Exhalation on a hiss

This breathing exercise is to help develop better breath control for good, well supported singing. Make sure the body is relaxed, the shoulders down, and you are breathing low in the body. Take a good breath and then hiss for as long as you can. Aim to keep the air flow steady, don’t let it shudder, and have a feeling of the air escaping slowly, don’t let the breath go all at once. Keep a steady, firm exhalation. Take a low breath, start the timer and see how long you can exhale for on a steady hiss. Do this regularly and keep a record of your time. See how much you can improve over a month.

 

If you would like to have one to one singing lessons with Mary @ Singing Strong,  click here to register your details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

30DaySinger.com Online Singing Lessons

Breathing to sing

Happy New Year! I am posting singing exercises for you to get back into singing if you have had a break over the holidays. This week I will be focusing on breathing exercises. The first exercise is about keeping a steady exhalation for as long as you can. Practice this daily for a week to see how much you can improve.

Breathing exercise one: How long can you hiss out for?

It’s nearly Christmas

Last night I had the pleasure of conducting one of my school choirs at an end of year Christmas celebration.

We were able to have it outside and it was a lovely evening.
It was wonderful for the choir to finally have the joy of performing for their families. They are an awesome bunch of children.  We rehearse on a Wednesday morning at school (7.50am starts are very challenging, especially in the middle of winter!), but all throughout the last two years, they have stayed committed to rehearsals and the promise of performances in the future.  They attended online rehearsals during lockdown, and they have risen to a very high standard, with a large repertoire of songs learnt. It was so good to have a parent come up to me after the event to thank me for the work I had done with the children, and she said how much she enjoyed the singing at home. We also found out last night that the choir achieved first place at the Latrobe Valley Eisteddfod. This was done as an online performance, and one quite rushed to put together, as they were only all able to sing together the day the video was due to be submitted. It is amazing to think what we can achieve, even when faced with so many obstacles. So as we start the Christmas season, make sure you sing, that if possible, go to music events and especially make time to catch up with family and friends, and maybe sing some Christmas songs!

Time to enjoy some carol singing. Here is a sing a long version of Silent Night.

Here is new Christmas song from Ed Sheeran and Elton John. Enjoy!

Are you missing someone at Christmas?

Music can be a real comfort in times of loss, sorrow and hardship. As we enter the Christmas season, there will be many of us grieving the loss of loved ones.  A couple of years ago, Jon Schmidt from the piano guys lost his precious daughter, Annie. He came across this song, which gave him much comfort at such a difficult time. May it also give comfort to you. Be sure to check out other piano guys videos. They make some wonderful videos, with beautiful music.

Practice, Practice, Practice

It has been a very busy week for me this week, as along with everything I usually do in a week, I am also preparing for an audition.  I haven’t done one of these in a long time, and although it is a little stressful, it is wonderful that things are starting to get back to normal so that shows can once again be staged.
Usually I like to be well prepared for auditions, but for some reason, this one has crept up on me. In an audition they usually ask you to perform something from the show, and then a section of a song that is similar in style to the show you are auditioning for.

I chose to sing the beginning of The worst pies in London from Sweeny Todd. Now Sondheim, the composer composes very challenging music.  You can watch a performance by the amazing Patti Lupone here.

The challenge here was the words. It is so fast and there is no time to think, they have to be known.
So how do you go about learning something like this in 4 days?  Well you practice really hard.

Some of the things I have done to learn the piece include: Listening to the recording at least 50 times, probably more. Chunking it up. Learn the first phrase, add the next and so on. I broke it up also into two sections, the first one has lots of fast phrases, the second section is more legato and you have a little more time to think. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I go through the lyrics for about 15 minutes, then probably sing through the song about 10 times.

Whenever I had a spare moment during the day, I would play the music on my phone. I would spend time in front of the music score looking for clues about how to sing the piece accurately, revise lyrics, rhythm and melody. I spent about an hour each day doing this.  After a couple of days I would start to attempt to put some moves with the music to be able to perform the song, not just sing it. Then go over and over and over it until I feel confident I can sing it accurately. I was even going through it in my head while swimming my morning laps at the pool.

In total I guess I have spent approximately 3 hours a day rehearsing.
This gives you a bit of a clue as to how much practice is required to learn a 90 second piece of a song.

If you would like to have individual singing lessons with me, please click on this link to register your details.

Confidence

Singers need to have confidence.

What is the true meaning of confidence?

Confidence means feeling sure of yourself and your abilities — not in an arrogant way, but in a realistic, secure way. Confidence isn’t about feeling superior to others. It’s a quiet inner knowledge that you’re capable. Confident people: … know they can rely on their skills and strengths to handle whatever comes up.

When people are listening to music or watching a performance, the experience is that the listener is focused on the singer first. That means that the instrumentalists are more in the background.

That means, if we are singing solo, the pressure is on us to perform well.

Singers must remember lyrics and work with an instrument that we don’t always have control of. We don’t get the feedback like you do when you are playing an instrument external to our body.

It is harder for us to sing higher; we have to be in great shape, feeling well. If you want a higher note on a piano, you simply push the key.

The singer is the one who must connect with the audience. We are the ones telling the story.

That is stressful, as it can be difficult to make that connection, especially when we don’t feel fully confident in ourselves.

Confidence is about making sure we are as prepared as we can be before going on stage.

If you are worried about aspects of your singing and don’t have true confidence both technically and expressively, there can be the concern about failure.

True confidence comes with mastering your instrument technically. This means feeling good about what you want to sing on a regular basis, whatever that is.

When the singer makes a mistake, it is noticed. Of course, we will always experience mistakes on stage, it is part of life. No one is perfect. But we need to have the confidence to be on stage, present our songs, and be confident, so that when we have those moments, we can shake it off and keep going.

Confidence is knowing you have the flexibility and versatility to sing what you want to sing.

You need to know your songs well. You don’t want to be struggling to remember lyrics, or not knowing what the melody line is. You need to memorize your songs, so that you don’t have to worry about reading them.

Mental confidence comes from doing something a lot, so much that you have prepared yourself and don’t even have to think about it.  You can’t be worrying about whether the note will be there.

You also must give yourself permission to fail, and you also need to give the audience permission to not like you. Remember that you won’t please everyone. Not everyone will like you.  And you must let go.

There will be some in the audience who will love you, and you need to sing for those people.  Remember its not about you, its about your audience and how you are there to connect with them.  Don’t worry about yourself, connect with the lyrics, the emotion and what you are trying to share.

 

I hope you have experienced the joy of connecting with a singer and being touched by the song they are singing. You are in the moment with them. If there is a wrong note, so be it. They just let it go and keep sharing. That is what is important.

That is what great singing is about.

30DaySinger.com Online Singing Lessons

5 terrific tips for 2017

From the movie “Sing”

 

 

 

 

 

Hi there!  Only a couple more days to 2017.

Eeeek! I cannot believe how fast this last month has flown and we are almost at the beginning of a new year.

I hope you have all had an absolutely fabulous 2016 and are excited about 2017. I have been doing a lot of thinking recently and am trying to get planned for next year.  I am notorious for just floating along and when I have a great idea I just do it. However this can be a very dangerous way to live as there is always a great rush to get it done, I’m not planned and I often don’t do things as well as I would like. Being prepared and organized helps things to flow better and a lot more can be achieved.

So my first terrific tip is:

1. Plan ahead.

Start thinking ahead now. What would you like to achieve vocally in 2017?  Analyze what it is (make sure you are specific) that you would like to improve/achieve next year.  Write it down, plan it out.  Do you need to work on your breathing?  Would you like to extend your vocal range? By how much? When? What will you need to do to fulfill your dream?

2. Organize a practice time you can stick to every day.

Part of the reason we don’t have the success we would like is that we fail to practice.  There is no getting around this, if you want to succeed you have to put in the work.  Work out a time that you able to set aside each day to work on your skills. Then stick to it.

For some more tips and ideas on better singing practice, click on the link below.

click here for tips on singing practice

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Have singing lessons.

This is important thing to do.  There are many articles and videos on line about how to sing better, but none of these offer something very important. That is feedback. It is vital to have a mentor that can work with you to analyze and then work with you to improve your singing voice.  I know when working with students that I am constantly asking questions and guiding them to hear what a good voice should sound like, tweaking and adjusting constantly. If you don’t have any feedback, how do you know if what you are doing is correct? To have lessons one on one with Mary at Singing Strong  click here to register.

 

4. Listen to lots of music

Make sure you are always listening to good music.  Think about the artists you like and listen to them.  LOTS! There are plenty of ways to listen to music.  You tube, Pandora and spotify are just a couple of examples of places you can listen to your favourite music.  Take some time to analyze what your artists are doing that makes them a good singer.

This is my favourite song at the moment and a song I definitely want to learn.

Think about what styles of music you like and then:

5. Choose repertoire

Decide the songs you would like to learn in 2017.  Think carefully about the style of music and level of difficulty.  Aim to find at least 5 songs you could work on. Plan out the year as to which month each song will be learned by.  Remember it takes time for the body to get used to how you sing a song.  I always say allow 6 months for a song to feel right.

 

Do these 5 things and you are well on your way to singing success in 2017.

 

Want to get 2017 off to a great start?

Singing Strong is offering a Summer Singing Intensive from Monday 9th January to Friday 13th January 2017.

Five days one on one with Mary for an hour each day.  You can do this with Mary in her Traralgon Studio or on line.

There are only a few places left.

Mary Mirtschin

Work on vocal technique, performance skills as well as learn a song in 5 days!

To book click here.

 

 

SINGING PRACTICE

5 Things you can do to improve your singing practice.

You can listen to this blog post here:

5-tips-for-better-singing-practice

As singers, we all want to be able to practice regularly to improve our skills. But sometimes we are not sure about what we need to make our practice sessions worthwhile.  Below you will find 5 tips to help you make the most of your practice time and achieve success.

Tip Number 1:

Make sure you have all the materials you need to practice.

  • Use sheet music when practicing, not just lyrics. We are musicians and should be able to read music.  The sheet music also gives important  clues about things like tempo and dynamics.

 

  • Invest in a music stand. It is important you have something to put your music on that you can stand at. You can get collapsible stands that fold away neatly.  I have a manhasset music stand which is more expensive, but is really easy to use and very solid. You can click on the pictures if you want to order them online.

    stand-foldupmanhasset-stand

 

                              fold away stand                                               Manhasset stand

 

  • Make sure any device that you use for playing backing tracks is loud enough to sing along with.  You might need to invest in some speakers if you are using an ipad or phone.  Don’t practice using headphones. This is a bad habit to get into as you can’t hear yourself properly.

 

headphones  Headphones are great for listening to music but not so good for practice.

Tip number 2:

Have a designated place to practice.

  • Have a special, clean, private ready to start in space.  Having a space always ready for singing makes it much easier to get started. If you are always having to pull things out to get started, or have to practice in a space where other people are, you are less likely to get going.

    practice-room

Tip number 3:

Be clear about what you need to practice.

  • Always have a plan about what you want to work on during the week between lessons.  Make sure you have discussed with your teacher what will be required and then have some way to record what you have done. This way you can account for your practice sessions.

Tip Number 4:

Make it part of your routine. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

  • Singing practice should be a part of your every day routine.  Just like brushing your teeth or having a shower, we need to find time each day to practice our singing. If you start this from the beginning it is easy to reinforce. For young students, parents really need to be present in the beginning to encourage this routine.  Make a time and stick to it, whether it be in the morning or afternoon. If no time is dedicated to practice, it simply will not happen.

    practice-poster

Tip Number 5:

Warm up, then chunk it.

  • Make sure you warm up well. Have a warm up routine that you can do in about 5 minutes.   Here is a link to a website with some great ideas on warming up. Click here.

  • Don’t try to do it all at once, break it up.  Hopefully your teacher has highlighted what needs to be worked on.  Focus on those small sections and get them correct, then put it all together.

  • A couple of 10 minute sessions each day is much better than trying to do an hour at a time. Committing to 20 – 30 minutes each day is quite achievable – this equates to at least 3 hours practice a week.

Use these five tips you are guaranteed to have success with your singing.  Remember singing is a skill and can be developed like any instrument.  Your success depends on your practice!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a-limited-number-of-places-are-available-for-term-4

Want to have singing lessons? To get started in your musical journey with Mary and Singing Strong please click here and fill in your details.

Mary will get in contact with you to assist you with your inquiry.

Mary Mirtschin

Mary Mirtschin

Newsletter 1 2016

Welcome back to another year of singing!

It has been wonderful greeting students for the new year, hearing about their holiday adventures and seeing their joy at returning to lessons.

For the adult students there has been less about holidays ( unfortunately) but there has certainly be the same enthusiasm as they arrive for lessons.

For students who have been studying with me for a while, it has been great to hear their voices again and realize the progress they have been making vocally. It has been so exciting to hear the way their voices have matured and developed.  For new students it has been exciting starting with them and helping them uncover the voice they have inside them.

A big welcome to all the new students who have started for 2016.  I look forward to working with you on your musical journey!

News from the Studio:

PRACTICE BLITZ!

Students have new repertoire to start working on for 2016.

To get you into a practice routine I am holding a practice blitz for the next two weeks.

The blitz will run from Monday 22nd February until Sunday 6th March .  All you need to do is practice consistently and record your practice times on the singing strong website.  (remember you have to log into your account to fill in the details. If you need help with this please let me know.) You can log in at the bottom of this post.

There will be prizes and surprises for the person who clocks up the most practice hours!

Take some time now to work out times during the week when you can dedicate 15 -20 minutes to practice.  Record this on your calendar and then stick to it!

Student achievements:

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the Summer Pantomime “Aladdin”.  It was  a fun show and  I thoroughly enjoyed myself when I went to see it.

aladdin

Congratulations to Alicia Hooimeyer who played the title role and to Sophia Patikisa who was a gorgeous Jasmine.

 

 

 

 

aladdin2Hollie Gibson was terrific as the dog and there were other fantastic performances from the following students as well:

Ella Brent

Zahra Hanratty

Ella Hill

Paige Horn

Maddison Logue

Britney Nelthorpe

Sebastian Poole

 

aladdinall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are numerous students involved in the many productions that will be held during 2016. I will keep you informed as they come up.

Cafe Concert

I have tentatively booked our first term Cafe Concert for Wednesday 16th March from 6.30pm.  Please put this date in your diary.  I understand that some of you will have commitments on this evening, but it would be appreciated if you are able to come and sing, even if you are only able to pop in and out.

I will put out some more information about this event during the week.

 

So let’s get singing!  Have a great week.

Dream!

 

 

Can anyone sing?

boy singing with mic cartoonThe answer is yes.  If you are able to talk then it is possible to sing.

Singing is a skill that can be taught just like any other instrument or any skill actually.

I have worked with many students who wanted to sing but didn’t have the skills. Over time with study and practice these students became very good singers.  These students wanted to be good singers and they put in the time and effort required to get good at it.

I am an ok dancer. I can move in time to the beat and when I take time to go over a dance routine I can learn it reasonably well.  But I will never be a great dancer.  That is because I like dancing, but not enough to want to do it all the time and take the classes to become really good at it.  My daughter loves dancing, goes to classes, practices a lot at home and is becoming really good.

But I love to sing.  I have had lots of lessons and performed quite a lot and I have developed skills I need to be a good singer.

I will never be great at violin because I don’t have an interest in playing it. I would like to learn cello though.

I love to teach but I would be pretty useless as a nurse as it is something I don’t want to do.

They say it takes around 10,000 hours to become an expert at something.  I think that this is pretty close.  If you were to ask anyone who is an expert at something, they would probably tell you these sorts of hours.  They would be working on their craft every day over a long period of time.

Learning how to sing well is like any instrument.  You can’t expect to become a concert pianist with a weeks worth of practice.

When you look at the lives of some of the famous singers who are really good at their craft –  you would discover that most have been singing since they were young children. They sing all day every day, listening to music and singing along, they probably go to voice lessons and are involved in any performance opportunity they can.

If you would like to be able to sing reasonably well, in tune, yes you can learn.  You probably don’t need to spend 10,000 hours.  Maybe 100 hours would be a great start.

How good you get depends on how much you want it. How much is your desire?  Are you willing to do what it takes to get really good?

 

Here is a video of  Jessie J at 15. You can tell she has been working on her craft for many years already.

Another video of a young Jessie J

A more recent live acoustic performance.

 

Dream!