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Anyone Can Learn to Sing Better
Pacific High School Choir - I Believe I Can Fly
It is that time of year. School starts next week and I will face students will mixed emotions about my class. Some are excited because they really love to sing … some not so much. Some will declare that they don’t want to sing and will refuse. By the end of the year, I am required to have all students sing.
The first thing I have students do is admit their fears. That way they see that they are not the only ones who are scared to death. I relate experiences about myself and how I overcame my fears.
Participation in warm ups is mandatory
We start off with warm ups. Many students are amused at the vocal warm-ups which include body stretches, breathing techniques, and vocalises. I explain similarities among dancing, playing instruments, playing sports, and singing. Warming up is crucial to relaxing the whole body and realizing the highness and lowness of the voice.
In order to duplicate sound, it is important first to hear the sound. Singing the right notes requires focus. Some students first appear to be tone death but eventually match pitch after developing the discipline of listening.
This is the part that students like the least. Most students are only interested in what they hear from their favorite artists. Very little printed sheet music is available for the songs students listen to daily. Students who open themselves to identifying notes and following patterns of sound are usually the most successful at singing.
Regardless of the genre of music, breath control is very important. Classical music requires singing complete phrases without a breath. Popular music often requires that certain words be held for an extended period of time.
Use of the relaxed body
The mouth should be open from the inside in a vertical position with a relaxed jaw. The soft palate should be curved up and the tip of the tongue should relax behind the bottom teeth. The throat should be relaxed and open. The diaphragm, a muscle, and coastal muscles, which create expansion in the back, make singing effortless if used properly. Proper body posture should make it easy to sit, stand, walk or lie down, and sing.
Development of confidence comes from practicing correctly, often, and getting feedback. The cardinal rule is “no laughing at others or yourself.” Students give each other positive feedback which will help them mold their performances.
At the end of the semester, they sing for their proud parents and I am a hero!