How To’s for Music Students

How To’s of Singing

Student Materials

Here are the techniques and exercises you’ll learn during your vocal lessons. Once familiar with them, you can use the handy one-page Vocal Daily Exercises to practice at home. Laminate a copy for the shower!!☺

“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.”

~ William James

Singing from the Diaphragm
Facts and helpful exercises

Diaphragm During Respiration
3D view of diaphragm with explanation.

See the Larynx in Action
Watch this interesting video of an actual larynx.

No matter what style of music you want to explore, these video clips present some of the ideas we will explore to help you become a better singer.

Masters of the Craft

Listen and watch as renowned sopranos Renee Fleming and Kiri Te Kanawa coach their students.

Renee Fleming
Interpretation tips, what is support 4:00.

Kiri Te Kanewa
Simple approaches, smile into the sound, being fit.

Tips from a Lion on How to Project Sound

The Lion’s Mighty, Abdominal Core Muscles Are the Powerhouse Behind His Roar

The lion uses the strength of his abdominal muscles supported by his legs to exhale powerfully – lifting the air and sound, allowing the sound to travel across large distances.

The lion inhales, expanding his rib cage and belly, then contracts his abdominals, obliques, transverse abdominus et al. to move the air up and through his vocal cords. He uses his throat as a passageway for the air to exit the body – he is not contracting his throat alone; he uses his entire body to exhale.

As a singer, use this idea for yourself – inhale by expanding and inflating your chest and belly so the air can drop into your lungs. Then engage and contract your abdominal muscles, obliques, and transverse abdominus to lift the air up and out.

Experiment with short exhales in a pulsing motion, then change to holding and sustaining the sound – begin with grunts (or roars 😊), then use this same motion to sing on a comfortable pitch.


Jessye Norman - PBS News Hour Video
How Opera Legend Jessye Norman Learned to Stand Up Straight and Sing
Excerpts from an interview by Jeffrey Brown PBS May 2014

“You have to tend to your voice … you have to know how your voice feels, not how it sounds because what the audience is hearing is not at all what you’re able to hear. You have to know that if your voice is feeling well and your shoulders are relaxed, and your voice seems to flow with your breath, then you’re all right. That is the production of sound that anyone can learn. Then the art comes in, and of course, that is with study and training and practice.

“And the thing that changes, what is so wonderful is that everybody’s voice is different because you’re different on the inside. And that is what changes your voice.

Hear the inspiring 8-minute interview on PBS. You can find her new memoir, “Stand up Straight and Sing!” at your favorite bookseller.

What Opera’s Female and Male Types of Singers Sound Like

There are over 30 distinct types of roles and singing in opera. Watch these fascinating videos by former opera singer Cait Frizzell to hear and understand more about them.

Hear how opera’s 11 types of female singing roles sound.

Hear how opera’s 14 types of male singing roles sound.

Consider Joining A Choir

Learning to sing with confidence can be greatly enhanced when you apply what you’re learning to a specific goal. Some clients find that joining a choir gives them the focus they need to apply what they’re learning in their private lessons. There are many wonderful choral groups in Calgary. Google “choirs in Calgary” to find a choir that fits your needs.

Text Neck

“Text neck”, a new condition caused by repeated periods of looking down at your smart phone, can cause neck issues and impair singing. The head forward and down position prevents your voice from working efficiently, mechanically, and acoustically. This short video demonstrates how to enjoy your smart phone without the risk of neck issues.

Musical Tools and Apps

  • Acappella – an app that enables singers to create acapella videos. (Download to your mobile device.)
  • – choral parts for popular classical music for practice in parts or combined SATB for purchase or online use.
  • – download PDF’s of popular classical sheet music for various instruments.
  • iRig Mic Cast – a small recording device for iPhone or iPad. Available in stores and online including at Amazon.
  • – sheet music site with the flexibility to transpose.
  • – online karaoke to listen or record.
  • Singstar: music video game for PlayStation which tests pitch and rhythm accuracy in competitive or duet experiences.
  • Smule – karaoke singing app for singles or duets. (Download to your mobile device.)

Contact us for more information about voice or piano lessons in Calgary.