"Kaye" teaches Speech Level Singing (SLS), a technique that uses no more effort than speaking. SLS techniques build great voices and can prepare you to use your “instrument” to sing all styles of music and genres. You will learn to control your vocal cords (muscles) to create your best voice.
Range, endurance, stamina, breath control, resonance, vocal strength, power, intonation, and the over all quality of one's voice should quickly improve through your SLS training. SLS will likely be the foundation of your vocal health for the rest of your life. As you learn and develop this technique, you will listen to music and voices differently than ever before . . . you will appreciate your God-given vocal instrument as never before . . . and you will soon find that you have much in common with the “stars”!
Your First Lesson
At your first lesson, you will learn about “vocal registration” or the Passagi (bridges) within the voice . . . the difference between them and how to connect them to make your voice smooth, strong, and powerful. The terms head voice, middle voice, chest voice, mix, breaks, and bridges are all terms that refer to what is known as Vocal Registration. The goal in SLS is to achieve one easy, consistent sound from very low to very high notes, transitioning smoothly through the bridges throughout your entire range so there is no weakening and stress or damage to the vocal cords.
Music theory training will equip you to sight-read new music so you can sing or play piano at home just for fun or add your favorite songs to your repertoire to perform with other musicians. We will spend our lesson time primarily working on vocal exercises, songs designed to develop your vocal instrument, sight-reading skills and/or piano skills. You will want to begin building a three-ring binder notebook for your music and handouts; so you can review the information often.
In the beginning you will be singing very familiar songs so you can focus more on the mechanics of singing. You will likely enjoy some of these songs more than others. Just remember that they will prepare you for the songs you really want to sing.
Since other people do not hear what you hear, I suggest you record yourself often. We will be recording your voice periodically during our sessions. Recordings will help you hear where you’re improving, and also what you still need to work on.
Building a collection of recorded songs or CDs of great singers and studying and analyzing their styles, based on the training you will receive, will be helpful in developing your own “style”. Observing other singers and watching the contestants on the popular TV show, American Idol, is a wonderful way to gain inspiration and knowledge in developing your own style and song interpretation.
Practicing At Home
Progress happens quickly . . . depending on the intensity of your workouts at home. Singing a little every day (even as little as 20 minutes) should "exercise" and keep your vocal muscles conditioned, fit, and flexible. Strive to practice six days a week in order to consistently progress. Muscle control, singing on pitch, technique, confidence, and style develop quickly when you are consistent with daily practice.
Always begin your practice sessions with a warm-up of humming exercises or sing along with your exercise CD before bursting into song. If you feel throat soreness or hoarseness, you’re doing the exercises wrong or overdoing them.
It may suprise you to know that the best posture does not a singer make. However, posture does go a long way in making us look and breathe our best. The best posture is a relaxed open stance that will allow the free functioning of all the muscles which need to be coordinated for you to sing without tension. You can reach those high notes better when you are relaxed and open. Stand as though a string is attached to your breastbone and lifting you to the ceiling. Standing “tall” with somewhat firm stomach muscles will help to achieve vocal compression and full control.
Breathing is important; but it isn’t the miracle answer to great singing. When you breathe, your lungs and diaphragm should expand slightly and your shoulders and chest should not rise. Learning to control the flow of exhaled air while keeping diaphragm compression and vocal cords relaxed is most important in achieving a strong, consistent tone. You will learn to achieve this as you practice breathing from the diaphragm and strengthen the vocal cords through daily practice.
Facial muscles should be relaxed when singing, letting the jaw fall open so the space between your teeth is about one and a half fingers wide. To achieve more resonance, relax the tongue and lay the tip against your lower teeth. Lowering your larynx slightly, as if you’re going into a yawn or saying “ahhh” for the doctor will improve your vocal tone on vowels.
Stop and rest for 15 minutes if you find yourself straining or your throat tightening. Singing in falsetto (for the guys), or just singing softly while releasing too much air, can be drying and irritating to the vocal cords. Drinking a couple of glasses of water an hour before singing and sipping it often while singing will keep the cords lubricated and flexible.
It’s wise to continue repeating a lesson until you feel you’ve mastered the techniques. Review the past exercises and songs from your lesson book often; as some will likely become part of your repertoire.
Performing a song or songs for your friends or family members as often as possible will help you develop skill and confidence.
"The voice, by itself, is not an element of expression. Despite all the modem debates about size and scope of voices, as if singers were merely walking amplifiers, one truth remains: A great performance is moving and memorable because it is expressive."
- Elizabeth Parcells
(American coloratura soprano)