........ the VoiceMaestro's singing lessons Read-Me-First .....

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Want to Sing? ...

... Start the Steps Here

    Step One: Decide Why You Are Here

    Step Two: Devise Your Strategy

    Step Three: Deride Frustration

    Step Four: Delight in Your Discoveries

    To those who were told lies: You CAN sing. If you can talk with more inflection than a robot-like monotone, you can LEARN to sing. Singing is a skill. Skills, like how to dribble a basketball or hit a golf shot, can be improved. If you had no arms, basketball and golf would be impossible. If you have no voice -- can't talk or make any sounds -- then I'll agree; you can't sing. If you can't hear the difference between pitches and don't enjoy listening to music, you will have a very difficult time learning to sing. If you're not in those categories, you can learn singing skills. Yes, this means even you.

    Some find learning to sing easy. Others have to work harder to get better. But I have yet to meet a person who was willing to work at it who could not learn and improve singing skills.

    Those who've said bad things about your singing were not sophisticated enough to help you. Had they been, they would have shown you how to get better rather than just saying hurtful things. What they probably meant was, "Your level of skill does not satisfy me today." Instead of accepting their words as a curse, don't you wish you'd had the knowledge and confidence then to tell them, "So? Show me how. I'll get better."

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    For those who want to improve: These lessons are designed to give you a foundation on which to build. This is basic stuff. No matter what style of music you want to sing, a solid vocal technique will help you sing easily and without pain. Always heed the basics.

    If you already know all this, use this material as a reminder for continued improvement. Hint: taking regular, live voice lessons with a patient teacher who will listen to you individually and give you specific guidance for your voice will best help you succeed. Please consider taking private voice lessons with a teacher you like and trust. Your progress will be most rapid this way.

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    For those who may be having difficulty with a specific problem: These lessons give general advice. They lay out a foundation for going forward. They do not go into enough depth to address specific vocal challenges. Please see a qualified voice teacher or ENT for help with your situation. You'll be glad you did.

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    Curious? These lessons are designed to give you a foundation on which to build. This is basic stuff. No matter what style of music you want to sing, a solid vocal technique will help you sing easily and without pain. So check out the lessons. Try the exercises. Play around. Work with a tape recorder. Work with a partner. Have fun. You might become more of a singer than you ever thought you could.

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    Orderly assimilation, or the slow-and-steady method, will give you the longest-lasting results. Take the lessons in order. Work at one lesson per day. Or one a week. Do the exercises and mull over the concepts. Think about the lesson while you do other things. Take a chance and try the exercises in different places -- the shower, your car, in a large-building stairwell or bathroom, in a church. The more you work at mastering a lesson before moving on, the better prepared you will be to use that skill naturally later. During each lesson, review skills you've learned in prior lessons. This cements them in place.

    If possible, reserve the same time every day for 30 - 60 minutes of voice study. A routine encourages you to give your study its due. It helps you relax into a groove and reach the next level. A typical student may feel the need to warm up 20 minutes or so to be able comfortably to stretch into new things. If your schedule does not permit this attention level, grab five minutes here and there to play with the exercises. While you dress. Walking down the hall. Wherever you can feel uninhibited enough to go for it. Most importantly, have fun! Experiment. Notice things. Become friendly with how your voice works. Enjoy yourself!

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    Lightningstorming means you rip through the lessons just to see what's there. It answers, "What is this about?" but doesn't take time to internalize the skills. Use this method to increase your head knowledge rapidly. Then, if you're serious about getting better, go back and use the Orderly Assimilation method to teach your body the skills. Your mind may remember facts, but your body must learn the skills through experience. You must do it to own it.

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    Understand what you're up against. OK, here's the skinny. Learning to sing is not easy. It requires great patience and perseverance. It often takes years of intense private study to become world-class. It can be extremely frustrating.

    For each "natural" voice, the I've-never-had-a-lesson folks who have had success anyway, there are hundreds -- maybe thousands -- who got good by staying the course through frustrating times. They kept at it. When they doubted themselves, they worked anyway. They considered quitting, but didn't. They somehow kept believing they could do it until they trained enough to find success.

    The one thing that does not change is (brace yourself): Things Change. Change is hard. It hurts. Change shakes your comfortable hammock and sometimes dumps you out. Know this: by changing what isn't working for you, you grow. Climb back onto a different hammock. Pain that does not kill you makes you stronger.

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    Practical Coping Tips. Keep working. Give yourself permission to feel the frustration when it comes without giving it undue power over your next step. Remember four powerful words: This, too, shall pass. Keep working. Try it again. Try it differently. Find someone who understands what you're going through. A teacher. Another voice student, perhaps. Share your frustrations. Encourage each other. Make helpful suggestions. Be very gentle with yourself and them. Then, keep working.

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    Enjoy yourself! Although it takes great dedicated effort (the work I keep mentioning) to develop a voice, much of the progress happens when you play. Play "What if I did this?" and "How does that sound?" Try things. Invent new ways for your voice to make sound. Imitate sounds you like. Make fun of sounds you don't understand. Listen for styles of singing and figure out why pop music, for instance, sounds different from opera. Make goofy noises. Have fun. Delight in your voice play. Discover the wonder of your voice. Enjoy yourself!

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    Get feedback. Record yourself often and see if the recorder heard what you thought you did. Cup your hand behind your ear and sing into a corner. Check with someone kind who knows about the process of learning to sing. Show off your latest vocal discovery. Get comments. Ask, "How do I sound? How do I look? Have I changed since the last time?" Then keep trying things and practicing.

    Even if you're taking private lessons, you are the one who will teach yourself the most. Your teacher can help you learn much faster; you've still got to do the work. If you don't practice, if you don't sing, progress won't happen. So with a teacher or on your own, dig in. Go for it! Discover!

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    Keep a notebook. Always date your entries. Notice things. Write down your observations. What did you do and how did that feel? Write it down. Did the recorder sound horrible when you thought you sounded good? Write it down. Did something you did work wonderfully well? Write down what you did to make that sound. Be an objective reporter. Don't label anything right or wrong; just be aware of what happened and write it down. How did your mood affect your practice today? Write it down. Is your body in a particular place health or cycle-wise? Write it down. Write down as much detail as you can each time you practice.

    While practicing: if something you do hurts, stop immediately. It should never hurt to speak or sing. If that last thing you did was painful, take a break. Maybe for a day, even. Approach it again fresh. Right after it happens, describe to yourself what you did that hurt. Write it down.

    Keeping a notebook allows you to notice patterns. This usually works well. That usually causes pain. The other thing sounds terrible. Read your notebook often. Be a detective. Study the clues you've given yourself. Discover the lessons the clues point toward. Then make more notes. Lots and lots of beautiful notes! Best of luck. Have fun!

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    Go for it! To Lesson One.

Call the VoiceMaestro if you'd like individual help. 817.498-6454. His rates are reasonable. He loves helping!

Stan Yoder Voice Studio
Where you bloom, grow your voice and love it!
Haltom City, Texas

Disclaimer: All information in this site is for general educational purposes only. No medical or individualized professional advice is to be inferred from this information. The VoiceMaestro, Stan Yoder, and the Stan Yoder Voice Studio claim no responsibility for abuse, misuse or misunderstanding of this information. You accept full responsibility for your state of mind, body and health and for the actions you take as a result of the information provided herein. If you understand and agree, please proceed and enjoy.
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