Ben's Vocal Music Tips

What we hope to do with ease we must first do with diligence

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On Matching Pitches

One of the most important aspects of singing is the ability to sing any desired pitch accurately. A good way to develop your pitching ability (called intonation) is to play or have someone else play notes on an instrument (e.g. piano) and copy the pitches with your voice. Some people find this easy immediately while others have to work at it for a while before they can do it. The most important thing is to listen carefully to the pitch being played and to trust your body to be able to produce that pitch.

Relax and let the sound come out naturally.

Enjoy your learning.


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On Vocal Control

The term “vocal control” in singing refers to the control of volume of the sound that comes out of the singer’s mouth.  Most singers don’t really know how to do this. There are some singers who are not even fully aware that the volume of their voice is too loud. One of the causes of this problem is the possibility of a hearing deficiency.

You will experience this when you put a set of headphones on your ears and then speak at the same time, you will be told afterwards that you spoke louder than usual. You become too conscious that you cannot be heard by the person you’re talking to, so you tend to speak louder. But the actual reason is because you yourself can hardly hear your own voice.

One of the ways how to control the volume is to regulate your airflow when you sing. My breathing exercise called “Blow the Candle” is a good exercise to achieve this objective. By regulating the airflow, you are also reducing the volume of your voice.

If you enrol in my Vocal Music Course, you will be able to learn how to control your voice by regulating your airflow through proper breathing exercise.

Enjoy your learning.

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On Vocal Projection

One of the most common questions my students ask me is “how do I project my voice?”

One of the ways to project your voice is by learning how to breathe properly. Breathing is defined as the alternate inhalation and exhalation of air during respiration.

Breathing greatly affects voice projection. Generally, a good breath control is essential if you want to sing safely and powerfully.

There are two very important body parts that we use when we breathe: the lungs and the diaphragm. The lungs are commonly used as air storage. Just underneath the lungs is the diaphragm.

If you enrol in my Vocal Music Course, you will learn:

  • How to project your voice without shouting;
  • How to use your diaphragm to generate a powerful voice;
  • How to use your lower abdominal muscles to push up your diaphragm to regulate your airflow so that your voice is rightly projected without straining your vocal cords.

Enjoy your learning.

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Tone Resonance Control

Some singers force out notes to make them sound louder. In good singing, volume is not always the answer. Quality is more important than volume. In order to achieve a better quality of your voice, you need to use the tone control technique.

What is resonance? The term ‘resonance’ means that you can use certain parts of your body to produce a much louder or richer voice to amplify your singing tone.

If you enrol in my Vocal Music Course, you will learn how to:

  • Use your chest to amplify lower notes to produce a more robust sound;
  • Use your head to reinforce a much higher or ‘nasal’ sound.

Enjoy your learning.

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On Phrasing

The term “phrasing” refers to the grouping of notes and/or lyrics and where punctuations and emphasis are placed. Phrasing can alter either the meaning of the words or the feeling it conveys to a listener.

When singing it is important to think about phrasing so as to be able to communicate fully with the listener and bring your own interpretation to each set of lyrics.

If you enrol in my Vocal Music Course, you are going to learn the following:

  • How to sing a song with the right phrasing?
  • How to sing a long phrased lyrics without taking a breath in between?
  • Why phrasing is important to communicate to your listener when you are singing?

Here’s a simple exercise on phrasing.

Are you ready?

Below are two different ways of delivering the same set of words. I want you to read the two sentences according to the expression or emotion suggested in the brackets before each sentence, giving emphasis on the underlined words:

1. (angrily) “You did it, you know you did.”

2. (enthusiastic and complimentary) “You did it you know, you did.”

You notice that the sentences are one and the same but the meaning changes as you change the phrasing, expression and emphasis.

When singing a song, it is important to think about phrasing so as to be able to communicate fully with the listener and bring your own interpretation to each set of lyrics. Instrumental musicians are also aware of the power of lyrics and vocal phrasing. Many improvising musicians strive to achieve a “vocal” style of phrasing when they play.

Enjoy your leaning.

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Smoothing out the Bridges

What are “bridges” in singing? These are the places where you make a rather funny sound like a flip as you move from lower to higher notes within your vocal range. These bridges cause changes in vocal coordination as you rise from chest voice to head voice. If this is done incorrectly, you may experience a tone which disconnects into a breathy falsetto sound as you ascend in pitch.

If you enrol in my Voice lessons, you will be able to learn how to:

  • move from your chest voice to your head voice without damaging your vocal cords;
  • transition smoothly through the bridges without disconnecting into a falsetto.

Below is an exercise on smoothing out the bridges.

Are you ready?

First of all, I want you to choose your own song for this exercise. Then I want you to identify a part of the song where there is a lyric that needs to be sung from the lower register to the higher register (as in one octave higher).

One song I can give you as an example is “The Greatest Love of All.” You may choose the original version by George Benson or the more popular version by Whitney Houston. It doesn’t really matter which version you choose.

Now, during the first time you sing the chorus… the greatest love of all, the tune for “of” and “all” is the same in the lower register, right? Now, the second time you sing the chorus, the tune for “of” is still in the lower register but the tune for “all moves to the higher register exactly one octave higher. Smoothing out the bridges refers to how you move from the lower octave “of” to the higher octave “all.” What I want you to do is sing the chorus the second time and hit the exact note of “all” without sliding the tune from the lower register “of.”

How do you do it? The answer is very simple: take a deep breath right before you start singing the chorus and anticipate in your mind the higher octave that’s coming for the word “all” and follow my instruction as I explained it above (hit the note directly, don’t slide it).

I know it’s quite hard if you don’t hear it. That’s why it’s important that you enrol in my Vocal Music Course so I can show you exactly how it is done.

Try it anyway, and see how it goes.

Enjoy your learning.

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Belting Exercise

How’s your daily exercises so far? I mean your breathing and vocalization? I hope you are doing them faithfully for your own’s sake.

In this post I’ll give you a belting exercise that’s very simple to do. There are a few belting exercises that I teach my students during their lessons, so if you want to enrol in my Voice lessons, that’s going to be an opportunity for you to be able to learn all the belting exercises that I use myself. You see, I am a bass by voice classification. I cannot usually reach high pitched notes that only tenors can reach. However, with the use of my belting exercises, and of course, depending on what song I am singing, I can sometimes reach those high pitched notes.

Okay, here’s the exercise:

Be sure you are seated in a chair with an arm rest. Go ahead and sit down and put both your arms on the arm rests respectively. I want you to hold very tightly the front-end of the arm rest with your hand and I want you to do it with full force and make a sound as if you are going to lift up an object that is so heavy that you can’t do it. Before you do this, breathe deeply and hold your breath for a few seconds and then release the air gradually with half-opened mouth. Do this four times to complete one set. Then drink water before you start with another set. You can do up to 5 sets maximum. Please don’t overdo it.

CAUTION: If this is your first time doing this exercise, you might feel some dizziness in between sets. That’s normal and there’s nothing to worry about. As you get used to this exercise, you will notice that the dizziness will slowly disappear.

DISCLAIMER NOTE: To avoid any medical complications, consult your health professional before you perform this exercise. Vocal Music Education and Ben Noynay shall not be liable to any medical condition of anyone as a result of doing this exercise.