Vocal Lessons & The Funky Things We Do.
Some Funky and Awkward Things to Expect When You Start Vocal Lessons
There are a lot of funky things we do in vocal lessons. It’s always, and I mean always, awkward for every student at first. They look at their vocal coach like, “Whaaaaaa?”. But we are used to it. We see it all the time and we can navigate those new students through the awkward and get them to participate with us in less than 30min.
Here’s an introduction of some of the common things that you might encounter during your vocal lessons. If you are new to the idea of vocal lessons then this will hopefully mentally prepare you…a little.
Two Kinds of Awkward
There are two kinds of awkward categories that we’ll cover here: funky things we do during vocal lessons and funky sounds we make. They each get their own categories because there’s a whole darn lot of them! And every teacher has their own set that they do. Each one is an intentional activity used to accomplish or develop a certain vocal technic. Let’s check it out.
Funky Thing We do During Vocal Lessons
Lying Down on the Ground
One of the first things your voice teacher might make you do is lie down on the ground. Yup. And they might put someone on your belly if you’re lying on your back. Or they might make you lie on your belly. Both positions are great ways to help you start thinking about how you breathe and how it feels.
Since you can’t see breathing, you learn the technic of proper breathing for singing through feel. You feel your way through breath development. This is why singing is such an amazing tool for developing your own self-awareness of your body and mindset.
Doing a push-up position from a chair
Another funky thing you might find yourself having to do is a push-up or plank position with your feet on the ground, way behind you, and your hands on the seat of a chair. Your teacher might have you take in and put out air flow in this position or they might make you sing in this position. The idea here is to develop a technic for singing using your body’s core muscles. Singing is athletic, after all.
This position is totally uncomfortable but that’s the point. You have to use your core muscles to stay there so it’s a great way to show you how much “ab support” or “core support” you need to engage when you are singing.
It’s harder to do when you are standing upright because we are so used to standing upright. So now that you have an idea of what that ab engagement feels like from that awkward position, now you can try to “find” that same support but in an upright position.
You can’t see your voice, right? It’s kind of an abstract thing. So very oftentimes, voice teachers come up with hand gestures to help give students a visual of what needs to happen. Hands and arms might flow in the shapes and directions that help people imagine the flow of air output.
Fingers might point to far away distances in front of you or they might point up to give a visual of where a sound is supposed to travel or how narrow or piercing it’s supposed to be when approaching that space.
Side note, now you are going to notice that when famous people perform, they often use their hands, not necessarily to tell a story, although that is very common too and part of stage presence. Performers will also use the hand gestures that they use in their vocal training. These gestures come so naturally to trained singers that you’ll see them come out in their performing too! Kinda cool!
Singing with Your Hands Over Your Head
Singing with your hands over your head is an easy thing to do but still kind of embarrassing. But if you have already developed somewhat of a connection with your body and the sound of your voice, you will find that this stretching position will release your voice to come out in freer and healthier way.
That’s simply because we are so used to walking around life with our arms down that we don’t realize the body tension we carry around with us every moment. Having your hands up releases some of that body tension you don’t realize you carry. It frees the voice then to sing out! Tension is your singing voice’s worst enemy
The Funky Sounds We Make During Vocal Exercises
Two exercises that are very common among voice teachers, we call sirens and lips drills. Now, every teacher has their own names for these exercises so you might hear then called by another name. I’ve heard lip drills called “raspberries” before, for example. Students always blush when they are first introduced to these.
Siren Vocal Exercises
Sirens are slow sliding sounds with your voice that start at the bottom of your vocal register and slide up to the top, or they start at the top and slide all the way down to the bottom. Or the do both ways all in one breathe! And they are super annoying sounding! But they do the job of helping students develop their tone, the quality of the sound of their voice. It helps students find more of a pure sound and less of a breathy sound to their voice. It does, it works!
Lip Drill Vocal Exercises
Lip Drills are blowing your lips the way you might when you make a horse noise. Except, horse just blow air. Students would blow air and make sounds. Like singing scales or something while you make your lips buzz like a horse!
This exercise helps students put relaxed jaw, lips and tongue together with creating sound. It’s a lot more complicated than you think! Again, because most people don’t realize all the tension they hold in their body. In places they never thought they could! Like your tongue for example!
You can’t do lip drills if you have tension in your mouth and jaw area so it’s an easy exercise to find progress with, which is why a lot of voice teachers use it probably!
So yes, hopefully this will give you all an idea of the awkward things you’ll be experiencing in your first season of vocal lessons! Don’t let it be intimidating though! You’ll come out all the better for it in more than just singing, but also as a person in general!
You can check out our vocal program at Martucci Music by clicking HERE now!