Hack Your Voice

This Lesson is for VOCAL ATHLETES (or aspiring athletes!)

 

Like an athlete, a top-class singer, or vocal athlete, is trying to get the best out of their body. This requires discipline, focus and training. If you want to take your voice to its highest level of performance, this lesson is for you.

Athletes abide by a sleeping pattern, healthy eating schedules, and intense training. More so than ever, singers, musicians, song-writers and lyricists, need this type of discipline if they want to distinguish themselves from the masses of people who aspire but will never be able to carve out a professional career in music.

In this lesson, we cover the most important requirements for vocal athletes who are on tour and performing gigs live. These are exercises and tips that will help any vocal athlete, or non-singing individual, trying to develop their vocal performance.

 

Vocal Warm up exercises

Vocal Technique

Vocal Performance for live gigs

Case study featuring pop band “HERE AT LAST

 

HERE AT LAST are a fabulously talented up and coming boy band on the cusp of lighting up the UK’s music scene. They already have a great following and are very accomplished singers, with a terrific natural tone and excellent control. With many live gigs coming up, their voices will come under considerable strain, and they are naturally concerned to ensure that they are able to maintain the strength and quality of their performance day after day and night after night. My session with them will be interesting for those who want to understand the vocal exercises that professional singers need to undertake in order to protect and hone their voices. These exercises are also of broader application and will be useful for anyone who wants to train and protect their voice, whatever the genre of music.

My Vocal Assessment of the boy band “Here At Last” is that they are very close and like learning together as a group. This means that I will need to use vocal exercises that work for all of them, help bring them together as a team and help all of them to see improvements at once.

I showed them a vocal exercise from a technique called “Speech Level Singing” devised by an experienced coach called Seth Riggs. The aim of these exercises is to highlight consonants on silly simple words such as Goo, Gee, Nah, which can be learnt below in Hack 1.

The band sings the words in a scale so that they have to sing through a full range, which forces them to see the part of their range where they are weaker (due to the break in their voice). Usually, they might try to avoid the tricky part of their range when singing songs but this forces them to do it without even realising.

They then sing the harmony of the songs using the silly words (Goo or Gee) rather than the actual lyrics. This allows them to feel and hear the notes of the song which they may previously have been struggling with in a more relaxed way.

CeCe Sammy Lightfoot Lesson with Here At Last Vocal Athlete
Here At Last Boy Band Case Study with CeCe

Why did I choose this exercise for them?

 

As I said, this fitted for them as a group.

There are many different types of vocal warm up exercises and techniques that are also good, for example still Vocal Training, Complete Vocal Technique as well as Alexander Technique ,which are all techniques that I have studied.

Many people only learn one or two techniques and ignore other methods. However, my philosophy through years of being in the Music, TV and Film business with different genres and different personalities, is that I must do a VOCAL assessment. I can then work out what techniques to use.

Songwriters, lyricists and musicians have often told me that they feel doing these exercises is akin to meditation. The exercises take them to a familiar place where they can focus without worry on the simple basics of their voice, allowing them to prepare for performance without getting overly nervous. They can go back to the same processes that work for them time after time.

My Advice for Vocal Athletes

The journey and development of a pop singer is something which is not discussed or explored enough. It is usually something that the singer is left to learn by themselves through trial and error.

If more time was taken to explore the fundamentals of the development of a pop singer, perhaps we as artists and we as an industry would have more longevity, trust and staying power.

There are basic principles involved in the successful professional development of an artist in the world of music and entertainment:

 

1. The mindset of an artist

2. The fame game vs the hard work

3. Artist identity and brand

The Alexander Technique is a vocal technique mainly for actors that reminds people that your voice is part of your body so you must align your voice with your body. I used a little bit of this technique when I decided to have the band jog on the spot whilst they did the exercises at the same time.There are many well-known people who have to rush from one meeting or performance to another as well as travelling from city to city and country to country. If stamina is not built in their bodies and mind, they may have problems on certain days where they lose their voices. I made the band control their voices whilst placing their bodies under stress to help build stamina and consistency.

Always remember, your voice goes through “seasons of singing” and our voice is continually evolving which is why all of the techniques are important. Different things may be required at different times in our lives.

What works for someone else, will not work necessarily work for you, which is why a vocal assessment is always useful.

Top Tips

Hack 1: Vocal Technique Exercises (listen to audio)

Hack 2: Face your fears

Hack 3: Learn from your mistakes

Hack 4: Don’t walk around the stage aimlessly. Always have a reason for what you’re doing. A still performance is just as powerful as a high energetic display

Hack 5: Think of yourself as a storyteller

Hack 6: See yourself as a brand and learn how to explain your brand to investor

 

Remember, in Hack 1, I provide 5 audio vocal warm up exercises for this masterclass that you can use any time. Click here and join in as you hear my voice and the piano scales.

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