Tag Archives: vocal health

A Meditation on the Breath

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Singing begins in the breath. Without air there can be no sound. Without air, there is no voice. Relax, stand tall, and begin.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

To sing, you need to fill every crevice your lungs with air without trying. Breathe in to your diaphragm. Breath in to your ribs. Breathe in to your back. Release your muscles and fill the whole body with power.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathing is automatic. You don’t have to think about it. In fact, thinking about it can make it harder. When you breathe out, your lungs refill automatically, like a sponge. Breathe in effortlessly.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

You can breathe in so many patterns. A long slow breath, flickering the candle flame, but not putting it out. A short sharp breath, putting out the candles one by one. Choose the breath you need for the music.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Everything comes from your core. Those muscles that surround your lungs and your organs are your strength. Use them to drive your sound up from the depths of your soul. Feel them in every note. Sing from the core of yourself.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Can you really breathe? Breathe with your whole self, and you will have a voice. Take that deep breath in with your whole self, and pause for a moment, a fraction of a second. Then you can let it run through your vocal folds, picking up a rich vibration before it rushes out to the world.

Breathe in.

Hold.

Sing.


Need some resources to help you with your breath control? You can find out more about how your breath works, or why not try my favourite slow breathing exercise.

Or, Vocalist has some exercises you can try, as does BBC Sing.

Help! I’ve Lost My Voice!

Image by Cieleke at freeimages.com

Image by Cieleke at freeimages.com

As a singing teacher, the last way I wanted to kick off 2015 was with a bout of Laryngitis, but alas, I am finally recovering after nine days without being able to speak, let alone sing. So what should you do if you end up hoarse, or loose your voice entirely?

Stop Talking! (And Singing)

This was my number one mistake. I had a friend staying overnight when my voice began to go, and instead of sadly sending her away, I carried on talking… I’m pretty sure this is why it’s taken over a week to recover.

In order to recover quickly, it’s important to get as close to 100% vocal rest as possible. If you have a vocal problem, then it’s really important to stop immediately. If you can, take time off work. Even if your work doesn’t involve talking professionally, you’ll find it hard to rest 100% if you are in the presence of your colleagues. Same goes for school.

You should also stop singing. Singing is usually harder than talking, and trying to sing when you’re hoarse can make it worse and delay your recovery. Even if it doesn’t hurt, you should still take a few days off. If you’re still wanting to keep up with your music, why not use the time to work on some theoretical exercises, listen to some new music, or even watch a whole opera, oratorio or concert (you can usually catch them on Sky Arts, or there are plenty available on YouTube).

Keep Hydrated

It’s really important to drink plenty to help your larynx recover. Try to avoid caffeine, and sugary drinks. Warm herbal teas may be especially soothing. Alcohol is especially bad because it is so dehydrating (that’s part of what causes hangovers).

The other thing that can be really helpful is steam. I absolutely love it! Breathing in hot steam can be soothing, and will keep your larynx lubricated which will help reduce irritation. Fill a bowl with a kettle full of boiling water, and then cover your head and the bowl with a towel. Breathe until the water stops steaming (usually about 15 to 20 minutes).

Take Care with Medication

Most “sore throat” remedies like Strepsils will not reach your larynx, so are unlikely to help with your problems. Taking anything that acts as a painkiller can dull sensations and this means you are more likely to think you can speak and then injure your voice. Over-the-counter medications will only relieve some of the symptoms by masking them.

Laryngitis is usually caused by a virus, so antibiotics are unlikely to be effective. However, if it goes on for a week or more, it is usually advisable to see your GP to make sure that it is not a bacterial or fungal infection.

Ensure Good Vocal Health

If you are aiming for good vocal health, smoking should be off the table anyway. However, if you are a smoker, this can make laryngitis worse and delay recovery. It may be helpful to use a nicotine replacement therapy to help you avoid smoking.

Recovery!

Hopefully, if you follow the rules of complete vocal rest, your voice will recover. Once your talking voice returns completely to normal, you can start to go back to singing. It is very important not to try to sing until you are sure that your voice has completely recovered.

It’s vital that you take it really slowly. Start with gentle humming over a very small range close to your speaking range. If there is any catch in your voice, stop and try again in the next day.

Once you can hum over a good range, try sirening on a hum, or an ‘ng’ sound to see where there are catches. It may help to start with a small siren over an octave or so, and then increase it a little each time until your whole range is back.

You can then begin to introduce other exercises gradually. It may take three or four weeks to fully recover, but you will be glad you took the time.

 

So if you’re feeling a bit hoarse this winter, don’t be afraid to take the time out that you need to really ensure you are fully recovered.

For more information, check out NHS Choices for a comprehensive guide.

Reaching High Notes – When the Voice is a String Instrument

The voice is fundamentally a wind instrument. We use air to make sound, rather than vibrating strings or hitting objects. However, when we’re trying to reach the high notes in our voice, it’s more helpful to think about a violin than a flute.

elkhart-100fl-fluteWhen you want to make a high note on a wind instrument, we shorten the sound waves by either making the tube smaller. A piccolo has a shorter and narrower than a flute. If you’re tuning a flute or a recorder, you push the head and body together more to sharpen the pitch, and pull it out to flatten it.

Many people try to sing high notes like a flute – they try to make the tube smaller. We tense up in the back of our throats and neck, raise our tongues and generally make all our airways small. This can really succeed in making a high note, but it often sounds pinched or squeezed and not very pleasant at all! It also stops being effective after a certain point. The bone and cartilage makes it impossible to keep making our throats smaller.

ViolinSo what about a stringed instrument? To make the pitch higher on a violin, we fit thinner and thinner strings, and we stretch them tighter. On a violin, all the strings are the same length, but the tension on each will be different. To make any string sound higher, we pull the string tighter – we make it “longer”.

When you want to reach the high notes in your voice as a singer, it’s much better to imagine this process of making your vocal folds longer like a violin string. To make a higher pitch, your vocal folds need to vibrate faster, so we need to increase the tension by lengthening them. Think of it like plucking a rubber band guitar. If you stretch the band more, the pitch gets higher.

Me singingAs you start to sing higher, imagine your vocal folds getting longer. Think about getting taller and longer as you go higher, and open up your throat vertically. At first, this might feel strange, and it might even sound strange because your muscles aren’t used to it. However, you’ll start to find you get a much more pleasing noise on the higher notes, and the range of your voice will increase because you can lengthen and thin your vocal folds much more than you can tighten and constrict your throat.

As you experiment with this, try to keep your tongue low and your mouth quite open as this will mean the sound has plenty of space to resonate in.

To practice singing higher notes and extending your range, try exercises like arpeggios which go from a low, easy to sing pitch, to a high pitch in a single breath. Aim to keep your throat and mouth as open and relaxed on the high notes as on the low ones.

With any luck, starting to sing like a violin will soon help to make those high notes easier to hit and much more pleasant to listen to!

How do you think about your voice when you sing high notes? What exercises help you to extend your range and sound good in your upper register?

Oh No! I Have a Cold!

Image by Cieleke at freeimages.com

Image by Cieleke at freeimages

I’ve had a cold this last week. It always feels ironic to say I’ve had a cold in May, but there you are.

Times can be tough for singers when viruses run rampant through our respiratory system, making it hard to breath and sing. Here are some tips to help you make it out the other end without damaging your voice or missing too much practice.

Managing your practice

It can be frustrating to have a cold when you need or want to pratice! The good news is that so long as it doesn’t hurt to sing, you can keep on practicing. If it hurts to sing or makes you cough incessantly, then stop.

Of course, just because you can practice, doesn’t mean you want to practice. When you have a cold or are suffering badly with allergies, it can be hard to be motivated to do anything, let alone the “work” of practicing. Somethings that might help make it easier:

  • Plan a couple of very short practices rather than one long one
  • Pick songs you know well, rather than working on anything new and challenging
  • Avoid songs which require long phrases without breathing or which push your upper range
  • As soon as you start feeling better, try to up your singing practice little by little back to your normal level to help build up your strength.

If you do need to take a few days off singing, why not use that time to listen to some classical music or podcasts. Try the BBC Radio 3 Composer of the Week as a starting point. If you can’t sing, but are up to doing written work, why not have a go at some theory exercises, or try some online flash games that might help you with your musicianship.

Coping with performance

If you have a performance coming up, sometimes you have to suck it up and get through it. Unless you have lost your voice, it hurts to sing, or singing makes you cough, you should be ok to push yourself. If you can, try to take vocal rest in the days leading up to the performance rather than doing a lot of practice (a good reason to make sure you are ready long before the date for any performance). Make sure you keep hydrated. You can dose upon over-the-counter medication and traditional cures if you need to, and rest your voice afterwards.

Traditional cures

Cups of TeaThe best kind of cold cures for singers are the traditional cures of steam, hot drinks and citrus. Steam helps clear your sinuses and will soothe the headache that comes with a cold. Keep hydrated – honey and lemon is great for a sore throat, and citrus-based fruit teas are great too as they don’t contain caffeine. Citrus, ginger and honey all have properties which are good at helping your body fight off colds.

The other important thing is rest – take time off and let your body do what it does naturally. Your body is perfectly capable of fighting off a cold, so give it a chance! One day off work to let your body heal faster is going to be far better than struggling through and not giving yourself a chance to recover.

Over-The-Counter Medication

It’s perfectly fine to use over-the-counter medication to help with a cold, but beware that they only treat the symptoms, not the virus which is causing them. Your symptoms are largely your body’s response to the virus – trying to kill it off before it can do any real damage. Fever, coughs, sneezes, and snot are all part of your body’s natural defences, and by stopping the symptoms, you are reducing your ability to fight them off.

The only medication which comes with a word of caution is anything that has a painkilling element, especially if you are using something that numbs your throat. If you are ill enough that you need to take strepsills or paracetamol, take care when singing because it won’t be so easy to know if something hurts and you should stop. I would generally only recommend singing after taking throat lozenges in dire situations (e.g. a performance you can’t get out of) as you could do more damage than good.

When to See Your Doctor

The NHS recommends that you should only see a doctor if you still have a cold after three weeks unless you have another condition which might be aggravated by the cold (e.g. a chest condition). It is unlikely a doctor will be able to do anything for you anyway, as colds are caused by viruses and there is not really any medication that we have that can kill the virus. Antibiotics will be completely useless as they only treat bacterial infections.

Having said that, if your cold is so bad it is seriously affecting your singing for a week or more, it may be advisable to see a doctor just to confirm that you do have a virus and nothing more serious. Always tell your doctor that you sing, and make it clear if you have any upcoming performances.

As for allergies, you should work with your doctor to find a good antihistamine. These won’t affect your singing, but will make it much easier to practice!

So there you have it. If you’re a singer suffering with a cold, take time out to rest, try to sing if you can, but make good use of your time if you can’t.

What tips do you have for singers suffering with a cold or seasonal allergies?

Old Wives Tales: You Can’t Sing if You Have a Cold

Winter sceneIt’s January, and that means it’s cold season! When you have a cold, often, it can seem like a bad idea to keep singing. Singers often cancel gigs because they have a cold. So should you stop singing if you have the sniffles?

There’s a very simple rule with singing when you have a cold: if it hurts don’t sing. Otherwise, you can keep on singing as normal!

You might, of course, find that you have a more limited vocal range, or need to take more frequent breaths. You might also have less stamina than usual, or be unable to produce your usual tones and sounds.

If you have a cold, here are some tip to help you take care of your voice:

  • Cups of TeaKeep hydrated. If you’ve got a blocked nose, your mouth and throat can get dry, so be sure to drink regularly.
  • Keep your drinks warm. Slightly steamy drinks help to keep your nose and throat from getting dry.
  • Take care with taking cold medicines. In particular, avoid using anything that might numb your throat, like Strepsils. If you can’t feel your throat properly, you won’t know if your voice is starting to hurt.
  • Shorten your practice times, or move them to the shower. It’s vital to sing every day, but you should reduce down the amount of time you’re singing for. Singing in the shower helps thanks to the steamy environment.
  • Breathing steam can help to open up your airways. Fill a bowl with hot water and then cover your head and the bowl with a towel. You could use a little menthol-based oil like Olbas to help open up your sinuses, release a blocked nose, and reduce pain.
  • Rest your voice. If you can, reduce down how much talking you’re doing. Complete vocal rest is a bit much for most of us, but if you have a cold, but if you can rearrange those meetings, or stay home with a movie, it’ll help protect your voice from damage.

Above all, if singing hurts, stop singing. Don’t push through the pain. Pain is designed to tell us when to stop, and as a singer, it’s vital to listen to our instruments.

If you have a cold for more than ten days or so, it may be worth getting an opinion from your GP. Of course, most colds are viruses, and can’t be treated with medication (antibiotics only work on bacterial infections), but it’s better to rule out more serious problems like chest infections.

Old Wives’ Say: “Thou Shalt Not Eat Dairy”

MilkOne of the things that is often said in singing circles is that eating dairy products causes the body to produce more mucus and phlegm, so singers should avoid it on the day of performances. However, I was astonished to discover recently that this isn’t strictly true…

Dairy does seem to cause some thickening of phlegm and mucus in human beings, but studies have shown that it does not cause the body to produce more phlegm (Wüthrich, Schmid, Walther & Sieber, 2005/Pinnock, Graham, Mylvaganam & Douglas, 1990). Instead, foods which are high in dairy fats, like whole milk, leave a residue of fats on their way which can make it feel like we have more phlegm. This is a good reason to avoid dairy on the day of an exam or performance – but reducing phlegm production isn’t!

Dehydration is also something which increases the thickness of mucus and phlegm, and this is far more likely to be the problem than the cheese toastie you had for lunch. That’s why tea, coffee and fruit juices can contribute to phlegm issues. It’s water that thins out phlegm and coffee and juice both contain acids, caffeine, tannin and other things that reduce their effectiveness at treating dehydration.

Finally, singing stimulates large parts of your respiratory system making it vibrate. This loosens all the phlegm and mucus in your throat, which in turn means it feels like you have more of it. So even if you consume no dairy products at all, you can still get that annoying phlegm in your throat!

So what is so bad about milk? A lot less than most people think. In fact, thinking that milk causes more mucus is more likely to cause phlegm problems than drinking the milk (Pinnock, Graham, Mylvaganam & Douglas, 1990).

However, avoiding rich, fatty foods (including full-fat dairy) that can create the illusion of increased phlegm  on the day of exams and performances is definitely a good idea, alongside keeping well hydrated and avoiding any foods which are prone to upset your stomach at all. And if you feel all phlegm-ey? Reach for the glass of water rather than blaming poor milk.

Are you surprised to find out that dairy doesn’t cause mucus? What other singing myths have you seen busted? Are there old wives tales you’ve heard that have turned out to be true? Comment below, and follow the blog for more tips, tricks and myth-busters.

Winter is Coming…

Yes, it’s that time of year when the Ned Stark memes run rampant on Facebook and we all start wishing we lived in a more equatorial nation. For singers, winter can pose particularly big challenges as we try to take care of our voices. Here are some of the things to watch out for at this time of year

Winter scene

Beware extreme temperatures

Winter in the UK is a land of extreme temperatures. While we’re outside in the freezing cold at one moment, we’re then back inside in a heated building the next. Although our bodies are self-regulating, the temperature of the air we breathe will affect our vocal folds as it rushes by.

In cold temperatures, breathing through your nose is the simplest way to warm air up before it hits your throat. Noses go red in the cold because the body sends blood to it in order to warm the air coming in. Covering your mouth/nose with a scarf can help too, if you’ve got a bad cold.

Once you’re inside, make sure you warm up properly before singing. A bit of running on the spot and gentle stretching will get your blood flowing and help your vocal folds to warm up. Try not to keep the heating in your house too high as this makes going outside even worse, and can contribute to the problem of hydration.

Wherever you end up singing this winter, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to acclimatise, and warm up your body and voice in the venue.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Beware dehydration

Mad as it sounds, dehydration can be a real problem for singers in winter. Central heating often dries out the air, and because we’re not feeling warm, it can take longer to become aware we need to drink more liquid.

The best way to hydrate is to use warm, body temperature liquids as your body can absorb those most easily. Take care also not to drink only caffeinated tea and coffee as caffeine has diuretic properties (i.e. it makes you want to pee more often), and the milk we usually add can cause phlegm issues (ugh!). Switch in warm sugar-free squash or fruit teas, especially before practicing and on performance days. Honey and lemon makes a really good hydration choice as it cleans out excess phlegm and boosts your immune system.

Of course, the dangers of overhydration are as serious as dehydration, so only drink if you are thirsty, and stop when you feel satisfied. If you have chronic dehydration, speak to your GP as this can be a sign of something more serious.

Beware of colds and coughs

Most of us won’t get flu this winter, but we might get some bad colds. If you’re not sure which you’ve got, here’s a handy chart:

Thanks to Jillee at One Good Thing.

Thanks to Jillee at One Good Thing.

Assuming it’s a cold, take care to be alert to how your voice feels. So long as it’s not painful, it’s absolutely fine to sing if you have a cold, cough or other mild illness. If it hurts, stop! Make sure you keep hydrated, though. It’s also important to avoid taking any medication which numbs your throat (e.g. Strepsils) before singing. By numbing your throat, you’re preventing your nervous system alerting you when you’re damaging your voice.

Colds can’t be treated by medication because they’re viruses. Even paracetamol can slow down the healing process as a fever is one of the tricks your body uses to kill of the virus. However, if your symptoms are severe, go on for more than a week or two, or include non-cold symptoms like breathlessness or sustained high fever, do get in touch with your GP, or your local out-of-hours helpline (e.g. NHS 111 in England, or NHS 24 in Scotland). Remember, your local A&E is for emergencies only, and 999 for dire emergencies.

Beware the flu

Credit: pzado @ sxc.hu

Finally, if you’re eligible for the flu vaccination for free, go and get it. Most people I know who get it attest that they get less colds over the winter, as well as the benefits of the protection from flu. Eligible groups include under 18s (nasal spray), over 65s, and people with long-term conditions like asthma, heart problems and diabetes. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, give your GP a call.

If you’re not eligible for the vaccine for free, you can pay for it privately at your local pharmacy. This year, your local Boots store will charge you £12.99. I would highly recommend considering getting a flu vaccine if you are a singer as it will help to boost your immune system all year long!

Whatever else you do, keep singing, and keep taking care of your voice by exercising as often as possible.

Do you have any winter survival tips for singers? Post them in the comments below.

Wake Up! Warm Up!

SunOne of the most important things you need to do when practicing singing is to warm up properly. Warming up is not quite the same as vocal exercises, although a good warm up routine will go from physical warm-ups to vocal exercises without feeling like the warm-up stops and the vocal exercises start.

Different people find different things helpful. For example, some people like to practice yoga, or use dance-based warm-ups before singing. However, if you have no idea where to start, here is a simple physical and vocal warm-up to use.

  1. Jogging on the spot helps to get the blood flowing – this is especially important if you are sat down for most of the day. Do this for about 30 seconds.
  2. Make big sweeping circles with one arm and then the other. Be sure to go in both directions – backwards and forwards. Take deep breaths as you do this, letting your belly move rather than your shoulders.
  3. Stretch right up, and then relax down, one joint at a time until you’re hanging right over. Breathe out slowly as you go down. Rest there for a few gentle breaths and then roll back up to standing one vertebrae at a time, breathing out as you go up.
  4. Roll your shoulders backwards and then forwards a few times. Shrug up your shoulders to your ears and then relax them.
  5. Rub your cheeks, jaw muscles and neck with your hands to get the blood flowing.
  6. Stretch up and over to your right with one arm, and then repeat in the other direction.
  7. Give your body a gentle shake out to loosen off all your muscles.
  8. Finish by adjusting your posture to make sure you are standing up tall and balanced with your weight evenly on both feet.
  9. Take a few more deep and slow breaths – you might want to go through a few rounds of square breathing, or other breathing exercises.

Once you’ve warmed up your body, you can start getting your voice going:

  1. Gently, start to siren over a small range of notes. Each time, let the range get bigger until you’re swooping up and down through your whole voice.
  2. Using a hum, or a lip trill, sing up and down some simple patterns in the middle of your voice
  3. Sing some tongue twisters on comfortable notes in the middle of your range.

From this point, you can then move on to start working on the exercises set by your teacher for your practice which will probably include things like singing arpeggios and scales. You should also now sing through your full range properly, as this will help to extend and strengthen the highest and lowest notes.

If you need a reminder to put up in your practice space, or want to share this warm-up routine with your students, you can grab a free printable copy of this blogpost by clicking here: [purchase_link id=”1317″ style=”button” color=”inherit” text=”Purchase”]

 

Excercises for Beginners: Straw Singing

StrawsI have recently rediscovered the childhood magic of the drinking straw. I don’t know what it is about this small, plastic thing that creates such joy, but I love ’em.

Why have I rediscovered straws? Well, I have been looking for some new ideas for technical exercises, and I have discovered that straws can help improve your singing technique.

One of the biggest problems singers have is nasality – allowing air to go through the nose when singing even when it’s not necessary (which it is to say ‘m’ and ‘n’). By using a straw, this can help to focus breathing and direct air and sound away from the nose and through the mouth.

First, let’s try overdoing the nasal sound. Sing a note and try to drive the sound through your nose. It’s going to sound silly! Can you feel the air is rushing much faster than when you sing normally?

Now, grab your straw. First, blow through the straw. All the air should go through the straw, not through your nose at all. You should feel something closing off your nose. That’s your soft palate. You can’t feel it moving as such, but you should feel the effect. Try allowing air to go through your nose on the next breath. Keep alternating between just blowing through the straw and then blowing through the straw and your nose until you can identify what’s different.

Next, we’re going to sing through the straw. Pick a pitch that’s in the middle of your range and comfortable. Sing the note down the straw. Don’t let any air escape through your nose. It should make the straw buzz at your lips.

Now sing the same note, but allow sound to go through your nose too. You should feel the buzz in your nose rather than your lips. Repeat a few times, and then try alternating between singing down the straw and singing with your nose too on the same breath. It’ll sound a bit like “nnn-ooo-nnn-ooo-nnn-ooo”.

Lastly, take good breath and sing down the straw. Then, about halfway through the note, open your lips and switch to regular singing. Don’t move anything else – can you do it without letting any sound come through your nose? Test this by pinching your nose as you sing. If it changes the sound, you’ve let air escape down your nose.

This is not really a daily strength building exercise, but instead it’s a great way to build awareness of how your voice works, and the ability you have to control it.

I hope you find this exercise helpful. For more help with improving your tone and reducing nasality in your singing, do look for a qualified teacher in your local area as they will be able to give you advice and training suited to your body and voice. If you’re based in the Edinburgh area, why not contact me?

Why Even Beginners Need to Practice Singing

It’s amazing how often I come across comments like this, which I recently read on a forum:

Singing doesn’t count, as it doesn’t … require the same kind of practice as instruments do.

There’s a bit of a myth that exists that singing, especially at a beginner level, doesn’t need practice. After all, we all use our voices every day, right?

Wrong.

Singers, even those just starting out, need to practice every day in an organised and focused way.

Image by monica liu on flickr

Singing practice is like doing physical exercise. If you’re a runner, and stop running for a while, the next time you go back to it, it’s hard, right? Your muscles are all stiff and your body feels slow. You probably even wake up the next day with aches you don’t normally get. Singing, just like running, dancing, swimming or going to the gym uses muscles. They’re very small muscles for the most part, but they’re there, and the need to be strengthened and conditioned to work at their optimum (You can learn more in this post about how the voice works and this one on how breathing works). This can only be achieved by singing regularly, and focusing on using good technique. Training those muscles is vital, and the sooner you start doing it regularly (daily), the sooner your muscles will get stronger and more responsive.

Regular, focused practice time also helps you to learn songs faster and more accurately. By giving the song your full attention (rather than just practicing in the car, as one parent proudly claimed her daughter did), you can be certain you’re not learning notes or words incorrectly. You’ll also be using your whole brain to absorb the information, rather than just part of it. This might not feel important when you’re learning little more than folk songs and nursary rhymes, but by focusing on your practice, you’re not just learning about singing – you’re learning about learning to sing.

So, what happens if you don’t put in the time and effort to practice properly when you first start out?

Your voice doesn’t develop strength, power, accuracy, control or range. This is a serious issue. Just as if you launched straight into a marathon, doing nothing by the occasional jog around the park, jumping from low effort levels into working on harder songs with more challenging range and technique can not only lead to frustration, but it can lead to injury. By working on building up skills and strength, you’ll be improving  the longevity of your voice.

If you don’t learn how to learn songs when you’re learning nursary rhymes and folksongs, it’s an awful lot harder to sit down with a four page Romantic song in French or German and know where to start. It’s like trying to solve a complex quadratic equation without having ever taken the time to learn how to do basic arithmetic.

Ultimately? Not practicing early on leads to frustration, injury and, ultimately, giving up
It’s that simple.

So, how can we fix this? Well, make some time every day for practice, and keep following the blog for tips on practicing, and simple vocal exercises that can help you to build up good habits and make it feel just as easy at Grade 6 as at Grade 1.