As with any profession, the more experience gained, the more knowledge possessed. After seventeen years of working as a professional vocalist, I have picked up quite a few tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy voice. Singer Sundays is my means of passing on this information and hoping it will serve useful to those who enjoy sharing the gift of vocal music.
Tip #9 –Listen and listen again
This is a tip I wish someone had told me at a much younger age because the beginning of mastering vocals requires more listening than singing. Just as in life, the more we listen the more wisdom we can glean from the seasoned veteran. This holds true with singing as well. I am not just talking about listening to our own voice but listening to others. Listening to the classic greats that carved the way for vocalists before us. When I began listening to others I began understanding my own voice. I would hear control, inflections, power, and breath in great vocals and listen over and over to them. After listening a few times, I tried to find the same placement. After listening a few more times, I began to match my placement to the vocalist I was listening to and then voi loi – I would find it! Oftentimes, I had no clue what I had done, but I knew I found it, and it felt healthy and right. I would then listen and imitate again and again until I finally understood where the placement was and what I was physically doing with breath, the palette, and larynx. Listening is the key. You will begin to find what genres compliment your voice and what your strengths are. Listening also gives you new ideas. If you stick with listening to one style of music then your creativity bank will quickly become stagnant. If you listen to classics before you then you will connect styles of your favorites with previous greats and will have an arsenal of nuances, vocal tricks, and playful scats that keep performances fresh and new. With so many ways to stream music nowadays, there is no reason you shouldn’t discover a new voice a month. I’ve a sneaking suspicion after listening awhile you may find this becomes your favorite hobby.