January 2016 – Tips for Singers | Vocal Bliss

January 2016 – Tips for Singers

Everybody Has a Voice!

by Ramesha Nani

SAM_1049 - CopyIn 2007 I was hired as a music teacher at a spiritually-oriented, alternative college. I enjoyed teaching there; the class was small – around ten students – and they all seemed special people to me. They were exceptionally centered and wise, especially for their age.

My assignment was twofold: teach them about the role that art, and music in particular, has to uplift humankind, and teach them to sing as a small choir. We focused on learning simple songs. At first we all sang melody, then progressed to two-part songs to get them accustomed to singing different parts.

One of the students (whom I’ll call Chris) seemed to have a particularly hard time carrying the melody on any song, which became even more evident when we started to sing two parts. I tried to encourage him, but I didn’t have much hope that he could ever learn to sing. He wanted to sing so much, and he loved the music so deeply that I felt I had to do whatever I could to help him.

We decided that we would meet thirty minutes before the beginning of each class, at the end of lunch time, to practice together the songs that we would be singing later with the rest of the class. I gave him some tips for how to better use his voice and corrected his pitch every time he lost it (which was very often!). My overall plan was to make him feel more comfortable using his singing voice. We discovered that Chris had a beautiful bass voice, so we worked on enhancing those gorgeous low notes while also accessing his higher range. Amazingly, he managed to accomplish this almost immediately. Expanding his vocal range made him capable of holding the pitch more and more often, which gave him the confidence and belief that yes, he could learn to sing!

By the end of the school year, Chris had made so much progress that he started to lead chanting sessions, learned the bass parts to many songs, and even sang a small solo at a concert. During the time that we worked together we developed a deep and lasting friendship.

As his singing improved, his love for music grew, too. After college he took cello and piano lessons.

A few months ago I was deeply moved when Chris got married and asked me to be his best man. He and his wife sang together a song that’s part of the wedding ceremony.

Chris’s story helps me remember that everybody has a voice! Sometimes it’s buried under bad vocal habits, tension, or emotional fear of using it (if someone in our past was critical of our singing or even speaking up, it can makes us unconsciously hide our voice). Chris expressed this beautifully in a testimonial that he wrote for me after college:

“Ramesha has helped me to develop as a singer. He has supported me and continuously encouraged me, without which I might not have been able to uncover the joy of singing.”

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Still not sure if singing is for you?

  1. Try a FREE Introductory Singing Lesson on Skype and get a feel for it. Or

  2. Take a step further and sign up for my Singing For Busy People online course on Udemy and save $77!

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