't be sure I've got it right, especially for someone else.


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Subject: RE: Singing exercises for a beginner
From: Nick
Date: 15 Jun 21 - 04:30 AM

Have to agree with GUEST. The 'tune' of hymns is usually for trebles.

This you can get for under £3 and I think it is a Book and CD and exercises


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