Unconditional Love is here … for you!!! ;-)

Shared from my songwriting page – this is a year long project I am undertaking where I will be putting together a 12 song album together from contributions all over the world. Each month I will upload the vocals of an original song … then anyone who wants, anywhere in the world, can record what they think sounds cool as accompaniment or vocals and send their recording to me at songboy_s_c@yahoo.com.

If your contribution is used you will be given equal musical songwriting credit on the album!

Collaborative Composition: Musical Mosaics that span the globe

(press play on the SoundCloud link above)

It’s here! “Unconditional Love”, a Reggae song … and it’s all yours to listen to, work with and create the accompaniment for. Listen to it, groove to it … if you want to sing the lead vocals record yourself singing it and send it to me at songboy_s_c@yahoo.com.

I am NOT a Reggae singer … so this is a BIG opportunity for someone to do lead vocals for an awesome song. This song flowed out of me in a wave of inspiration … and I am simply singing what I heard in my head (so you’ll have to pardon the phony accent, I just heard it that way! lol) I am singing it here, but this is only to convey the words and melody … if you want to sing lead? Go for it!

The long bit of silence 2/3s of the way through is meant to be for vocalist improvisation with a choir in the background singing “Unconditional Love” in chords.

This is the second Musical Mosaic song project for this year-long Collaborative Composition song project.

Anyone, anywhere in the world, can play whatever instrument they want to the vocals … when you have what you want to record down, send it to me. If I use your idea/contribution you will be given equal musical songwriting credit on the album.

That means if this album goes big your name will be on it for both songwriting credit AND as a performer. Nothing is a guarantee in this world … but why not live a life of hope rather than one of resignation. Resignation eats away at your insides and makes you miserable … so BELIEVE and go for it! Live out of inspiration instead … you’ll be much happier! 😉

Here are the lyrics:

Unconditional Love

By: Christopher Anderson

Unconditional love
means never closing your heart
although it be torn apart
or ripped to pieces.

Unconditional love
as pure as a newborn kiss
and as long Ouroboros
but much more gentle.

What they can’t see
can be heard in the silence.
Where they may go
so it follows surely behind;
like the tendrils of passion
it climbs the edifice of their mind
to bloom and spread a fragrance
Unmistakable.

Unconditional love
collapses all space and time
with all souls intertwined
but barely moving.

Unconditional love
it pierces right through your heart
tears flow at the very art
of its magic.

(choir sings “Unconditional Love” in chords while soloist improvs)

It can’t be broken
Cannot be changed
Not dismantled
Or rearranged.
No more fighting
No more hate
No more vengeance
It all dissipates.

It’s unconditional.
Love.

* This song has an informal copyright for Christopher Anderson. If you want to use it outside of Collaborative Composition, you will need to come to an agreement with the songwriter.

– art by Chris Dyer.

Unconditional Love is here … for you!!! 😉.

via Unconditional Love is here … for you!!! 😉.

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Juan Diego Florez – an example of relaxed, on-the-breath singing

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio in Laguna Niguel.

Singers, I am posting this video for you to watch to see if you can notice any of the different elements we have touched on in our classes: the raised palate (yawning or smelling a rose), placement of the voice “in the mask” (the part of your face where a mask would rest), on the breath singing.

This is one of the premier tenors of the world today (Juan Diego Florez) and he is renowned for easy, relaxed singing … see if you can notice when he actually has tension in his voice. There are actually only a few times this occurs and it usually was for effect. One time I noticed he had tension that was not for effect, but he corrected it immediately.

This aria is one of the most difficult arias for tenor as it has multiple high C’s (toward the end). Enjoy! Tomorrow I will post an example of a non-operatic singer who I think has a relaxed singing technique so that you can notice the similarities in how “on the breath” singing can be incorporated across genres.

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers for students in the Southern Orange County area (Irvine, Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Beach, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Talega and San Clemente).

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

Broadway belting – Should Singers Ever Belt?

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

A great post on “belting” as a style of technique for singing. There certainly are plenty of successful singers who do belt (Idina Menzel, for instance), however this technique often results in “pitchiness” (being off the pitch intended) and tension. That tension can often get worse and worse as singers try to make their instrument work … and this can lead to injuring the vocal cords.

I personally teach a classical technique that is based on relaxed singing that is “on the breath”; meaning there is no muscular clenching from the abdominal muscles or in the neck. If you would like to learn more about this, give me a call and we can set up a lesson. I teach at Raise The Barre dance studio, on Crown Valley Parkway (near Costco). (949) 613-0143

Should Singers Ever “Belt”?

Photo courtesy of Sarah Sloan voice studio

Photo courtesy of Sarah Sloan voice studio

To belt or not to belt? This is often a controversial question within the singing community. Part of the controversy lies in a preconception about the term “belt” and how it is used in musical theater. Belting has a bright, often brassy tone quality with significant power.

 

When talking about belting it is useful to understand the terms head voice and chest voice. Chest voice, where the sensations of the voice vibrate in the chest, is often used in pop music and is used in the lower ranges of the voice. Head voice, where the sensations vibrate in the head, is associated with the female classical voice, is used in the upper range and is called “legit” (meaning “legitimate”) in musical theater. Belting can be defined as pushing the chest voice up past the natural transition into head voice; when done improperly it can result in a “break” or sudden flip into the head voice register.

With Broadway-style singing, a safe alternative technique that comfortably executes the demands of today’s musical theater uses a combination of both head and chest voice or “Mixing”. Ideally in mixing, both registers are blended to achieve a unified voice. To acquire this, the entire vocal range, particularly the head voice, must be strengthened and developed. Eric Howe, voice faculty at Holy Names University says, “The voice involves many muscles, and often some of the muscles need to be strengthened and coordinated to work with the other muscles.” Here are some things to keep in mind:

If you sing primarily in your chest voice, spend as much time as possible singing in your head voice to strengthen that sound.

  • Try a “top down” approach by coming at the pitch from the top rather than pushing up.
  • Do not scream. The voice should never feel forced. If you become hoarse stop immediately.
  • Keep the head and neck in a normal relaxed position. Do not lift the chin or allow the neck muscles to tense.

Unhealthy belting can create excessive tension in the throat. Vocal chord injury is common. So find an experienced teacher who can monitor your progress. Learn to mix in a healthy way and your vocal chords can enjoy a long and fruitful life.

Sarah Sloan is a classical singer and voice teacher in the East Bay. You can find her blog at sarahsloan.net.

***

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

Group Singing Class – Performance of “Part Of Your World”

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

In our Group Singing Class yesterday afternoon we had our first ever live performance and coaching of a song! One of our younger students performed a beautiful rendition of “Part Of Your World”, from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”. Part of what I try to incorporate into the Group Singing Class is a safe place to perform whatever it is that each student wants to work on. After the song the remaining students each offered what they enjoyed about her performance and then we went to work on technique.

A live coaching might seem like it only benefits the one person receiving the coaching, but that really is not the case. Each singer can incorporate what they hear from the coaching into their own practice habits … and hopefully each singer gets their own turn to sing when they feel comfortable doing so as well. I will also try to create a time for all the singers to work on what was being coached at the end of each class as well … just to make sure everyone understands what was presented and taught for the day.

Yesterday we worked on having the soft palate raised throughout entire phrases, how to blend and sing through changes in register (specifically the middle to upper registers), the importance of releasing with a nice deep breath after each phrase, and where exactly to place higher notes so that they don’t sound pinched or flat.

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The Group Singing Class is on Wednesdays, from 3:45 – 4:45. We will be having a break this next week as I will be out of town, but will be letting our voices ring out again on Wednesday, April 30th. Come on down! You’ll have fun and are guaranteed to learn something :-).

***

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

Support Your Voice: Breathing, Again.

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

Singing Lessons Ladera Ranch

In my Group Singing Class, held weekly on Wednesdays at 3:45 pm, we have been looking into the importance of proper posture and how it affects your breathing. Then, from a place of having proper posture, learning how to utilize your breath in an easy, relaxed manner to produce sound. Here is a great article from Voice Council going into more detail on the subject (to students; note the toothpaste metaphor as it was something I mentioned in class).

~~~
Sing with less muscle effort and sustain your voice for longer phrases.

I am going to focus on one neglected part of supporting, which is the pelvic musculature.

From the anatomical point of view, this support comes not only from the gradual contraction of the abdominal muscles (both the recti in the front and the obliques on either side), but also a sustained level of tone in the muscles in the floor of the pelvis—these are the muscles which lift the pelvic floor and also control the sphincters involved in excretion.

(These incidentally are the muscles that are strengthened by the Kegel exercises prescribed by the obstetrician.)

The Toothpaste Tube

Simplistically, think of the expelled breath (which flows past the vocal folds and powers the voice) as toothpaste, squeezed out of a tube.

You can of course squeeze out the toothpaste like kids do, by grabbing the tube in the middle and forcefully closing your hand.

But this is not the best way to get toothpaste out- it pushes only some of the stuff up through the nozzle.

Much of the energy is wasted in pushing the paste down the other way, toward the crimped end of the tube.

To get every last bit of the toothpaste out of the tube, you need to squeeze beginning at the bottom end of the tube, pushing all of the paste toward the nozzle, in a gradual and controlled fashion.

Breathing with Less Muscle Effort

Grabbing in the middle and squeezing corresponds to abdominal breathing with no support: it wastes muscle effort, lacks control, and only partially empties the lungs.

Contracting the abdominal muscles without pelvic floor support will push the abdominal contents in both directions- up (against the diaphragm, expelling the air from the lungs), but also down.

Pushing down is useful when going to the bathroom or giving birth, but not for singing!

The key to good support then is to maintain a degree of resting tone in the muscles of the pelvic floor while exhaling.

This directs the force of abdominal muscle contraction upward, allowing for maximal controlled emptying of the lungs.

Musically, this translates into singing with less muscle effort, the ability to sustain the voice for longer phrases, and also better control of sound intensity.

Anthony F. Jahn MD

Dr. Anthony F. Jahn is an internationally renowned otolaryngologist based in Manhattan with a subspecialty interest in the professional voice. His practice includes classical and popular singers. He holds academic appointments at Columbia University and Westminster Choir College in Princeton, and is Medical Director at the Metropolitan Opera and Jazz at Lincoln Center.

***

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

An afternoon of singing, learning vocal technique, and merriment in general

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

keep-calm-and-love-singing-9

We had a great inaugural Group Singing Class at Raise The Barre dance studio yesterday. The focus for the day was on some of the psychological aspects involved in being a singer (how you feel is how you sound/what you convey), learning proper posture, breathing and then finally a bit of work on how to place the voice through the passagio (passageway from one vocal register to another). The group was a mix of happy, friendly adults and kids and it is my belief that much fun was had.

I personally noticed a great deal of improvement in each of the singers over the course of the class. I shared that, over time and with lessons, one can expect to expand their range around a third (4 half steps) each direction … for some that can be an even bigger improvement, depending on different variables … and this was made evident yesterday in just one class!

Even better was that it seemed (to me) that the students in the class could tell the difference in their singing by the end of the class … and that is always the most important thing – for THEM to see the improvement!

There was a goal to achieve, for those who couldn’t make it yesterday but would like to come next week or in the future:

Each person is to come up with a declaration stating their name and what they LOVE MOST about singing. Think of the thing that absolutely makes you ridiculously happy about singing … and create a statement around that. Then, just notice throughout the week or whenever you sing … notice, without judgment … if your mind is ever in a different place than what you absolutely LOVE about singing. Does it go to fear, or insecurity, or discouragement? Any time your mind goes to a place that is different than your declaration … stop and take notice (without judgment about it) and then just repeat your sentence to yourself of what you LOVE about singing. 

We create neuropathways in our brain … if how you feel affects how you sound … then you don’t want to create neuropathways that subconsciouusly take you to negative places in your thinking about singing. Think about what you LOVE instead … you’ll have more fun and you will actually SOUND better for it as well!

That’s it for this week … hope to see you next week!

Christopher Anderson-West

loving singing

***

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

Learning To Sing – A Group Singing Class in Laguna Niguel

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

Christopher Anderson-West as Canio in Pagliacci - Washington DC.

Christopher Anderson-West as Canio in Pagliacci – Washington DC.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in learning the basics of singing you should come down to the weekly Group Singing Class I will begin teaching tomorrow (Wednesday) from 3:45 – 4:45 at Raise the Barre LLC dance studio. The class is open to adults and kids (7+) alike and will focus on discovering a basic foundation technique for singing in a fun and friendly environment! Call (949) 340-9070 for more details.

If you would like private voice lessons I am available for half hour or hour long sessions. I will be conducting most of my lessons at Raise The Barre, however, if you would like a lesson at your house I am willing to do so if you have a piano or keyboard (for one hour lessons only).

***

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

Singing – The Importance Of Posture

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

healthy singing

Here is an interesting article from takelessons on posture for singers. In my Group Singing Class, that will be commencing on Wednesdays at Raise The Barre dance studio, we will be exploring the importance of your body and posture. There is something to learn, and keep learning, for everybody here as we cannot watch ourselves perform … your posture and the way you use your body have a very direct effect on the sounds you produce. Enjoy!

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Before you learn how to breathe, sing, or play any kind of instrument correctly, you need to ensure that you’re creating the proper posture with your body. New singers frequently make the mistake of thinking that singing starts with controlling the vocal cords – those hard-working vocal folds we love to exhaust – but the secret to great singing is understanding how to use your whole body effectively. This starts with proper singing posture, enhanced by correct breathing techniques, and then further clarified by the use of almost every other body part.

As a singer, you need to realize that you, in fact, are your instrument. In this article we will explore the importance of having proper singing posture, and also share a few tips on how you can improve your posture at home.

Why is Singing Posture so Important?
Proper posture is probably the most common trait that most singers lack in their early years. Making a few minor changes to your singing posture will result in an instant improvement of your singing voice. Good posture can be defined as the stance achieved that allows for an aligned spine (not twisted) and joints that are not bent.  Not only does proper singing posture enhance your breathing, but it also optimizes it – resulting in a better-sounding voice. To help you understand, here’s a quick exercise to try:

  1. Practice breathing from your diaphragm or tummy – this means that your lower abdomen should expand when you inhale.
  2. Breathe this way while straightening your spine.
  3. Now try the same style of breathing, while adopting a more slouched posture.

While slouching, you’ll find that your tummy can’t expand as far as it could initially. This ability to optimize the intake of oxygen is extremely important for singers.

What is Good Singing Posture?
There are a few key components that make up good singing posture. Most new singers think that they don’t have any sort of posture-related issues – it’s not just about performance confidence, this is actually basic anatomy. Believe it or not, the positioning of your head, hands, arms, chest, abdomen, feet, and even knees play a part in improving your voice’s quality.

Take a minute to evaluate your singing posture and ask yourself: are both of my feet planted steadily on the ground? Are my shoulders relaxed? Is my spine straight? If you’ve answered “Yes” to these three questions, then you’re already off to a great start – but there’s still much more. Here’s a more detailed checklist to help you get your singing posture just right:

  • Starting from the top, your chin should be parallel to the floor and slightly tucked in or back.
  • In an unstrained position, hold your chest high and your shoulders down or slightly back.
  • Keep your tummy both firm and expandable at the same time. You will need to practice controlling these muscles while learning how to breathe using your diaphragm.
  • Your hands should be relaxed and held still at your side. Keep them slightly away from your body to allow air to flow around you.
  • Even if your nerves are building up, remember never to lock your knees – they should be in a loose position.
  • Leaning the weight of your body slightly forward, you should stand with your feet shoulder-length apart. You can put one foot just a tiny bit in front of the other for balance.

If you’re new to the singing world, this probably sounds like a lot to digest at once, but don’t worry – once you nail the correct singing posture, you’ll become more aware of its day-to-day effect on your voice.

How can I Improve my Singing Posture?
Here are a few exercises that you can try at home to help you out:

Stand up straight against a wall:
Facing away from the wall, make your heels, calves, shoulders and head touch the wall simultaneously. Hold this position for a few minutes.

Increase your buoyancy in one position:
To understand how your weight distribution impacts your voice, stand with your feet apart, and shift your body weight until you’re nearly standing on your toes. Repeat a few times.

Expand and contract your tummy:
While standing up straight, place your hand on your tummy to ensure that your abdomen is expanding upon inhalation and relaxing when you exhale.

There you go! By perfecting your posture, you’re now on the way to improving your singing voice and optimizing your body. It won’t be easy to correct naturally slouchy posture habits, but keep practicing – the returns will be well worth it for your voice and overall image.

***

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

The Voice – a review on Team Adam’s recent acquisition

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

Another week and another round of singers eliminated from the hit TV show, “The Voice”. In the Battle Rounds, singers go “head to head” and the winners are selected by their coaches.

In some cases the judges’ selections seemed kind of shocking and clearly they were a result of what the coaches have seen of each singer behind the scenes (that we aren’t privy to) … as opposed to how they performed on the actual song.

In other cases it was crystal clear who won, and in only a couple it was a virtual tie … these resulted in steals; swapping singers from one coaches team to another. The “Steal of the Week” that I am going to focus on is the steal that landed Jake Barker on Team Adam’s team. The reason I am calling it the steal of the week is not so much because he was the top singer stolen (that honor goes to Britnee Camelle in my opinion) but rather that he happened to land with the PERFECT coach to fix what seems to be his most glaring issue vocally.

By adding both of these singers Team Adam looks strong moving forward. Let’s learn what we can from the technical issues that caused Jake Barker to be available for the steal in the first place.

If you listen to Jake in the video above you will hear that he has a breathy, silky-smooth delivery that reminds me somewhat of Justin Timberlake … high praise. Jake utilizes some fluid work with his runs (what is referred to as “coloratura” singing in classical technique). There are a few times where he looks a little strained in incorporating his runs into the differing style of this particular song and this resulted in him falling behind the beat a tiny bit in one spot. That, however, was extremely minor and could simply be written off as stylistic license … maybe he WANTED to play with the rhythm a bit (often referred to as “rubato” in musical circles).

What troubles me about Jake’s voice as a listener, and why I am excited about him working with Adam Levine to see how Adam tackles this issue, is his falsetto singing … or rather, his lack of a supported head voice. Since he relies on such a breathy sound the way that he achieves his high notes is by flipping into a falsetto voice (as you can hear more of in his audition below). He uses this to great effect with his runs, but at times he tends to get “pitchy” … in other words, he does not sing every note accurately on pitch.

The reason for this is what I am going to call un-supported singing. In flipping from chest voice to falsetto, and basically bypassing any head voice, Jake creates a challenge for himself in terms of supporting his sound “on the breath”. Basically, as singers, you want your sound to primarily be supported by your breath (i.e. allowing your natural breath to vibrate your relaxed vocal cords, as opposed to “muscling” the support and forcing breath through tightened vocal cords). You can see at various points in Jake’s singing that he is clearly “muscling” things by his facial expressions and strained neck muscles.

There is a time and place for everything … but a singer should be using things like straight tone (achieved by “muscling” the sound), falsetto, or other vocal affectations (even true with vibrato for certain song styles) as one of the many skills on their palate to vocally paint with. When a singer uses one of these affectations as their primary way of singing, they can run into problems.

For instance, I have been trained to sing opera and thus sing from a relaxed voice that has vibrato present all the time when I am singing in an opera. When I go to sing karaoke and select a rock song, if I were to try and sing with the exact same type of support it not only would sound ridiculous but it could actually be painful … it doesn’t FIT that song choice. So I choose a different style of support that matches the song that I am singing and support my voice in that manner … a “rock sound” is achieved with more muscling and straight tone involved. So I incorporate that style into my technique for affect … I am still coming from the core base of my usual vocal technique however. I am not “muscling” every single note of the song … if I were to do so I would be straining and missing notes (i.e. “getting pitchy”). I pick and choose where I am going to incorporate this style for effect and thus produce a rock sound that still is supported from my core technique of “on the breath singing”.

Enter Adam Levine. Listen to his hit song “Moves Like Jagger” and note how when he goes into the chorus his high notes have a stronger quality.

This is a perfect example of a seamlessly blended head voice as Adam goes up the scale on his “Mo-o-o-o-oves like Jagger” run … he does not go into a full falsetto but rather uses a head voice and falsetto mix. Adam probably could sing the high note full voiced, but he uses the mixed head voice as a stylistic expression that is part of his style and what has made him a star. He doesn’t sing like this ALL the time … he uses it as an effect. This blended head voice also allows him easier access to his full head voice and chest voice … it’s not such a drastic “flip” to and from different registers. That flip in between registers is what is very apparent to me in Jake Barker’s singing.

If Jake Barker can learn breath support from Adam, and how to blend his registers together … he could go a VERY long way in this competition, and possibly win it all. He has a lot of learning to do, however, before the proverbial horse gets in front of THAT apple cart.

Best of luck though, Jake … I truly wish you the best and hope you are able to learn all you can from the very skilled technician who is your coach!

If you would like to learn how to blend your registers, so that there is not a noticeable “break” between your registers, give me a call and we’ll set up a one-on-one voice lesson.

(949) 613-0143

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Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

Beginning Class on Musicianship For Singers

Christopher Anderson-West teaches individual Voice Lessons, as well as a weekly group Singing Class and a class on Musicianship For Singers, at Raise The Barre dance studio.

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 – A change in the start date for this class occurred and thus I am re-submitting this posting with the new start date below.

Have you ever found that you really would LOVE to learn a new song? It could be to sing for a wedding, or at church, or just to have fun times with your friends at karaoke. Ultimately what you find yourself doing is listening to the song over and over, probably, and then just “parroting” what you have heard. That is fine, it certainly is one way to sing and learn music.

If any of you have watched American Idol or The Voice, you know that one of the most praised attributes of the top singers is that they really have made a song their own … how DO they do that???

If you really want to learn how to make a song your OWN, you need to learn how to read music and learn the structure of how that song is laid out.  Once you have that structure solidly in your head, THEN you can improvise and harmonize in whatever way best suits you … and still goes with the way the song has been written.

Starting on Tuesday, March 25th, I will be teaching a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers. This is a ten week class, and the person who gets the highest scores on the exams will receive a free one-hour voice lesson. The class will be taught at Raise The Barre dance studio. If you would like to reserve a spot in the class, please call: (949)340-9070.

***

Christopher Anderson-West is a conservatory trained operatic tenor and voice teacher currently living in Southern Orange County, California. Christopher is pleased to be working with Raise The Barre dance studio as a Vocal Instructor and teacher of a weekly class on Musicianship For Singers.

Christopher studied both voice and composition for five years at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has had the honor of performing in England, France, Italy, China, and around the United States.

As a voice teacher, Christopher’s method is primarily based on the operatic bel canto technique; meaning “beautiful singing”. This technique is currently employed in not only opera, but virtually every form of singing from Pop, to R&B, to Broadway and more … the principles can be carried over as a basis for just about any style of singing.

Christopher’s goal is to impart a healthy vocal technique that will allow you or your child to progress confidently into whatever field of music you or they enjoy.

– pic shared from Idolator.

via Beginning Class on Musicianship For Singers.