1. RELAXATION: If you are tense, stressed, or upset it causes your vocal cords to become tight and to shorten. When your vocal cords become shorten and tense you can't sing correctly, you can't sing your full range, you lose resonance. It is important that you practice relaxation exercises as a daily routine so that you can condition yourself, or simply WILL-YOURSELF to become relaxed. You should be able to become relaxed at the snap of a finger. You can't do this, unless you practice relaxation exercises consistently. Here are simple daily exercises you should practice a few minutes through out the day. Sit down in a comfortable chair. Tighten up your fists, now suddenly relax it, let it go limp. Now do the same thing with the leg muscles. Tense them up and then purposely take control over these muscles and make them go limp, relaxed, and totally under your control. The most important tension / relaxation exercise is the jaw muscle. Do the same procedure with the jaw muscles.
Another exercise is to create a big smile on your face and hold it for one full minute. That's a real challenge, most people want to let it go after about 15 seconds. Can you keep it going for a full minute. You will notice that the smile actually creates a sense of relaxation over your body. You will also notice that this prolong smile will actually cause your brain to secrete endorphins which make you feel good. This is why singers come out onto the stage smiling. They try to smile as much as possible, it actually relaxes their body which in turn helps the vocal cords to be relaxed, loosened and elongated. The smile makes the singer feel good, which in turn sends out an emotional vibration to the audiences which in turn makes the audience feel good and receptive to the singer's performance.
Practice shaking your arms and then letting them go limp. Gently rotate your head and neck back and forth to take the tension out of the neck muscles. Shake your hands and then let them go limp. Open your mouth as far as you can then gently let the mouth close back to its normal position with a controlled feeling of relaxation of the muscles around the mouth and jaw.
Some professional famous singers get daily massages to relax their muscles which in turn help to relax their vocal cords. This is nice if you can afford it. However, we all have friends, spouses, or others who can help in this area.
2. MOISTURE: Your vocal cords need to be wet and moist in order to sing well, to sing the high notes, and to sing the low notes. Moisture protects your vocal cords from damage. Dryness shrinks the vocal cords making them less resonant and creates an environment where inflammation or infection can set up in the larynx and in the vocal cords, creating hoarseness, and a sore throat.
There are many things a person can do to make sure that their vocal cords remain moist. Drinking plenty of water through out the day helps. Many of the professional singers from the past used an atomizer filled with water to spray down their throats which would bring moisture to the vocal cords. There are many commercial products that are a spray can with various formulas that will allow one to directly moisturize their vocal cords. One such product that one can purchase on the internet is called ENTERTAINER'S SECRET. One can go to any drug store and purchase an over the counter product called SALIVART ORAL MOISTURIZER. The person using these products should open the mouth wide and inhale through the mouth a little bit and spray this moisturizer down the throat before they start singing. Any person wishing to use such products should get permission from their personal physician first.
Whenever you sing a lot or talk a lot there is a constant flow of air moving across your vocal cords. This steady stream of air can dry out your vocal cords. This is why you need to have a bottle of water at your side at all times if you are speaking a lot or singing a lot. The atomizer, and commercial products work better. Drinking water does not allow the fluid to reach the vocal cords whereas the spray products do.
A really good place to practice singing is the shower. A lot of people instinctively sing in the shower with no apparent reason other than they like to do it. But, singing in the shower has a lot of merit. Why? Because the shower stall becomes like a steam room and the air is charged with moisture which reaches your vocal cords when you breathe in. When you breath in the moisturized air in the shower it causes your vocal cords to relax and to elongate. This is why you can actually sing your best in the shower. When you are in the shower you can hit the high notes, you can sing the low notes, you can sing with great resonance. Why? Because your vocal cords are moisturized to the max. They are elongated to the max. The shower relaxes you. The relaxation of all the muscles also contributes to the elongation of the vocal cords. If you want to become a good singer, sing in the shower. Practice your scales in the shower. This is a really safe place to do a vocal workouts on your vocal cords and to make them strong without the worry of injury. All the ingredients are present in the shower stall: moisture, warmth, relaxation, and the increased blood circulation and the flow of endorphins in the brain. If you practice your singing exercises outside the shower, then you run the risk of stressing out your vocal cords if you sing to long, or you sing to hard and loud. Of course, you have to sing outside the shower at some point. But, the shower is the ultimate place to safely "pump iron" for your vocal cords, to make them strong, resilient, and conditioned to hit those high and low notes without feeling tightness and stress. Once your vocal cords are built up like a weight lifter builds up his muscles, then you will start singing like a pro on stage. (No, you don't have to bring your shower stall on stage with you, Ha! )
Smoking dries out your vocal cords. People desiring to become a professional singer should not smoke. Alcohol and caffeine also shortens the vocal cords. Again, one who desires to be a professional singer should try to avoid soft drinks, teas, and alcohol.
SONGS SUNG BY JOHN AXSOM
When you listen to my songs you can hear me singing lead, and harmony with my guitar or with my keyboard, or other instruments that I put down in tracks, much the same way they do in professional recording studios. Click on each link below to hear me sing.
4. SILENT NIGHT - I sing this version acapella. The first verse is just one voice. On the second verse I harmonize with the lead. On the third verse I add another harmonizing voice. I do this we special recording software that you can use on your computer. I sell this software. If you want to buy it, E-mail me. It comes with a CD of the actual software program. Then
it also comes with a DVD of me showing you how to work the software. And, finally, it comes with a manual that you can read with a lot of pictures that shows you how to use this recording software. The price is $39.
3. AIR CONTROL: All opera singers have great air control when they sing. They sing from the diaphragm. Many people wonder what it means to sing from the diaphragm. It means you push the air down deep into the abdominal cavity as you inhale. This air pushes the diaphragm downward which is a sheet of muscle which is actually a muscular floor that the lungs sit on within the body. If you push this muscular floor downwards by breathing in deeply, then when you let go the diaphragmatic muscular floor springs back up just like a coil or a spring and pushes the air out and past the vocal cords, without you even trying or straining. This allows you to sing effortlessly. If you breathe in a small amount of air that just fills the upper lungs, then there is no coil effect to push the air out. In order to push the air out now, you have to use your neck muscles and other muscles to squeeze the air out. This process causes the vocal cords to tighten up and to shorten which is just the opposite of what you want.
Here are some exercises that will help people to learn AIR CONTROL. The individual should sit in a comfortable chair, lean forward until the stomach is actually touching the upper thighs. The arms should drop along side the legs, the hands might actually reach the floor depending on the height of your chair. Now, the person should breathe in deeply into their stomach, and allow the air to make the upper body move upwards, then slowly exhale and let the upper body fall back onto the legs. ONE SHOULD NOT ALLOW THE BACK MUSCLES TO MAKE THE UPPER BODY TO MOVE UP AND DOWN. THE AIR ENTERING THE LUNGS IS THE ONLY FORCE THAT SHOULD MAKE THE UPPER BODY MOVE UP AND DOWN. This breathing exercise is like pumping up a tire. As one puts air in the tire, the vehicle moves upward. As one takes air out of the tire, the vehicle moves downward.
When a person is in the shower before they start the singing exercises, they could place their hands on their belly button. The next step is to breath in deeply forcing the hands on the belly button to move outward. One can practice these exercises a few times in the shower before they start their singing exercises.
Here's another breathing exercise. The person should lie on their back on the carpet. There should be a pillow under the head. One should be comfortable. Next, the person places a large book on their stomach and then they breath in and out to make the book move up and down. By making the book to move up and down, the individual learns air control and learns what it is like to breathe from the diaphragm.
Here is another breathing exercise. The person should find a comfortable place to stand. They should breathe in and at the same time silently count to from one to five. The flow of air should be coordinated with the count. When they finish the number five, they need to reverse it. Next, they should count silently again from one to five as they exhale the air. One can figure out how many repetitions of this exercise is comfortable for them. One should be careful that they do not become dizzy. Do not attempt any of these breathing exercises unless you have permission from your doctor. As a legal precaution on my part, I must state clearly that I am not responsible for any injury that one may experience from practicing these breathing exercises or any exercise listed on this webpage. All exercises must be discussed with your physician and you must have permission from your physician first before you begin these exercises. All the ideas expressed on this webpage are only ideas that I use for myself, and are in no way prescribed to any individual or should they be construed as advice on this webpage. These are just ideas that are protected under the constitution as freedom of speech. The word YOU, does not apply to the individual reading this webpage. It is a simple writing technique that applies to people in general such as "one who sings". Any individual who practices these exercises does so at his or her own risk, and the writer of this webpage is not liable.
4. IMITATION. Once you are well established in some form of physical breathing exercises, relaxation exercises then your next step is to practice singing scales. Sing the scales with just one syllable such as LA. Then try out other syllables such as DOE, RAY, ME, FA, SO, LA, TI. Sing up the scale and down the scale. You will need a piano or a keyboard to do this. You should sing scales EVERYDAY. Also, sing chromatic scales, pentatonic blues scales, minor scales, and other modal scales. Once you are established at singing a MAJOR SCALE, your next step is imitation. I think the best musical form to imitate is OPERA. When you imitate opera you are forcing your vocal cords to go to the CORRECT position for singing. It is simple. just imitate opera voices the same way you might try to imitate the sound of a cat by meowing, or the sound of a chicken. It's not that hard. People imitate other sounds all the time. If you can imitate the sound of a monkey or a cat then you can imitate the basic sound of an operatic voice. Now, I am not inferring that you can sing the high and low notes that an accomplished opera singer can sing. but, you can sing your scales in the medium range with the imitation of an opera singer. The whole point I am trying to make is that by imitating the sound of an opera singer you put your vocal cords in the best position for singing without causing harm to them. If you try an imitate pop singers you can damage your vocal cords. Now, once you have mastered that operatic sound, and strengthen your vocal cords by doing so, then you can let go and move into the "folk" singing sound, or the "pop" sound. But, be careful do not imitate screamers, growlers, or people like Janis Joplin, or heavy metal, rock and roll singers. Many of these people abuse their voices and pay for it later on in life. Try to imitate the older popular singers like Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Pat Boone, Connie Francis, Peter-Paul-Mary, and so on. Only imitate singers who have a natural resonant sound. Never sing when you are tired. Never sing when you have a cold. Never sing when your voice feels sore. Never sing when you have a sore throat. Never over sing. Before any singing engagement get plenty of rest, sleep, water, and listen to good music of other singers that you want to emulate.
Franco Tennelli - Opera Singer:
I have learned a lot about singing by watching the Franco Tennelli videos on YouTube. Check out these lessons.
This Website is copyrighted by John Axsom 2005