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The Human Voice: Lesson for Kids

The Human Voice: Lesson for Kids

Introduction

Singing is an invaluable skill and something most children love to learn about. Teaching children to sing while they are young can foster a lifelong interest and love of music. Singing lessons not only help your child “carry a tune” or help them prepare for an audition, but it also builds confidence and discipline which can help them in everyday life.
Singing is absolutely a technical skill so it is best to provide professional help in developing your child’s voice. Paired with a little bit of guidance, the warmups and techniques below are great reminders:

The basics: Posture, and relaxed and open breathing.
The first thing you have to do before starting any singing practice is to get your instrument, your body, in the proper position. Posture is important. Think of it like a flute – how good would it sound if it was bent? How good would a violin sound if the string was not at the proper tension. The body is the same way. A teacher will help with getting the proper posture, and help your child to relax. Breathing properly is the next step – proper body awareness, expanded rib cage, open throat, and more are all needed. There should no incorrect tension in the vocal mechanism.

Practice breathing
It is in the overall interest of children to practice proper breathing when singing. The teacher will demonstrate ome breathing exercise for them to understand how to regulate breath whenever they sing.

• Get them to breathe in through their nose and mouth (opening nasal cavity) that elicits
the “cold air in” concept. Then breath out “warm air”, all the while keeping the throat open
and out of the way for proper resonance.
• Encourage your child to begin directing air into their belly instead of their chest.
Encourage them to place their hands on their bellies and ask them to direct air to their
stomach, so it moves. The shoulders should never rise and fall. It is best to practice this lying
down, but you can do it sitting too!
• Get the children to count when they breathe. Let them inhale for the count of 4 and
exhale (perhaps on an “s”) for the count of 4 to 24.

Warm up using a range that is comfortable
Range extension is a natural occurrence from proper technique and practice. The trick is not to push it too soon. Warm up on something like “la” or “loo” with exercises given to you by the teacher is the best way to improve.

Demonstrate tone and pitch through singing
Exposure to singing and music helps a child’s ear and ability to match pitch. If you have a nice singing voice (and ven if you don’t) feel free to sing around your child! Not only have they always felt comforted by your voice, but you can also sing to demonstrate confidence. First, sing songs that you know they love. You can sing your child lullabies each night and sing throughout the day as well.

But, even if you are not a good singer, you can always play to the child songs done by those singers that you enjoy as well. You can ask the voice teacher for suggestions of people with amazing technique to support the proper vocal ideal when you are at home. We recommend popular singers like Julie Andrews, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbara Streisand, and Frank Sinatra. We also strongly recommend listening to classical singers like Luciano Pavarotti and
Fritz Wunderlich, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Bryn Terfel and Cecilia Bartoli.

Teach children about their Larynx
When you breathe in deeply, you just filled your lungs with air, and as you breathe out, the stored air travels back up across your windpipe (the trachea), which is your throat air passageway. The larynx is a box-shaped area located at the top of your windpipe. It is popularly called the voice box because it secures the part of the body that allows us to speak. In other words, the larynx is the foundation or source of your voice. Your larynx is that small bump that is on your throat’s front and is below your chin. The trick is to not focus on it too much, but also don’t ignore it so it gets too high and causes tension!

Your vocal cords
Inside of the larynx are two very thin, stretched out bands of muscles known as the vocal cords. Whenever you breathe in, these cords open to allow air passage through the larynx, going into the trachea and progressing down to the lungs. The vocal cords close when you breathe out and want to talk. The air from the lungs that are trying to pass over the closed vocal cords starts to vibrate, which create sound.

Just hum a bit of your best melody and touch your larynx. Are you feeling the vibration? Your vocal cords are like having a built-in instrument because just as you use your fingers to move the strings of your guitar to produce sound, so also you make your vocal cords to move to generate words.

Final thought
Cadenza Music Academy is fully committed to teaching and providing the best techniques in singing and piano for kids of all ages. We make it possible to bring the best experience in musical and singing opportunities into the lives of children. This will help you set them up for a lifetime of excellent brain functionality and incredible abilities that will last for the rest of their lives.

Sign up your child for music lessons at Cadenza Music Academy today!

 

Seven Helpful Tips While Practicing Singing

Seven Helpful Tips While Practicing Singing

Overall health along with intelligent practice is essential to improving singing. While singing may seem easy on the surface, it requires hard work and dedication. This article will discuss some tips that will assist beginners in becoming better singers.

1. Eat well before singing
If you plan to enjoy your singing practice session, make sure you consider the type and amount of food you eat. As is normal for overall health, start with the basic of eating healthy foods and drink plenty of water. Being too full or being hungry is not beneficial to energy or simply the
comfort and physical balance of the body. Some singers recommend staying away from foods that cause mucus build-up, meaning milk and such other dairy products, for example.
Absolutely singers should avoid alcohol and smoking. Both of those dry out the vocal mechanism resulting in higher risk of vocal damage.

2. Breathing properly
Breath control is integral to successful singing. Not only used a warm up and a necessity for efficient phonation (making a sound), proper breathing is great for overall health.

3. Range extension
Singers often think extending their range comes from “pushing” their voice. This only does damage and does nothing for extending the notes you can hit. The best practice is to sing through your assigned songs or your vocal exercises that emphasize technique (placement,
vowel modification, etc.) as you move higher or lower. The best practice is to just develop your mid-range and the outer notes will follow. You really should dedicate at least 30 minutes a day of dedicated practice.

4. Opening your mouth!
Many beginning singers don’t realize that by just opening your mouth more when you sing will allow more sound to come out! Beginning singers are so self-conscious that they hesitate to let their voice shine. While we don’t want to open too far, that causes unnecessary tension too!
“Two fingers” is about the distance between your teeth is all that is needed.

5. Keep your chin level with the floor.
Many people wrongly consider high notes as higher in your instrument and therefore “reach up” to them. This is wrong on every level. This usually shows itself with a raising of the chin and straining in the head and neck. This puts stress on the vocal folds, tongue, and all the musculature of the vocal system. Keep your chin parallel with the floor to allow for a more natural sound and much less tension in the sound.

6. Practice emoting
While this may seem silly, you need to practice being emotive during performances. Everyone can tell the difference when someone is singing from the heart compared to when someone is
just repeating the lyrics and melody. Sing in front of a mirror (better yet, even video yourself) to make sure the emotions in your heart are in your face and body. Imagine the audience in front of you and have eye-contact and practice being a performer.

7. Record your performance Recording your voice will allow you to know where you need to improve. Often the most painful part of becoming a better singer is listening to yourself! We are often our worst critic, so just do it, and listen with that critical ear. You will easily be able to tell what is working and what is not usually before everyone else other than your teacher. You can record your voice with your computer or an excellent Smartphone. Some online free recording software (Audacity, for example) also allows you to record your practice. While this may be the toughest one of our seven hints it usually provides the most growth so just do it!

Final thought
Practicing how to sing isn’t as difficult as you may think. However, you have to remember practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. Perfect practice makes a perfect performance. So, practice well and these steps are a great place to start. At Cadenza Music Academy we can help you achieve your vocal training goals. If you, a family member, or a friend
are searching for singing lessons, Cadenza Music Academy is the place to call.

5 Ways to Build Up Confidence before a Performance

5 Ways to Build Up Confidence before a Performance

How confident are you right before your performances? Do you go into a performance feeling you are going to do your best or are you filled with anxiety and doubt for weeks or days before the big day? Do your palms sweat, is your stomach in knots, is your heart racing in anticipation of the performance? Some think that confidence is a personality trait but did you know you can control your level of self-confidence? Whether it is piano performance, interviewing for a job, or speaking in front of 5000 people, there are specific things to do that can help lower your anxiety.

Great performance skills1. Steady Practice on Your Own

Great performance skills come through constant practice. Remember practice makes permanent, not perfect – so see our other blog on best practice techniques. To perform well in anything constant practice and hard work is an essential confidence booster. Try to rehearse the introduction several times, know exactly how you are going to start, and this will build your confidence to get past the beginning – the toughest part for most of us!

Smile2. Smile
Before any performance, it is good to maintain a positive and pleasant expression on your face. Smiling helps to build confidence. Smiling relaxes the body, that is, it increases the level of endorphins that reduce stress and anxiety, It calms the nerves and creates a sense of well being and promotes a pleasant attitude not just from you but from the people around you.

A smile relays self-assurance and confidence, which tells the audience that you are enthusiastic and happy about your message. Act confident; they will not see how nervous you are or whether your legs are shaking or your heart is racing. So, smile, look confident even if you are not.

Exercise3. Do Light Exercise
It is always good to exercise the body before a performance – it can get rid of some of the adrenaline. A brisk walk, some knee bends, jumping jacks all help to remove anxiety and reduce tension. Sitting is passive and motionless, tension can build. Standing five minutes before the performance allows your body to warm up and gets your body ready for action!

4. Responses to Stress
Believe it or not, stress is not the main issue when preparing for a performance. Stress will be there, it is how we react to the stress that will suggest whether we will fail under the pressure or excel. You should be able to adjust to performance settings, trust your training, your teacher and your rehearsals. It is also important to have experience with different performance environments, which will help you to feel at home when you want to perform.

Sometimes you get to practice on the actual instrument you are giving your performance on, sometimes you don’t. Some techniques like mental imagining help to build confidence. Recent studies have shown that imagining the performance your head results in some of the same chemical and psychological effects on you as actually doing it!

Concentrate5. Concentrate on You!
Those that tend to be anxious have more fear about what others will think of them than the actual performance. If you are concerned with the faces of those who are bored or not enjoying the performance it can lead to a very disruptive performance – for everyone. Stage fright is an outcome of not being secure due to either a lack of preparation or lack of comfort with the audience. Practice is the first step. Second, is to know that most everyone in the audience is rooting for you to succeed and not fail! Think of those that are in attendance that supports you, that are proud of you. Your teacher, your parents, your friends. Think about the party after! Talk to yourself positively before and during a performance. The audience wants you to succeed, they want to be entertained. If you make a mistake, it’s ok. Do not worry about it, it’s in the past as you cannot do anything about it anyway, just continue. This will boost your confidence and you will make it hearing the applause!

Final thought
Nothing builds confidence like a successful musical performance. Cadenza Music Academy is the place to have those experiences. Get started today!

5 Interesting Facts About the Piano

5 Interesting Facts About the Piano

You probably already know that the piano is one of the world’s most favorite musical instruments. It has significantly contributed to both classical and modern music. The piano was first created in the early 1700s but evolved into its current form all the way up until the early 1900’s! It originated from the harpsichord, which was only able to play softly and tenderly. The harpsichord worked by plucking the strings, much like we play the guitar, but the piano changed all that. It evolved into a system of hammers striking the keys. This changed a lot of what the instrument was able to do.

The piano was formally called pianoforte, (a name of a small Italian instrument) because it can play notes quietly (piano) and loudly (forte). It can be played to produce calm and soothing music (think of the most beautiful Chopin Nocturnes) or vibrant, exciting music (think Rachmaninov!). The piano has transformed in shape and size so many times over the years. It has 12,000 parts of which 10,000 pieces are moving, and all these must work correctly to get the best sound from the musical instrument.

A few little warm up facts: The middle of the piano is not middle C, but is actually the space between E and F above the middle C. Piano keys are called “ivories”, but since 1940 they were no longer made of ivory, but of plastic. Now, the instrument has evolved and adapted to different forms dependant on the musical style, or space requirement. From grand pianos, uprights, digital pianos, and synthesizers the keyboard is a very versatile instrument. The word ‘Grand’ was first used in 1777. And in 1772, Americus Backers made the oldest homemade piano in Britain.

Here are 5 interesting facts about this incredible instrument:

1. Piano as “The King Of Musical Instruments”

The piano is the king of musical instruments for obvious reasons (though organs were the first to claim that title). First, the piano is one of the beautiful instruments you can play and enjoy. It’s an instrument with impressive size, and can play melody and accompaniment at the same time, making it a truly complete instrument. Also, the piano is hailed as the king because of its most comprehensive range of notes, which is lower than a 16-foot pedal note you have on an organ and is also higher than the top note of piccolo.

The pedal you see on the right is the sustain pedal and is being used often. The left pedal is the damper pedal that moves the hammers closer to the strings, and it makes the sound softer – much simpler than an organ! Some pianos also have a middle pedal, which sustains only the notes you press and continues that while you play others without sustain. A piano is a versatile instrument, and with all these properties, you can see why it has taken the term “The King of Musical Instruments.”

2. Is The Piano A String Or Percussion Instrument?

One of the causes of disagreement among musicians is whether the piano is a string or percussion instrument. Of course, we see the main feature of the piano, which is the strings all the way through. These are made of steel. Up to 230 strings are needed for the piano to make its full sound and each string holds about 170 pounds of tension. That is also why tuning the piano is for a specialist. The sound is produced by tiny hammers hitting the strings inside the piano, placing it among the percussion section with a symphony orchestra. So, the piano is considered a percussion instrument.

3. Strings Tension in Piano

It may surprise you to know that the piano has 220-230 strings (3 for each pitch!), made from steel, strung very tightly to produce the sound that we have come to love when hit by the hammers. Each string holds 168 pounds of tension, so total tension for standard pianos is 18-20 tons. The largest grand pianos hold 30 tons of tension. That is why tuning a piano is a job for a specialist.

4. The invention of Digital Pianos

The acoustic piano has existed since the 1700s. The need for an instrument in the music studio that didn’t need tuning and was easily recorded resulted in the invention of the synthesizer in the 1960s. Eventually, the modern digital piano was introduced in the 1980s, paving the way for many possibilities in the musical world. The digital piano helps in resolving many disadvantages of the acoustic piano, including the ability to directly amplify their instrument, save space, no tuning costs, and can practice silently with a set of headphones.

5. Grand Piano Is Actually Faster Than Upright Piano

The grand piano allows you to play faster than its smaller cousin because of its action. A grand piano can be as large as 9 feet (technically they are 8 feet, 11- inch) but include a repetition lever that allows the pianist to repeat notes when the key is half way up. There is no such room for this technology in an upright. So, what you save on space, you also lose on action and adaptability.

Final thought

This beautiful instrument, going through centuries of change, has become the favorite instrument for many people. At Cadenza Music Academy, you will have all it takes to master the piano. Sign up with Cadenza Music Academy today and begin the journey of exploring this beautiful instrument.

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