Getting the Mix into songs

Weekly Teaching Tip – June 15, 2015
by Sissy Handler

We all know how difficult it can be, to help singers who can’t get rid of their old habits and convictions. Some can’t find their full speaking voice as soon as they start to sing… or “bad habits” appear as soon as they start to sing a song. Some do great exercises but the very first line of the song is already a mess. So let’s try something very simple that prevents them from thinking, judging and obeying rules, if they can’t get it right in the usual way.

Everybody knows and loves Walt Disney movies, and many of us know some of them and perhaps even recite some funny scenes. Advantage: When singers think of it, they get into a different (just playing around – no pressure – mistakes don’t count) mood. And please convince your students that speaking on different pitches is not far from singing on different pitches. This might be very creative for you too. 😉 Finding what your students might need or find helpful.


1) Student is afraid of her/his high voice and can’t find the smaller place etc. Make him or her imitate the mice from “Cinderella” for a more forward sound in high voice: or the children from “Robin Hood” for lighter high sound:

2) Student tries to push, squeeze etc. all the time, no airflow possible or no chance to go up higher. Choose Dory from “Finding nemo” imitating a wale:

3) For bigger or smaller feeling in body and / or mouth take this! 🙂 from “Aladdin”:

Playing around with comic characters makes many singers more relaxed than doing more exercises or more technical explanations. If you feel that your student is ashamed of trying it out in front of you, ask to do it at home first, playing around and trying out.

Perhaps this is a nice and joyful new approach for your students. For some of mine it works wonders!

Try out! Good luck!

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