The Song Savvy Manual
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Range / Warming Up
Facial Muscles & Expressions
Protecting Your Voice
What to Drink
Visualizing Your Projection
Clarity of Thought
Emotional Memory Recall
Song Savvy Voice Exercises
A E E Song
Dictionary of Musical Slang
Dictionary of Musical Terms
The Song Savvy Vocal Instruction Manual is your vocalist's textbook. Use this to find detailed instructions and explanations regarding every aspect of developing your technique - PLUS! Diagrams, 28 challenging tongue twisters, easy to follow tips and advice on how to make the transition into professional singing, a dictionary of musician's slang and jargon, and a dictionary of musical terms and symbols.
Written by Nicole LeGault in a clear, comprehensible and conversational style.
"The mechanics of the Larynx and the anatomy of speech are extremely complex. However, I shall attempt to simplify the necessary basic knowledge."
"First of all, the vocal cords are not cords at all. They're more like flaps, also called vocal folds, which stick out horizontally from the sides of your windpipe. The vocal folds vibrate in accordance to their length, mass and tension using "tensor muscles" (such as the cricothyroid and posterior crico-arytenoid, if you care) which tense for high notes and relax for low notes."
The Song Savvy Voice Exercise CD's
Once you've gained the knowledge and learned the secrets found in the Song Savvy Vocal Instruction Video and the Song Savvy Vocal Instruction Manual, you can practice developing your own technique and personal style with the Song Savvy Voice Exercise CD's!
CD 1 is your vocal technique exercises. With 48 exercises to choose from, you can develop your skill at your own pace!
Includes a variety of combinations of vowel sounds, pitches, ranges, and volumes. Use this for learning to hold one clear steady note, and for developing your skill at switching quickly from one tone, pitch, volume and vowel sound to another.
CD 2 is your advanced vocal technique exercises. Use these 18 highly challenging exercises to further develop and polish your technique and personal style! Remember: They're only difficult because you're not good at them yet!
Practice Makes Perfect!
Performed by Nicole LeGault in a clear, "repeat after me" style.
The Complete Home Vocal Instruction Course Includes All You Need To Know About:
Controlling the sound
Diaphragm muscles, use of
Dynamics, use of
Emotion - techniques actors use
Facial muscles & expressions
Falsetto & Cracking
Hoarseness - healing and avoiding
Larynx - how the vocal cords work
Power, strengthening your voice
Range, how to increase yours
Raunchy Singing, using safe technique
Recording Studio Tips
Shaping sound through visualization
Tonality - placement, bass & treble
Voice Lessons Practice Tip of the Week; February 19, 2024:
Do plan a specific time to practice each day. Students who practice at the same time each day usually make better progress than those who wait several days before a practice session. Music practice easily becomes a low priority item placed at the end of a busy day of school, homework and extracurricular activities. The student is then too tired to concentrate. When practice time becomes a structured routine, it can be perceived as a relaxation or fun time to be looked forward to.
FREE A-2-Z SINGING TIPS
Written by Nicole LeGault
Creator of Song Savvy, founder of A Sharp School of Music
A is for Attitude. How many singers does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the world has to revolve around them, ha ha. All kidding aside, being a vocalist is a very courageous and naked way of expressing yourself. If you aren't open and unashamed, your audience will not be able to develop an empathetic rapport.
B is for Breath Control. To skillfully control your breath while singing it is required that you relax most muscles, while strenuously exerting others. This is an exercise in coordination that requires concentration and practice - but like anything you've done a thousand times, it eventually becomes second nature.
C is for Criticism. Everyone always has something to say - especially if you ask them! Gravitate towards your fans, disregard those whom you believe may have motive to see you fail. Take to heart constructive criticism you can use to make yourself stronger, and accept the fact that you cannot please all the people all the time.
D is for Dynamics. Using dynamics is the art of raising and lowering the volume of your voice to add texture and expression to the sound. This is also known as "colour". You will notice that in popular styles, the voice grows louder with higher notes, and softer with lower notes, with the exception of when falsetto is used.
E is for Emotion. If the emotional content of the song you're singing is powerful enough to move you, then allow that emotion to affect the sound of your voice. If it's not, then you must reach inside your heart and connect with a similar experience of your own.
F is for Facial Muscles. For homework, observe your favourite singers in live action. Take note of how they drop their jaw for some sounds, and lift their cheeks up for others. The shape of your mouth will greatly affect the tone and volume of the sound you are creating.
G is for Grace. When singing, the sound should flow with ease - do not force. Volume comes from the manner in which the sound resonates, and each note has its "happy place". Even to sing with a raunchy sound is a manner of technique, not force.
H is for Hoarseness. The vocal cords are very delicate, and improper use of them will cause bruising, and if repetitive, calluses. When damaged, the vocal cords loose their elasticity causing a reduced ability to produce clear tones, limitation of range, and a great deal of stress for the performing singer.
I is for Imagery. When you are describing through song an event, an emotion, an experience, your surroundings, specific people, etc... you must have a clear vision in your mind's eye of the images you are describing. If you neglect to do this, the words will seem to have no meaning.
J is for Jabberwocky. When you are composing lyrics, don't forget that nonsensical words, sounds, and scat are legitimate prose. "La la la, do do do, bottle op' botten doh, bottle op bop 'n bayden day dow dow..."
K is for Karaoke! Karaoke is a great stepping stone between practicing as a beginner, and auditioning for a real gig. You're a star on stage with a professional P.A. system, and there is no pressure at all not to make mistakes!
L is for Larynx. The vocal cords are not really cords at all - they're more like flaps which stick out horizontally from the sides of your windpipe. The vocal folds vibrate in accordance to their length, mass and tension using "tensor muscles".
M is for Music. It is my opinion that a singer is only as good as the song that he/she is singing. You must choose your material wisely; you would be surprised at how it alters people's perception of your voice.
N is for Name. What's in a name? Lots if you're a singer! You know how there are just some names you remember easily, and some you don't? Many musicians have "stage names", also known as "pseudonyms" ("pen names" are for authors). You do not need to legally change your name; it is extremely common and accepted for musicians to have an a.k.a. if they so desire.
O is for Observation. Decide which vocalists you most admire, and then observe their technique. Visually, you will see how they use their physicality, and how they present themselves on stage. Audibly, you will hear what perhaps they are doing differently, and how you can improve your own technique.
P is for Projection. Projection is the art of pushing the sound (via the air) up, and forward, and away from you. Singers, actors, and public speakers do it. "Reach for the back row". Remember that even when your voice is going down in pitch and in volume, the projection always moves up and forward and away - because it is your directly related to your airflow.
Q is for Quench. When I'm recognized in public as a vocal coach, a lot of people ask first: "What should I drink"? I tell them that if they're singing properly, it doesn't matter much what they drink. I prefer to avoid caffeine, because I don't like the crash that follows the artificial stimulation. Avoid hard liquor, it burns going down and the fumes may irritate. Avoid dairy products, they may help generate phlegm. Other than that, just try to remain hydrated and fueled - I like to drink spring water and fruit juice. When consuming carbonated beverages, be sure that you can keep your burping under control! It can be embarrassing, especially during ballads.
R is for Range. You are not born with your range, you can increase it. If you cannot touch your toes, try every day to touch your toes - and you will touch your toes. Your range can be stretched in the same manner (using proper technique!!!) and likewise, if you don't use your full range regularly, it will shrink back.
S is for Style. Placement (bass & treble, etc...), singing raunchy or raspy (without going hoarse!), vibrato, and falsetto are all stylistic techniques that can be learned, developed and mastered. Why not be versatile as possible?
T is for Talent. Talent? I believe that talent is an illusion that only people who've practiced a great deal will ever possess. I have students who practice regularly, and students who don't - the difference is abundantly clear. Adhere to a structured practice regiment and you will be "talented" too!
U is for Undaunted. People often take their singing ambitions very seriously, and then along comes some person of authority who says "It's unrealistic to think you'll ever be a professional" for whatever reason. Think for a moment and try to come up with the names of five superstars to whom this person would be likely to say the same thing!
V is for Visualization. Many vocal coaches use visualization techniques for the placement and projection of the sound. For one example, if you imagine the sound appearing out of nowhere above and just in front of you, you can aim more accurately with your pitch (no fading, or "dipping" into the note) and from there, project it away from you (pushing with your diaphragm). Project in a outwardly round manner for a fuller sound.
W is for Warm Up! I would not be caught dead singing without warming up first. You go to hit a note... and a different one comes out! Your delicate little vocal folds were not made to go from 0 to 60 in three seconds. You must stretch them to their full range gently and gradually.
Y is for Yak and Yell. Once you have developed your skill with regard to using your voice without damaging it, use this technique in your daily life. If you speak a great deal, or need to project your voice in a noisy environment, or cheer at a concert, scream on a roller coaster, shout instructions at a sports event, argue with your family, etc... you must preserve your voice with skill - or it won't be there when you need it to sing!
Z is for Zeal. If you're a performer, then you must be zealous in all your endeavours. From the preparatory and organizational phases, to the performance - your enthusiasm and ardour will be a key factor. If you're tired and you need to sing 30 songs now, pretend you're not tired! Good luck, and have fun!!!
The free singing tips above were written by Vocal Coach Nicole LeGault, creator of the Song Savvy vocal training method and founder of the A Sharp School of Music in West Toronto, Canada.