3 opportunities to move forward with your singing in 2019

3 opportunities to move forward with your singing in 2019


Are you looking to improve your voice, move forward with your singing, or make it a bigger part of your life (or even your career)?

If so, let me tell you about three ways you can work with me in 2019.

 

Watch the video >>>

Or here’s the scannable version >>>

 

The Artist Within programme

What is it?
The Artist Within programme has been running for about a year. Through the programme I work on your voice, mindset and accountability – so you can achieve all the things that you want to do, but didn’t think were possible.

We really dig deep, using the principle that when you really tap into the artist inside you it becomes much easier to create goals and plans and put them into practise – even with a busy lifestyle.

This is for you if…

  • You’re a serious musician, and want to take your singing to the next level.
  • You want to be a part-time or full-time professional singer
  • You want to write your own songs
  • You need a plan to get there!

Case studies
One singer launched her part-time singing career within six months of leaving a corporate job, and is now doing shows and playing clubs. She didn’t think it was possible.

Another is an actress. She’s been on lots of TV, but she wanted to have more versatility with her voice. She was able to create a demo showcase for her agent that meant that she could actually be put forward for different positions or different options for her career.

A third singer on the programme has dropped his work week down to four days created his own recording area. He’s rehearsing his band and getting songs ready to go out to publishing companies.

 

The Online Singing Academy

What is it?
The Online Singing Academy is an online membership, with regular live group coaching, 12 months of video training and other learning content, and a private community with support from myself and a  group of wonderful singers. You can learn in your own time, from the comfort of your own home.

This is for you if…

  • You’re trying to fit your hobby, beginner or intermediate singing into a busy lifestyle
  • You’re on a budget
  • You want to put your feet in the water without a huge commitment

If you think it’s not possible to actually have that one-to-one specific help online, then please be assured, it absolutely is. I’ve been training people, one-to-one, for several years now online and it’s just as effective and often very much more convenient.

 

FREE vocal assessments (worth £150)

** limited to the first 5 respondents **

What is it?
In the vocal assessment I’ll listen to you sing and look at what’s going on with your voice, give you useful feedback and create a plan of action for you.

This is for you if…

  • You want to have your singing assessed by me personally
  • You’d like a one-to-one session with me before committing to a programme of study
  • You want to know what you need to do to move forward with your singing

How it works
There are two ways to do this:

  1. Send me a recording.  If you have some singing already that is recorded, you can send it to me to assess.
  2. Have a video call. We’ll arrange a mutually convenient time and have a call over Zoom.

 

Next steps

All you need to do in order to get more information about any of these or to claim one of the 5 free vocal assessments is to email me, angela@angeladurrant.com.

 

Looking for more support, guidance and encouragement with your singing practise? Join us over at the Online Singing Academy.


5 ways to use posture to improve your singing: practical exercises

5 ways to use your posture to improve your singing


How important is posture in your singing?

Answer: very! And the reason why it’s so important is that one of the biggest subtle problems that will affect your tone and your tension is your posture – especially your head and neck alignment.

If you’re seated every day at work (whether it’s at a computer or – like me – at a piano!) it’s especially easy to start slouching. Your shoulders roll over, the neck comes up, and you end up with an incredibly bad posture just for your everyday back alignment – let alone for singing.

So I’ve got five different ways to help you improve your head and neck posture today. To start to stretch those muscles out, pull them in a better direction, and help you to see a difference in the way that your tone is coming out, or in the way that you’re articulating your sound.

Watch the video >>>

Or here’s the scannable version >>>

The thing that is constricting you is not the note, and it’s not your talent: it’s your posture.

You need to develop your understanding of how sound works and flows through your body, and your ability to put your body in a position that will enable sound to vibrate and resonate more freely.

Get your head and neck into alignment

[Watch the video from 2:46 to see how this looks]

Your whole body is a supportive structure in your singing, and singers often don’t really pay that much attention to it. For example, if you’ve got a microphone in front of you, you will probably be pulling your head forward as you sing. That can cause immense problems with strain, tone – and even pitch. Problems with your back muscles, the anchor muscles in your shoulders, and down into your intercostal muscles, and even your lower abdominals, will all have an impact on your singing.

But the first thing that you need to know is about proper head and neck alignment.

  1. Take a neutral posture and then put your thumbs on your clavicle and your fingers under your ears. Stretch up in between and you will probably feel all your back muscles really stretch, especially if you’re used to slouching.
  2. Just do a little bit of a stretch into that and feel that.
  3. Now take those fingers and just pull up from the back of your head slightly. Feel the stretch in the back of your spine. In this position you can move around and feel that softness and how much your head will turn further to the left and right when you’re just lifting up behind the back of your ears.
  4. If you can feel that pull down the back, that’s a clear indication that you’ve got slouching shoulders and some muscles that are overcorrecting.

If you’re in that normal, safe position and you can feel that stretch down the back of your spine, that’s fine for singing.

 

Position your neck and head for the type of music you’re singing

[Watch from 3:58]

Your head and neck posture and alignment can be different if you’re singing different styles of music.

For example, if you’re a classical singer, you can afford to drop your chin very slightly. The reason is that this actually lowers the larynx and the voice box, which creates a typically classical sound.

If you’re doing pop or contemporary you can afford to lift your head, but only very slightly.

Now, I’m going to say a caveat here: when you lift the head in pop music, the first thing that tends to happen is that the chest comes forward, the neck takes a lot of strain, and the back of the neck is crooked. So the most likely thing that’s going to happen if you are singing popular contemporary is that you’re going to feel an enormous amount of strain, a tight tummy and a lot of extra pressure and constriction around the laryngeal area, vocal folds and swallowing muscles.  It’s going to cause you to feel very tight and constricted in your tone.

So, where does the pop or the contemporary singer position their neck and head?

Slightly chin up. Not right up – and not out. (It’s that outward posture, where the jaw is jutting out, that becomes most troublesome! All the tension comes to the back of the tongue. You’ll find it hard to articulate sound, your tone will get constricted.)

If you are doing stronger upper middle singing (belt), you’re going to want to be in a slightly anchored or raised back position, where you can feel that the top of your spine is a little bit longer.

Raise your chin, neck and back muscles. Stand and lean back slightly, so you’re drawing yoursed up a little bit taller and not collapsing in the middle. This will keep your whole vocal tract and resonance area free for that sound to keep vibrating as you’re singing.

 

Watch yourself!

[Watch from 9:12]

Getting some awareness around your own posture can be really insightful and provide a starting point for you to start to change it for the better, or find someone to help you improve.

Use a mirror Can you see your own bad habits? Not unless you can see yourself! So put a mirror in front of you and you can start to see what’s going on with your posture.

Record yourself singing on video and play it back. Watch yourself singing and pay attention when you’re doing certain phrases. What are you doing with your head and your neck? As you go to a top note, do you pull your chin around and go forward? Do you tighten the shoulders?

If after watching yourself you can see what you need to change, brilliant! Go change it.

If you don’t feel it works for you (or it throws up other problems), then you need to find a vocal coach.

 

Make an inventory of your posture

[Watch from 14:21]

When you’re standing up to sing, use this checklist:

Are your feet hip width apart? (they should be!)

Are you locking your knees or your back? (if so, you need to relax a bit)

Is your head over your shoulders? (You don’t want it jutting forward or pulled back)

Are your shoulders relaxed, so that when your arms are hanging loose you can feel that there is a diamond of support in your tummy? (If you feel you’re collapsing in the middle, that will affect your neck and head alignment, and consequently your voice.)

When you’ve got correct posture, it will not inhibit your larynx production, vibration or how your sound is being produced.

 

Get some feedback

[Watch from 15:45]

Sometimes we need somebody to help us correct our posture.

If you’re struggling with posture, it’s invaluable to have somebody give you feedback, so that you know exactly how to improve.

Once you’ve had an assessment of your posture you’ll be able to:

  • See where the problems are
  • Make a plan in order to correct your posture
  • Test out your voice and your performances after correcting all of those things
  • Notice a big difference in your singing!

Remember, you are the instrument.

Paying attention to that instrument, understanding how it works and taking care of it is going to make a big difference to how effectively you’re going to be able to use it.

 

Looking for more support, guidance and encouragement with your singing practise? Join us over at the Online Singing Academy.


How to achieve artistry in your singing

How to achieve artistry in your singing


This is the fourth and final part of my miniseries about the four stages of learning. In Part 1 we talked about getting competent; Part 2 was all about getting confident. Part 3 was about how you go from ‘good’ to ‘great’ as a singer. 

What lies beyond greatness and mastery?

Think of Dali, the painter. By the time he was able to put two or three brushstrokes on a canvas and sell it for millions, and was hailed as a great avant garde painter, he was able to paint everything already. He was a master at his craft before he was an artist.

Stage four is called Artistry.

But what is artistry? And what is the difference?

Watch the video >>>>

Or here’s the scannable version >>>>

How to achieve artistry in your singing

Artistry is when you can now take your mastery of your craft and reinvent it. You can break the mould and innovate, breaking boundaries and barriers. You can take what you do and really pour your own true self and your personal expression into it.

You might be thinking, people are able to express themselves before they get to vocal mastery level. You don’t have to be able to do every sort of vocal trick known to man to become an artist. And I would say, absolutely. But while mastery is being able to master the level you’re at and what you need it for, artistry is a pinnacle.

Artistry is where you can create anything, because you can put your voice to anything.


Jon Bon Jovi was once asked in an interview what the highlight of his career was? When did he know that he’d made it? He looked at the interviewer and he said (and I paraphrase), Well, the thing is, I have had incredible highlights to my career. There has been this gig and there has been that concert, and there was that album, and there was that number one single. But if I felt that that was the top of me, the top of all I am, if that was all I was ever aiming for, then what’s the point of continuing? But there’s still more in me left to give. There is still more in me left to explore.

You see, creativity is the impossible made possible. It is the uniformness energy that flows through life, coming through you in your ability to actually create at a level further than you have before. So often with think that mastery is about making it, and that once we created a career, or an album we will have got there.

Is artistry about fame?

Not at all – artistry is about going for your full expression, whether that is seen by millions of people, or by a few minutia of people. Whether you never do anything with it, or whether you express it to the world, at some point when you’re singing, you’re going to want to feel as if you’ve given your all because you can. That’s the place of artistry.

It’s the place where you’re finding your unique expression in the world.

 

Is artistry about age and experience?

Not necessarily! I’ve known violinists that are artists at 25. They’re so fine at their expression. Then with other people, such as Strauss, they write their last and greatest works at the age of 80. It’s not necessarily an age thing, but it’s always, always a decision. It’s a decision that you will go forward, and you will just not stop. If you’re an artist in your blood, and you decide to take another step and another, you will, at some point, find your own artistic expression and reach the pinnacle of artistry.

What stage at you at in your singing?

Competency.

Confidence.

Mastery

Artistry.

Where do you see yourself, right now? And where do you aspire to go?

Do you know where do you aspire to go, but you’re too afraid to admit it?

Are you happy to stay at your current level, and take the pressure off – because actually it’s more about a different level of enjoyment for you right now?

There is no right and wrong. There is no reason to go to any other level – other than that little nudge inside you that pushes you forward; that little voice of wisdom that’s saying, Come on, take the next step. Come on, it’s time to step into stage one, two, three or four.

If you’re ready to listen to that voice, it’s a foregone conclusion that you’re not going to stop until you have found your full, true expression.

All you need to do is take the next step… and the next.

What’s the next step for you?

It could be to simply just watching more of these videos, allow it to just seep into your mindset, and being prepared to take the next opportunity that could be waiting for you.

It could be to join a choir.

It could be to download some new vocal exercises.

It could be to come in and join the Academy and start the process of moving towards confidence, competence and beyond, learning how to find your own goals and vision, and the challenges and stretches that will push you forward.

Are you already confident that you really need to make a decision that’s going to shape your destiny? You see, there is only today. The saddest thing for me is to listen to people that come to me when they feel it might be too late, who say, I gave up because life got in the way. I didn’t take the opportunity. I thought it was too late for me. I thought because I failed once, that I had just failed. Or, because I’m not with the right teacher. Or, I didn’t take the right route.

None of that needs to stop you. All you need is to understand what your process is, what your plan is, what your next step is, and I can help you walk through to get you to the next level.

So, follow that inner nudge.

Your whole voice, your whole dream, your whole passion is truly at stake. You can have what you want, if you know what you want. It can be the most enjoyable adventure to find your voice, create your creative expression world, enjoy every portion of your singing, and even leave a legacy for others to be able to step onto the ladder after you.

Where might you go if you really step in?

It’s time.

Looking for more support, guidance and encouragement with your singing practise? Join us over at the Online Singing Academy.