Sabado, Agosto 2, 2008

Lolo's Payo's

Natagpuan ko ang post kong ito na mula pa sa panahong ako'y medyo nakakapag-ingles pa. Nakatutuwa lang isipin na hindi pa ako nagtuturo noong isinulat ko ito, at ngayong nagtuturo na ako, [ang gulo! hahahah] ito pa rin ang karaniwang ipinapayo ko sa aking mga estudyante. Narito at baka sakaling may matutunan kayo.

According to my dad, I started singing even before I started talking. He used to be in a band too…cool ei? He taught me some tips on how to take care and improve my voice. I’ve been researching about this these past few days and here is list of what I have found, and accept as true.

1. Maintain adequate hydration. Drinking plenty of water allows vocal cords to vibrate with less “push” from the lungs, especially when reaching high pitches. Also, well-hydrated vocal cords resist injury than dry cords. I always make it a point that I have bottled-water with me during gigs. Drinking water after two or three songs is really necessary for me.

2. Always warm-up and cool-down. Warming-up your voice is important before prolonged singing engagements. I do this by humming songs that are easy to sing (for me). This helps me to have my voice in good shape when I step on stage. It is much easier to “blow it all out” after doing this. Though it is often ignored, vocal cool-downs may also be used to prevent damage to vocal cords. Again, the simple practice of gentle and relaxed humming can serve as one excellent, easy form of cooling-down.

3. Know your range. Avoid singing pieces at the extremes of your vocal range. Or songs with high or low pitch that you can’t reach constantly. This could really damage your vocal cords. To determine your range, perform light glides or lip trills to your highest and lowest notes. Record these notes by checking them on a piano. Make sure that pieces in your repertoire fall above the lowest and below the highest extremes of your range. To view average vocal ranges for soprano, mezzo soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, and bass voices, click here.

4. Know the potential side effects of your medications. Many commonly prescribed medications can have significant effects on your voice. I’ve learned this one from experience. A certain ascorbic acid that I’ve taken not so long ago made my voice hoarse for days. Good thing my guitarist back then can sing. He sang more songs than me during those nights…haha.. For a listing of medications and potential adverse effects on your voice, click here.

5. When singing with a band, use monitors. Have some small speakers facing you on stage so you can hear yourself adequately and modify your volume accordingly. It is pretty hard to sing without these monitors, especially when performing in an open spot. If these are not really accessible for some reason, I suggest that you stay clear from the instruments – especially the drums. You can also try placing one finger in your ear but this should be done in an “artful” manner. ;P

6. Avoid vocally abusive behaviors.

- Decrease overall volume.

- No shouting/ yelling.

- Don’t whisper! It may actually make your voice worse.

- Don’t talk in the presence of a lot of background noise!

- Don’t try to talk or sing when you have a bad cold or laryngitis.

7. And lastly, Don't smoke! Don't smoke! Don't smoke! I can't say it enough.

I’ll try to look for more tips on voice improvement, and post it here. If you also have some, feel free to contact me and I’ll add it here too.

Thank you and happy singing!