Voice Lesson Notes

During the past month, I took 4 group voice lessons. It was a fascinating experience!

Here is how the format worked. We came in, and we sang the songs that we prepared. The instructor aka Mike would give us things to work on, and we’d take notes, practice, and bring our song back for next class.

Singing is hard. It’s easy to make fun of people on audition shows who flop, but man - it’s HARD. I practiced for a month and I have to say, I suck. Here are some of the things I need to work on:

REACH - I get hammered on this one. I don’t speak up. I was constantly reminded that I have to sing like I’m singing to the back of the audience.

Breathe control - Need to know when to breathe.

Dynamics - Lot of the music gets power from sudden chance in style, whether that be volume, tempo, etc. So when you’re going up a few notes, you need to emphasize the transitions.

Theme - There’s usually a theme or a message in one song. Usually the best movies are like that too. It’s important to focus on the theme or message of the song when you sing. I tend to focus more on the music and not as much on the mood or the lyrics.

Consistency - This is what I struggle with in general. I’m more a bulk kind of person, where I have sessions of intense focus. But I don’t think music practice works like that. Better to do 10 minutes a day than have 1 long session. Week leading up to my last class, I wasn’t able to practice as much. Yeah, ultimately they’re excuses. I went in to class on the last day. Mike heard me sing, and then he glared at me and said, “You’re back at where you were last week. You’ve been a very bad man.” =/.

Focus - If you try to fix multiple issues at once, you become super scatterbrained. Work on one issue as you sing. Similarly, focus on parts that you’re messing up. Because if you’re singing the entire song - especially the parts that you can nail, you’re wasting your time. Also, if your mind wonders when you sing, then the consistency of the sound becomes weak at certain times of the song. What should be happening, in my opinion, is you should be focusing on your vocal cords so that they always resonate.

Pitch Deafness - I don’t know. I haven’t been criticized for missing pitch, but it’s more on an intuitive level. If someone told me to start with an F, I might fumble around with a piano. Something to work on. There should be an app to help with this.

The songs that I worked on were:

Moonriver - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ-KPwD1eno

Stranger’s in the Night - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5h_EW4odWw

Fools Rush in - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBAkOQtuWMk

You are so Beautiful - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7VkSGqXdUU

It was a great time! But I decided not to continue for now due to other priorities that I want to focus on, and uncertainty in my living situations. But if I were to do it again, I would just focus on private lessons. Because marginal utility -.-.

Week specific notes:

Week 1:

No notes taken. First time.

Week 2:

Don’t get sentimental/lose focus.

Enunciate.

Try to pretend you’re singing to someone.

Focus on the voice.

Make one song perfect, incorporate the techniques into next song.

Overpronouncing vs. underpronouncing.

Week 3:

Voice should be crisp, not soft and flabby.

Focus on the voice.

Side note: Are uttered words without feelings and truth lies?

Get the thought, then sing.

Be on the look out for drop out.

Higher pitch -> happier. Lower pitch - sadder.

Work on one thing at a time.

Mike told me to drill a hole through a wall with my voice XD.

More mouth movement.

Always focus on throat.

Think character voice.

Emphasis on the word, also emphasis on vowels. Sometimes you want to each vowels faster in the word.

If you get hoarse, rest.

some parts need to be sang softer, some parts need to sing with more force.

my mouth needs to move more.

Week 4:

Tension/pressure ruins singers. This is the biggest problem singers face.

Concentrate on the beauty of the voice.

Focus on transitions.

A new person came to check out the class. When she made a mistake, she laughed. I don’t know - people who do that are amazing. There’s something so charming about that, and it just dusts off the seriousness of a mistake.