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THE 7 KEYS TO GREAT SINGING

BY JOHN FORD

$29.95

Ever dream about singing on stage? In a recording studio? Just for yourself?

This is the e-book version of John Ford's extraordinarily successful and fun method of learning to sing. Among the world's premier singing coaches, Ford's students have grossed over $100,000,000. Will his method work for you? 9 out of 10 who use his method become good, often great singers.

You'll discover how to:

• Sing with a passionate, strong, controllable voice

• Master The 7 Keys to Great Singing

• Develop your own unique style

• Become a confident and exciting stage performer

• Predict your singing potential with the 15-minute Vocal

Assessment

• Record your first demo tape

• Join or form your own band

• Earn money as a singer in 7 different ways

• Get a recording contract and record your first CD

YOUR INSTRUCTOR:

John Ford is founding director of the John Ford Voice Lab. For the past 25 years, he and his staff have helped many people to sing better than they ever dreamed possible, including many who thought they were doomed to a mediocre voice. Ford's students are working in local clubs and recording studios, and have been featured on MTV, The Late Show with David Letterman, the

Arsenio Hall Show, as well as most pop radio stations throughout the world.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

 

PART 1: SINGING BETTER THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE

Chapter 1

Singers Are Made, Not Born

Chapter 2

What it Takes

Chapter 3

The Top 10 Myths About Singing

Chapter 4

Why the Standard Approaches Fail

Chapter 5

A Better Way: 90% successful, easier, less scary, faster and much less expensive than the standard approaches

PART 2: THE 7 KEYS TO GREAT SINGING

Chapter 7

Key 2: Keep Your Vocal Cords Together and

Chapter 8

Maintain Total Control Key 3: Keep Your Larynx Neutral to Add

Chapter 6

Richness and Depth to Your Voice Key 1: Use Warriors' Posture and Experience

Chapter 9

Strength and Confidence Key 4: Use Your 3 Voices and Enjoy a Huge

Chapter 10

Range Key 5: Use Singers' Ultra-Breathing to Release

Chapter 11

Your Maximum Power Key 6: Drop Your Jaw and Create a Resonating

Chapter 12

Cave Key 7: Add Vibrato and Enjoy Absolute Vocal Freedom

PART 3: FROM EXERCISES TO SONGS

Chapter 13

Singing Songs Like a Pro

Chapter 14

Developing Your Own Unique Style

Chapter 15

Troubleshooting Guide

Chapter 16

How to Keep Singing 'til You're 95

PART 4: FROM UPTIGHT SINGER TO BLOW-EM' AWAY PERFORMER

Chapter 17

The 7 Secrets of Great Performing

Chapter 18

How to Ensure That You're Even Better on Stage Than at Home

PART 5: HOW TO GET PAID AS A SINGER

Chapter 19

7 Ways You Can Earn Money as a Singer

Chapter 20

How to Record Your First CD

Chapter 21

Getting a Recording Contract

PART 6: INSPIRATIONAL STUFF!

Chapter 22

How to Actually Achieve Your Goals

Chapter 23 Final Thoughts

More Really Cool Success Stories

INTRODUCTION

Singing is fun!

Singing feels good!

That's why we do it.

But most

people can't sing well without some help. That's where I come in.

For the

past 25 years, my staff and I have helped many people like yourself become good, often great singers. This book will help YOU become a good, maybe

One of my clients came to me unemployed, and went

on to earn millions as a singer.

When you learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing, you'll sing like never before. I know this, because in my job as a singing coach, I see it happen every week. People come to me unable to sing at all, and next thing I know, they're giving me goosebumps!

Read this book, and do the exercises on the Vocal Workout CD, and there's a 95% chance you will become a good or a great singer! That's all there is to it. Read on and have fun! Get ready for one of the greatest emotional experiences of your life!

even a great singer!

PART 1

SINGING BETTER THAN YOU EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE

CHAPTER 1

SINGERS ARE MADE, NOT BORN

Nobody just wakes up one day and sings like Christine Aguilera. It took her many years to build that great voice. She was born with some natural ability, but that ability had to be developed. She had to study and practice just like you do. All the great singers I've taught had to work hard to build their voices.

The secrets of the world's greatest pop singers

Over the past 25 years, I've analyzed what actually enables people to sing well. Surprisingly, great singers--from Lady Ga Ga to Adam Lambert--sing well NOT primarily because of better vocal cords, but because they use 7 special skills. When they sing they do things with their vocal cords and bodies that the untrained singers don't: they use The 7 Keys to Great Singing.

What's exciting is that most people can learn to do what the pros do. When you learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing, you will develop a passionate, strong and controllable voice.

Can you learn to sing?

In my 25 years of teaching I've learned that 95% of the general population can be trained to become excellent singers, if they learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing.

Success Stories

Now I'm going to tell you about some of my students, most of whom started off not being able to sing at all. I think they will inspire you as much as they have inspired me.

Ricci: From Hobbyist to Money-Earning Singer

Ricci arrived at her first lesson a reserved woman. She couldn't sing, but wanted to. No professional aspirations, just for the fun of it!

After working with her for about a year, she began to sound great. When I got a request for a wedding singer, I thought of Ricci. Even though she initially told me she didn't want to work professionally, I called her and told her about the job. Ricci decided to go for it. She auditioned and was immediately hired. After the wedding, she came to her lesson confident and satisfied. She had had a great time and was well paid. Now she wanted more singing jobs! She has since sung at more weddings, and has even begun singing the National Anthem at ball games. She's having fun and getting paid for doing what she loves!

Sylvia: "I've Never Seen My Husband So Happy"

Sylvia called me one morning and asked if I could teach her to sing two songs at a professional level, in four months! (It normally takes at least a year.) She was giving her husband a huge surprise party and wanted to sing for him. She told me she'd never had any lessons and I got the impression that she wasn't a good singer. It's hard for me to pass up a challenge, so I told her "Yes."

When I heard her sing at her first lesson my heart sank. In the back of my mind I had hoped she'd have some singing skills, but she had none.

She was a beginner who couldn't sing, at all. I told her she'd have to pick easy songs. I couldn't teach her to sing difficult songs in that short a time period. We doubled the number of lessons I'd normally give a beginner, and I had her practice for two hours a day. (Normally I have beginners practice for half an hour a day.)

After two months she was sounding okay on one song and pretty bad on the second. But we were making progress and I continued to drill her hard. At the end of the third month, she sounded good on one song and okay on the second. I was relieved. I knew we'd make it. At her last lesson, two days before her big performance, she sounded good on both songs. I was happy.

With the

Two weeks later I received a large gift package from her. package was a letter in which she wrote:

John,

Sincere thanks!! I couldn't have and wouldn't have done it without your coaching! It was quite an experience!! I now know what it is like to have an

out of body experience!! My brain was completely shut down; sound came out of my mouth and my body moved. During the sound check, I reminded the sound man that the

microphone volume should be increased on "Diggin"

sound check it was

first few words that I sang were barely audible. There were four floor monitors on stage, one close enough that I could kick. I found comfort in that, thinking that I would be able to hear myself. And I probably would have been able to, except for the noise from the audience. The introduction was quite dramatic; actually it was a production. The room was darkened, the music filled the room, and the three of us found our way on stage. There was a big explosive sound, and a pyramid spotlight shined on the first singer, another explosive sound with a pyramid spotlight shining on me, and a third explosive sound followed by a pyramid spotlight on my sister. In addition to this, I had a soft green fog, (or haze) surround us on the stage, that blended in beautifully with our jade green costumes.

and during the

during However

the performance it was not. The

While all of this lighting was happening, we were subconsciously doing our choreographed routine. If you could imagine 150 people out of their seats, cameras flashing, camcorders rolling, cheering, whistling, clapping; I wasn't prepared for this. As a result, I couldn't hear myself over the noise from the audience. I really missed being in your studio and having the comfort of hearing myself through headphones. In retrospect, I'm glad it happened the way it did. The audience was really receptive, which made it very easy for me to give or express myself. My husband was in a state of shock. I've never seen him so happy. On "1-2-3", (the second song) I left the stage and sang directly in front of him. It was quite an evening. When we got home that night he said, "I didn't know you could sing. Did you take voice lessons? Of course I said "no".

Sylvia's letter thrilled me. I was so proud of her. She worked hard and reaped the rewards. Her next project is to sing at her fathers 75th birthday party.

Christine: Well Paid for Singing Jingles

Christine really had a hard time at her lessons. She had a beautiful and strong voice, but she was so afraid of criticism that she could not let it out. She would get up on stage during lessons and start to sing and then stop. "I just can't do it," she'd cry.

She kept coming to lessons and eventually got to where she could sing for me. It was very hard for her, but she was stubborn and she persisted. With time and practice, she became a very good singer full of confidence and self-expression. Christine recently sang on some TV and radio commercials and

earned $1,500 for about ten hours of work. I am sure it was great for her self-esteem to hear herself on TV and the radio, and to get paid for her

singing.

I helped her get to that point.

It was also exciting for me to hear her commercials, and to know

David: Country-Western Success

David arrived at his first lesson as a middle-aged man who couldn't sing. His goal was to be a professional country-western singer. He came to his lessons, worked hard, and within two years he was singing well and writing good songs.

He then put together a country-western band and began gigging. For

about a year, I didn't hear from him. Then out of the blue, he showed up at

a nightclub where some of my students were performing.

I was astounded. He looked ten years younger and had a spring in his step.

His new country band was gigging all over the area, and I'd never seen him so happy. Before he left, he gave me a copy of his latest recording. When I listened to his tape a few days later, I was blown away. He sounded totally professional and his band was hot. No wonder they were performing so much. I was really impressed with the progress he had made, and very satisfied by the happiness that I saw on his face.

When I saw him

Mary: From Secretary to Recording Artist

Mary sat on the couch in my studio and told me she wanted to quit her ten dollar an hour day job and become a professional singer. Her husband had just abandoned her and her two-year-old son. I had her sing for me and she was okay, but not great.

I worked with her for six months, helping her become an exciting singer and performer. At that point I didn't think she was ready to look for work as a singer, but she wanted to and began going to auditions. She was hired by the first band she tried out for, but she didn't like them so she immediately quit. The second band she auditioned for also hired her, and she liked these guys a lot. Within two weeks the band began touring the West Coast. Next, they released a CD which began getting radio air play. I was blown away! So was she! Mary had reached her goal and was very happy. Mary's story is amazing because it all happened so fast. Rarely is a student able to accomplish what she did in less than a year. Working with her challenged my preconceptions about how long it should take for a student to reach success.

Cindy: Quit Her Boring Day Job to Sing Professionally

Cindy called me during a transition in her life. She was 33, recently divorced, and looking for a career that she could sink her teeth into. She had been working as a secretary and hated it. There were two things in her life that she truly loved: painting and singing.

She wanted to explore the possibility of a singing career. At her first lesson, I discovered she had an average voice that needed a lot of work. The only singing she had done was in high school chorus. Her voice was very light and operatic, not at all conducive to singing popular songs.

Together we worked to develop her vocal strength, repertoire and performance skills. After about nine months, she was ready to step out into the real world. I sent her to some "open mics" so she could get some experience in front of live audiences. She began to feel at home on stage. She recorded her demo, put together a promo package, and was ready to look for work. Then she balked. She didn’t think she was good enough. She didn’t think she was ready. She began to feel that working as a secretary wasn’t so bad after all. It took her about a month to resolve this conflict, but once she did, nothing stood in her way. The first agent she visited gave her a job at a local hotel nightclub, where she earned enough to quit her boring day job. After that, another agent got her a two month job at a luxury resort in Southern California. She sent me a letter from that resort describing her days of basking in the sun by the gorgeous pool, her nights of singing her heart out. She was in heaven. I recently went to see her at a club in San Francisco. When I saw the singer on stage, I thought I had walked into the wrong club. I didn’t recognize her. She looked like a real singer. She sounded like a real singer. I remembered her as a shy, conservatively dressed student, not this hot singer with the Tina Turner hair. Why was Cindy successful? She didn’t have a spectacular voice. Her looks were average. She hadn’t been singing since she was five (she started at 33). Her friends and family told her she was foolish to start a singing career at such a late age, that the music business had no stability, and that she could never depend on it for an income. But she knew what she wanted

to do, whatever the odds, and she did it.

Linda: Grossed Over $50 Million With Her First CD

When Linda Perry, the lead singer for 4 Non Blondes came to her first voice lesson, I had no idea she would become so successful. To me she was just another starving musician with an okay voice. Little did I know that two years later her first CD would sell over 5 million copies.

I remember turning on my TV one night and there she was on The

Late Show with David Letterman. She sang better than I had ever heard her sing. It was really exciting for me to see her on this big show, doing so well.

Linda impressed me because she was so committed. She had devoted

The passion you

her entire being to her music.

She had no other options.

hear in her voice is a result of her intense commitment.

How I became a singer

I started my musical career as a guitar player. When I joined my first

band, we didn't have a lead singer. I always thought the lead singer got the most dates, so I volunteered, even though as a singer I didn't really know what I was doing. We wrote a bunch of songs, and soon had our first public performance at a large outdoor concert in Berkeley, California.

My first performance was frightening and exciting. I stood on the edge of the stage, my knees shaking, shyly looking out at the huge audience. I wanted to be there, but a big part of me wished I had never put myself in this agonizing position.

My band and I began our first song. My rhythm was shaken by my fear. We were loose, but we were loud! I barely remembered what chords to play and felt like I could fall apart at any moment. Even though our first song was only three minutes long, it seemed like it would never end. My knees shook so hard I wondered if I would collapse. How would I make it through our whole set? We finished our first song and the audience of over a thousand went wild. They shrieked, screamed and clapped. Their response surprised me.

I thought they had seen my shaky knees and would boo me off the stage, but they loved us! The second song was easier. I lifted my head and watched the audience move to our music. I began to play guitar with power and authority. I sang with passion. I was expressing! The audience was responding! It was quite an experience. We finished our last song and the audience was screaming louder than ever. I was hooked. I wanted this feeling again. The only problem was that I didn't really know how to sing very

well. The main reason I got the singing gig in my first band was that I was willing to do it.

It then became my mission to improve myself as a singer. I began

taking voice lessons from various teachers. However, the lessons didn't improve my singing at all. I was frustrated and disappointed, and thought maybe the problem was that I really wasn't cut out to be a singer. But I loved singing and continued to record and perform in different bands. I quit my day job so I could devote my life to my music. At this point I was singing for at least three hours a day, and my voice improved because of the sheer number of hours I was devoting to singing. Also, through trial and error, I had discovered some of The 7 Keys to Great Singing.

Eventually I found a teacher who taught me more of The 7 Keys to

Great Singing, and my voice improved dramatically. I was in complete command of my voice and loving it.

I sang in many bands, wrote a lot of songs, and received radio air

play. I've recorded in world class studios and worked with famous singers and musicians. It's been a wild ride, and I wouldn't have missed it for anything.

You really can learn to sing

In my teaching practice, I have seen many students succeed, and they weren't always the ones who started out with great voices. They succeeded because they loved singing, and were willing to put in the time to learn the craft. You don't need to be born with a great voice in order to succeed as a singer. All you need is an intense desire to sing, and the willingness to

work, struggle and learn.

Your success is largely up to you. If you work hard and hang in there through the hard times, you have an excellent chance of success. It won’t be easy. You'll have to practice, and you'll definitely face periods of frustration and disappointment. People may tell you that you can’t sing and are foolish for trying. But one thing is certain: if you love singing with all your heart, and you have even an ounce of talent, your persistence and hard work will pay off.

Decca Records told the Beatles that their records would never sell in America. Bruce Springsteen’s early bands were rejected by New Jersey nightclubs when they tried to get work. But fortunately these artists were persistent. If they had given up, we would never have been able to enjoy their music.

So remember, with desire and dedication, you can learn to sing!

CHAPTER 2

WHAT IT TAKES

In order for you to become a professional singer, there are two requirements. Here's what they are:

1. Can you sing on key at least 70% of the time?

In case you don't know what singing on key actually is, I'll explain. Let's say I play a "C" note on the piano. If you can sing the "C" note as I am playing it, you are singing on key. If you sing any note besides the "C" note, you are not singing on key.

Singing on key is very important because even the most musically ignorant audience member will know when a singer is singing off key. They might not be able to explain exactly what is wrong with the singer, but they'll know something is! Fortunately, singing on key comes naturally to most people. That's why any group of people at a restaurant or party can sing Happy Birthday with relatively no problem. Most beginning singers sing on key fairly well, but not perfectly. Being even slightly off key sounds awful, so you'll need to learn to sing on

key all the time. For now, if you can sing on key 70% of the time you're in good shape. Singing on key is a matter of getting your ear, your brain and your vocal cords to work together. This just takes practice. Eventually you'll sing on key without even thinking about it.

2. Do you have healthy vocal cords?

The other thing you need in order to sing well is healthy vocal cords. If you can produce a loud and clear sound, your vocal cords are healthy and will work for you when you are singing. Most people can pass this part of The Vocal Assessment because most people have healthy vocal cords.

But about one out of a thousand people have vocal cords that have

been damaged by incorrect singing or speaking, and they cannot produce

this loud and clear tone. their vocal cords first. vocal cords.

There are some people who have naturally raspy voices, who can still learn to sing well. In fact, these singer's end up with very interesting voices, as long as they can learn to to apply good technique. I know most beginning singers worry about whether they will be able to sing well or not. Don't worry! There is a 95% chance you can become a professional level singer.

These people cannot be trained unless they heal In most cases, this just means a good rest for the

CHAPTER 3

THE TOP-10 MYTHS ABOUT SINGING

singers are made, not

born! Now you know that most people can learn to sing. But there are other myths that could get in your way, so let's deal with them right now!

Okay, we've got the big myth out of the way:

Myth #1: It will take many years for a total beginner to learn to sing.

The Truth: Most beginning singers who learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing and practice on a daily basis are ready to perform in entry level nightclubs within a year or two. Occasionally it will take a singer more than two years to reach "nightclub level," but that's rare.

Myth #2: Singers have to be able to read music in order to succeed.

The Truth: Most nightclub singers and recording artists never need to read music, so they don’t bother learning. They sing by ear, just like you do

when you sing "Jingle Bells" or "Happy Birthday." Paul McCartney never learned to read or write music. He never found the need to. The only singers who need to read music are opera singers, or in some cases, singers who sing on TV and radio commercials.

Myth #3: If you can't sing high notes now, you just don't have the kind of voice that could ever sing high notes.

The Truth: High notes are difficult, and most of us have to be trained to sing them well. But, if you learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing, and practice the Vocal Exercises, you have a 95% chance of being able to sing high notes with the best of them.

If you're scared to perform in front of people now, you'll never

be able to be a confident performer.

The Truth: Your fear is normal. Most people who get up in front of an audience are afraid. My first performances were so scary that my knees shook. However, learning to perform is a skill that anyone can learn. Every one of my students who wanted to learn to perform became an excellent performer. Once you learn The 7 Keys to Great Performing, you'll become a confident and charismatic performer.

Myth #4:

Myth #5: If you drink milk or orange juice before singing, you won't be able to sing well.

The Truth: Drinking milk or orange juice doesn't limit your singing ability. When you learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing, you'll sing well no matter what you eat or drink.

Myth #6: If you smoke cigarettes, you'll never become a great singer.

The Truth: There are many famous singers who smoke and it doesn't hurt their singing at all. They may die young, but they sing just fine. So, stop smoking for your health, not your singing.

Myth #7: Drinking warm tea before singing will help you sing better.

The Truth: If that was all you had to do to sing better you wouldn't need to read this book. Unfortunately, drinking warm tea doesn't improve your singing at all. It may make you feel better, which is a good thing, but it won't help you sing better.

Myth #8:

sing that well.

The Truth: Maybe if it was 80 degrees below zero your singing would be affected, but otherwise don't worry about it. Sing away!

If you sing in a place where it's very cold, you won't be able to

Myth #9: If you didn't start taking voice lessons at age five, you have very little chance of succeeding.

The Truth: I've had students well over 50 who began lessons with me, and they did just fine. Remember, many successful singers are in their seventies and still sing well. If you start at 50 or 60, so what?

Myth #10: Singing is genetic. If your parents weren't great singers, you won't be either.

The Truth: Your singing potential isn't dependent on your parents ability. It's dependent on your willingness to learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing, and practice.

Those are the deadly myths that stop many people from ever trying to sing. Now that we've killed those myths, they can't stop you. You can learn to sing!

CHAPTER 4

WHY THE STANDARD APPROACHES FAIL

When I was learning to sing, I tried most of the standard approaches. I took college classes, private lessons, and tried to figure out how to sing on my own. It was very frustrating for me because with all the classes and lessons I was taking, my voice just wasn't improving. I thought the problem was me; maybe I just wasn't a good enough singer. But part of me knew that the problem wasn't me. I was singing in a rock band, and my songs were getting played on the radio. I had achieved some level of success so I couldn't be that bad. It wasn't until years later that I discovered the real problem. My teachers were not teaching me the same techniques the pros were using. In fact, most of them weren't teaching me any techniques at all. They were using a hit or miss approach that definitely missed. When I began teaching voice, many of my students had tried the standard approaches and still couldn't sing. Their experience was much like mine.

Why the standard approaches don't work

The main reason that the standard approaches usually fail is that they don't teach aspiring singers THE ACTUAL TECHNIQUES THAT TODAY'S SUCCESSFUL SINGERS USE: The 7 Keys to Great Singing. The standard approaches use outdated, old, and usually ineffective tools that just don't work for modern singing.

What are the standard approaches?

There are basically four approaches people use in learning to sing. I have seen or experienced the results of each of these, by using them myself, and by working with students who have tried them. Let's look at each of these approaches in detail.

Standard Approach #1:

Finding a voice teacher and taking

private lessons.

Success rate: About 30%

This is a good way to learn to sing, if you can find a great voice teacher. But finding a great voice teacher is almost impossible, unless you live in Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco. Also, great voice teachers are expensive, charging up to $1000 per hour. Most people can't afford to study with them.

When I was learning to sing, 75% of the teachers I studied with were of no help to me whatsoever! Finally I did find some teachers who taught me some of The 7 Keys to Great Singing. My singing improved while I was studying with them. Most of my students who have studied with other teachers have no knowledge of ANY of The 7 Keys to Great Singing. Many of them have studied for years and still can't sing a single song well. I believe their teachers tried their best and probably meant well, but these teachers didn't have knowledge of the techniques the pros were using, and therefore were unable to help these students.

Most teachers use outdated, opera-based methods of teaching. How much opera do you hear on the radio today? Not much! Today's successful pop singers are using different techniques than opera singers, which is why they sound different! The main problem with this approach is that there's a scarcity of great voice teachers. I know of four great teachers in the United States. That's a drag, because it makes learning to sing very difficult.

Standard Approach #2: Trying to figure it out on your own.

Success rate: About 30%

It turns out that no training is MUCH better than mediocre or bad training. Some of my students who have learned on their own figured out a few of The 7 Keys to Great Singing, and became fantastic singers. Some very famous singers developed great voices by figuring it out on their own.

However, some people who follow this path get into deep trouble. They develop bad habits that really limit their singing ability.

Although this method works for some people, it's potentially dangerous because it's possible to damage your voice. Learning on your own often creates bad habits that can take months or years for a good teacher to repair. I know this from working with students who have developed these bad habits.

Standard Approach #3. Taking a singing class at a college.

Success rate: About 10%

I have rarely seen a student who learned to sing well at college. The problem with college classes is that the teachers use outdated methods which don't work for pop singing. You have a teacher teaching opera technique to a bunch of students trying to sing pop. It's pretty weird and not much gets accomplished.

I have never heard of a college trained singer going on to sell

millions of records. Never! College classes are ok for messing around, but for people who really want to learn to sing, they're usually not that effective.

Standard Approach #4. Joining a choir in high school, college, or church.

Success rate: About 25%

This is perhaps the worst way to learn to sing. The main problem is

that in choirs, singers are rarely encouraged to really belt it out.

singers I see are very quiet and timid in their singing. They're told by the

choir directors to be quiet and blend in. of them.

Now, there is one exception. African American churches have produced some incredible singers. In those churches, singers are encouraged to express, which allows natural voices to develop.

It's as if all the life was beaten out

The choir

Don't freak out, there's a better approach to learning to sing

With the dismal success rates of the common approaches, it's no wonder that many singers become discouraged and quit. But don't lose heart. There is an approach which has a 90% success rate. Read on!

CHAPTER 5

A BETTER WAY

There is a better way to learn to sing. It's simple and effective. Most of the students who use this method become excellent singers.

This better way can be stated in one sentence: IF YOU WANT TO SING WELL, DO WHAT THE GREATEST SINGERS IN THE WORLD ARE DOING. You're probably thinking, "Well if I could do what the greatest singers in the world are doing, of course I'd sing well, but I can't just DO what they are doing. If it was that easy I'd be singing well already."

You need to

learn to do what they are doing, gradually. You'll do this by learning and experiencing The 7 Keys to Great Singing.

The reason professional singers sing so well is that they are using these 7 Keys. By reading this book and connecting with a singing teacher, who knows The 7 Keys to Great Singing, you'll sing better than you ever dreamed possible!

You're right!

You can't just DO what they are doing.

Anecdote

I used to play golf with a guy who had been golfing for 20 years. I'd been playing for just two years, and I beat him almost every time we played. The reason I beat him was because I took dozens of lessons and

learned the right way to swing my clubs. I learned the same techniques the greatest golfers in the world were using. My friend never took a lesson. He just got up and hit the ball the same way he had been hitting it for 20 years. Poorly! Then he'd act surprised when his ball went into the forest instead of onto the green. He had bad technique and he never improved.

Learning to do what the pro's are doing is the key

When you learn the techniques the pro's are using, and then practice, your singing voice will improve dramatically. That's what this book is about; teaching you correct technique with The 7 Keys to Great Singing, and giving you powerful Vocal Exercises to practice.

I found that following The 7 Keys to Great Singing made me a better singer than I ever imagined I could become. Before I discovered these techniques, my singing ability was limited and I felt permanently stuck. Now I have control of my voice. It does what I want, when I want.

How do you learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing?

First, read the next chapter to gain an understanding of The 7 Keys to Great Singing. Next, you can begin applying these techniques to your singing on your own, or even better, you can begin looking for a qualified singing teacher. A good singing teacher will teach you how to incorporate The 7 Keys to Great Singing into your singing AUTOMATICALLY! That's the beauty of this system. It's almost impossible to fail. You have in your hands a method THAT WORKS. If you've always dreamed of singing well, now you can!

Learning on your own, or finding a good singing teacher.

You can learn most of The 7 Keys to Great Singing on your own. If you can find a good singing teacher to help you, that is better. There are some Keys that are difficult to learn without help.

They charge between $300-$1000 per

But an amateur coach who charges $50 per hour and teaches you

hour.

Good coaches are expensive.

incorrectly is really expensive, because you invest a couple of years studying and never learn to sing.

I'd rather take two half-hour lessons per month with a great teacher than four one-hour lessons with an ineffective teacher. I can learn more in 30 minutes with a great coach than I could in a year with an amateur one. If you decide to look for a coach, ask each prospective coach the following questions:

1. What are your students doing professionally?

If a coach’s students are working regularly in reputable clubs and recording studios, you can be assured that his/her teaching methods are effective. If, however, the students aren’t working, how good can the teaching methods be? Would you attend a law school where none of the graduates were able to find work as lawyers?

2. What styles of music can you teach?

If you are interested in singing pop music, it is important for your coach to be teaching and singing pop music. If you want to sing opera, study with an opera teacher, not a rock teacher.

I've had many students who studied opera even though they wanted to become pop singers. By the time they got to me they sounded like opera singers trying to sing pop. They sounded old fashioned and rather odd, and it took some work to help them learn to sound like pop singers.

3. How long does it take your average student to begin performing

publicly?

If a coach is good, most of his or her students should be performing within a year or two. If it takes longer than that, something is wrong.

4. What have you done professionally?

If a coach has performance experience in the field you are pursuing, great! Even better is a coach who is still active as a singer. There is a lot to

learn from someone who has been where you want to go. If they haven't worked professionally, stay away.

Ask to hear some of their recordings. If they don't have a demo or CD of their own singing, they probably aren't experienced enough to be a great coach.

5. Do you understand the techniques the great singers of the world are

using?

Be sure the coach is familiar with and can demonstrate most of The 7 Keys to Great Singing. If they don't understand what you're talking about when you mention keeping the cords together, keeping the larynx neutral, or using a blend to get above your chest voice, look for another coach.

6. Do you help your students work towards specific goals, vocally and

professionally?

If a coach asks you to write out your goals and bring them to your first lesson, great! When a coach sees a student's goals written out, they will work harder to help the student reach those goals. Without specific goals, it's easy to wander aimlessly through lessons and achieve little or nothing.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do, is to have the coach sing for you. If they are singing in a way that you want to emulate, then they can probably be of help to you. If they cannot demonstrate techniques do you want to learn, you will probably be disappointed.

Do not be intimidated by voice teachers. Some of them can be very arrogant. Ask the questions, interview all the teachers, you can, and don't be afraid to pay high rates for a great teacher.

Try one lesson and check out the teacher in person If a coach passes your telephone screening, set up an initial session. If at the end of the first session your singing and understanding of singing have improved, you may have found a good coach. As the sessions

progress, be sure the coach continues to deliver. Some coaches are great in the beginning but as time goes by they slack off. A great way to keep coaches on their toes and to document your progress is to tape the sessions. Coaches tend to work harder when they’re being recorded.

If you live in an area where are you can find a good voice coach, I recommend trying them for awhile. If you need to learn on your own, remember many great singers have done so. This book contains valuable information on the techniques of good singing. Apply what you learn here, and make sure the teachers understand and can teach what this book contains.

PART 2

THE 7 KEYS TO GREAT SINGING

CHAPTER 6

KEY 1:

USE SINGERS' POSTURE AND ENJOY FREEDOM AND CONFIDENCE

Singers' Posture lays the foundation for powerful, effortless and passionate singing. It's like the foundation of a house. There's nothing glamorous about a foundation, but you sure need one if you're building a big house, or a big voice.

Singer's Posture consists of four simple parts:

Part 1: Stand straight and strong

Singers

are

unique

because

their

bodies

are

their

instruments.

Standing straight and strong puts your body into a good position so that instrument of yours can sound as good as possible. It will also boost your confidence and help you look great on stage.

Try this now:

Stand with your back to a wall, with your entire body and head touching the wall. Look straight ahead and unlock your knees. Next, step away from the wall, relax, and try to keep this posture. Now you have a good straight and strong posture. Your posture may slip a little bit as you step away from the wall. That's just fine. What we are looking for is a combination of a relatively straight body, while remaining relaxed.

The ideal singing position

When you're in the ideal singing position, your body is straight and relaxed, with your weight on both feet and your knees unlocked. You're not slumped, nor do you push your head forward like a turtle. You'll feel feel comfortable, balanced, and ready to move.

Standing straight and strong makes the difficult notes much easier

When you're trying to sing that tough-to-reach note, if your posture is good, the note will be much easier to sing. Imagine your favorite singer trying to wail on a high note while slumped over. Even she probably couldn't pull that off.

Standing straight and strong helps you to feel better

If you're standing straight and strong, you'll feel stronger and more confident emotionally. Our posture has real impact on what we feel.

Try this now:

Stand in a slumped, defeated position with your eyes closed. Now go inside of yourself and see what you're feeling emotionally. Do you feel

strong or weak? Happy or sad? Confident or scared?

Next, stand straight and strong, close your eyes, and see what you're feeling. See how much better that feels.

Keep your strong posture even when you're scared Many of my students have good posture, but not when they get up to sing their first song for me. They shrink about two inches. With the bad posture, they sing poorly and have a miserable experience. When I remind them to stand straight and strong, they instantly sing better and have more fun. They begin to smile as they are singing.

Many students start off singing with good posture, but when a high note comes, their bodies cave in. They get scared, drop their posture, and crash on the high note. Standing straight and strong is easy to learn, but hard to remember, especially under pressure. It takes real attention to remember to hold the posture through the hard parts. Our tendency is to cave in when approaching a difficult note. But caving in prevents us from ever hitting the note.

If you knew a gorilla was about to enter your room, and you “wimped out,” the gorilla would probably sense your weakness and wipe you out. Don't let the hard parts of songs or Vocal Exercises bully you. Take the stance. Stand straight and strong. It will help you feel better, and sing better.

Tips for mastering Part 1 of Singers' Posture: Keeping Your Body Straight and Strong

1. Practice standing straight and strong throughout your day.

Notice how you feel when you stand straight and you don't.

strong and when

2. Sing with your heels, back, and head against the wall for 5

minutes per day. This is an exaggerated position, and not as relaxed as we ultimately want, but it does give you the feeling of a straight and open body.

Part 2: Relax your upper body

Now we take your straight and strong body and help it to relax! Relaxation is as important for singers as for any athlete or performer.

"Relax my upper body.

Hey that's easy."

That's what you think!

Relaxing your upper body while singing is hard, but necessary.

Upper body tension is one of the main reasons a singer's voice sounds strained and harsh. If your neck, throat, shoulders, arms, face or jaw are tight, it will make singing much more difficult.

Most beginning singers automatically tighten their upper body when they're about to sing a difficult note. They get scared, which makes them physically tense. This tension makes the hard note almost impossible to hit. When a singer learns to relax through the challenging parts of a song, the entire song sounds and feels better and the challenging part becomes easier.

How do you get your body to relax?

The key to relaxing your body while singing is to move the parts of your body that tend to tighten up. It's difficult to remain tight while you are moving. If your neck is tight, move your head. If your shoulders are tight, roll them while singing. Walk around and let your body go loose like a rag doll. As you do these exercises, your singing will become easier.

Example

One of my students came to her lesson terrified and in tears. In just a few hours she would be opening for Primus at San Francisco's Warfield Theater and she was afraid she wouldn't be able to sing her best. She would be singing for thousands of people and probably felt like her career was about to end.

I asked her to sing a song so I could see what the problem was. As she began, I immediately saw what was wrong. Her shoulders were as rigid as concrete. She was holding on for dear life and her voice was suffering

because of all the muscle tension in her shoulders.

I stopped her in the middle of her song and told her to sing it again, but this time to roll her shoulders while she was singing. As she began moving them, her voice became freer. Hearing her voice improving gave her confidence, and she began to let go even more. At the end of the lesson she had a smile on her face and gave me a kiss on the cheek. After that performance and others, she went on to get a major recording contract, and to sell millions of CDs.

Tightening up is normal

The tendency to tighten up your upper body while singing is completely normal, and all of my students have to deal with it. Don't stress about it. Just keep moving your upper body while you're singing, and you'll learn to keep your upper body relaxed.

Tips for mastering Part 2 of Singers' Posture:

Relaxing Your Upper

Body

1. Roll your neck and shoulders while singing.

2. Practice deep breathing 30 seconds before you even begin

singing. Before singing, especially publicly, many singers get nervous, and their breathing gets shallow. The shallow breathing makes them feel

even more

is to begin breathing deeply before you start singing. Then when you begin singing, your body will be more relaxed and you'll feel better emotionally.

uncomfortable and their bodies become tenser. The solution

Part 3: Open your chest

Part 3 takes your strong, straight and relaxed body and shapes it into an even better instrument. Gymnasts, dancers, and yoga masters have open chests. Just think of your image of Mary Lou Retton. She looks proud, open and confident. That's your ideal open-chested posture.

When your chest is open, singing becomes much easier. Remember,

your body is your instrument, and when your chest is open, your instrument has a good shape. Opening your chest also opens your heart to yourself and the world. When your heart and body are open your voice and emotions can be released.

Try this now:

Put a firm but small pillow on the floor. Lie down on your back with the pillow under your shoulder blades. As you lie on the pillow, your chest will naturally open. Really relax your body. Extend your arms over your head and really stretch. Breathe deeply. As you breathe you'll notice how your chest expands. Continue this exercise for five minutes.

This exercise will show you what it feels like to really open your chest, and will help stretch open your chest, so you can do it while you are standing and singing. I recommend that you do this exercise before each practice session.

Try this while you're singing:

Open and raise your arms while you are singing. Exaggerate this exercise. Open your arms so your look like Jesus on the cross. Really open up your chest. This position will free your body and your voice.

Keep your chest open the whole time you're singing

Singing with an open chest is easy for awhile. Then fear and the need for self-protection kicks in and the upper body starts to cave. You'll need to continuously remind yourself to keep your chest open.

Opening your chest will help open your heart

Opening your chest will make you more vulnerable, which can be uncomfortable, yet liberating. Even if some part of you resists, keep opening your chest. Your singing will become easier and you'll eventually use and enjoy your vulnerability in adding expression in your songs.

Tips for mastering Part 3 of Singers' Posture: Opening Your Chest

1. Practice walking and standing in a proud, open-chested

posture and notice the confidence and security that follow. Do this during your daily activities as well as when you're singing.

2. Sing with open arms.

3. Sing in front of a mirror while trying to keep your chest as open

as possible.

Part 4: Keep your head level

Keeping your head level is easy to learn and when you learn it, you'll look better and singing will be easier. Most of my beginning students habitually raise their chin in order to hit the high notes. It's a kind of body English designed to help hit these notes, but it doesn't work. Raising your chin tightens the muscles around your throat. The tight muscles make it much harder to sing well. Keeping your head level keeps the muscles relaxed.

Try this when you're singing:

Start with your head in a level position, looking straight ahead. That's the position you should sing from. As you sing, watch for a tendency to raise your chin as you hit a high note. Spend some time singing in front of a mirror because you may be raising your chin without knowing it. If you notice yourself raising your chin, bring it back down to the level position.

Remind yourself to keep your head level

In

the beginning, you'll need to keep reminding yourself to do it. With time, keeping it level will become automatic.

As you advance, you can raise your chin if you want to, and still sing Then you'll be raising your chin for expression, not as a response to

well.

Keeping your head level is not hard to do, but it's easy to forget.

fear.

Tips for mastering Part 4 of Singers' Posture: Keeping Your Head Level

1. Spend half your practice time singing in front of a mirror, and

if you find yourself raising your chin, bring it back down.

2. Sing with your back to the wall, while looking straight

ahead, and keeping the back of your head touching the

wall. This

is the same exercise we did in Part 1, but now the focus is on

keeping your head level. This is an exaggerated position. You will not

feel relaxed, but your voice will be released as a result of your head more level.

keeping

Use Singers' Posture and Enjoy Freedom and

Confidence

Singer's Posture is great because it helps you to sing better and feel more confident. You can practice Singers' Posture at home, at work and while you're walking to the grocery store. The more you practice while you're not singing, the easier it will be to master Singers' Posture when you're singing. In the end, you want a body that is open, relaxed, powerful, and free. While you are learning this key, you will experience some discomfort, because you are changing the bad habits that you are used to. In the end, this key will make singing much easier!

Summary of Key 1:

CHAPTER 7

KEY 2

KEEP YOUR VOCAL CORDS TOGETHER AND EXPERIENCE TOTAL CONTROL

One of the most important things you will learn is how to sing with your vocal cords close together. I know, you have no idea of what I am talking about! RELAX, DON'T FREAK OUT!! You're not supposed to know what I'm talking about, not yet anyway.

Your vocal cords, located in your throat, are two flaps of flesh that can be moved close together or pulled far apart. When they are moved close together, they vibrate against each other, and produce a loud, resonant, edgy sound. Whey they are far apart they have nothing to vibrate against so they produce a quiet and airy sound.

When you whisper, your vocal cords are far apart. When you shout or talk in a normal voice, their are fairly close together. Try this now:

That's what it

feels like when your vocal cords are far apart. Try it a couple of more times, just to see what it feels like.

Now take a big breath and say "awe" as in awesome and hold it for five seconds. At this point, your cords are closer together, and you produce a louder sound.

Take a big breath and sigh, with your mouth open

When you're singing, the goal is to learn to keep your cords close together all of the time. When you do this, you'll produce a powerful sound with very little effort.

A beginners' vocal cords will come together and go apart randomly. These random happenings will make a beginning singer feel out control, as indeed he or she is. The first thing to do, is to go to youtube.com and search for vocal cord videos. You can type in vocal cords, or Video Stroboscopy of the Vocal Cords. Once you see, the vocal cords in action, you'll be amazed at how simple their function is.

Anecdote

Jeaneen came to one of her lessons and she was sounding terrible. Her vocal cords were coming apart and she had no control. She couldn't even do the most basic Vocal Exercises

I gave her an exercise which forced her to keep her cords together. Her singing improved instantly. When she sang her first song, she took my breath away. She was powerful, confident and expressive. She had total control of her voice.

My experience:

When I used to sing songs with my cords apart, I could never trust my voice. I had to work hard to produce any volume. Now that I know how to keep my cords together, singing is much easier. I know I'll hit the notes I go for, and if I want to sing with alot of power, I can.

Tips for mastering this Key:

1. Practice making a "creaky door" sound . This is the sound you

would make, if you were telling a scary story, and wanted to make the sound of a creaky door.

2. Really "whine" like a little kid when you sing.

This

whining brings your cords together automatically.

3. Listen to the way singers begin phrases with the creaky doors

sound. It is subtle, but very noticeable. Practice this on your songs. It is a very common and powerful technique. It automatically brings the chords together at the beginning of a phrase, and they tend to stay together until you finish the phrase.

Summary of Key 2: Keep Your Vocal Cords Together

Learning to keep your cords together is not that difficult. But, and this is a Key, where a good singing teacher could help.

CHAPTER 8

KEY 3

OPEN YOUR THROAT TO ADD RICHNESS TO YOUR VOICE

Opening your throat will have a huge effect on the sound of your voice. Most untrained singers don't know how to open their throat. I'm going to teach you how.

You open your throat by lowering your larynx. Your larynx (or Adams apple) is that grape-sized bump on the front of your throat. As you drop your larynx, your throat opens and you produce a richer, deeper, more expressive sound. The key to opening your throat is learning to lower your larynx.

Finding your larynx Some people have a larynx that sticks way out and others have a larynx that is somewhat hidden. Mens' larynxes are usually easier to find than women's.

Try this now:

To find your larynx, place your fingers near the top of your throat where you think your Adam's apple is. Now swallow. Your larynx will rise. Now yawn. Your larynx goes down. If nothing happens when you swallow or yawn, move your fingers up or down on your throat until you find your larynx. Then try swallowing and yawning again and notice how it moves.

The three basic larynx positions

You just discovered how your larynx can move up and down. three basic positions of the larynx are:

The

1. Neutral, which is where it is when you are reading this page or talking.

2. Up, when you're swallowing.

3. Down, when you're yawning.

Your goal is to keep your larynx neutral or slightly down when you're singing. You'll learn to control your larynx by doing the larynx exercises that follow. Eventually you'll be controlling your larynx when you're singing songs.

Why do I need to control my larynx?

Good question!

When you learn to control your larynx, you'll

automatically be controlling how open our closed your throat is. Your throat has different degrees of openness. When your larynx is up, your throat is somewhat closed, and the air and sound pass through an opening about the size of a dime. Your sound will be thin, wimpy and potentially obnoxious. Your voice will tend to "break" or "warble."

When your larynx is in a neutral position, your throat opening is about the size of a quarter. Your sound will be much fuller now and you won't feel like your straining or about to choke on the note. Singing will be easier. If you take this further and drop your larynx to its lowest position, your throat will open to the size of a half dollar. At this point your sound will be even louder, deeper and somewhat operatic in nature. We usually won't take it all the way down in pop singing because we don't want to sound like opera singers. But singers like David Bowie take it down pretty far, which is why he has that somewhat operatic sound. When you have complete control over your larynx, you'll be able to control the richness, depth and volume of your sound. Sometimes you'll want a sound with alot of authority and power. Well, just drop your larynx slightly and you'll get that big sound.

Won't my larynx stay neutral all by itself?

No. When you sing low notes, your larynx will remain neutral all by itself. But as you start to sing higher notes, your larynx will gradually begin to rise, and as it does, the opening in your throat becomes smaller. This is a reflex that happens automatically with most beginning and untrained singers.

Anecdote

When Emily started taking lessons with me, she had a tiny, quiet voice. When she learned to control her larynx, (which caused her throat to be more open), she began belting like a great blues or gospel singer. Now her voice is big, open and full of expression and soul. I've had many other students like Emily who had quiet voices to begin with, who developed

powerful voices as a result of learning this key.

How do you learn to control your larynx?

Since you don't have any other activity in your life that asks you to control your larynx, you probably don't know how to control it yet. That's okay. You'll learn to control your larynx by doing the larynx lowering exercises.

Larynx Lowering Exercises:

The purpose of these exercises is to give you control over your larynx, which will then allow you to open your throat. While you're doing each exercise, keep your neck, jaw and throat muscles relaxed.

Exercise #1. Larynx Push-downs. With your fingers on your larynx, yawn.

Now try to make it go down without yawning. If you need to jump start it with a yawn, that's fine. Your goal is to lower it rapidly 20 times. then rest and lower it 20 more times.

Notice how it goes down.

Exercise #2. Larynx Holds.

Lower your larynx and hold it down for 20 seconds, then let it come back to the neutral position. Repeat this exercise 10 times. As you're holding your larynx down, the muscles will begin to fatigue. This is good. You're building strength and gaining control.

Exercise #3. Talk "hooty."

Remember the cartoon characters like Goofy, Deputy Dawg or Elmer Fudd? They all talk "hooty." Talking "hooty" forces you to drop your larynx.

The easiest way to talk "hooty" is to yawn and count to five out loud while yawning. With practice you'll learn to talk "hooty" without yawning

first.

Spend five minutes a day talking "hooty." If you're unclear about what talking "hooty" sounds like, listen to the examples on the Vocal Workout CD.

Note: These larynx exercises are difficult and it takes many students up to three months before they really master them.

My experience:

I was in the recording studio having trouble with a high note. This note was unstable and felt like it was about to break. Then I realized that my larynx was rising on that note. I lowered my larynx to a neutral position and tried again. I was amazed. The note was now easy to sing.

Tips for mastering Key 3:

1. Practice moving your larynx throughout your day, at work, in the car, while watching TV.

Summary

It will take a few months for you to have enough control over your larynx to really control the openness of your throat. But if you start practicing the larynx exercises now, you'll be very grateful when you start singing songs.

CHAPTER 9

KEY 4

USE YOUR 3 VOICES AND ENJOY A HUGE RANGE

The only way to have a huge range, is to use your three voices. You're about to learn what your three voices are, and how to use them.

What are your three voices?

There are three voices that singers have available to them: the Chest

Many singers have built

successful careers by just using the chest voice, but there are advantages to

Voice, the Blended Voice, and the Head Voice.

using all three voices.

You don't need to learn to sing in all three voices to have fun and succeed as a singer, but you'll find singing more exciting when you have different voices to work with.

For me, one of the biggest advantages of developing my blended voice and my head voice, is that my chest voice got a lot better. Remember that the chest voice is the voice singers use most frequently. The chest voice and the head voice are fairly easy to master. The blended voice is a bit more elusive. Once you experience the blended voice, with time, it will become as natural as the chest voice and the head voice.

Here are some descriptions of the three different voices:

1. Chest Voice:

When you speak, you're using your chest voice. Many rock, and country singers use their chest voice, and nothing else. It has grit, power, authority and muscle. It's big and impressive.

The only problem with the chest voice is that you can only take it so high before it begins to break. In order to sing higher notes, you'll need to learn to use your blended and head voices. Or you could do what some singers do; just sing in your chest voice and be content to never sing high notes.

2. Blended Voice:

A blended voice is a combination of chest and head voices. The blended voice allows you to sing beyond the break at the top of your chest voice. Also, by singing in the blended voice, you prevent the strain that comes from pushing the chest voice too high.

Listen to Seal or Christine Aguilera sing high notes. Go to iTunes right now. You'll notice that their high notes have some edge to them, yet there is no sign of strain. If they were to sing those same notes in their chest voice, it would sound like they were shouting, and it would be easy to damage their voices. If they were to use their pure head voice, they would

sound like opera singers trying to sing pop music. The blended voice is ideal for singing the higher notes that the chest voice just can't hit easily.

3. Head Voice (sometimes called falsetto):

Your head voice is what you will use to sing the super-high notes. It has kind of an operatic quality so you won't use it all that often.

Try this now:

That's your head voice.

Now count to ten in your regular voice. That's your chest voice. Try your head voice again. It feels and sounds much different than your chest voice.

Count to ten in a voice like Mickey Mouse.

Learning the lip bubble

The lip bubble gets your vocal cords doing the right thing, through most or all of your range, automatically! It makes it easy to work through all of your voices, and most importantly it helps you get your vocal cords close together! Once your cords learn what to do with the lip bubble, it will become easier to sing correctly with open vowels.

How to do the lip bubble:

1. Place your thumb and forefinger of either hand gently on the

corners of your mouth. Now, barely grazing the skin, slide your thumb and forefinger down half an inch, then spread them one quarter to half an inch wide. This is your starting position.

2. Squeeze your fingers together as if you were picking up an egg

This is your

and push your fingers up to where your teeth come together. bubbling position.

3. Separate your teeth about a quarter of an inch, keeping your jaw

totally relaxed.

4.

Now blow through your lips and make a sound like a horse

snorting. Be sure to keep your lips relaxed.

5. With your fingers still in place, make the sound "buh" as in

butter. You now have the lip bubble.

Troubleshooting:

If your lips aren't bubbling, you are either tightening your lips, or your fingers aren't in the right place. The solution is to keep your lips very relaxed while making the "buh" sound, and play around with finger placement until your lips do bubble. If your lips bubble at all, you're on the right track. It takes a month or two for most people to become consistent. It took me 3 months to get my lips to bubble, so be patient.

Doing the lip bubble without using your fingers

Some of my students find it easier to do the lip bubble without using their fingers. If you find this to be the case, that's fine. Just be sure that you are producing the slow bubbling. Sometimes when my students don't use their fingers, their lips bubble too fast and too much air escapes. When this happens, the benefits of the lip bubble are erased.

Tips for mastering this Key:

1. Listen to singers on the radio and notice the different singing voices they use.

2. Practice whining in a fairly high tone. You know, like a little

kid who doesn't want to do his homework. This will naturally bring out the most elusive of the three voices; the blend.

3. Choose one of your favorite singers, who uses their blended

voice, and practice singing along with them. Imitating the blended voice can be an easy way to learn what it feels like.

Summary

That's it! Only three voices, and they are all accessible to you. This key will be a lot easier with the help of a good singing teacher. If the teacher cannot demonstrate the blended voice, keep looking for a better teacher.

CHAPTER 10

KEY 5

USE SINGERS' BREATHING TO RELEASE YOUR MAXIMUM POWER

Singers' Breathing is quite different than the breathing you're doing right now. When you learn how to do it you'll sing with more power and less effort. Singers' Breathing consists of 3 simple parts:

Part 1: Take a 100% full breath before singing each line.

This part of Singers' Breathing is my favorite because it's the

easiest to learn and produces the most dramatic results. When I show

it to my students their singing improves instantly and they think I am

a genius!

Try this now:

Here's all there is to taking a good singers breath: Pretend you're standing on the edge of a swimming pool, and are about to jump in and hold your breath underwater. Take the biggest breath you can, through your mouth, as fast as you can. Now exhale. Try a couple more. That's all there is to it! Taking a full breath is very easy and natural.

How will this full breath help me to sing?

The advantage of taking this full breath will be obvious once you start doing it. The next exercise will help you experience the advantage of a full breath!

Try this now:

Take a 100% full breath and shout "Hey You!", in a fairly loud voice. Next, release all your air and try shouting "Hey You!" without the full breath. Notice the difference. With the small breath you have to work harder and you get less sound. With a full breath you get the most sound with the least amount of effort. That's a pretty good deal!

A full breath is like a big backswing

Think of taking a full breath like a baseball player taking a full backswing. With a full backswing, or a full breath, you have the maximum power.

Tips for mastering Part 1 of Singer's Breathing:

Take a 100% full

breath before singing each line.

1. Practice deep breathing at work, at home and in your car.

2. Do some heavy aerobic activity for 30 minutes/day, (with

doctors approval.)

3. Do not fill your lungs so full that you experience effort and

attention. Just fill them up in a natural and easy relaxed manner.

Part 2: Release your low notes, push your medium notes and push hard on your high notes.

Once you take that big breath there are three things you can do with it. You can release it, push it, or hold it back. Part 2 teaches you how to release and push your voice and how NOT to hold back.

Pushing your voice is like stepping on the gas pedal of your car. Releasing your voice is like taking your foot off the gas and letting your car coast down a hill. Holding back is like stepping on the brakes. When you're singing, the trick is knowing when to release and when to push your voice.

1. Releasing

Releasing happens naturally if you fill up your lungs and then just let go. If you were to blow up a balloon, then take your fingers off the opening, the air would release naturally. You wouldn't need to push on the balloon to get the air out.

Releasing feels good because you're totally letting go. Letting go of your voice gives you a very relaxed and pleasant sound. The next two exercises will help you to experience what releasing feels like.

Try this now:

Take a breath and sigh.

Really let all the sound and air out.

Do it

again. This is what releasing feels like, when your vocal cords are apart.

When you're singing you'll be letting go in the same way, but with your vocal cords close together. When you are sighing your vocal chords are far apart. Let's try releasing with the vocal cords closer together.

Try this now:

Take a full breath and sing the word "Ho" with the same sense of release you had when you sighed. Really open your mouth and let go. Hold the note for at least five seconds.

2. Holding back

When a singer holds back, their voice sounds weak and lacks passion. Therefore, I don't want you to hold back. But I do want you to know what holding back feels like so you can avoid doing it.

Try this now:

Go ahead and sing "Ho" like you did before, only this time really hold the sound back. You won't be as loud and it won't feel as good.

Why do singers hold back?

Most beginners hold back their voice because they're afraid of sounding bad. But holding back is guaranteed to make them sound bad. When you're singing, let all of your voice out. Yes, you'll sound bad some of the time, but you will be building a good voice. When you hold back you're not building anything.

The rule for holding back is simple: DON'T HOLD BACK!!!

3. Pushing

When you learn to push, you'll feel like you're at the wheel of a

Ferrari on a huge race track, all by yourself. You'll be in control of tremendous power, to use as you like, when you like! Pushing your medium and high notes gives them power and stability. If you don't push them they will be weak and will tend to "break".

Try this now:

Get into a strong stance, spread your feet, really bend your knees, get low and shout a fairly loud "Hey You!" from your lower abdomen. As

you're shouting push down from your lower belly push from as low in your belly as you possibly can.

Some of my female students said it's like trying to push out a baby. Since I've never given birth I don't really know, but I can imagine. If you've had a baby this image may help.

The key to pushing is to

When to release and when to push

Now that you know what releasing and pushing feels like, you need to learn when to release and when to push. It's pretty simple. You release your low notes push your middle and high notes.

Release before you push

When you're singing middle and high notes, you always release first, then push. If you just push, without releasing first, your voice will sound harsh and will lack freedom.

As you experiment with releasing and pushing your voice, you'll make a lot of mistakes, but you'll also hear a new and exciting voice begin to appear. Let that new voice come out.

Part 3: Sing louder as you get higher.

You just learned about releasing and pushing. Now you're going to learn about pushing in more detail because every note gets a

different amount of push.

Valuable information about this Key:

You may have noticed that professional singers sing at different volumes depending on where they are in the song. If you were to analyze what they were doing, you would see that they are singing the low notes at a low volume, medium notes at a medium volume, and the high notes at a high volume.

When you sing a note at the right volume, you get a good and powerful tone, with no effort or strain. If you sing a note too quietly, your voice will be weak and unstable. If you're too loud, your voice will sound forced and harsh, and you'll quickly strain your voice.

Most beginning singers hold back, especially when they get to the high notes. That makes sense, because it's easy to lose it on the high notes, and who wants to make a bad sound at a high volume? The problem is that if you are quiet on a high note, you will sound bad. You need to increase the volume as you get to those high notes.

As you experiment with different volumes, you'll make mistakes. Sometimes you'll sing notes too loud and sometimes they won't be loud enough. When you find that sweet spot you'll experience a smooth, powerful, flowing voice with no effort or strain. It will feel fantastic!

Summary of Key 5: Release Your Maximum Power With Singers' Breathing

Singers Breathing takes some time to learn, but when you learn it, singing will be much easier and you'll have tremendous power and control.

CHAPTER 11

KEY 6

SHAPE YOUR MOUTH AND CREATE A BIG OPEN SOUND

There are two parts to this key.

First, you'll learn how to shape

your mouth, then you'll learn what to do with your tongue.

Part 1: Sing with a very open and relaxed mouth.

When you're singing, you're mouth is the megaphone of the whole

If it's partially Imagine running

closed, the sound becomes trapped within your mouth.

operation.

If it's wide opened your voice is amplified.

over a megaphone with a truck and then trying to use it. become trapped inside the megaphone.

The sound would

How sound is created

The actual sound you make when singing or talking starts with your vocal cords vibrating in your throat, producing a tiny buzzing sound. This buzzing sound then vibrates the bones in your chest and/or head. This bone vibration amplifies the sound so that by the time it reaches your mouth it's much louder. The sound is then amplified even more by your open mouth.

If your mouth is shaped like a barely opened smile, your sound will be thin and lacking in volume. The sound becomes trapped. If you open your mouth to a relaxed "O" shape, the sound becomes richer, and much louder because it's amplified by the mouth, which is now acting like a megaphone.

Try this now:

Drop your jaw into the "O" position, now, while you aren't singing.

That's the "open mouth" position we're looking

Pretend you're yawning. for.

Keeping your mouth open

When you start singing, you'll notice that keeping your mouth open is not that easy. Even if you start with a fully open mouth, as soon as your attention wanders, your mouth may begin to close.

Tip: Practice singing in front of a mirror and watch your mouth. Try to keep your mouth as open as possible.

How to sing an "EE" sound with an open mouth

One exception to the "O" shaped mouth is when you're singing an "EE" sound. Your mouth should still be as open and relaxed as possible, but it won't be an "O" shape anymore. Your mouth will in the shape of a

very relaxed smile, with about half of an inch of space between your teeth.

If you can separate your teeth more than half an inch and still keep the pure

The space between your teeth will give you the volume

you need, and your "EE" sound will actually sound like "EE". It's tough to get a good "EE" sound with an "O" shaped mouth.

"EE" sound, do it.

Try this now:

Take a full breath and sing "WE", with your mouth in the shape of a wide smile, and your teeth slightly clenched. Hold the note for about five seconds. Now, take another breath and as you are singing the "WE" sound, open your mouth a little wider and separate your teeth at least half an inch. Notice the difference in the sound? As you open your mouth and separate your teeth, the sound becomes louder and richer.

Most people have a hard time opening their mouths fully when singing. That's because the jaw muscles are tight. By stretching your jaw muscles, you can learn to open your mouth wider which will give you more volume. It will also help you to keep your mouth fully opened while keeping it relaxed.

Jaw stretch exercise:

You can do this exercise in your car or while you're watching TV. Simply open your mouth as wide as you can, keeping your jaw very relaxed, and hold it for ten seconds. Relax and repeat the procedure for a total of five times. Be sure to really stretch while your mouth is open, but don't stretch so much that you hurt yourself. Be careful!

It will take time and experience to train your jaw to drop to the correct position. But when you learn to do this, your sound will improve tremendously, and it will feel so good to sing!

Keep in mind, that you don't want your mouse and a large old shape all the time. You would sound very strange, if you did that. You just want

to generally keep your mouth, more open then you would when you are talking. You can be the judge of how much sound you want to create. When you want more sound opener mouth wider. When you want less, close it more.

Part

forward

Now that we've got your mouth open we need to work on your tongue. If your tongue gets in the way, you'll block some of the sound.

and

2:

Keep

your

tongue

flat

Again, looking at the mouth as a megaphone, it's possible for the tongue to get in the way and block the sound, even though your mouth is open. Imagine what would happen if you stuck a pillow in a megaphone. The sound would be muffled. When your tongue gets in the way, it's like putting a pillow in a megaphone. There are two things you'll do to keep your tongue out of the way. First, the tip of your tongue should be touching the back of your bottom teeth. Second, keep your tongue as flat as possible.

Warning:

One common problem singers have while keeping their tongue flat and forward is that the words they sing get distorted. Be sure to keep your vowels pure. In other words, if you're singing the word "free" be sure it sound like "free" and not "fray".

Keeping your tongue flat and forward is harder than you think. It's easy enough to do when you are not singing, but when you start singing your tongue will want to pull back, hump up, and block the sound.

Note: This Key only applies to singing vowels; you know, a, e, i, o, and u. When you sing consonants let your mouth and tongue do whatever it wants.

Tips for keeping your tongue flat and forward:

1. Sing in front of a mirror and watch your tongue. Keep it as flat as possible while keeping the tip touching the back of your bottom teeth.

2. Many singers never need to pay attention to their tongue. Their voice comes out naturally, and the tongue does not block the sound.

3. My recommendation is to be aware, but don't obsess on what your tongue is doing.

Summary of Key 6; Shaping Your Mouth

Watch great singers on TV, and you'll see just how open their mouth can be sometimes. If you get a close-up, you'll also see that their tongue is completely out of the way; flat and forward. Be patient with yourself in learning this key, because it doesn't come automatically.

CHAPTER 12

KEY 7

USE VIBRATO TO ADD BEAUTY TO YOUR VOICE

Key 7 will teach you how to add vibrato to your voice, if you want to. Vibrato is that wavering or pulsating sound that singers add to the notes they hold. It is used in most styles of music with the exception of some rock or alternative songs. You don't have to use vibrato. Many successful singers never use vibrato when they sing, but most do. I recommend you learn it so you then have the choice.

The benefits of vibrato

need to hold a note, it's tough to make it sound good without vibrato. Sustained notes without vibrato usually sound stark and unprofessional. (Sting is one of the few singers I've seen get away with it.) When you add vibrato, you produce a better sound.

2. Vibrato helps the voice to release fully. Something amazing

happens when vibrato is added. The voice seems to relax, and singers are able to really let go. This produces a fuller and richer sound. It also feels really good to add vibrato. You'll see what I mean.

Can anyone learn vibrato? So far, in my teaching practice, all my students who have wanted to have a good vibrato have been able to develop it. If you don't have fire brought on naturally in your voice, you will probably need the help of a good teacher to help you develop it. Many times after learning the other keys, a natural vibrato begins to appear

Do some people have vibrato in their voice naturally?

Yes.

About 40% of my new students have vibrato with no training

or practice. They are the lucky ones. The rest of us have to learn it.

How long does it take?

It takes up to a year for most people to develop a good vibrato.

took me two years!

Be patient.

It

Should you learn to use a vibrato?

That's up to you. If you like the sound, learn it. If you're singing a style of music that doesn't use it, and you're TOTALLY POSITIVE you don't want to learn it, don't learn it.

My experience with learning vibrato:

I sang for many years without vibrato. It didn't come naturally and I didn't believe I would ever be able to sing with vibrato. I finally found a teacher who said he could teach me how to develop my vibrato.

We started with the basic vibrato exercises. At first I was just doing the exercises on faith. I didn't really believe I would get it. I was so frustrated; at times I would kick and scream during my lessons. It was hard!

Finally, after about six months, a beautiful vibrato appeared, just for a couple of seconds. I remember the moment vividly. It felt wonderful. I couldn't believe it. But I tried to do it again and couldn't. It took me an additional year and a half to learn how to control my vibrato. Now it is easy.

Tips for mastering Key 7: Add Beauty to Your Voice by using Vibrato 1. Practice making a sound like a car engine, trying to start. This activates the muscles needed to create virato.

Summary of Key 7

Vibrato is something you can add to your voice with practice. Just remember that it could be easier to learn with a good teacher.

RECAP OF THE 7 KEYS TO GREAT SINGING

Key 1: Use Singers' Posture and Enjoy Freedom and Confidence

Key 2: Keep Your Vocal Cords Together and Experience Total Control

Key 3: Open Your Throat to Add Richness to Your Voice

Key 4: Use Your 3 Voices and Enjoy a Huge Range

Key 5: Use Singers Breathing to Release Your Maximum Power

Key 6: Shape Your Mouth and Create a Big Open Sound

Key 7: Use Vibrato to Add Beauty to Your Voice

PART 3 SONGS

CHAPTER 13

SINGING SONGS LIKE A PRO

Now will start working on singing songs. This is where it gets fun. Your voice, body, and emotions all come into play. This is where you get a chance to be great!

Using Karaoke tapes and CD's

I know the word "Karaoke" has a bad connotation with serious singers, but Karaoke tapes and CD's are a fantastic way to develop your voice and learn songs.

Karaoke tapes and CD's have the full version of the song (with the

karaoke singer), as well as another version of the same song which has no

singer, just the band.

singing with the original artist, because when you sing with the original artist, you can't really hear what you sound like because you're blending with them. With a karaoke tape or CD, you can follow the Karaoke singer in order to learn the song, then once you feel comfortable, you can sing

Singing with Karaoke tapes and CD's is better than

with the band, minus the Karaoke singer. This will allow YOUR VOICE to fully develop. These tapes and CD's are fun and inspirational because most of them sound great! You can purchase them at many record stores and on the Internet. Most large cities have stores that sell nothing but karaoke tapes. Get some songs, and start practicing. You'll have a great time!

Practicing your songs

There are three phases singers go through in learning a song. A song should not be performed publicly until you have gotten to Phase 3.

Phase 1. Memorizing the melody and lyrics The best way to memorize the melody is to sing along with the Karaoke singer. Once you know the melody, practice the song without the singer.

Memorize the lyrics by reading them while you're singing the song. Then put them aside and try to sing them from memory. If you get stuck, refer back to the lyric sheet. Don't expect to sound good at this stage. You're just learning the

song.

Step 2. Practicing the song

When you're first learning a song, you have to think about it. It doesn't come automatically. The only way to have a song become second nature is to sing it over and over again. I need to sing a song at least 100 times before I really know it. You probably will too.

The song will sound better at this point, but not fantastic.

Step 3. Owning the song

There will come a time when you really own the song.

At this point

You know it so well that you can start to

it's really easy for you to sing.

play with it. You can hold notes, belt notes, or get very quiet in parts.

You can also start to put your heart into the song. about that later.

At this point you'll be confident, you'll sound great and you're ready to perform the song.

I'll talk more

Playing with dynamics If you listen to songs on the radio, you'll notice singers belting out certain parts, and coming down in volume in others. This technique is known as dynamics.

The best way to approach dynamics is to sing the low notes at low volumes, the medium notes at medium volumes, and the high notes at high volumes. You want to feel the contrast between the different sections of a song, so really exaggerate the lows and highs. Adding dynamics to a song will make it much more interesting

The other approach singers use, is they sing the beginning of the song fairly quietly, and then as they get towards the end of the song, they increase the volume. Listen to songs on the radio and you'll see what I mean.

Forgetting the words

I wish I could tell you that you'll never forget the words to a song. The reality is: you will! Professional singers who have been singing all of their lives forget lyrics. It's part of being a singer. However, there are some things you can do to minimize this problem.

First of all, don't panic! If you remain calm, the words may still come to you. Many times I remember the words a split second before I need to sing them. With time, you'll develop faith that the words will often come to you. The other skill you need to develop is "faking it." When you really do forget the words, "faking it" will allow you to get through the song

without the audience even knowing there was a problem. The key here is to keep singing no matter what. Repeat lyrics you've already sung. Make up lyrics. Scat. Just keep going. The audience will probably think your creative genius is coming out. Remember the audience isn't sitting their with lyric sheets in their hands. If you sing the wrong verse they usually won't notice. As you practice "faking it", it will become easier and easier for you to do.

Learning new songs

Learn new

songs so you don’t get tired of your old ones. You should try to learn at least two to four new songs per month.

In order to keep track of the status of your songs, I suggest putting all songs into one of the following categories, and using the form below:

Keeping your practice sessions fun is very important.

Category 1.

“Songs to buy” are songs you want to learn, but are not yet singing.

Category 2.

“Songs to learn” are songs for which you have the Karaoke tape but don't know yet.

Category 3.

“Songs ready to perform” are songs which you have learned and are now ready to perform.

Songs to buy

Songs to learn

Songs ready to perform

1.

2.

3.

5.

6.

7.

CHAPTER 14

DEVELOPING YOUR OWN UNIQUE STYLE

My goal is to help you develop the most interesting, passionate, unique voice possible. Inside of you is a new voice that no one has ever heard.

The first thing you need in order to develop that unique voice is the total willingness to crash and burn. If you're not willing to do that, you'll develop a safe, white-bread, boring voice. If you want soul, you have to be willing to take risks.

Taking chances and making mistakes is the key

You've probably had moments where you heard something in your head that you wanted to sing, but didn't, because you didn't want to sound foolish. So you held it in. The baby never got a chance to be born. The flower never got a chance to bloom.

Well those days are over! You can't afford to hold in your wild ideas anymore. Yes, as you begin taking chances, you'll sound foolish, quite often. But so did all the great singers, in the beginning. In fact, the more wild and out of control you sound now, the more creative and interesting you'll be when your voice develops. If you have a

"live wire" voice, great! Let it out!

Mistakes are great

I let my students know that it's not

only fine for them to make mistakes, but it's great. The students who are willing to experiment, let go and fall apart are the creative ones who learn at an accelerated rate and become fantastic singers.

I tell my students that I want them to make at least 20 mistakes per lesson. With this understanding, when they do make a mistake, they laugh it off instead of cringing. Their bodies relax as do their spirits. Their singing improves.

So, when you're practicing, take chances and let yourself make lots of mistakes. Welcome them. You're growing now!

Mistakes will help you grow!

Finding pleasure will help you develop your style

There is a level of pleasure available to you that you can't imagine. I don't even know how to really describe it. It's dreamlike and totally wonderful. It's PURE ART!

Anecdote

I remember vividly the first time I experienced a heightened level of pleasure while singing. I was on a medium sized stage, singing an Elton John song. About 30 seconds into the song something happened. My entire body began expressing the song. I was singing like I had never sung before. I could hardly believe it was me singing. I had wanted to sing like this for years and never had, but now, in this incredible moment, I was! I poured my soul into the lyrics. Sweat poured from my body. Every cell in my body was expressing. This was better than sex! Well, at least as good! The more I expressed, the more the audience got into it. That encouraged me to give even more. Wow! I'll never forget those moments. Neither will you when you experience singing in that way.

When I sing now, I experience pleasure most of the time. I'm able to

connect with a part of myself that doesn't get to come out in my normal life. I experience physical and emotional pleasure and satisfaction. When you're experiencing the real pleasure of singing, you won't be worrying about how you look or sound. You'll simply be expressing. You'll feel great and so will your audience!

There is no quick way to find this dreamy world of singing ecstasy. Time, work and experience will bring it to you. Pleasure is your payoff and the payoff is HUGE!

Summary

Developing your own style is what singing is all about. Cloning other famous singers can bring limited pleasure for awhile, but eventually you'll become bored and so will your audiences. Audiences and record companies are interested in hearing unique voices. Let out that raw, rough voice from the bottom of your soul. With time, it will mature into a voice that will bring you the greatest pleasure and success.

Remember, your voice and the life experiences and emotions that you

express through your singing are unique to you.

the world and experience a bliss you can't imagine.

with

Share your real self

CHAPTER 15

A TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE

Sometimes a song just won’t "feel right."

Following are solutions to

common problems you may encounter while singing songs.

Symptom: My song sounds rough and unprofessional.

Solution: You simply need to sing the song more. Most beginners need to

practice a song close to one hundred times before it begins to feel and sound comfortable. It's also possible that this particular song isn't right for you.

the key is too high, or too low, or the style doesn't fit your voice. If that's the case, pick another song, and save this song for when you are at a more advanced level.

Maybe

Symptom: It sounds like I am singing off pitch in places.

Solution: You probably are. Notice when you are off pitch and correct it on the spot. Try to follow the karaoke singer. Singing on pitch is simply a matter of paying attention, making corrections, and lots of practice.

Symptom: My songs sound quiet and weak.

Solution: Before singing each song, shout three strong “Hey Ho!”s. Then, when you sing your song, be sure you take full breaths and let out all the sound.

If that doesn't give you enough power, try singing a song much louder than you ever have. Go ahead and try to double the volume. You'll find that if you sing real loud, you get a lot of release. It's hard to hold back and sing loud at the same time. When you sing your next song (without trying to be especially loud), you'll notice that the song is much louder and more released than before. You'll notice that it's alot easier to let go.

The other reason singers hold back is because they are afraid of people hearing them sing. If you are holding back because you are afraid of bothering someone, find a time and place where you can sing without worrying about that.

Symptom: I can’t sing the high notes.

Solution: The song is probably too high for you, at this stage of your development. If you're having trouble with high notes in general, you can eat or lower the keys of the troublesome songs, or you can look for a good teacher to help you increase your range.

Symptom: The low notes are too low to sing.

Solution: The song has been recorded in too low a key for your voice. Your low range will expand some as a result of doing the exercises, but if you're a woman singing a song in a man's key, you may have to find the song in a woman's key. Call the Karaoke store and see if they can order it

in a higher key.

a keyboardist to record the song in a better key.

If not, pick another song, or buy the sheet music and hire

Symptom: I don’t enjoy singing the song.

Solution: If a particular song doesn’t inspire you or you can’t relate to the lyrics, don’t sing it. There are thousands of songs, so pick songs you like. It's common for a singer to like a song they heard on the radio, but dislike singing it themselves.

Symptom: I am getting bored with certain songs.

Solution: If you spend six months singing one or two songs, you will become bored. The key is to bring new songs into your practice sessions so you don’t become tired of the others. Once you know a particular song and can perform it well, you only need to sing it a couple of times a week. Try to learn two to four new songs per month.

CHAPTER 16

HOW TO KEEP SINGING 'TIL YOU'RE 95

Remember, your body is your instrument. The better you take care of your body, the better you'll sing now, and as you grow older. One of the great things about singing is that you can sing well into old age, if you use The 7 Keys, and take good care of yourself. Here are some tips for taking care of your body and your voice.

Build your voice gradually

The process of building your voice is very similar to the way professional athletes build their bodies. Athletes and singers build muscles and develop focused muscle control.

Your ideal practice routine is challenging enough to cause your muscles to grow, but not so strenuous that you injure yourself. When you're practicing, you should feel like you're getting a workout, but not like you're hurting yourself. Push yourself, let all your voice out, but when your voice is tired, rest!

If you came to me as someone who wanted to become a professional runner, but had never even been jogging, I would start you out on an easy program. Maybe a mile a day for the first month. Then I'd build you up to three miles a day, and as you became stronger, I'd keep increasing your workout until you were running 25 miles a day. It may take six months or longer to achieve that level. If I had you try to run 25 miles a day during your first week of training, you probably would have injured yourself and quit.

It's important to be reasonable and build slowly. The great singers you hear on the radio spent years developing their vocal power. As you gradually increase the time and intensity of your practice, you'll begin to notice the changes in your voice. It will become richer, stronger and louder. Vocal Exercises that used to be difficult will become easier.

Keeping in shape

One of my students

works out like a madman. He's in incredible physical shape. This does two

It gives him vitality that gets expressed in his voice, and it

gives him the endurance he needs to run around on stage for an hour. Until you've been on stage singing, you don't know just how much of a workout it really is. It takes real physical stamina and strength.

If you're the type of person who likes exercise, great! If not, try to find some form of exercise that you like. It's important to like the exercise you're doing so you'll keep it up. I happen to enjoy swimming, weights and yoga. I work out five to six days per week for about 90 minutes per day.

Any exercise that gets you breathing hard is great. Running, aerobics and tennis are all good. Swimming laps is wonderful because it works so many muscles, while giving you an aerobic workout. You may have to force yourself to get started. That's the hardest part. After a few weeks you'll notice your body toning up and you'll feel incredible after each workout. My greatest reward is how I feel after exercising. I get a tremendous physical and emotional high. Remember, in many regards, you are an athlete. You're dependent

things for him.

Many singers are on intense exercise programs.

on your body, just like an athlete is. If you're working as an accountant, you don't use your body that much. But as a singer you do, so keep in shape!

Body Tune-Ups

Professional athletes spend much time stretching and limbering up. The muscles they use need to be strong and flexible. Here are some exercises that will work on areas of the body that most singers need to loosen up. Be sure to breathe deeply while doing these exercises.

1. Shoulder rolls

Stand in a comfortable position with your arms at your side, and slowly roll your shoulders forward in a big circle. Really feel the stretch. Concentrate on making a circle, not an oval or a square. Repeat this for a total of five times. Then reverse the direction and roll your shoulders backwards. Repeat this five times also.

2. Neck rolls Stand in the same position and roll your head, very very slowly. Start by letting your head drop towards your chest and then gently roll it to your right, until you complete a circle. Do it three times in this direction, then three times in the other direction. Be sure to let yourself stretch at all points of the circle.

3. Chest stretch on bed

Lie on your bed, on your back with your shoulder blades at the edge of the bed. Your head and chest should be hanging over the edge also. Let your hands and arms go wherever they feel comfortable, or if you want a real stretch, let them extend over the top of your head. Now take deep breaths into your chest. You should feel your chest stretch. Spend one to two minutes in this position. This exercise will really open up your chest.

The best time to do these exercises is right before you sing. In this way, you'll be preparing your body by releasing any constrictions that could be getting in the way of your singing. Use common sense while practicing these exercises. Do not stretch beyond where you feel comfortable. The goal is to stretch muscles, not pull them.

Drink lots of liquids

Singing dries out your throat. So while you're singing, be sure to have a glass of water, juice or tea by your side so you can keep your throat well lubricated. Never go to practice or a gig without something to drink.

Alcohol is not good to drink because it dehydrates you. Remember how dry your mouth gets after a night of drinking? Your vocal cords get dry also. When that happens, it's like driving your car with no motor oil. So keep your liquids non-alcoholic. Besides, most of the professionals I know are incredibly clean and sober. The profession is too competitive for you to be wearing yourself down with drugs and alcohol.

4 Ways to avoid damaging your voice

It's difficult to damage your voice, but it is possible. best ways to prevent that from happening:

Here are the

1. Use correct technique

When someone sings without using any of The 7 Keys to Great Singing, they are using bad technique and will frequently end up damaging their voice. These singers often become chronically hoarse and are unable to hit any high notes.

The solution is simple: use The 7 Keys. When you use good technique you run little risk of damaging your voice.

2. Don't sing when you're real sick

Fortunately, most people don't sing when they're sick because they

just don't feel like it. You probably won't either. But, if you're one of those diehards, who tried to lead a normal life, even when you feel like you're near death, stay away from singing. You could hurt yourself.

If you're just a little sick, and you have an important gig, and you can still sing fairly well, go ahead and do the gig. Singing when you're slightly sick is fairly safe, as long as you don't have laryngitis.

3. Don't overuse your voice

Let's say you're used to singing for an hour a day. At the end of that time your voice feels tired and you really don't feel like singing anymore. Now, if you were to sing for three or four hours the next day, you would be overusing your voice.

If you're going to increase your singing time, do it gradually. Going from an hour a day to an hour and fifteen minutes a day is just fine. After a couple of weeks you could move up to an hour and a half. Just go slow.

4. Keep shouting to a minimum

I've had students blow their voices out because they had non-singing jobs where they were shouting for practically eight hours straight. After work they'd try to sing but couldn't because their vocal cords were so inflamed. The only solution for these students was to quit shouting or find other jobs.

I've also had students lose their voices after shouting for hours at a ball game. They came to their lessons and just couldn't sing. The solution is to keep shouting to a minimum. Shouting occasionally is no problem, but shouting for long periods of time will cause your vocal cords to become inflamed and limit your ability to sing.

Anecdote

Jean began studying with me about a year ago. She'd been singing in

She was thrashing

her voice at every rehearsal and gig. She'd come to her lessons very hoarse,

a band for some time and was using terrible technique.

and I had a hard time getting her through the Vocal Exercises. She also had a job where she was frequently shouting, which meant her voice never had a chance to rest.

I told her she needed to rest her voice completely before we could do any real work. She tried, but was unable to stop shouting at work and she continued to use bad technique with her band. We were making very slow progress, and we were both frustrated. Then a miracle happened. She got pregnant and had a baby. Right after having the baby, she had a month to rest her voice completely, because she couldn't sing or work at her job. When she came back to her lessons, her voice was completely healed. At that point it was easy to get her to use The 7 Keys. Her singing improved dramatically in just a few weeks. Now she's one of the best singers I've ever worked with. We're working towards building her an international career where she'll be selling albums and performing in concert.

A tip for singing with musicians

When you first start singing with a band or musicians, be sure they don't drown out your voice. If you can't hear yourself during parts of a song, and your microphone is already at maximum volume, ask them to simplify what they are playing or play quieter. Remember, you are the focal point. You are supposed to be heard and need to be heard. If the keyboard player or guitar player is overpowering you, you need to ask them to back off.

Be very tactful when making this request. Don't say "I am the focal point and you are here to just back me up." Instead try something like "You guys sound fantastic loud, but I can't hear myself and I am starting to strain my voice. Could you please try turning down a little to see if this helps."

Musicians have fun playing real loud. I am a guitar player and I like my amp turned to to ten. I love to blast the neighborhood. It feels good! But when I am singing I need to turn it down. This issue will probably follow you through all your bands, but if you are polite and tactful, you'll come out fine, and you won't blow your voice

out.

How to rest a thrashed voice

You will wear your voice out from time to time. It's the only way to discover your true limits. When this happens, give your voice a week or two to rest. Don't sing at all during this time. Try to keep your talking to a minimum. With rest, your voice will return to normal.

When you overuse your voice, your vocal cords become inflamed, singing becomes slightly painful, and your volume decreases. When this happens you need to stop singing and rest your voice for a few days. With rest, your vocal cords will return to normal and you'll be able to sing as well as ever.

Summary

When you use good technique, and rest your voice when it needs it, your voice will keep getting stronger as the years go by. Most singers peak at around age 55. In other words, they keep getting better and better until they reach 55 or so. From that point on they level off. They won't get worse, they just won't improve much. A great example is Tina Turner. I think she sounded better in her 50's than she did in her 20's. Many of the top money earners ($50 million a year and up) are singers 40 and older. As you learn The 7 Keys to Great Singing and keep practicing, your voice will work for you well into grandparenthood.

PART 4

FROM UPTIGHT SINGER TO BLOW- EM AWAY PERFORMER

CHAPTER 17

THE 7 SECRETS OF GREAT PERFORMING

Learning to perform is a skill that can be learned by anyone! Every one of my students who practice The 7 Secrets to Great Performing become good performers.

You may have a voice in your head saying "Well, this may apply to other singers, but I'm not sure I could ever learn to perform." I'll tell you right now, you can learn to perform. Just read this book and do the work. You'll become a confident, skilled and exciting performer!

The 4 Steps to learning The 7 Secrets to Great Performing:

Step 1: Read this chapter to get a general understanding of The 7 Secrets to Great Performing.

own.

Step 3:

Join or form a Performance Team.

This will help you to develop

your performance skills in a supportive group setting. I'll explain all about Performance Teams in the next chapter.

Step 4: Perform at "Open Mics" and Karaoke bars at least twice a week, practicing the skills you learned in your Performance Team.

By the time you finish Step 4, you'll be awesome.

get up on any stage and look and feel like a professional singer.

You'll be able to

The 7 Secrets to Great Performing work!

When you watch a great performer, you are seeing The 7 Secrets to Great Performing in action. Their performance is alive, captivating and energizing. The next day you feel compelled to tell all your friends about this performer. The 7 Secrets to Great Performing are powerful, and will help you become a confident, exciting and charismatic performer.

Performance Secret #1:

Honest

The benefits of learning this Secret:

Keep Emotionally

1. You'll give passionate, exciting performances.

2. You'll sing better

3. Your stress level will decrease

When you're performing, you're using your voice, body, and emotions. Many singers ignore the emotional part of their performance and wonder why they never succeed. However the world's greatest singers are emotionally expressive.

Let’s look at a hypothetical concert at Madison Square Garden in which two singers are performing. Singer “A” is incredibly attractive, dances wonderfully and has a perfect voice. In fact, this singer has one of the finest voices the world has ever heard, but he is not very expressive emotionally. The audience will be impressed with his voice but won't really connect with this singer on an emotional level.

Singer “B” has an average voice. He makes mistakes. His voice is rough and gravely in places. He's not particularly attractive. But he's incredibly expressive, and pours his heart out to the audience. When he sings a sad song and tears stream down his face, the audience cries also. When he sings a happy song the audience feels incredible joy. Which singer will receive the standing ovations? Singer “B” will! Audiences respond to emotion before perfection.

Let yourself feel whatever you feel! Your goal as a singer is to feel your emotions and let them flow through you. This sounds easy, but is actually difficult. Alot of the time we are feeling one emotion but trying our best to feel a different one. For example, I used to think I should feel happy and confident whenever I got

on stage. What I actually felt was tremendous fear. So there I was, trying to feel confident, when I was really feeling scared. I was in major disharmony! I looked uncomfortable to my audiences.

When I learned to be honest with my emotions by allowing myself to feel my fear, my performances got much better. I didn't feel so blocked and confined. I felt freer.

Learning from kids

If you want to learn about emotional honesty, watch a two-year-old. They can go through happiness, sadness, fear and anger all in a matter of minutes.

As singers, we need the same emotional freedom the two-year-old has. When you allow yourself to feel and express what you're really feeling, you'll be convincing to your audience. If you're feeling one thing but trying to feel another, the audience won't know what's going on.

Dealing with fear

admit we have fears, let alone

experience them. However, in order to give an honest and convincing performance, you need to accept and experience your fears.

When you fight your fear, your performance will be limited, because you'll be using so much energy trying to push away that emotion. You need to be able to focus your energy on the song and all your emotions. When you close the door to your fear, to some degree you close the door to the other emotions. When you let yourself feel the fear, all emotions are accessible. Remember that it's normal to feel fear when you start performing. The steps to dealing with it are as follows:

Most of

us don't

even like to

1. Become aware of it.

This shouldn't be too hard.

Just sing in

front of someone. You'll probably be somewhat afraid. Just be aware of it.

it or push it away somehow. the fear will probably remain.

However, you can deny and push all day and

When you feel the fear, it can go through

you. You're stuck with it for only as long as you hide it or try to push it away. Think of a quart bottle, full of fear. As you feel the fear, you're pouring out the bottle. You may never empty the bottle completely, but if you cut your fear by 50%, you'll feel a whole lot better!

3. Let yourself feel it.

You'll probably always have some fear Most singers, even ones who have been singing professionally for years, still have some fear before each performance. But, the fear doesn't disable them. It becomes "excitement", which they use to give their performance energy and life.

The best way to lessen your fear is to perform in front of people alot. If you get in front of audiences once or twice a week, in a couple of months, you'll have a new found confidence.

There you'll

be performing in front of a group, which will activate your fear, but you'll be in a safe place where you can talk about and diffuse it.

Then when you do get on stage in a nightclub, your fear will be diminished because you'll have dumped alot of in in your Performance Team. You'll also have less fear and more confidence because you'll have learned The 7 Secrets to Great Performing.

I recommend forming or joining a Performance Team.

My experience with fear

I was feeling really scared one day, I don't remember about what,

and I decided to try facing the fear head on. I sat in a chair, closed my eyes and focused on how scared I was. I imagined every terrible scenario and took each one to the limit. I felt really scared.

As I let the fear run it's

course, I began to see fear as a paper tiger.

It had a big roar, but no real

Then a surprising thing began to happen.

power. Fear tried to be big and mean, but was really quite powerless. It reminded me of the Wizard of Oz who turned out to be meek and harmless.

At the end of that experience I was no longer afraid and I felt lighter and kind of happy. It was a great feeling and a relief to see that fear wasn't so "all powerful." Today, fear is still very uncomfortable for me, but it's much more bearable when I remember that it is simply a paper tiger that can't really harm or control me. The following ancient Hindu scripture gives us another way to look at fear:

The content of fear may be intense and gripping,

so much so that it overwhelms us completely. But when we look beyond that content of fear itself, what do we find? Pure energy, energy which, if we focus on it directly, will begin to reveal its real nature. Then, instead of filling us with agitation, the energy of fear can actually lead us to a state of exhilaration, or intense concentration, or love.

Most of what we fear never happens

Fear is generally not a messenger of truth. Most of what we worry about never comes to pass. But when we are feeling the fear, it sure seems like the terrible events we're stewing about will happen. I love the following quote by Mark Twain:

I am an old man and have a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

I'm really glad that most of my worries never came to pass. did, I would have died along time ago.

If they

Feeling your emotions helps your body relax and frees your voice

When you hold back emotions, your body tenses up. That's the way humans work! If your body is tense, your you won't be able to sing your best. When you feel your emotions, your body relaxes, and your voice becomes freer.

Try this before singing:

Here's an exercise that should help connect you to your body and your emotions. Before you start singing, stand in a relaxed position, close your eyes, and take some deep breaths. As you're breathing, pay attention to any body tensions and let those muscles relax. Then notice what you're feeling emotionally. Are you scared, angry, or maybe you're feeling a combination of many emotions? Remember it's normal for people to feel these emotions. In our culture we are taught not to express them. You're not crazy or weird for having human feelings!

Now, when you start to sing, keep this physical and emotional awareness going. When you let your feelings go as you are singing, you'll experience a freedom in your voice and body that will feel fantastic.

An example of how emotional honesty works

One night, in a performance class I taught, Kevin sang a song which totally bored myself and the rest of the class. He looked spaced out and unfocused.

After his performance, he told us that he was feeling angry, but didn't want to let it show. He was using his energy to keep us from seeing that he was angry, which is why he looked so spaced out. I suggested he allow himself to feel the anger and perform another song. He did and this time I found myself captivated by his performance. He had strength and integrity. He looked and sounded great. Because he let himself feel the anger and any other emotions that were there, he was able to give an honest performance. He freed up a tremendous amount of energy. The class loved him. This happens often in my teaching practice. When my students allow

themselves to be emotionally honest, their performances improve tremendously. When you're singing, let yourself feel whatever you feel! Don't judge it, run from it or try to change it! At first it may be difficult, but when you experience emotional honesty, you'll find great relief and satisfaction in your singing.

Tips for mastering this Secret:

1. Recite song lyrics to a friend and talk about their meaning in your life.

2. Pay attention to what you feel throughout the day, on an emotional level. Remember that a emotion is a powerful fuel for your performances.

Performance Secret #2: Feel Every Word in the Song

The benefits of learning this Secret:

1. You won't worry about how you're doing because you'll be

expressing rather than trying to impress

2. You'll have an easier time remembering the lyrics.

3. Singing will feel great.

4. Your audiences will love you

A lot of times when my beginning students perform songs for me, it is obvious that the last thing on their minds and hearts is the meaning of the lyrics. They're thinking about how they sound, whether or not I like them, or when they might make a horrendous mistake. So how is their performance? Not very interesting. At that point I have them do the following exercise, which usually doubles the effectiveness of their performance. I recommend you do this exercise with all of your songs.

Lyric Speaking Exercise:

1. Speak the lyrics without singing them. This will get you in touch

with what the lyrics really mean, and more importantly, what they mean to you. Look for ways to tie the lyrics into your life experiences and emotions. This is what great actors do. Remember, when you see an actor cry, they're really crying because they're getting in touch with past experiences that made them cry.

The first few times you speak the lyrics it may sound like you're reading a grocery list. There will probably be very little emotion. But as you go over the song several times, the emotions should begin to appear.

2.

Talk about what the song means to you, in your own words. Be

specific and relate the song to your own life experiences. Emotions will probably be stronger at this point. That's great! Let them flow!

3. Sing the whole song, while trying to feel each line intensely.

Forget about how you sound or look. emotions.

Just feel each lyrics and your

This exercise can be done alone, but it's most effective when you do it with someone. Ask a trusted friend to do this exercise with you. You'll both have a powerful and rewarding experience.

Resistance is normal

You may find some resistance to really feeling the lyrics because you may be avoiding a painful place within yourself. If I am singing a song about a woman who left me, it will be painful for me to remember the women who really did leave me. In my normal "non-singer" life, I try not to remember those painful experiences. But as a singer I need those feelings. I may shed some tears while singing the song but I'll sound better and feel better afterwards.

Tips for mastering this Secret:

1. Go through each song, one line at a time and find ways to tie

your life experiences and emotions into each line in each song.

Performance Secret #3:

contact.

The benefits of learning this Secret:

Maintain eye

1. You'll look strong, secure and professional.

2. Your audience will like you better

There were

about 10,000 people in the crowd. She felt like Tina was singing to her personally. That's eye contact!

The natural human tendency is to avoid eye contact when feeling uncomfortable. But, if you want to give your best possible performance, you need to maintain eye contact with your audience. There will be times when closing your eyes will be effective. Maybe the mood of the song warrants it. But if you are closing your eyes because you are scared and want to hide, you'll look like you're hiding and you'll have less energy to put into the song.

Some nightclubs where you perform will be intimate enough for you to make real eye contact with most of your audience. However in large nightclubs or concert halls, you'll see nothing but bright white lights. You won't be able to see your audience at all. In that case keep your eyes focused in the direction of your audience, and to them it will look like you're making eye contact. Whatever you do, don't look at the ground, or close your eyes for more than 60 seconds at a time. It makes you look nervous and amateurish, and it breaks contact with the audience. Look at your audience and really communicate with them.

A friend of mine saw Tina Turner at a large concert.

Think about this:

Imagine someone was speaking to you and they were constantly looking at the ground or looking away. How would you feel? Now imagine that same person is speaking to you while maintaining eye contact. Better huh! It's the same with singing. Eye contact works!

Tips for mastering this Secret:

1. If making direct eye contact scares you at first, look just above

the heads of your audience and to them it will seem like you're looking right at them.

2. When you're practicing, pretend you're looking out at huge

audience.

Performance Secret #4: Move your body.

The benefits of learning this Secret:

1. You'll look good on stage

2. It will become easier to let go vocally and emotionally

3. Your singing will improve

Almost every time I get a new student to move while they are singing, their voice improves instantly. It makes sense, because moving loosens them up physically and emotionally, which helps them to sing better.

Moving on stage will help you to feel better and look better. It's not that hard to learn, even though you might be a little scared in the beginning. Here are three approaches you can take with your movement:

1. Moving with intent: This involves planning or choreographing

moves to go with each song. For example there could be a line in a song that talked about heaven. At that point you could look and point up to the sky. It would be a planned move that you did every time you sang that song.

2. Moving from inspiration: This is what most singers do. They

don't have moves worked out, they just move as they feel inspired, but they're always moving.

Most beginners aimlessly wander because

they are nervous. It often involves shuffling from one foot to the other, or wandering around stage with a very weak posture. It looks amateurish and isn't very fun to do.

3. Aimless wandering.

Which approach to moving is best?

Moving with intent or from inspiration is good. Combinations of the two are great. Aimless wandering will be boring for you and the audience.

How do your learn to move?

In the beginning, you'll need to force yourself to move. For most people it doesn't come automatically. In time, movement will become natural. Your body really wants to move to music. It's your fear that stops you.

Most of my students feel real awkward when they start to move. But that awkwardness only lasts for a short time. Once they get past the uncomfortable beginning stage, movement becomes fun and pleasurable. The hard part is to get started. Here's an exercise that will help you

begin:

Wild Man and Wild Woman Exercise

This exercise is fun and scary, and it really works. do:

1. Find a time and place where you can be totally alone, without the

Here's what you

possibility of anybody walking in on you. In other words, totally private.

2. Put on some music that really makes you feel like dancing.

3. Let yourself move to the music in the biggest, most expressive way

you can. Go totally crazy! Let it feel good. Jump over the couch, down on your knees, shout, have fun! You should be sweaty and

get

totally winded by the end. Do this exercise for about 20 minutes, three times per week. It's main function is to have you go beyond where you would normally go. It stretches you emotionally and physically and forces you to break out of old safe habits. This exercise creates miracles for my students who do it. Make a commitment to yourself to start today!

Anecdote

I remember a time when one of my students did the Wild Woman exercise during her lesson. At first she was very restrained and uncomfortable. She described it as an unpleasant and awkward experience. She wanted to stop, but I encouraged her to keep going.

As the lesson progressed, she became more comfortable and began to really express herself with her body. At that point she began to enjoy moving and came up with some great moves. By the end of the lesson her body was loose and free and she had a big smile on her face. She was also singing much better!

It's okay to stumble in the beginning

When you first start this exercise, don't expect to be a pro. Remember, in this aspect of your life, you are a beginner and beginners are supposed to stumble. If that critical voice in your head starts rattling, tell it to shut up.

My experience

I remember

one time when I decided to video tape myself while doing the exercise. I was just curious, and certain I looked like a total fool.

When I viewed the video I was really surprised. Most of my moves looked fantastic. I am not a trained dancer and don't have any particular talent in that area, but I looked really good. Some of my moves did look incredibly dumb, and made me really uncomfortable. But before viewing the video I was sure ALL MY MOVES looked that dumb. After viewing the video I felt alot more comfortable moving, because I knew that most of my moves looked good. It was very liberating and made moving while performing much easier.

The Wild Man Exercise really helped me to loosen up.

Doing the Wild Man or Wild Woman while singing

By now you may realize that with practice, most anything can be

accomplished. This is definitely true with moving while singing Now it's time for you to incorporate movement into your singing routine. No longer can you just stand there like a student giving a recital.

Every time you sing a song, do the Wild Man or Wild Woman exercise while singing. It's okay if you feel like you're overdoing it. That's what you need to do. You've probably been under doing it up to this point so it's time to break out of old habits and go wild!

Tip: Using your hands and arms

Use your hands and arms to express what you are saying.

You do it

It's no different when you're singing. If your hands are just

when you talk.

hanging at your side, you'll look totally amateurish.

Watch video performances and learn what the pros do

You can learn a tremendous amount from watching video performances. By the time a singer gets to the level of performing on video, they usually have their movement down. You can learn some good techniques by watching these singers.

Walking backwards while singing

When you are actually singing, it's fine to move from one side of the stage to the other, or from back to front, but not from front to back. You want to avoid this move because it looks incredibly weak. If you need to move towards the back of the stage, do it during a time when you are not singing.

Once you're at the back of the stage, you can create a powerful effect by moving forward while you're singing. Just don't move backwards while you're singing.

Using the whole stage

Most of the time a beginning student will use a very small portion of the stage. It looks non-professional. Use the whole stage, and when possible, the whole room. It will make your performance more fun for you

and your audience.

Get down on your knees, curl up

in a corner, stand up and explode. Trust your intuition when you have an idea, and try that wild idea!

Use your space vertically as well.

Stage lighting

Be aware of the lighting. Many places don't have movable spotlights that can follow you wherever you go. Know where you are in relation to the lights. If the light is in your eyes, the audience can probably see you. If you're in a dark part of the stage or room, the audience won't be able to see you.

Using a video camera

Home video cameras can be a tremendous tool for your movement

development.

changing.

Taping

yourself is also a good way to check out and improve your costume and makeup.

If you don't own a camera, borrow or rent one. It will be the best investment you'll ever make. If you just spend a day or two in front of the camera, you will be able to make improvements that would take months without a camera.

Woman" exercises.

They allow you to see what really works and what needs

I suggest you tape your rehearsals and your "Wild Man/Wild

You'll be surprised at how good you look.

Tips for mastering this Secret:

1. Do the Wild Man/Wild Woman three times per week

2. Go club dancing once a week

Summary

This Secret is fairly easy to master and produces big benefits. Jump in and start moving. You'll heal your soul and look great when you're on stage.

Performance

audience.

Secret

#5:

Talk

to

The benefits of learning this Secret:

1. You'll be able to relax while you're singing

2. Your audience will like you better because they'll know

your

you.

Talking to your audience can be great fun. The easiest way to talk to your audience is to give introductions to some of your songs. A good introduction can double the effectiveness of a singer's performance because:

1. It helps the singer to understand and feel the lyrics.

2. It breaks down the wall between "performer" and "audience," by

helping the audience to know the singer a little better.

3. It makes the audience want to listen to the lyrics.

What is a good intro?

1. A good intro allows singers to share themselves personally.

Example: "When I was little, I grew up on a farm, and every summer we spent our days on the lake swimming and fishing. This song reminds me of those times."

2. A good intro tells the audience what the song is about.

Example: "When my wife left me, I thought my life was over. But I just met someone new, and now I feel like my life is just beginning. This song is dedicated to the new love of my life."

What is a bad intro?

1. A bad intro is whiny or negative in nature.

all the pollution, traffic

and violence. The world is really going down the tubes." Remember, people are there to be entertained, not reminded of the things they already hate.

Example:

"Living in this city is horrible

2. A bad intro tells the audience nothing about the you.

So what! Tell us

about YOU falling in love, what it was like, who it was with. Let us get to know you!

Example:

"This is a song about falling in love."

3. A bad intro makes the audience compare you to the original

artist

Example: "The name of this song is 'The Way We Were' by Barbra Streisand." Not only does this tell us nothing about you, but it also will cause us to compare your rendition to Barbra Streisand's version. You don't want your audience to be thinking about the original artist while you are singing.

Tips for mastering this Secret:

1. Watch singers in concert and on TV and notice how

talk to their audiences

they

2. Practice making up song introductions and rehearsing them by

yourself and for friends.

Summary

Talking to your audience is a skill that is easy to learn, as long as you keep practicing. I recommend practicing many times before getting on stage. Then, when you are on stage, you'll find a good intro comes more easily.

Performance

Secret

Vocally, Physically and Emotionally.

#6:

Give

100%

The benefits of learning this Secret:

1. You'll get great responses from your audiences 2. You'll feel totally relaxed, satisfied and free after each performance.

An audience can immediately sense when a performer is giving 100%. It's exciting and satisfying. An audience can also tell when a performer is holding back.

That's

what makes a performer truly entertaining. When a performer holds back, an audience feels cheated or bored.

It means giving everything you

have, emotionally, vocally and physically. Not 90%, but 100%. You know when you are giving 100%. All singers do. You'll be sweating. You'll be working out, big time! It will feel great. Every cell in your body will be expressing the emotions of the song.

In his inaugural speech, Nelson Mandela delivered the following words, which really inspire me to give 100%:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" Who are you not to be?

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear our presence automatically liberates others.

Audiences expect and want performers to give all they have.

So what does it mean to give 100%?

Tips for mastering this Secret:

1. Watch some videos of today's top performers.

Summary

Mastering this Performance Secret will begin at home. Experiment with letting all your voice and emotions out. In the beginning you'll crash, but with time you'll stabilize. You won't be able to give 100% in your first few months of singing, because your voice won't be able to handle it. But as your voice grows stronger, you'll be able to give more and more. The more you give the better singing will feel!

Performance your mistakes.

Secret

#7:

The benefits of learning this Secret:

Don't

advertise

1. When you make mistakes, which you will, your audience usually

won't notice or care.

2. You'll deliver a very professional performance every time you

perform.

Many people believe that great singers just don't make mistakes.

The pros learn

to get through their mistakes gracefully.

Here's the key to dealing with mistakes: When you do make a mistake, DON’T STOP! DON’T MAKE FACES! JUST KEEP SINGING. If you forget some lyrics in a particular verse, sing lyrics from a verse you remember. If you come into a verse too early or too late, keep singing. The band should be able to follow you. If you keep singing, the audience usually won’t notice your mistakes.

Well that's not true.

ALL SINGERS MAKE MISTAKES!

Many of my beginning students will roll their eyes when they make a mistake as if to say "Did you all see that huge mistake I just made." It is as if they had a gigantic neon sign on stage behind them that said"I GOOFED UP! I GOOFED UP!" When you do make a mistake, play it cool. Don't turn on that neon sign.

When you're practicing at home and you make a mistake, try to fake your way out. This will help you develop the skill of "faking it." Then when you get on stage, you'll have some skills that will help you out when you make mistakes in public.

Tips for mastering this Secret: