Training Day 8

Did a short (9-10 minutes) physical warm up to wake up my body.

Training length: 15 minutes

Gentle Start: Sirens (D-F#)

Gentle Start: Vvv Zzz Jshh (Bb-G)

Getting Warmer: Country Air (C-F#)

  • New. This was fun!

Extending the Range: Beautiful Morning Backwards (Bb-A)

  • Breathing issues.

Extending the Range: Turn Around the Top (Bb-Bb)

Mouth Workout: Red Leather Yellow Leather

  • I did MUCH better on this one this time! Some breathing issues, but was loads better!!

Tuned Up: 12345

I still need to do more breathing exercises, but I generally felt better today.

Practice Songs:

Giants in the Sky

  • There were some tightening when I began to run out of air. Coincidentally, this happened in some of the high parts of the song. I need to practice this song consistently. Generally, though, I thought I sounded better.

Thuy’s Intervention

  • I need to find the comfort with the new lyrics before I can play with it.

Training Day 7

Training length: 15 minutes

Gentle Start: Mm Nn Ng (C-F)

Gentle Start: Lip Trills (C-G)

Getting Warmer: Gentle Steps (Bb-E)

Getting Warmer: ‘Ii’ to the ‘Ooh’ to the ‘Ah’ (C-G)

Extending the Range: Up Down Change Vowel (Bb-Bb)

Extending the Range: One Octave Tune (Bb-G)

Mouth Workout: Red Leather Yellow Leather (C#-F#)

Tuned Up: Long Oohs (C-G)

 

TRAINING NOTES:

I’m still not as strong as I’d like to be, but I need to remember to take it easy. Muscles take time to stretch, and they won’t stretch when they’re not ready yet. At this point, I just want to resolve to commit to this training, even without a voice teacher, so I can keep working on my voice. My director and mentor did tell me once that I had a great voice, but that it was underused. So whether or not I’m working on a show, I want to continue training myself. Slightly beating myself up over not beginning sooner, but hey, at least now I have this resolve, right?

  • Got some Throat Coat to help keep my throat lubricated. Need to remember to drink plenty of water and get as much sleep as I can.
  • My G is still strong. Working my way up slowly, but surely. I can belt an A in the back of my head, but it’s not sounding very solid just yet.
  • Mouth Workout exercises continue to be a challenge, especially when I get to the high notes.
  • I need to remember to DROP THE DAMN JAW.

When auditions are finished next week, I’ll continue training, but probably less frequently, like every other day. Or on my running days. Whatever works, as long as I train.

Song Practice:

Love, I Hear

  • Start mining for meaning again. This is the easiest to sing.

Giants in the Sky

  • Iron out BREATHING issues
  • Iron out Measures 12 through 18 (Notes)
  • Iron out Measures 45 through 49 (Notes)
  • Iron out Measures 59 through 63 (Placement and Transition)
  • Iron out Measures 71 through 73 (Backing Track sync)

 

Training Day 6

A lot of scary firsts today. My warm up was, overall, wobbly and difficult, but I’m trying to tell myself that that’s a normal thing (See resolution below). I also tried not to worry about my voice sounding and feeling a little different today. It’s most likely tired after yesterday, and my throat is probably drying out due to the caffeine I’ve been drinking.

Pre-warm up drink: Lemon Ginger tea, lots of water throughout

Breathing

  • Normal breathing exercises. Made it up to 40 counts!

Training length: 15 minutes

Gentle Start

Vvv Zzz Jshh (Bb-G)

  • Took it easy this time. Didn’t try to belt out the high notes

Vowel Salad (Db-F)

  • New. Was a bit careful with and afraid of it. This note will apply to all new exercises today.

Getting Warmer

Ii’ to the ‘Ooh’ to the ‘Ah’ (C-G)

  • Sort of new. I’d never tried this with vowels before. See training day 1. It was a little challenging

Five Note Phrases (C-F#)

  • Even this exercise was difficult today. See resolution below.

Extending the Range

Up Down Change Vowel (Bb-Bb)

  • This wasn’t any different. I think I might have failed several times.

Mouth Workout

Bigger Better Best (A*-Bb)

  • New. This was scary. A lot of closed sounds and ‘Bs.’

Tuned Up

Afternoon Stroll (C-Bb)

  • New. This was the easiest of the harder exercises, probably because I was more warmed up (also lots of Ms and ‘ahs’)

(Bonus) Extending the Range

Curly Scales (Bb-Bb)

  • New. Pretty bad, pitch wise. I kept forgetting the notes.

Resolutions:

  • Don’t give up. Not every training session will be pristine. It’s also only the 6th day. Be patient with yourself.
  • Avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Avoid dairy.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Get Throat Coat.
  • Rest as much as you can, vocally and physically.

*The range of Bigger Better Best is C-Bb on the list of exercises, but is A-Bb on the scale.

Song practice: “Thuy’s Intervention” from Miss Saigon. It’s one of my auditions so I thought I might as well get a run of it in. My G (top note) was solid.

Training Day 5

I skipped a day (Sunday) to let my voice rest.

Physical warmup: Jaw/mouth exercises

(Forgot to do my breathing exercises!)

Training length: 15 minutes

Warming Up: Sirens (D-F#)

  • Finally! Sirens!!! Made the most of this first exercise of the day to ease into the singing.

Warming Up: Vvv Zzz Jshh

  • Totally wasn’t gentle when I got to Zzz. Must remember to take it easy when warming up. I can’t keep psyching myself out!

Getting Warmer: Smooth Journey (Bb-F#)

  • No issues, as far as I remember. I need to remember to just RELAX!

Getting Warmer: Mayonnaise (B-F#)

Extending the Range: Turn Around the Top (Bb-Bb)

  • This is another good exercise to practice transitions.
  • Bear down, relax, and breathe.

Extending the Range: One Octave Tune (Bb-G)

  • I love how gentle this is, and how it actually feels like a Tuned Up exercise.

Mouth Workout: Totally Happily (C-Bb)

  • Is this an exercise that I should take easy? Because this is currently my worst exercise, if we don’t count Letters of the Alphabet! Fucking BREATHE!

Tuned Up: 12345 (C-F)

  • Yay! Time to go home!

Same things to remember:Breathe, relax, open up, and drop the jaw.

Today, I decided to start singing prospective audition songs. I also threw in songs to sing just for the sake of having something to sing. The songs included “Love, I Hear” (…Forum), “Giants in the Sky” (Into the Woods), and “Impossible” (…Forum). The singing definitely needs practice, but I wasn’t as bad as I feared I would be. I just need to keep singing properly everyday (not just sing idly) to build my endurance again.

I can fucking do this!

 

 

 

Training Day 4

I am actually writing this on 7 March, which means I may not remember a lot of the things that went down during my training. I do remember, though, that I decided to lengthen my training a little bit, so…

Training length: 15 minutes

Gentle Start: Mi May Mah Mo Moo (D-Eb)

  • No issues. Loved this warm up.

Gentle Start: Vvv Zzz Jshh (Bb-G)

  • This was difficult because it had no vowels and the sounds I was supposed to make didn’t exactly lead to an open palate. Naturally, I struggled with this when I got to the higher register. Something tells me I shouldn’t push so hard when doing this exercise.

Getting Warmer: Mooii (Bb-G)

  • No issues, as far as I remember

Getting Warmer: Five Note Phrases (C-F#)

  • This was a good exercise for practicing the transition from chest to head, then head to chest

Extending the Range: Beautiful Morning Extended (Bb-B)

  • This is also a good exercise for practicing transitions, but seeing that it goes up to a High B, it’s essential to keep the breath strong throughout. This was difficult.

Extending the Range: Galloping Arpeggios (Bb-Bb)

  • I didn’t get to do this properly because I honestly shrank from it. I started pretty strong though. It’s worth a revisit

Mouth Workout: Letters of the Alphabet (D-G)

  • Still as difficult as ever, I’m not gonna lie. I had to resort to my falsetto when I got to the higher register. Higher notes needed more air. Need to practice my breathing!!!

Tuned Up: Fingal’s Cave (Bb-G)

  • No issues.

 

BREATHE BREATHE BREATHE

 

 

Training Day 3

Warm up (Breathing exercise)

Program length: 12 minutes

Gentle Start: Little Oohs (C-F)

  • No issues. Dropped jaw, raised soft palate

Getting Warmer: Mayonnaise (B-F#)

  • Focused on forward placement, migrating vowels, and dropping the jaw
  • No issues

Getting Warmer: Ooh Ma Goodness! (B-F#)

  • Focused on dropping the jaw and forward placement

Extending the Range: One Octave Tune (Bb-G)

  • Had difficulty with the last, repeated it, and got a more solid G that was on the bridge between my chest and my head tones

(short rest)

Mouth Workout: Totally Happy (C-Bb)

  • I officially HATE this exercise. It became difficult as soon as I got to G#. Making the transitions still proved to be difficult. Probable cause: Not getting and keeping enough air to sing. I’m usually almost out of breath as I get to the top “To-tally”

Tuned Up: 12345 (C-F)

  • Loved this one. I love how the last exercises always feel like they cap and cement the day’s session.

RESOLUTION:

Focus on breathing. Air is important in singing! Extend breathing exercises to 32 counts and find more breathing exercises.

Training Day 2

Began with a quick physical stretch to relax my body. Followed this stretch with a simple and quick breathing exercise (breathe in for counts, breathe out for 4/8/16 counts on a hiss, making sure to run out of air at the end of each repetition. 4 repetitions for each set).

Training length: 12 minutes

Program:

Gentle Start: Mm Nn Ng (C-F)

  • Had a bit of an issue with the top notes. Silly me. I may have gone higher than F.

Getting Warmer: Gentle Steps (Bb-E)

  • ‘mm’ sound: Had some breathing issues. Reminded myself to keep breathing!
  • ‘oo’ sound: Focused on forward placement. Dropped the jaw. Raised the soft palate. So far so good!

Getting Warmer: Mayonnaise (B-F#)

  • Migrated vowels and used consonants more. It helped.

Extending the Range: Up Down Change Vowel (Bb to Bb)

  • Focused on forward placement as much as possible. Migrated vowels and dropped the jaw. I found that the G was easier to hit today. Struggled with A and Bb but I’ll take the more stable G. Tried to work on smoothing out the transition from Falsetto/Head to Head to Chest. It’s always harder when you’re on the way down!

Mouth Workout: Letters of the Alphabet (D-G)

  • This exercise proved to be a bitch as I got higher up the scale. There were a LOT of closed vowel sounds. Migrated as much as I could. Had trouble with the higher register. This exercise was difficult because it sped up as it progressed.

Tuned Up: Fingal’s Cave (Bb-G*)

  • This is quickly becoming my favorite cool down.

I decided I’d give the exercises a couple more days before I begin singing songs.

I thought I’d note that today’s training felt a lot more relaxed and a little more confident. Closing all the doors and windows helped me block out a lot of the external factors; I ended up caring much less about making noise or being heard!

*The range specified for Fingal’s Cave is different from the notes on the scale. I changed it from ‘G-E’ to ‘Bb-G.’ My previous post has been updated. See screenshots below:

Training Day 1

The next couple of weeks, I will be using this blog to document my progress on my vocal training. I will be using the Warm Me Up app all throughout.

Training length: 12 minutes

Program:

Gentle Start: Major to Minor (C-F)

  • No issues here.

Getting Warmer: ‘Ii’ to the ‘Ooh’ to the ‘Ah’. (C-G)

  • No issues. Seeing that this is my first day of training, I decided I’d follow the app’s recommendation to do a gentler warmup by trying ‘mm’ to the ‘nn’ to the ‘ng’ instead of using the vowels. I believe this may have worked against me. See notes in succeeding portions of the training.

Extending the Range: Beautiful Morning (Bb-Bb)

  • ‘B-yoo’ being such a closed sound, I began having difficulty with it as soon as I stepped onto G5. I resorted to using a mix of my falsetto and my head tone as soon as I got onto G5# or A. The transition back to my head/chest and then chest proved to be difficult.
  • The issues encountered in this exercise could also be due to my hesitation to really use my full voice. Pickle was sleeping in the next room and our window is right next to the street. Other possible issues: lack of confidence, lack of continuing training.

Mouth Workout: Totally Happy (C-Bb)

  • As with the previous exercise, I began having difficulty as soon as I stepped onto G. ‘Totally Happy’ is a very difficult phrase to sing. Next time, try rounder, migrated vowels and stronger jumps from the consonants.
  • By this point of the training, my high notes beyond G5 were almost impossible. Again, I resorted to my head/falsetto mix and struggled to transition smoothly. Possible issues: lack of confidence, lack of continuing training.

Tuned Up: Fingal’s Cave (G-E)

  • I thoroughly enjoy open vowels so I used this last exercise to relax my throat after feeling it strain in the two previous exercises.

All in all, I’d like to think of this first training as a success. It’s my first vocal training in over a year (possibly since my Rivalry audition in 2013) so it’s understandable that I’m encountering some issues with my high notes. I believe it’s just a matter of repetition,  confidence, and relaxation. I have to stop thinking about external factors and begin focusing on my body and my faculties in order to be able to start strengthening my vocal muscles again.

I intend to keep training daily (even on weekends if I can), focusing on technique and opening up and relaxing first before even thinking about lengthening my training sessions. I could also focus on physically warming up before I begin the day’s vocal training.