Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Attention All Singers! Meet the 2 Plank Challenge- How Does it Impact Your Practice and Singing?

I have a challenge to all singers out there, add 2 planks of 30-60 seconds a piece before practicing.  It is ideal to to this on your toes, but on knees is a good start.  Try adding this to the beginning of practicing for a week or two.  How does it impact your practice that day?  Take note if anything and what changes about your singing.  Write it down and then process, what does this do for your singing?

Try it and then respond to this blog post.  Then check back in.  How does it impact what you are doing?  Does your body remember what to do better then when standing?  I will post more thoughts in 2 weeks.  Join me in improving your singing through the summer!

As always, more tips on becoming more 'in tune' with your singing!  Check out my website for more information www.susanandersbrizick.com Happy singing!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Why Should I Take Individual Voice Lessons in the Fall?

Why do you sing?  Why does your daughter, brother, sister, mom sing?  It is something they enjoy and often something they simply have a desire and love to do (and do better)? This is why we take singing lessons.

What better time to start a journey towards singing better than when school kicks off into full gear? Students are back in the swing of things and establish new goals for the year.  Auditions are coming up for the fall musical or they want to prepare ahead for those auditions in the winter.  Juniors and Seniors realize they want to major in MUSIC in college- time to start preparing and get serious about audition literature.

Adults, the lazy days of summer are done and you may find new time to yourself to foster a love of singing while the kids are in school or are new to the business world and craving some fresh education.  The network shows such as America's Got Talent, Nashville, The Voice, American Idol, are about to begin which give many the ‘bug’ to sing.  Why not try it out?

Why should you take voice lessons in a private voice studio?  Can’t everyone sing? 

Almost anyone can learn to sing, but most people don’t use their voices to their full potential. Voice lessons teach singers how to control their breath and find vocal resonance to create a fuller, healthier, and more beautiful sound. Lessons also teach general musical skills and build more confident singers.  
The average singing student needs weekly guidance to establish a solid technique. 

Should I take voice lessons with a teacher or can I really learn to sing from an online program or DVD? 

Every voice and every person is different and responds differently to technique. Learning to sing demands a personal touch and ears and eyes outside of oneself. With the guidance of a live teacher, you will get direct response to what is actually heard and seen by others, not just what you hear inside your head. A live teacher can also help you explore to find what repertoire and vocal range actually suits your voice best.   In a voice studio, you get one on one teaching in addition to camaraderie with other students through masterclasses and recitals.

What we hear while we’re singing just isn’t true, so we are always dependent on someone we trust to take the role of our ‘outside ears’. Renee Fleming 
In a private voice studio, the student not only gets access to a voice teacher and vocal coach, but to the camaraderie of belonging to a group of people who enjoy singing.  Most voice studios provide opportunities to perform musical repertoire one or two times a year.  Some also give the opportunity to work on the repertoire in front of and with others in the studio (please see more information on my studio at www.susanandersbrizick.com).  With more opportunities to share music with others, a student has a higher drive to perfect the craft of singing, builds a higher confidence level in their singing and themselves, and the better music we create!  Start singing lessons somewhere today and  become the best singer you can be!
Contact Susan Anders Brizick at susananders@aol.com if you are interested in starting voice lessons.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Summer Singing Activity That Will Help Your Singing Lessons in the Fall

What can you do now that will help your voice lessons in the fall?  There are many things including, just sing!

1.  Sing along with the radio or your favorite Broadway musical.  Sing to yourself or sing to others.

2.  Practice the song (s) you were last assigned in lessons.  Review the notes, rhythms, lyrics.  Look at your notes for the technique you are to be working on.

3.  Research and listen to new music or a genre which you have never sung before.  Look at repertoire that you have always wanted to sing.  Bring it to your teacher to see if they think it would be good for your voice.  Bring ideas to collaborate with your teacher. 

4.  Listen to music of different genres and eras to see what you like.  Explore your musical horizons  while you have a little extra time.  Remember that French song your teacher wanted you to sing? How about Italian or jazz?  You never know what might suit your fancy when you are not in the throws of a hectic schedule.  Bring those ideas or likes to your teacher in the fall.

5. Watch or listen to a new concert or new Broadway musical (or two).  Go to the theater or watch it via Netflix or YouTube.  Enjoy music and all of its styles with a little downtime.

6.  Go practice again to refresh your most recent songs (or learn the new one given to you at your last lesson) so you can go in fresh and ready to move ahead at your first fall lesson!

Enjoy the last month of summer!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Summer Solstice! Find your inner motivation to sing through nature.

In the throws of the beauty of summer take some time, whenever you can find it, to use nature to motivate you and your singing.  The beauty of the sunrise over the lake, the sunset over the beach, a shade filled hike through the mountains or a walk on the beach, use nature to refuel you.  Composers and lyricists write so much music about the beauty of nature.  They are inspired by it, how can it inspire you as a performer? 

It often brings us back to reality or a sane sense of being when we spend time with nature.  Drink in the beauty of the sunshine or the bird in the tree, the rolling of the ocean waves.  You may find yourself humming a song of long ago as you allow yourself to enjoy and relax.  Whether it be "Son of a Sailor"or "Oh Shenendoah", music can be situational, relaxing, and inspiring.  Maybe that is a song you should return to in your practice or an image you could use as you perform a work in progress. 

Don't dismiss the value of enjoying nature and reveling in the relaxing atmosphere of vacation.  It can motivate and rejuvenate our inner soul.  Being outside in nature and enjoying relaxation of a vacation can inspire our inner artist.  Let it inspire you!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Preparing for that Summer Performance

With the joys of summer come many opportunities to perform in a variety of programs.  Whether it is a summer musical theater program or summer recital, how can you assure that your performance is the best it can be? 

1. Dedicate the time to learning the repertoire well in advance.  Learn the music as soon as possible.  Solidify all of the notes, rhythms and lyrics right after you receive the materials.  Work on dynamics and vocal quality so you can add interpretation, movement, and stage direction more easily at rehearsals or lessons.

2. Do your homework.  Know what you are supposed to work on and work on it at home so that time spent at the program or lesson can be spent building on those skills.  Review what you work on in rehearsal or lesson and take the next step as directed by your teacher or director.

3. Analyze the lyrics of your song.  What do the words mean?  What do they mean to you?  Can you relate to them or do you need to paraphrase it for yourself to better convey the message you are singing?

4. Research your song, role, and musical.  Where does your song come in the musical?  What is going on with the character?  Watch a video of the song by a few different people on YouTube for reference or watch the musical.  Find the context of the song and use what you watch and listen to as a way to help solidify your interpretation.

5. Practice in between sessions.  Add a little exercise, sleep, water and fresh air.

6. Build on those new skills. Repeat!

The time spent outside of a summer program and lessons is valuable to your overall experience.  Embrace it and enjoy!!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Summer Singing and Exercise/Yoga

Summer is in full tilt and so is singing fueled by outdoor activity.  I don't know about you, but when it's beautiful outside, I like to get in some good walking, hiking, biking, and sometimes yoga (beach of course is the best).  It has been a great stretch of weather to do this, so game on!

What does this have to do with singing?  When you workout regularly, you boost your lung capacity, energy level, tone your body and your mind. All of these can directly apply to your singing practice and performance!  Here are some extra benefits:

- Practice after cardiovascular activity (especially running or walking).  Your body is already breathing the way you need to in order to sustain long phrases with slow and low breaths!  

- Exercise gives you energy. You have more energy to schedule your practice time, practice, and perform. 

- Build endurance in exercise and singing.  Endurance in performances is key. You can sing longer and more beautifully because you are in tune with your body.

-Muscle use. You are in better shape and are more tone, so of course all of that practicing in the mirror isn't so bad (ha, ha!).  Seriously though, watch yourself as you practice and see how you are using your muscles. 

- A sharp mind.  Try a little yoga as well to continue to slow your breath and connect your breath to your brain.  A Zen state of being really helps you to focus. Your mind is sharp so you have an easier time remembering all of that technique, lyrics, and stage directions. 

Whatever your exercise passion (or what you find you like with trial and error), see how it affects your practice and performance.  In summer we are full of outdoor activity, so give it a try! A singer's body is their instrument, so treat it well and take care of it!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Summer Singing and Motivation

Summer Singing and Motivation

Summer is upon us for sure and I hope you are finding fun in your singing and motivation to sing!  Creating a schedule of how and when you are going to practice is hopefully going well.  Often times though we find ourselves in a place where it is tough to actively practice.  Maybe you are on vacation without a piano, maybe you are at the pool or beach nearby and get the urge to sing but are inhibited by other people being there. 

What can you do to stay on track or feed that urge to sing when you cannot physically do so?  Plug in to your technology.  That's right, I said it!  Use your phone which is becoming an extension of your hand.  Google or YouTube search the song (s) that you have been working on.  Listen to a couple renditions of that song to get inspiration on how to sing it better, add interpretation or work on memorizing the lyrics.  See how others have used their individual talents and techniques to make the song their own.  Make mental notes or put them in your Notes on your phone.  Then use them the next time you actively practice.

How does listening to that song at the beach or on a hike on a trail change your interpretation and feelings?  It may change it drastically or just enhance the experience.  Allow yourself to go on that musical journey. 

Also, search your favorite genre of singing for more repertoire ideas.  Get inspiration from all of the songs that are literally at your fingertips.  You never know what beautiful song will capture your attention.  Look up that next song that comes up as a suggestion on Pandora or YouTube.  Be careful to make sure that they are appropriate for your voicing, but sing along a little bit and then take the idea to your teacher.  At the very least you can broaden your horizons to the variety of music that is out there (or has been for a while that you just didn't know about).

Stay tuned for more inspirational thoughts on singing in the summer.