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!
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.