Friday, May 18, 2012


Since we have our Swedish Glee Club Spring Concert coming up (5/20 at St. Marks Lutheran Church at Delaney & Yotkhouse in Waukegan, IL at 1500 [3PM for non-military types]), I have been worrying about my pitch; if I have a strong singer next to me I can usually hone in on the correct notes, but if not I am sometimes not so good!

So I took to the internet to see if I could find some help!

 Release any tension from the muscles in your face and neck.
 Open your mouth in a relaxed manner by dropping your jaw and slightly tilting your chin inward toward your chest.
 Hum an "oooo" sound at a pitch that seems natural. Don't even plan the pitch. Just produce an extended tone at a comfortable volume level.
 Inhale and produce the same pitch. This time, as you produce the pitch, begin to slide upward with your voice so that your sound becomes high. Don't strain your voice, but imagine that you are creating a child's "oooo" sound, as if the child has just seen something amazing.
 Inhale again if necessary and slide your voice back down. This time try to go lower than your original pitch.
Record yourself changing your vocal pitches. Review the recording to see if you can hear the changes in pitch.
Play any key near the center of a piano or keyboard. Hum that note. Play the next five to eight notes to the right of the original note and hum along. This will cause you to raise your pitch. Go back to the original note and play the next five to eight keys to the left of the original note in order to lower your pitch. (

Now, there are 2 distinctly different scenarios having to do with singing off pitch.
The first is a question of hearing, where the singer cannot hear the music, either the accompaniment if there is one, or the music inside him/herself, and therefore sings approximately near the note he/she's going for, but not THE note. This mostly occurs when the singer is singing a cappella, which means without a musical accompaniment. This problem with pitch is cured with ear training exercises that re-program the body's muscle memory to literally "remember" where the notes are in the body's internal keyboard. Matching pitch, playing a mouth instrument like a recorder or flute, and consistent practice are very helpful in curing ear difficulties.

The second scenario has to do with breath and support. Simply said, when you don't take in enough air, and you don't support the emission of the sound from your body, you can sing off pitch, and whether or not you sing flat or sharp depends on the resonation placement. No breath and no support tends to make the head voice go sharp, and the full voice go flat.   ...

When a pianist wants to learn how to play the piano, he practices a lot, but also listens to piano music to get ideas for how to interpret the music. The same goes for a guitar player. How many young boys, (my own included), spent hours listening to Eddie Van Halen, just to learn his licks?
Well, I believe that when your chosen "instrument" is the voice, you learn your songs by listening to them sung by the artists who sing them on the radio. You sing along with a song whenever it comes on and to you, you may sound great!

Well, what happens when you sing the song in the shower, without the radio, and without any music at all? You sing off key! Why? Because you can't hear the music in the your head. Why is that? Because when you learned the song, you were listening ONLY to the singer, and not to musical accompaniment. And when you sing a cappella, there is nothing to guide you. You didn't "learn" that part. You only learned the words and maybe the melody, but you never learned the Harmony!

It shouldn't amaze us then when singers audition with no accompaniment and think they sounded fine, when they didn't, should it?

Lesson? Well, when you learn a song, listen to the instruments as well as the voice. Spend some time committing the orchestration to your cell memory so that when you are called upon to sing a cappella, you can call it up in your head and stay on key!! (

I also found a computer program that records you as you sing notes and compares it to the real note/s. 
( So got only $67 (regularly $97), I could improve my singing by singing into my computer.

Next comes voice dynamics, i.e., how loud/soft!  Will it never end?

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