Susan Govali | Vocal Coaching: Singing From The Center Of Your Voice

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Spoken Word: Instructional Spoken Word: Educational Moods: Type: Vocal
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Vocal Coaching: Singing From The Center Of Your Voice

by Susan Govali

Learn to sing easily and effectively with this wonderful program. This vocal coaching CD explains how to use the manual, with vocal examples and singing tips, and how to use the Vocal Exercises CD for daily practice.
Genre: Spoken Word: Instructional
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1. Intro
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2. Breathing 1
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3. Breathing 2
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4. Breathing 3
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5. Breathing 4
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6. Mmm - Resonance
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7. Nnghah - The Pure Note
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8. Completing The Cirlce
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9. 3 Notes Up And Down
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10. Vowels
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11. Noo Noh Nah Neh Nee
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12. 5 Notes Up And Down
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13. Yo Yah
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14. Siren Sound
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15. Scales
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16. Arpeggios
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17. Consonants
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18. Vibrato
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19. Soft To Loud
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20. Pure Note To Breathy Note
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21. Brooweeooweeoowee
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22. Pitching
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23. The Pop Reverb
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24. Putting It All Together: Singing A Song
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25. Conclusion
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
(Vocal Coaching Album only. This album is a part of the program 'Singing From The Center Of Your Voice'. The program is the Vocal Coaching CD, A Vocal Exercises CD and Instruction Manual. When you order the complete physical program, the Vocal Coaching CD comes with it. There are 3 vocal ranges available on CD Baby:

Mezzo (Mid-range Female) http://cdbaby.com/cd/susangovali

Baritone (Mid-range Male) http://cdbaby.com/cd/susangovali3

Tenor And Alto (High range male, low range female):
http://cdbaby.com/cd/susangovali2

If you are unsure of your vocal range, then go to any of the pages above and play track 10. 'Scale 1'. Sing along to the scale AFTER the vocal example. If it feels comfortable, then that program suits your range (bear in mind that each example starts relatively low in the range to stretch your voice). Alternatively, go to:

http://www.govali.com/singing/order.html

and scroll over the scales under 'Find Your Range'.

If you'd like to order a copy of just the manual, it can be ordered as a PDF download from http:www.singingfromthecenter.com for $9.99 (click on the 'Order CD' option).

And, if you would prefer a direct download of all the full program, that option is also available on the same page of this website).



Great singers make singing look easy. They’re poised and centered when performing, almost like they’re in a bubble. They don’t stretch and strain for the note, and they keep that poise and strength no matter the content or genre of song.

Singing From The Center Of Your Voice is a three-part program created by British singer/songwriter Susan Govali. Formally a singer with the band The Moody Blues, and with twenty years experience as a performer and teacher, Susan has perfected a style that helps any singer, beginner or experienced, find their true voice. (You can also hear Susan sing herself, through her album on CD baby under the band name ‘Trapped In Paradise’ and the album name: ‘I Want To Get To Heaven But I Don’t Want To Die’, and on ‘A Moment In Time’, a jazz album of cover songs ranging from Cole Porter to Cyndi Lauper to Bob Dylan, also available as a direct download through CD baby, itunes or her website http://www.govali.com).

It’s a three part program :

· A 60 Page manual with over 64 color diagrams and
photos(see the end of this page for an excerpt of
the manual. You can also go to
http://www.govali.com/singing/readsamples.html
for further samples).

· A Vocal Coaching CD, that takes you through the
exercises on the manual and Exercise CD

· An Exercise CD in your vocal range, to help develop
and exercise your voice. The first ten exercises
take you through a daily practice regimen.

In a nutshell, this program teaches you:

· How The Voice Works
· How To Use The Voice
· How To Perform A Song
· How to keep centered when performing and singing

Being centered when singing means we are in control, understand what we’re doing, and why. In other words, using the voice like an instrument. We’re then free to concentrate on the song, without worrying about technique. This gives us confidence, helps us relax and actually enjoy singing.

Just by reading the book, you will have a clear idea of ‘how to do it’, and, if you’ve already been singing for a while, how to correct any problems or bad habits that might have arisen. Most of the time, it’s simple mistakes we make that all add up to a strained voice and/or note. We stand incorrectly, tense up, don’t breathe properly and put so much strain on the vocal cords it’s a wonder that any sound comes out at all. So we have to re-learn how to do it, step by step. 9 times out of 10, singing a good song is actually about physically getting it right. Once we teach our bodies to do that without thinking, so that it feels natural and flows easily, then we can concentrate on singing the song with truth and integrity.

For it’s remembering to do the RIGHT things all at the same time that is often the greatest challenge. And an understanding of how the voice works, i.e. the whole body working together at the same time, goes a long way to help us master our Instrument and make the right choices before we’ve even made a sound. We’re then relaxed and focused – in other words, Centered.

The voice is a muscle that with proper exercise and focus WILL develop and work for you. As I mentioned earlier, just by reading the booklet you should have a grasp of how to sing and how to get the best results from your voice. Then with 10-20 minutes practice every day, every other day, or any spare minute you can find, you could see a marked improvement in as little as a week. However, what you put in is what you get out. The more you sing, with correct focus and use of the voice, the more it will develop. For it’s the FOCUS, with singing, and not the STRAIN or EFFORT. For example, it’s very tempting if we are singing a song that needs a lot of power and emotion, to force the voice and so not get the result we’re looking for. The more we can direct our energies from WITHIN, the body RELAXED and POISED, the BETTER we sound.

When we work on centering and thus developing the voice, we are then free to concentrate and sing from the CENTER of a SONG. Singing then ceases to be an effort and strain and becomes FUN. We are singing from the center of our voice, from the center of a song, and from the center of ourselves.

_________________________


The following is an excerpt from the manual.

(For further excerpts, plus diagrams not included in this excerpt, go to

http://www.govali.com/singing/readsamples.html).

Singing From The Center Of Your Voice

Over the next few pages I will be explaining the basics of learning How To Sing. It’s a short book because, in essence, singing is very simple. It’s all about Being Centered. In other words, being relaxed and focused, singing with the whole body. And yet singing is very different from doing any other form of physical activity, for example, running, when we put energy into the muscles and frame of the body to literally get to our goal. With singing, the best results are obtained when we use our internal energy, and relax the rest of the body, like a bird poised for flight. Certain parts of the body need to be trained to work together, to talk to each other and work as one, and the rest of the body, the physical frame, needs to be trained to facilitate that action. Expanding and opening up to sing, rather than contracting and moving inward to force out the noise. We take a breath, focus the energy, open up, and produce a clear, controlled note, without strain or unnecessary effort. The note then sounds ‘centered’ and we ourselves are ‘centered’, i.e. in control of our instrument. When we sing from the center of the voice it then leaves us free and clear to express a song.

For everything can be heard in the voice when singing, and that’s why it can be so challenging. There is no safety net. We get one thing right and then forget to do another, and another, and before long we are tense, out of our center, and want to get off the stage or just go home! But the voice is an instrument that’s built for singing, and understanding how it works helps enormously with confidence, in addition to achieving and maintaining a good performance. The goal is to train the body to make the right choices before we’ve even taken a breath. This way we get the desired effect every time we open our mouths, or know where we went wrong so we can get it right the next time. We then learn to do everything in balance without stress or strain, as well as understand what we’re doing, and why.

Every teacher finds their own way up the mountain and this one has been developed over the years from various teachers I’ve studied with, and from being a singer and teacher myself. Most of my teachers were centered on more traditional techniques, i.e. diaphragmatic breathing and finding and then developing a pure note. However, I found this approach, although useful in many ways, was not always helpful when applied to other genres. It did not, for me, complete the whole picture. So, over the years, the methods I used developed and then became modulated and adapted – crystallizing into a way of looking at singing that I hope helps a student tap into their own source and become open to the music within so that the whole process flows naturally and easily.
I’ve tried to make the process of learning to sing as simple as possible – so that, by the end of the program, you will hopefully have a clear view of how to put it all together and how to use your instrument, i.e. your whole voice. While teaching one-on-one I’ve also found that ‘getting it’ is much easier for some than
others, so I’ve tried to be as exact in my explanations as possible. Although singing is very simple once you get it, at first it can seem like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time!

This manual works with the CD’s (CD 1: Vocal Coaching, and CD 2: Vocal Exercises). I recommend that you read the manual straight through initially, so that you have a clear picture of what you’re trying to achieve; then work with the CD’s.


HOW TO USE YOUR INSTRUMENT

As a general rule, we are used to using only our vocal cords, larynx and upper chest when we speak, and so imagine that the same rules apply to singing. We then tense up when preparing to sing or while singing (most commonly the head, neck, and shoulders) constricting the larynx and throat and virtually throttling ourselves! The trick is to learn to use the greatest amount of power using the least amount of effort. The whole body connected, not just the vocal cords and upper chest.

For singing is about opening up, everything moving as one, connected and balanced. Posture, breathing properly and having a clear view of what you are trying to achieve is the first step in remedying this very basic reaction when first learning to sing – or in undoing bad habits if you have been singing for a while and are finding that your voice sounds ‘forced’.

There are 6 basic steps to learning to control and understand your voice:

1. Breath and posture
2. Developing the resonance, or color, of your voice
3. Singing a pure, clear note
4. Learning to control the note with your breath
5. Applying the note to every part of your vocal range through various vocal exercises
6. Applying the exercises to singing actual songs

Why do vocal exercises and not simply start with singing songs?
When we sing songs, it is hard to separate the emotion of the song from technique. We are also limited by the song itself, which might not stretch us vocally. It’s also tempting to try and copy the original singer of the song, which stops us from finding our own voice. Exercises stretch and develop the voice in a way that just singing songs can never do.

First of all, it’s important to remember that the voice is a muscle, and with proper use we can easily learn to work out and build its strength day-by-day, note-by-note. Although the basics and general processes of learning to sing are really very simple, the only way to master it is to sing. The work comes in doing it, in singing every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes.

I’ve called this book ‘Singing From The Center Of Your Voice’ because singing is all about focus. Breathing deeply and simply, without strain or struggle, then connecting with and creating a
pure, clear note. Our bodies know how to sing, it’s our minds that get in the way and make it far more complicated than it really is. To help the mind focus, I’ll often use images to help concentration and technique so that the note can then come from the center of your voice.

Many people believe that you have to be born with a voice, and that they can never learn. Not True. Of course, it helps if you do have a natural voice, but anyone can learn to Truly Use their Voice and sing. In this way, one is learning the craft of singing.

Once the craft is learned, we have the confidence in our technique to master the art of expressing the inner workings of a song with strength and integrity.

And last but by no means least, it’s vital that you enjoy it! Basic stuff, but very necessary! Not only because everything we do and think can be heard in the voice (which is why it is so challenging
for many of us), but also because, in the final analysis, singing should be fun!!!

So, to start at the very beginning….

PART I

Parts I and II of the manual take you through the basics of the singing process: Breathing, the inner workings of the voice, how to create and control a pure note, and how to create and control vowel sounds.

In essence, Parts I and II are also taking you through a daily practice regimen, so I’ll mention various exercises throughout Parts I and II that pertain to the narrative.

Part III explains the Exercise CD step-by-step, how to use it, what each exercise is, and how to get the best results.

Part IV takes you on to singing songs and performing them.

POSTURE

As I mentioned earlier, singing is all about Being Centered. When you look at a wonderful singer, Aretha Franklin for example, her performance seems effortless, seamless. Even when belting out a song at full force, she looks relaxed and ‘centered’. In fact, great performers seem to have a bubble around them, and they present an open posture to an audience. This is true in any genre or style. When we slouch or tense up and then try to sing, it can be heard in the voice. Singing with bad technique can also permanently damage the voice over time if we’re not careful...yes, of course, one has to move and emote and be involved in the performance, but when we come from a balanced place, it’s almost like an internal spirit level that’s always with us.

The following exercise can be found on the Vocal Coaching CD, Track 2.To start with, imagine you have a string that starts about a foot above your head and travels all the way down the center of your body as in Fig 1 – diagrams not shown in this excerpt, please go to singingfromthecenter.com for excerpts with diagrams). Imagine that the string is holding up your body, as if you were a marionette, and that you are relaxed and poised beneath it. Looking straight ahead with feet slightly apart, go up on your toes and then gradually lower your heels to the floor (Figs 2 and 3, diagram not shown). Try to keep your head in the same place as you do this, i.e. elongate your body. If you feel that you’re losing your center during any of the exercises or during practice, go back to the ‘string’ and center yourself.

When you have finished doing this:

Your chin is parallel to the floor.

The weight is more on the balls of the feet than the heels.

Your abdomen and stomach are pulled up and your rib cage feels like it is ‘floating’


LEARNING TO BREATHE

A Quick Test

First of all, take a quick breath in without thinking. Did you tense up your shoulders, raise your chin or just breathe from your upper chest?

Most of us breathe only from the upper chest, so we have to train the body to breathe from the stomach and diaphragm – i.e. Lower!

The breath is the power of the voice, i.e. it’s where the power comes from in singing. We need the power of the breath behind our voice to make a strong, clear sound.

The power of the voice actually comes from using a wall of muscle connected to the ribs called the diaphragm. When we breathe from here, the diaphragm moves downwards, the ribs come out, and the stomach moves slightly outwards. The breath is actually moving outwards and downward and getting out of the way of the voice (Fig 4, diagram not shown), rather than heading up into the chest and throat where we are literally choking ourselves (Fig 5, diagram not shown).

_______________


Table Of Contents Of The Manual:

Table Of Contents Page Number

Introduction ……………………………………………… 3
How To Use Your Instrument…………………………… 3
Part 1 5
Posture…………………………………………………… 5
Learning To Breathe……………………………………… 6
The Diaphragm…………………………………………… 8
Breathing………………………………………………… 10
Connecting The Breath With The Stomach and Diaphragm……………………………………………… 13
The Back And The Breath……………………………… 14
The Vocal Cords………………………………………… 15
The Power Of The Diaphragm…………………………… 16
Connecting The Power Of The Diaphragm To The Voice 17

PART II 19

Starting To Vocalize……………………………………… 19
Resonance………………………………………………… 19
A Brief Overview Of The Singing Process……………… 20
Body Posture When Singing…………………………… 22
Finding Your Pure Note………………………………… 24
Completing The Circle…………………………………… 26
Chest, Middle And Head Voice………………………… 28
The Vowel Sounds – Ooh Oh Ah Eh Ee………………… 29
The Pop Reverb………………………………………… 33
Part III 36
Practicing With The Exercise CD……………………… 36
Full Breath Exercise Track 1…………………………… 37
The ‘Mmm’ Scale: Tracks 2 &3………………………… 38
‘Nnghah’ 1: Track 4……………………………………… 38
3 Notes Up And Down Track 5………………………… 39
Vowels: Track 6………………………………………… 39
5 Notes Up And Down Track 7………………………… 41
Yo Yah Track 8………………………………………… 41
The Siren Sound: Track 9………………………………… 41

Scale 1: Track 10………………………………………… 43
Scale 2: Track 11………………………………………… 43
Arpeggio 1: Track 12………………………………… 43
Arpeggio 2: Track 13…………………………………… 43
Arpeggio 3: Track14…………………………………… 43
Consonants: Track 15…………………………………… 43
Vibrato: Track 16………………………………………… 44
Soft To Loud: Track 17………………………………… 44
’Brooweeooweeooweeoowee’: Track 18………………… 44
Pitching…………………………………………………… 45
Pitching Exercise 1: Track19…………………………… 45
Pitching Exercise 2: Track20…………………………… 45
The Pop Reverb Track 21………………………………… 45
Investing In A Microphone……………………………… 45
Part IV 46

Performing A Song……………………………………… 46
Dealing With Breaks…………………………………… 53


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