Susan's Blog Posts

Upcoming Information 

Whew! It has been one crazy busy fall season around here! I am working to put together some helpful video blogs that cover the following topics:

 

-auditioning for college 101

-what college programs are available for singers

-making the song your own (pop/ccm songs)

-preparing for your recording session

 

I can't wait to share all of this with you over the next few months! I will also be sharing some exciting coverage as I head into the studio myself to record my new album! Stay Tuned....:)

Tips for Daily Practice 

How to practice daily: 

1.  WARM-UPS:  spend 10 minutes doing warmups that are specific to your goals.                

This could include lip trills, arpeggios, speaking on pitch, slides and sustained pitches, etc. This may also include pop exercises, solfege exercises, etc. 

2.   Technique Building Exercises: 10-20 minutes.  

    These are focused exercises that specifically help you learn control or releasing tension, sustaining tone, etc. This may include exercises with metronome, with    watching mouth shape or body posture in the mirror, etc.  

    Examples include singing one continuous pitch with volume 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1, or allowing energized vibrato on a single tone, etc. For commercial music, this may also include working on riffs and pentatonic patterns. 

3.   Repertoire Study: 30-40 minutes or more if preparing for an immediate performance or recording.  

    When studying your music, try and begin with trouble spots and transition areas. Pay close attention to the bridge of a song. Listen to chord patterns and feel how the groove of the song flows. For tricky riffs or for classical melismas and odd intervals, try and isolate the phrase. Go slowly and stick with one syllable at first, then you can speed up gradually. 

4.  Cool Down: 5-10 minutes depending upon how hard you were working your voice 

    Just as an athlete needs to stretch and cool down after an intensive workout, a singer should cool down with calming, soothing vocal exercises. Lip trills and ooh’s are ideal but stick to a small range that is most comfortable to you. 

**** How to practice when you are feeling under the weather (or have overused your voice prior to practice time:) 

   - Take this opportunity to look over sheet music and if there are examples available follow along while listening.  

    -Mark phrases and breathing spots on sheet music or lyric sheets. 

    -Work on arrangement ideas for commercial music. 

    -Try and work on songwriting ideas. 

    -Spend time researching the composer/show, doing character study, etc. 

  

     

    

Tips for selecting audition songs  

Selecting Pop Solo Rep: tips and thoughts for auditions 

It is always best to work with a vocal coach or someone with judging/casting experience when selecting your audition piece, but if you need to select repertoire on your own, try and keep the following things in mind: 

- You do not have to love your audition song but you do have to connect with the mood/groove/lyrics of your audition piece. 

-If you have already selected a song, check that it meets your vocal ability and the range you are auditioning for. For example, if you are auditioning for a spot in the alto section of an a cappella group, select a song that displays your low notes. (range of melody, phrase length, style, etc.) 

-Try to help define your strengths (range, tone, stage presence, etc.) and find songs that showcase your best qualities. 

-If you find a song that has great range & style but it is just a bit too low/high, change the key of the track. 

www.karaoke-version.com allows you to raise or lower the key 2 half steps. 

Transcribe! software http://www.seventhstring.com allows pitch change, speed, etc. Audacity 

-Singers that are thought of as “off limits” (adele, christina aguilera, whitney houston, etc.) aren’t necessarily so...it all depends on the song (they all have good and not-so-good choices) Try to avoid the signature tunes that people equate with them. 

-One-hit-wonder songs are great because people recognize them and they probably have a great melody with catchy chorus. 

-Indie/punk/alternative Artists don’t typically go over well unless the song is a perfect fit (I love Regina Spektor as much as you do but singing this style of song will not translate in a short audition) *unless the audition is for an alternative Indie sound 

-Finding Cover versions of older hits that new indie/pop artists sing help students find well known standards with a newer twist. Most of these karaoke tracks can be found. (watch youtube covers by top artists) 

-Many of the electronic pop songs have acoustic karaoke versions available for purchase on itunes. This is great if you have a smaller voice and lovely tone but just can’t cut through the thick backing of a rock band track or if you just prefer to show a softer side to a heavy tune. 

-www.karaoke-version.com is the best! Its 1.99 a song but you can choose with or without backing vocals and can change the key on the site. They also typically have songs that are not yet available on iTunes or youtube.