Over the years, as a music student I took lessons with a couple of teachers who influenced the way I teach today.
I studied with Tami Katzin and Chagit Goldberg, both of whom still teach in some of the most important musiic and acting schools in Israel. I also studied with Mizi Looker, who was one of the first Opera singers in Israel.
But the teacher who had the greatest impact on my work is Joan Kobin,
an accomplished singer on Broadway, and respected voice teacher to many Hollywood and Broadway stars,such as Liza Minnelli, Carly Simon and many others. I had the honor to study with her for over two years, and I teach many of her vocal exercises to my students.Her technique simply does miracles for the vocal chords and I am really glad to share it with my students. At the time of her death, Joan was working on a documentary about her performing and teaching activities entitled "The Singing Teacher," as part of "Rick McKay's Broadway: The Golden Age Trilogy" series. I attach a video from this documentary and dedicate it for her memory.
The lesson includes 3 parts: 1 Breathing exercises that teach you how to support your voice while singing,
2 Vocal exercises that strengthen as well flexes the vocal chords. It also helps in finding different colors in the voice and exploring different resonance areas of the voice.
3 Work on a song. This part includes Interpretation, as well as performing tips.
Drink 6-10 glasses of room temperature water daily! The vocal cords function much easier when they are not dried out. Your voice needs extra water long before you feel thirsty! If you find yourself clearing your throat often, drinking extra water should really help you. Do not substitute sodas, milk or fruit juices as part of your water intake as they can be mucous-producing or drying. Caffeine and alcoholic beverages also can dry out the vocal cords.
An effective way to "warm up" the voice is to hum in a comfortable (middle) range. When you hum try to see if you can sense a vibration in the nose and cheekbone areas of the face (the "mask"). Correct humming feels very relaxing to the voice with absolutely no pressure in the throat. Your lips and face should be relaxed when humming. Try humming a song you normally sing as a warm-up before actually singing it, keeping the hum light and free. You can also try humming louder and softer on the same pitch, keeping the same vibrations and tension-free feeling in the voice.
For those of you with difficulty singing "in tune", here is a suggestion for you. When trying to sing a song try hearing the first few notes in your head silently before singing them.
You can also practice some ear-training exercises this way:
Play a note on your instrument such as a keyboard, and sing that note. Now play another note on your keyboard and try to keep singing the first note even though the other note "competes" with it.
It is a good idea to do simple, gentle stretching exercises to relax the body before singing. There is no sense trying to sing when there is tension--especially in the neck, jaw, shoulders and /or throat. We actually use our entire body to sing well, not just the voice box, or larynx. A few slow and easy stretches can help release tensions, even before you start your vocal warm-up. The goal should be a feeling of relaxed, energized alertness. I suggest taking a few yoga classes to learn how to stretch and relax the body. By the way, you should also be able to stick your tongue in and out of your mouth (as well as side to side) freely before you sing.
Never force high notes! . It can help to use hand motions. Pretend your phrase is in front of you, just below eye level and move your arm ahead of you in a horizontal line as you sing.
Remember that you are a singer (or a professional speaker) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Serious voice users must learn basic daily habits to protect the voice. One good thing to always keep in mind is never to scream or yell, especially in noisy situations. Some examples are trying to speak so you can be heard over an amplified music band at a party. Protect your voice by projecting it out rather than yelling. With the louder voice, think of your throat getting freer and wider.
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