Friday, June 10, 2011

Singing Warmups

This is for singers.  Most people when they are in a hurry doing a concert, or singing in church, OR practice for that fact, don't warm up, and just dive right into it.  That's stupid.  I'm sorry, but I am a firm advocate of warming up, and before I sing, you can find me in the back of the hall at least 30 minutes before, warming up.  But you don't have to warm up as much as I do, but please warm up some.  Do some simple exercises, sing up a scale note by note, do something.  If you don't warm up, you could seriously mess up your vocal cords.  I cannot tell you how many people I have seen who went to go sing without doing warm ups, and ending up scarring their vocal cords from the strain.  You HAVE to exercise your cords before you do anything more strenuous than softly singing.  This is especially true for opera singers.  If you want to be at your best at all times, and have your voice survive your many solos and concerts, then please warm up.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This Is Amazing!

I know this isn't a practice tip, but everyone has got to see this!  Check this out!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

(Don't) Practice Until Your Arms Fall Off

So, everyone who isn't under a rock has heard of the saying "I practiced until my arms fell off" and a lot of musicians take this to heart, practicing so much until they can't even play anymore.  I am here to say please don't do that.  It doesn't help you at all.  You lips, your fingers, your hands, they are all like muscles.  If you work out your muscles to much, what happens?  They actually get weaker.  And if you are wanting to get better, that definitely is not going to help you at all, is it?  No.  The reason to practice is to make yourself better, so here is the basics.  You need to practice until you get CLOSE to your breaking point, not over it.  Once you feel yourself straining a bit to play, stop and warm down.  Don't worry, if you do this, you will get better and eventually be able to play even longer.  But if you continually play longer than you should, you will not get anywhere.  So, in conclusion, practice until right BEFORE your arms fall off, figuratively speaking.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Buzzing Makes Perfect

The blog today centers around brass players. Buzzing is when you play on your mouthpiece without it actually in your instrument. Buzzing is detrimental. This is definitely a skill you will need to acquire and keep with you for the rest of your life. Now, it will definitely feel weird at first, considering that there is truly no resistance against your air like when you play on your instrument. So as well as working your embrouchure, you are also helping your lung capacity. I usually buzz before and after my practice, to warm up and to warm down. Now the best way to get your pitches is to play a note on the piano and then tryto hit that pitch on your mouthpiece as well. YOu can do all of your warmup exercises like this. I would advise you to buy yourself a B.E.R.P. It is a small cylinder that attaches to your lead pipe so you can move your fingers or slide along to the buzzing.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Long Tones!

Okay, this one is for the brass instruments and string instruments only.  Long tones are a great way to build many things, such as tonal recognition and embrochure strength.  The first one is the only part that shall apply to strings.  If you play the same note for an extended period of time, it will be easier for you to recognize that note later, and it will be easier to find the exact spot on the fretboard.  It is an especially good practice routine, especially for fretless strings.  The same goes for brass instruments.  In order to play an specific note, you have to make your embrochure (your lips) tighter or looser, and push the air.  If you play long tones for an extended amount of time, you will be able to hear the note easier and remember exactly how to play that note.  It will also help you with your range.  I used to have loads of problems trying to play over the staff (tuba), but doing long tones strengthened my embrochure and made it easier to reach those high notes.  A quick little hint: playing long tones makes your range increase, no matter if you play up or down.  And the more you work on your low range, it will also help your high range as well.  Happy Practicing!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Word of the Day: PRACTICE!

Come on, we should all know that this is the first step to success.  If you never practice, you are gonna suck, there's no way around it.  Since I don't have a lot of time for this one, I'll just leave you this little note.  If you never practice, then there is no reason for you to aspire to being a great musician one day.  That's it.