Sunday, September 29, 2019

Break it Down Part 3: STRESS- how will practicing my singing more help me?

STRESS- It is all around us.   We have so much homework to do, tests to study for, sports practices to attend, rehearsals, family obligations, and don't forget, sleep!  How can it possibly help us to squeeze in practicing singing??  It's one more thing on the list.  YES, it is, but it will help your overall self in so many ways!!

1. Music reduces stress and anxiety.  It releases endorphins which make you feel good.    It relaxes you and builds your self-esteem. Overall, music improves your mental health.

2. Creating music makes your brain process things better.  It helps the right and left side of your brain communicate better. It helps you think!

3. Making music helps your brain to organize its thought processing better thus enhancing your IQ.

4. Music improves your verbal memory and verbal skills. (Helps with English class)

5. Music makes you more empathetic.  We work on communicating the words of our songs, this enhances our abilities to relate to others and their situations.  It makes you a better friend and member of society.

6. Music helps brain development and maintaining that sharp edge no matter your age.

7. Music enhances your math and science skills and reasoning. In addition to your English skills. It helps to make you smart!

8. Music improves your motor skills.  (Makes you more coordinated and better at dance for all of you Musical Theater lovers, and sports)

Many studies have shown these benefits and more from studying music! Go try it now!  Take the time out and practice your singing (or instrument)!  It really will improve your mood and help you academically!

Read more details for these:  Give it a week or two and write down how practicing helps YOUR brain.  How do you feel afterwards?  Keep a journal of how it makes you feel after you practice.  How is the homework going when you do get it in?  Share it here now or on week 5 for an overall check in on how practice is going, your mood, and other things you noticed.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Break it Down Part 2: How to Get in Singing Practice Time While Adjusting to Your FALL Schedule

How do you find time to practice now that you are in the full swing of things?  There are exams to study for, homework to do, other activities, sleep and work or school classes.  Scheduling practice time is essential to quality practice and to actually doing it!  You will notice your progress faster.

-So, MAKE the time!  Schedule it into your planner.  Put it in your mental and physical to do lists!

-WRITE DOWN what you need to accomplish EVERYDAY. Add PRACTICE TIME as a priority on that list and know that it is something you will enjoy.

- Make PRACTICE a BREAK from other things.

        ** If you know you want to study for your math test for 2 hours, schedule a 1 hour study
             session. PRACTICE as a BREAK and then go back to your homework.

        ** Do your English homework and then PRACTICE before going to soccer.

        ** PRACTICE while you are waiting for mom to take you to an activity

        ** Mentally PRACTICE on the long bus ride or before you go to sleep
        (this helps with MEMORIZING music)

Figure out how it works best into your schedule and your lifestyle.  Does it relax you and serve as a wind down to the day? Does it get your brain working better and spawn good studying?  This will tell you when it will be the most productive for you.  Then schedule it at the SAME TIME and SAME LOCATION.  Using practice sessions in this way help you to manage your time.

Scheduling practice time gives you the MOTIVATION to do it.  Set GOALS and a plan of action for each practice session to maximize your practice time.  Now that you have time blocked out to practice, find out how to make the MOST of that PRACTICE time in next week's blog and  in "Practice Makes Perfect" by Michelle Latour in Classical Singer September 2013.

**Keep a log of how and when you get practice in to share next week! 

Friday, September 13, 2019

Break it Down Part 1: Learning a New Song for Voice Lessons: A Step by Step Guide

Its a new school year, and a new time to learn!  Learning to sing a new song is sometimes daunting if you have just started lessons and are learning to read the music, been given a song in a new language or more difficult rhythms, or are singing in a different style than you are used to.  Take a second and break down learning the song into different parts, don't try to do it all at once.  Our brains can process the information to be successful if we take it step by step.   Think of it as a math problem, get the basics down and then add the other components. Here is a simple guide:

1. Listen to a recording of the song (piano recording of the melody or YouTube version)
  *If you play the piano, play through the melody yourself

2.  Listen again and follow along with the notes.  Note where the pitches move up and down.

3. Sing the notes on a neutral syllable such as 'la' or 'do'.  Lip buzz the melody.
  *This way you are focusing on matching the pitches and the rhythms only.

4. Repeat step 3 until you know the melody and rhythms.

5. Look at the words and mark in where you think you should breathe based on the text and how the composer wrote the melody.

6. Sing adding the words to the melody. Repeat it.

7.  Mark where you have troubles matching the words with the melody and work those specific parts.  If you still have difficulty, try it the next day and make a note to ask for help on those spots.

8.  Build on your knowledge of the song with each practice session and you will be able to sing the lyrics with the melody and rhythm soon.  Any trouble spots? Ask for help in your next lesson.


* Longer songs

-Break it down into sections.  Allow yourself to focus on 2 pages one day, Chorus only, Verse only, Section A .
- Follow the steps above on one section at a time.
- Review those sections the next practice and then add another part to it.

*Song in a foreign language

- Get to know the song inside and out with the melody and rhythms.
- Speak the text in rhythm to get the nuances of the language (ask your teacher to review pronunciation and listen to reputable singers on the language).
- THEN  sing the text.  It may difficult at first.  Look at where each syllable falls (this should be helped by first speaking it in rhythm).
- Mark any places you have difficulty with so you can ask your teacher in your next lesson.

Just like learning how to do a complex math problem or writing a multi-page essay, learning to sing a new song is easier when you break it down into steps and then build upon it.  HAPPY SINGING and tune in next week for tips on how to fit more practice time into your schedule!