Rehearsal Process.

This week I didn’t attend my singing lesson as I wasn’t feeling 100% I felt extremely guilty for missing my lesson but sometimes these things cant be avoided. In the mean time I have been running through my chosen rep for the upcoming assessments. I feel confident with all 3 of my songs however I think it would be beneficial for me to go over ‘What it means to be a friend’ with Gavin. I can now hit all of the notes with in this song without them sounding weak however Im not as confident with this song as  I am with my over 2. My aim is to try and get all of my chosen repertoire at the same standard. In order for me to be able to do this ill have to keep going through all of my rep on a regular basis. I have also been rehearsing the assessment chords and the song study. In my opinion I reckon I will be fine with the song study and the I-aw(r) chords, I think this because I feel confident with them and when im rehearsing these im not hesitating. However when I am rehearsing the ‘ie,ay,or,ar’ chords, I find myself hesitating and doubting what I am singing. On Mondays lesson I will speak to Gavin and explain to him what I think is essential for me to work on,go through again before the assessment. Overall I think I am nearly ready for the assessment and I also think I will be happy with the work I present because I know im working to the best of my ability.

I  need to remain positive and focussed in order for me to achieve! 


Mondays lesson was successful, I managed to find the correct placement for the high belt note in ‘what it means to be a friend’ on the lyric ‘there’ I was over the moon when I managed to do it and I am now aware on how the correct placement should feel, which means I should be able to do it again without a problem however I will continue to work on this so I can become much more confident with mixing all 3 voices together. We Started the lesson by going through the ‘ee’ ‘ow(r)’ assessment chords, we hadn’t gone through this exercise for a while so it was extremely beneficial to recap. The first time I sung through it, I didn’t have the correct placement and I also wasn’t confident which resulted in the sound being dull and not powerful. However the second time we went through them I was much more confident and I had the correct placement which made the exercise much easier to perform. I think I didn’t have the correct placement the first time round because I wasn’t sure if I was singing the chords correctly because we hadn’t done them for ages. I will continue to work on all the vocal exercises that will be used for the assessment, this way in relation to the chords my confidence shouldn’t be an issue in the future.

What it means to be a friend. 

This song is performed by an american character therefore when I sing this song its important for me to create a twang sound. Gavin said in order for me to do this correctly I need to think about the american vowels and how Americans pronounce words differently to British. For example for the lyric ‘classes’ British would focus on the vowel ‘a’ making an punchy and well pronounced sound unlike the Americans who would create more of a relaxed sound and they would focus on the vowel ‘æ;sound. When performing this song I need to remember that Americans do say things differently and also I need to remember to focus on the vowels and then add the consonants for instance in the word ‘friend’ I need to focus and hold on the vowel ‘e’ and then add the ‘nd’ right at the end of the phrase. I am going to do some independent work and compare how British and Americans pronounce vowels. In relation to the high belt, I need to remember to have my soft palate risen but also think that I am going to sing higher than what the actual note is, this way my soft palate will be risen to the correct level but I will also have room above.

For my next lesson I need to go through the song study as this is what we will be working on, I also need to sing through all of my chosen repertoire for the assessment so I can double check that I am 100% confident with them and if I aren’t I can work on them in the time leading up to the assessment! I personal do feel confident about the upcoming assessment, I just need to remember to believe in myself and work on all of the exercises and my chosen songs.

Rehearsal Process

Gavin told me to try and find a connection with the lyrics in order to make my performance much easier for me to connect with and to also make the audience believe what I am singing about, therefore I have looked at the lyrics and thought about what lyrics I could connect with especially:

A friends not a cheap little phony creep – These lyrics are the first words the audience will hear therefore they need to be believable. Whilst singing these lyrics I need to think about what I actually think a friend shouldn’t be which in my opinion a friend shouldn’t be untrustworthy or faithful. The lyrics ‘a friend is the person who most of all cares about what you feel’, I should be able to easily be able to connect to these lyrics as they suggest what I actually think a friend should be. When singing the lyrics ‘A friends outside waiting the minute you both hear the bell’ I should think about when I was in high school and friends of mine would be outside the class room waiting for me. I have looked at the whole piece carefully and I have come up with thoughts that I should think to myself whilst singing each lyric to make it believable and also much easier and enjoyable for me to perform. Overall I will be trying to put myself into the characters shoes but using personal experiences.

I have also being continuing to use the ‘NYA’ technique to find the correct placement for the higher lyric ‘there’ however I am still finding it difficult to make the sound nasally this is because I am not used to placing my voice in my nasal area, I have only placed my voice in my chest and head in the past so im not used to the feeling of a nasally sound, however I will continue to do this technique and hopefully I soon will be placing the sound in the correct place.


Yesterday we started the lesson by going through the assessment chords, I personally feel as if im slowly getting much better at these. However Gavin gave me some feedback to make them much stronger, he told me to breath on the shape of the vowel. For example the first vowel is ‘e’ therefore before the exercise begins I need to take a deep breath in but with my mouth been in a shape of an ‘e’ sound. Gavin also told me not to use to much breath at once as I need to be able to get through the whole phrase. Therefore I need to slowly let the breath come out slowly and not all at once, to do this successfully I need to make each vowel sound smooth as it wont require as much breath. In this lesson Gavin and I also agreed on an order for my songs which i will be using for my assessment, below is the order that we agreed on:

1.I dont know how to love him

2. What it means to be a friend

3.Maybe I like it this way

We have decided this order is best as both ‘I dont know how to love him’ and ‘maybe I like it this way’ are emotional songs therefore from having ‘what it means to be a friend’ in the middle it will give split the two emotional songs up which will therefore make it much more exciting for the audience and it will also enabled me to show an immediate change in character.

13- What it means to be a friend.

I sang through this piece and I feel much more confident with it compared to how I did before half term. I still need to work on my overall confidence with the higher section and I also need to find the correct placement when singing the phrase ‘there’. Gavin said that the sound im creating is in my head voice but he said that the performance would be much stronger if the sound I created was more nasally. To do this he said I should sing a few phrases of the song using an ‘nya’ sound, from doing this I will find the correct placement which should then result in  it been easier for me to make the phrase ‘there’ more stronger, nasally and not in my head voice. Also Gavin has advised me to have attitude when I perform this song, he believes it will make the piece much easier to follow from an audiences perspective and he also thinks it will show much more characterisation and I agree.

I do like this song however im finding it difficult to connect with the song as it is performed by a 13 year old girl, which I have discussed in a previous post. Gavin has asked me to try find connections to the text ( Paraphrase myself) when I have done this hopefully the overall performance will improve significantly.

Below is an image of where the nasally sound comes from and where the correct placement is:


The correct placement to create a nasally sound would be in the nasal cavity but I need to remember to also force sound into my chest cavity as I dont want the overall sound to be too nasally.  I will know when I have the correct placement as I should be able to feel a slight vibration in my nasal cavity.

One weakness I have identified with this song and others is that I aren’t immediately confident with ‘Belty’ sections, it frustrates me as i know that i am more than capable of achieving. Gavin and I spoke about this in my lesson, I understand that the confidence will come in time.


We started this lesson by going through the assessment chords, I personally believe my confidence and overall performance of these chords are progressing as time develops. I just need to remember to not try as hard and think of my soft pallet been risen which will lead to me having the correct placement. In this lesson we sung through my chosen rep ‘What it means to be a friend’. I knew the lyrics which was fantastic as it enabled me to think about characterisation etc.( the look cover,check method did work) One weakness that Gavin and I have identified is that I aren’t confident with the higher notes, because of this it results in them sounding weak compared to the rest of the song. This song doesn’t have many high notes however because most of the song is sung in a lower key when the higher notes come I haven’t got the correct placement. Gavin said I need to prepare ahead by anchoring and raising my soft palate. He also told me to think that the high notes im singing aren’t the highest in the whole song. When i started to think this way I felt as if I had the correct placement and my confidence was also stronger. Transition between chest and head voice is something that I know I need to work on, I believe the advice Gavin has gave me has already improved this slightly. Also Gavin noticed that on long phrases/notes my overall diction wasn’t as strong. For example on the lyric ‘Friend’ he has told me to stay open on the vowel ‘e’ and to keep open until the last minute. This way my diction will sound much stronger and clearer. For next lesson Gavin wants me to look at the emotion behind the lyrics so my characterisation will be much stronger he also wants me to look at the song study as this is what we will be working on next week.In  this lesson we also breifly spoke about vocal health, Gavin confronted me about being a smoker. He told me the risks that it brings which I was already aware of. Below is a list of the factors we spoke about:

  • Smoking can decrease the range especially in the upper register
  • Breath control isn’t as strong, because smoking effects the lungs capacity. This could be one of the reasons why I find it difficult to perform the vocal chords ‘E,ah,ar,or’ in one breath.
  • Constantly having to clear the throat due to mucus before a performance.

Singers should take care of their vocal health and avoid anything that puts strain on their vocal cords or lungs Gavin and other health sauces say, I do understand the importance of vocal health and the effects smoking can have. I also understand I should try to quit as I dont want smoking to eventually effect my performance career.

This is an image of a smokers vocal chords, the image shows that the folds are watery, pinky and swollen due to smoke.

Rehearsal Process.

Today I am determined to know the lyrics to both my chosen rep ‘ What it means to be a friend’ and the song study for the up coming assessment. So far I have achieved knowing the lyrics and were to take a breath at the correct time for the song study. I have attached a video of this however next I need to work on my characterisation and showing emotion whilst performing this piece. In relation to my chosen repertoire ‘What it means to be a friend’ I am finding it extremely difficult to remember the lyrics, this could be because this song repeats the same lyrics but has a slight change to them each time. I will continue to rehearse this song and learn the lyrics by using the look, cover, write, check method!

What It Means To Be A Friend- Chosen Rep


‘What It Means to be a Friend’ is from 13 The Musical which started to run in 2007. Music and Lyrics are by Jason Robert Brown and there was a book published by Dan Elish and Robert Horn. The story line is about a child who moves from New York to a small town called Indiana. The child is called Evan Goldman Grappled and he moves to Indiana with his parents who have recently divorced. The story line consists of the negatives and complicated socials of attending a new school and having to meet new friends.

‘What it means to be a friend’ is performed at the end of the first act by Patrice who is identified as an intelligent book worm. Patrice and Evan have been best friends for many years however Evan doesn’t invite her to his party which results in a tiff which is when Patrice sings the song ‘What it means to be a friend’. She sings this to one off Evans friends ‘Archie’ who is trying to explain the importancy of Evan and Patrice becoming friends again. This song explains the importantcy and expectations a 13 year old girl has on real friendship. For instance the first lyrics are ‘A friends not a cheap little phony creep or a jerk trying to make a deal’ these lyrics are obviously indicated at Evan who hasn’t invited her to his party. The lyrics to this song are below:
A friends not a cheap little phony creep
Or a jerk trying to make a deal
A friend is a person who, most of all,
Cares about what you feel;
And nothing is harder
Than learning a friend isn’t real

A friend sends notes back and forth all day
And doesn’t care that you cant spell
A friend knows you’ve got a crush on your teacher,
But a friend would never tell
A friends outside waiting
The minute you both hear the bell

And if your heart is always breaking
Cause the world is just not fair
When you’re at your worst
Your friends the first one there
Giving you something to lean on
And that’s what it means to be a friend

A friend wont smoke when she’s in your room
Or laugh at the poems you write
A friend won’t go start kissing your brother
The minute that you’re out of sight
A friend is the person
You call sixteen times every night

And if your heart is always breaking
and you want to run and hide
When your hope is gone
Your friend is on your side

If someone moves in round the corner
And you want to show him you care
So you give him all your last month of vacation
And all of the time you can spare
But then, on the first day of classes
He acts like you’re not even there,
Then he doesn’t know
He doesn’t know!
He’ll never know what it means
To be a friend

To me the majority of these lyrics are explaining how she feels about the situation with Evan, when I perform this song I will have to remember that I am trying to act like a 13 year old girl therefore its important that my facial expressions and gestures help indicate this. I am looking forward to learning this song as I believe it will be a challenge and it will also give me the opportunity to show my characterisation skills off and finally this song is great to use in my assessment as it is extremely contrasting compared to my other reps which are ‘ I don’t know how to love him’ and ‘Maybe I like it this way’.

02/02/15- Singing Lesson

We started the lesson by working through the ‘ie,ay,or,ar’ assessment chords, Gavin said I need to continue to think of the correct placement and anchoring in order for the overall sound to be smooth. In this lesson we did this exercise but Gavin only played the starting note and I had to sing the rest however when I was doing this Gavin noticed that I was singing the tempo abit slower than what it should be, therefore I need to speed up the tempo slightly in order for it to be correct. As I had slowed down the overall tempo I was running out of breath much quicker. When Gavin told me that I had slowed the tempo down it all made sense! I was running out of breath because I was extending the overall phrase, after being told this I was able to sing the whole phrase with some breath still remaining! Gavin also advised me to walk around the room whilst singing this phrase as he thought it would make the overall sound stronger because I wasn’t focussing just on the vocals. He was correct and this method worked, when I started to walk around the room my jaw, body and the sound created was much more relaxed and at ease. I will continue to use this method in my own rehearsal time. In this lesson we also sung through my new chosen rep ‘What it means to be a friend’ from 13 the musical. The first two lyrics of this song are ‘A friend’ whilst I was singing these lyrics I wasn’t saying the ‘A’ clearly enough therefore it sounded like I was just singing the lyric ‘friend’. Gavin said in order for me to overcome this I need to breathe is the shape of the vowel before the song starts this being ‘A’ this way I should be more prepared which will result in the lyrics been sung correctly. Also when I was singing the lyric ‘Friend’ it sounded as if I was rushing and it didnt sound clear enough therefore Gavin also suggested the idea of staying open on the vowel ‘E’ and not closing till ‘nd’. After been told this we could see an improvement immediately, Diction has always been a weakness of mine and im glad that Gavin is suggesting ideas in order for my overall diction to improve.

For next lesson I will know the lyrics to this song I will do this by listening to the song over and over again and also from using the look, cover, check method.  I will also be much more confident with my overall diction as I am now aware on what I need to work on for the sound to be much clearer.

Rehearsal Process

Since my last lesson I have been focussing on familiarising myself with the tune of my new chosen rep which is ‘What it means to be a friend’ I have done this by listening to instrumental covers and the original soundtrack. I do believe this method is working however I also think I should ask Gavin to play the piece through in my next lesson and I will record it so I can make sure I have the correct instrumental and make myself aware of the tune and timing this way I will be more prepared for the upcoming assessment. I have also been working on the assessment chords and focussing on not trying to tense up therefore whilst I have been rehearsing these chords I have been doing other activities for instance washing up or walking round. I have identified that when I do other activities whilst rehearsing these assessment chords I don’t think too much about the vocals which results in the overall sound been much smoother, clearer and stronger. I have also identified that when I don’t over think or try as hard my breath control is much stronger and it lasts for longer.

I have to let myself be aware that sometimes over trying can result in my vocals not been as strong or clear as they could be!


In this week’s lesson we started by going through the assessment chords, which have significantly improved since we started working on them in December, however there is still improvement to be made. Gavin and I have identified that when I sing through these chords I tense up and this is because im trying too hard, but when I don’t think about the piece as much I can do it to a better standard. I honestly believe when it comes to rehearsing and performing these chords I need to not think about it as much as I am at the moment this been because when I think about them I tense up which then results in my jaw and overall sound been tense which makes the transition between vowels more difficult. In this lesson we also discussed my chosen piece ‘I love you I do’ from Dream girls. I was honest with Gavin and told him that I am worried about the high note which I have previously discussed in my last post. Gavin understood what I was trying to say and he also advised me not to do this number for the coming up assessment. After a discussion we decided that my chosen piece will now be ‘What it means to be a friend’ from 13 the musical. This repertoire is a good choice for me as it will enable me to show my higher range and it will also enable me to show characterisation as it is performed by a 13 year old girl who is having trouble at school with other peers. I am happy with this piece and I will make sure I have memorised the tune and lyrics for my next lesson. In this weeks lesson we also went through the song study for the assessment. Gavin was surprised as throughout the whole piece I was in my chest voice and the study wasn’t uncomfortable for me as all notes were in my range. However I need to work on the correct placement and anchoring for the high ‘Love’ section. I will do this by rehearsing this on a regular basis. I just need to be confident when finding the correct placement as I am aware of the tune and notes.

In this post I have attached an audio recording of me rehearsing the song study, however the recording device isn’t brilliant therefore some parts sound pitchy: