In Episode 71, Sara teaches you both how to sing “blue notes”, or bend pitches into one another, as well as giving you exercises for composing and articulating your own riffs, runs, and melismata. While it will take time to begin these exercises at a slow tempo and speed them up, as well as time to design your own ascending and descending exercises, you should find that your own riffs and runs will improve in clarity and that your note articulation will improve with practice.
In Episode 70, Sara starts at the very beginning. R & B Riffs and runs are based in blues, so in order to be good at them, one must know the blues scale, inside and out. Check it out!
In Episode 67, Sara answers a user question on how to keep the vocal folds healthy. Remember, the most important thing for the voice is hydration and plenty of sleep. If you find yourself hoarse, the MOST important thing you can do is to rest your voice.
In episode 66, Sara talks about beginning ear training, by getting you acquainted with a major scale and how to relate scale degrees to numbers.
In this episode, Sara gets ride of the mystery behind the diaphragm and how it works. You’ll learn where the diaphragm is and how it functions for breathing. Here’s a link to a great article to go along with the video. There’s a LOT of technical jargon, but for those of you ho are studying seriously, I think you’ll love it: http://www.singwise.com/cgi-bin/main.pl?section=articles&doc=EffectiveAndProperBreathingForSinging
In this episode, Sara answers a user question on tension in the jaw. Apologies that the video is kind of dark.
Just an addendum to the video to avoid misundertanding, when I saw said “tension in the jaw”, I obviously don’t mean tension in the bone, or mandible, but in fact tension in the masseter muscle. This is the muscle that clenches the jaw, and when it is too tense, can cause TMJ or make it difficult to open and close the jaw freely.
Enjoy, and give some comment love to Otis!
In episode 58, Sara answers a user question on the proper position for singing. Make sure that you stand with your feet apart (about hip or shoulder width), knees unlocked, and your weight should be evenly distributed (don’t sit or lean against a wall). Lift your head slightly, as if you are hanging by a string. This will put your shoulders, chest, and lower back in the proper position. Enjoy, and practice!
In episode 56, Sara discusses beginning vocal health. Very often today’s singers emulate what they hear on the radio, and this causes many young singers to try to sing high in their chest or lower register, without developing their higher, or head register. Watch this episode to learn how NOT to strain your voice.
The idea for episode 55 came to me in the shower, actually. I don’t usually actually sing in the shower, which is funny, because I think it’s where I sang the most as a kid. But I was trying to brainstorm my students’ questions on how to get better at singing riffs/runs/melismas/licks. And it came to me. Why not just make up a lick and use it as an etude, or exercise? Perfect. Watch this video and sing not only this exercise, but you can make any lick you’re working on into an exercise of your own. Just remember to slow it down before you can speed it up.
In Episode 53 Sara invites her friend, Spectra Jazz recording artist Matt Cusson to sing some songs and talk about riffs, runs and melismas in the R & B/gospel tradition. Matt is well known as a singer, songwriter, and keyboard player, and won the 2009 Maxell Song Of The Year John Lennon Songwriting Competition for his original song “One Of Those Nights”. Matt Cusson has a wealth of touring credits including Brian McKnight and Christina Aguilera. Learn more about Matt’s music at http://www.mattcusson.com and buy Matt’s awesome music on iTunes http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/matt-cusson/id388203148.