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  1. What's new in this club
  2. john

    The SVCA Blog

    Welcome to the SVCA! Mahesh Raghunandan is a songwriter, singer, and artist. He has a well-established and well-regarded career as an independent artist, and although he might not shout his own praises, he has a cracking singing voice. More to the point, Mahesh is a well-experienced voice teacher and he just happens to be a key member of the Songstuff Site Crew. Mahesh will use this blog to publish tips and suggestions to enhance your voice and approach to singing. This includes old standards like improving consistency, extending range, extending power, and improving tone but also developing an improved understanding of vocal mechanics, introducing a highly effective level of body awareness, and importantly, discussing how that can accelerate your learning, improve your depth of understanding and your overall retention of anything you learn. Exciting, huh?! Nothing short of a vocal revolution. Time to Rewire Your Voice!
  3. Watch this space for ongoing vocal challenges that focus on vocal development and expanding the range of songs and styles you perform.
  4. Breath support conundrums? That's a lot of singers out there. Breathing is one of the most important yet the most misunderstood aspect in singing and vocal technique. Different vocal trainers have a different ways of teaching it. What has been your experience?
  5. Hello singers! Need some help or advice with your vocal range? This topic might be the perfect place to find it. Share with us your progress, concerns, and any questions you may have while connecting with a community of vocalists!
  6. I'm glad it helped! Regarding head voice, You're right. In someways, head voice does sound like falsetto which as you mentioned is generally hard to control as a co-ordination. But the difference with head voice is that it is naturally connected to your chest voice at the bottom and you can make the sound without being breathy. How about this instead of the "hoo", why don't you try using the word "goo" with a yawny voice. The 'G' should help you avoid the extra air. Practice Goo Goo with scales. You will initially notice breaks at two parts in your range. Your vocal coach would have referred to it as the 'passagio' in western classical tradition. This will eventually smoothen out. I would urge you to practice the Goo Goos until then. Remember, while doing the exercise, stay relaxed, don't raise your shoulders or your neck, don't increase the amount of air you exhale as you increase the range. In other words, instead of trying to sound perfect, take what your voice gives you when you stay relaxed and practice just that. You will get better as these co-ordinations start settling into your muscle memory. About the whine, I would disagree with your vocal coach on not making a certain sound especially if it doesn't hurt your voice. It is important for us to explore ALL kinds of sounds that our beautiful instrument can comfortably make. Loud - quiet, whiny-mellow, ugly-beautiful - all of it! It allows for us to really expand our creative vocabulary as an artist. But if he's strict in honoring the Western Classical tradition of singing, I can see where his rules maybe coming from. (I don't mean it in a disparaging way at all. It is what it is. There is culture and there are certain norms to follow with that culture) The whine/cry is the most important ingredient in helping you balance out the tone by mixing your bright pharyngeal sound and the hooty head voice sound. The end result would be a beautiful sounding belt that doesn't sound strained. When you teacher says 'fully', he might not be referring to singing in a big open way. In fact, Pavarotti himself said that singing powerful is more like playing the trumpet - the sound itself is a thin whiny ringing sound but when it is projected in a big way, your voice sounds full. I am not your regular vocal coach so it is not in my place to really step on your vocal coach's job but I must tell you, pushing and tensing up and using your neck movement to support the notes is really bad technique. I only mention it out of concern for your voice. Improper use can really damage your voice and obviously we don't want that!
  7. Thanks a lot. There's only one detail. I don't necessarily want to sing in chest voice the notes. They could be in head voice too. But I don't know how the switching between the two of them happen. The owl exercise really sounds like falsetto to me, breathy. It's hard to maintain notes from a song in this form from the exercise. And if I don't push, it's just false singing, and I can't sing the song right. My teacher is opera singer so he made me to NOT sing like whiny, he wants me to sing ,fully'' and making as much sound as possible.I even turn my head up watching the ceiling from tense on the high notes and I can't bring it down. So that's why I find so things confusing. But now I could try atleast to orientate what to practice thanks to you!
  8. Hello @Presiyan Kisyov Thank you for your question. I'm glad to be able to address this topic cos the lord knows it's the most asked. When we use the phrase "singing high notes", it could mean multiple things because any sound has additional qualities to it besides the pitch ie., volume & tonality. The 'easy' natural way of singing high notes is to access and sing in your pure head voice. Your vocal coach might have addressed this but you can achieve this by imitating a yawny voice and saying "hoo" like an owl. The volume maybe not as loud and the tone of the sound would be dull and hooty. Nonetheless, it is still considered 'singing high notes' and many singers use this co-ordination to sing some incredible music that's out there. On the other hand, what you maybe referring to is singing high notes with a considerably loud volume with a bright buzzy tone. We would also call this 'belting'. Many struggle with belting because they try to force this sound out by pushing and tensing up the throat just like you mentioned. This is dangerous for the voice because every time you repeat this mistake, you simply teach the body to do it over and over inadvertently every single time you sing high. First advice I would give you to achieve your desired goal is to stop doing it the way that you are doing it ie., pushing. Your muscle memory needs to 'unlearn' this harmful technique so that you don't damage your voice permanently. Secondly, if you want to sing high powerfully, you need to work on singing it lightly first. Because it'll help you vibrate the vocal cords to the pitch you need it in without all that tension. Look for head voice exercises. Remember to keep your voice relaxed, yawny and hooty when you do the exercises (that goes for your lip trills too). Another useful exercise to develop your head voice is the mums. Sing 'mum mum mum' on a scale with a dopey 'duuuh' voice. Make sure your voice remains in this dopey mode through out the exercise. Build this co-ordination by spending some time with it. Now, once you can sing in your head voice comfortably and with good control, we can start addressing the tonality. You want your high notes to sound like your chest voice - nice, buzzy and powerful. You can do this by accessing your pharyngeal cavities to make this buzzy sound (NOT your chest voice being pushed up. ouch). Make a nasty whiny nasal voice sound and say 'eh'. Like Donald Duck or Bugs Bunny. Notice how you don't need to push to make such a sound. Imitate those sounds. Get used to making that sound nice and buzzy without using any force. Think like a comedian instead of a singer. Speak in that voice and get used to it. Make fun of your roommates during this quarantine using that voice. :) Once you think you are comfortable with it, you will be combining the two skills your body would have learned over time to start developing your belt. A good exercise to build it are the Nay Nays on a scale while using that nasal buzzy sound. Make sure you are adding a hefty amount of whine/cry and NOT shoutiness as you do this exercise. This will help you to start leaning on the right kind of muscle co-ordinations to achieve your belt. Spending a considerable amount of time on these skills, your body would have gotten used to those sensations. Try to tap into that sensation when you sing high notes instead of shouting. Remember you've got to learn to sing light and hooty, first; whiny and nasal, second; in that order for you to be able to achieve a beautiful belt without tension or shouting. Obviously, there's only so much I can guide you through on text format and without actually diagnosing your voice in specific and its troubles like I do with my students. But I've tried to make the answer as universal as possible so that more singers can gain benefit from it. Please feel free to use the terms I've highlighted and explore on Youtube for more exercises. But here's a disclaimer, ANY pushing at this point is bad. Make sure that whatever you do, you learn to avoid tension in the throat. It's important to remember that there IS a better way! Hope that helps :)
  9. Hello! I've been searching for a long time to find a professional vocal coach, whom to ask this question. I've been singing for years, but every time when I reach up some high notes,the only way I can sing them clean and properly is if I am kinda shouting them and tighten up my throat. If I try not to push and sing it breathy, they just crack. I've tried many exercises that I saw in internet, like the lip trill, but did not help. My personal vocal coach does not pay attention to my problem much. Can you tell me something about this problem of mine?
  10. Hello fellow singers, I hope that all of you are staying safe during these times. Self isolation could be difficult to adapt to but it does give us an opportunity (& time!) to work on skills that we desire. I'm a professional vocal coach who spends much of his time working with various singers around the world in helping them discover the potential of their voice. If you have any singing related questions and are looking for some free tips/advise, this is the place to be :) Feel free to post them here and I will get back to it swiftly. Happy singing! SVCA
  11. Lmao not after the changes we discussed yesterday. Should be done soon.
  12. Perhaps so! But I'll be starting with an info graphic to introduce this approach to singing that I want people to know about. And build the context of further content based on that. This way, the challenges and the exercises will have a bit more weight. Talk really soon y'all.
  13. Perhaps you could set a vocal challenge? Or give a basic vocal exercise?
  14. Absolutely! With all the things happening in the country and world lately, I'd been struggling to have a stable internet connection. Loads of training material being worked on but also much is being planned to invigorate some activity around here. Being a professional vocal coach, it'd be my pleasure to help many with their singing challenges.
  15. @Mahesh will be largely running this. He’s prepared a load of training material but he’s not been online much because of internet outage for a few reasons. He will be back soon. I know he pops on when he can. I was saying to him that there is interest so he is looking forward to getting back to being active.
  16. I wonder if I'm missing something. I've been periodically checking in here since December because this is a topic that I am really interested in and could really use direction in. I know the site has changed a lot from what I was used to, when I frequented previously so perhaps I'm missing something--not properly accessing?
  17. "Hello there." I'm Songstuff Vocal Coaching Academy; and because we're friends now, you can call me SVCA. ( Before we get serious, I'd love to get to know about you and your journey so far. Feel free to introduce yourself below! ) What's SVCA all about? The sole purpose of my existence is to help you explore the art of singing with a logical and straight forward approach. To turn the attention towards the intelligence of your voice and away from the musical desires you seek from it; just momentarily. This healthy separation gives us room to examine the inner workings of our instrument and build the skill we desire, as a side effect! Beyond that, SVCA and this club is meant for creating a community of singers who will choose to use their curiosity and open mindedness to observe, learn and ultimately share their knowledge with fellow travelers on the singing journey. Whether you're a complete beginner or an advanced singer/performer, this is a place tailored to assist you in reaching your goals. Updates soon... Team SVCA is currently hard at work in bringing you educational content such as lessons, e-books, audio-video courses and more in the near future. Do keep an eye out for updates! Until then, make yourself comfortable, look around and create a topic if you have something interesting to share. Yours truly, SVCA
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