Singing a Song – The Main Goal

Weekly Teaching Tip – Nov. 25, 2013
by Sonia Lachowolska

The most important thing for any singer is to be able to perform beautifully on the stage. Sometimes teachers forget this goal and spend a lot of time (too much) on teaching how to be good at singing “goo” on half and octave scale or how to assimilate in a perfect way lip bubble. Then the lesson passes quickly and turns out that there is no time for singing. Lately I’ve  worked with a student sent to by another teacher from my jazz school. My colleague asked me to evaluate the voice because this student was unable to sing any song. He was out of pitch, out of rhythm out of pulse, out of anything. I knew that so I didn’t want to frustrate him asking for a song. I started with “aaa” diagnose scale. To my surprise the singer pass from his lower range over his forth bridge without problems with a little disconnection on the first bridge but it was not an obstacle to go higher!  I asked for some scales … everything was perfect. So we pass to “Fly me To The Moon” and everything was out of place! The boy was unable to sing the song at all. I asked him if he was trained before. Turned out he had a teacher from my previous organization who trained him during 6 months. Incredible… he was trained during this time to be able to sing perfectly scales! I couldn’t believe it. So we – as teachers – should never lose our goals and remember that scales have to help to sing songs better and they are not the goal themselves. If not, sooner or later our singers start to be frustrated and we will lose them.

So what I did in that situation? I advised him to treat this song as a new scale J and we used some gees and boos but not to much… I asked him to clap his hands on syncope, to dance a bit and to be concentrated on lyrics not on music. The exercise I do a lot is to speak the lyrics on rhythm with true understanding. In that moment emotions appears spontaneously  and later on it is quite easy to add music into it.  At the end of the lesson he got the tune. It wasn’t perfect of course but he was really happy. “The first time I understand what I did during my lesson” – he said. I was happy to work with that boy because I learnt from this lesson once again how important our goals are.

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  1. This reminds me of my first master class where Dean played the piano. I was the worst singer there but during the lesson part I was great on the vocalizing but every time I sang, I did it exactly how I always had. Wrong!. This was my first experience of learning to put the exercises in the songs. When I approach a new song I don’t even waste time singing it without first doing some ghee or ney in it. It saves time and lets my brain know where everything needs to be. Gena Jacob

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