You are about to
embark on actually making sounds with your own instrument: your voice.
Whatever it sounds like, don’t be bashful about using it. Some people
were born singing, but they are few. If you are one of those folks to
whom singing does not come naturally, or whose music teacher gave them a
quarter not to sing, here are some ideas and suggestions:
Good singing is
mostly good thinking. Find a time to practice when you are not too
tuckered out mentally or physically to do the work required.
Sit or stand so
that your abdomen is relaxed, not tucked in. Correct breathing makes
your tummy go out to make room for the air that has to come into your
Vocal cords are
only as big as the wrinkle of skin over your index finger’s knuckle.
Abdominal muscles are far larger and stronger. Because of this, use
your abdominal muscles to make and support your sound and keep the cords
working on pitch.
You may not be
accustomed to hearing yourself and comparing your sound to what you
hear, but do try to sing in that order. Make the sound first, and then
compare it to the example, not the other way around. If you have
trouble with hearing your own voice, try closing off your left ear or
using a clean vacuum cleaner hose from your lips to your right ear to
carry your sound.
A singing voice is
different from a talking, whispering or shouting voice. To find your
singing voice, hold your nose as you sing. Find the place where the
sound is nasal only on the m, n, and ng consonants. There’s your
There you have the
fundamental tools to read music at sight. As Oscar Hammerstein III
wrote: “Once you have these notes in your head you can sing a million
different tunes by mixing them up.” This is what we will be doing in
the next chapters.
--excerpt from page eight, Learning to Sing with Understanding