In Mondays lesson we didn’t work on much as I wasn’t feeling 100% due to an ear infection and being full of cold. However we did work on the assessment chords, Gavin identified that im still not singing the vowels in a legato style, I sing each vowel separately, he also identified that I was trying too hard to articulate each vowel. I do believe I was trying too hard and this was because of feeling ill, I still wanted to create a big sound however it was obvious I was trying too hard. When Gavin told me to stop working as hard the overall sound created was better as the vowel chords were much smoother and clearer, I need to realise that too much effort at once can sometimes have a negative effect. These particular chords are something that I need to keep working on in my own time in order for them to be performed correctly. I took all of my suggested rep to this lesson and we have decided that ‘I Love you I Do’ from Dream girls will be the song I will be working on over the next couple of weeks. I am happy about this rep however I didn’t notice how many transitions there actually are from chest to head voice one section im generally worried about is ‘ Its almost too good to be true’ im worried about this as the note is a high G which means i will have to sing these lyrics in my head voice which isn’t as strong as my chest voice. Therefore the higher notes will lack a belting, strong sound. I have to remain positive in order for this song to become a successful performance.
I have been using the method that Gavin introduced me too in my last lesson, which is to use my hand to help me find the correct placement and overall sound. I do still believe this technique does work, I know I still need to work on the descending chords especially when it comes to my jaw moving. I have identified that when I have the correct placement and think of rising instead of descending for these chords my jaw doesn’t move as much. I am determined to get these assessment chords to a high enough standard therefore I will continue to work on them! I have also thought off some contrasting, character songs, my suggestions are listed below:
- Dreamgirls- I love you I do
- Company- Another hundred people
- 13 the musical- What it means to be a friend
I have printed all of the sheet music for these songs listed above and I have also being listening to all of them so I am aware of the tuning for my singing lesson as Gavin and I will make a final decision on what song we will now be working on. My personal favourite is ‘I love you I do’ this is because I think it will give me the opportunity to show my voice off as there are many riffs and big transitions throughout this song, I also see this song as a challenge and I believe in order for me to perform to the best of my ability and to keep developing as a performer I need to be challenged!
Today I had my first lesson after the Christmas holidays, we continued to work on the assessment chords and Gavin introduced me to a new technique that he used to do in his own singing lessons to help find the correct placement as well as helping the soft palate rise to create a stronger sound. The technique was to use my hand and bring it up as I was going through the chords, when we did this we identified that the placement was correct and that the overall sound was much clearer and smoother. We also started to do this on the descending chords and we also identified that the sound was overall much clearer. Like Gavin said people may find this technique not useful and rather silly however I found that it did work. I also think it was a distraction, by this I mean I was focussing on moving my hand correctly which took focus of the singing, I tend to work myself too hard when it comes to singing by this I mean moving my jaw too much, but because I was thinking about the placement of my hand I didn’t move my jaw or work my vocals more than necessary. In this lesson I also sang through ‘Maybe I like it this way’, it was successful and Gavin said that he could tell I had been working on the ‘belting section’ over the holidays, as my confidence with this part had improved so much! One weakness we identified and that needs to be worked on is finding the correct emotion and continuing the same emotion after a breath, I have decided that ‘Maybe I like it this way’ is the song I will now be using for my acting through song assessment, this way I’ll be able to work on the correct emotion as well as the monologue section. We also identified that I need to work on the last section of this song, I need to build the last section of the song for a great finish. I will work on this in my own time as I would like to make this song a successful performance. Gavin said we will put this song to a side for a while as he believes it’s up to a strong enough standard. For next lesson I need to get sheet music for songs that I would like to use as my third song for the singing assessments in March. My plan is to go to the library some point this week and get sheet music for contrasting, character style songs. I will keep you updated with how this goes!
Over The Christmas Holidays!
I have been working on many things other the Christmas break, for instance I have been looking at my chosen rep ‘Maybe I like it this way’ in relation to this song I have been working on lyric memory, confidence, blocking, emotion and timing. Before we broke up for the holidays I asked Gavin to play the music on the piano the whole way through so I could record it and then rehearse the song in my own time with the correct instrumental. Im extremely glad that Gavin did this for me as I now feel confident with the timing of the song. I have also been blocking the song, by this I mean I have been thinking what I can do for each verse etc. For example what emotions I can show by using gestures and facial expressions. I now feel confident with this song, but I hope when I return back to the Arden I can sing this to Gavin the way I have been doing in my own rehearsal time. Other the holidays I have also been learning the lyrics to ‘Once upon a time’ from Brooklyn, which is a song that Gavin and I agreed to work on before the holidays as we both believe this will be a challenge for me. I am aware of this song from previous singing lessons that I had at my old school however I have never had the correct training on it so hopefully when I start to work on this song I will learn a range of techniques to help my transition between notes be clear and powerful. Im looking forward to working on this song as I honestly believe it will be a challenge that I will hopefully overcome! I have also continued to sing through the descending assessment chords both slowly and fast, I am slowly seeing an improvement with this but it’s still something I will have to continue to work on in order for my jaw and head to remain still whilst singing descending notes. I have also been working on the song study that I recorded before the holidays, to be truthful I feel like this is something that I do need to continue to work on as im still not aware of the lyrics. And finally Gavin and I spoke before the holidays regarding new repertoire for the next few months, we agreed that I need to sing a song that shows a different character for instance someone who’s fun, happy instead of singing songs that use characters that are having emotional difficulties etc. Im still unsure on a song which will meet this criteria, however after having a think I thought of a few that might, these are listed below:
Chicago- All that Jazz
Cabaret- Maybe This Time
Footloose- Holding out for a Hero/ Let’s Hear it for the boy
Rent- Take Me or Leave Me (SOLO)
I will suggest these songs to Gavin in my first lesson back and see what he thinks.
In my last lesson before the Christmas break I had my singing assessment, I was rather nervous for this as I had never had an assessment before, however it was successful and I managed to achieve a high 2:1 which I am frilled about. I performed a range of different skills for instance I used different techniques that Gavin and I worked on when we was rehearsing this song in September for instance good diction, tuning, timing an characterisation. However Gavin said that he could see that in some points of the song it looked like I was having an debate with myself as sometimes I would put 100% effort in and let go but then in other parts of the song I would hold back and become slightly timid. When Gavin pointed this out to me, I immediately understood as I am aware this is something I do and I believe it’s due to confidence and I also believe my confidence will continue to develop which will allow me to overcome this for future assessment’s and performances.
Below is an image of the assessment brief grading criteria:
On the 8th Decemeber we started the lesson by working on the chord assessment exercises, Gavin said that I need to concentrate on one vowel at a time over a set of semiquavers and not to rush each phrase. We also identified that at times I separate each vowel especially on the descending chords, there a video attached to this post to show what I mean by singing each vowel separately and to also show how my jaw moves more when singing the descending chords. I have also attached a video of me singing each phrase without a gap. Gavin said in order for me to be able to sing each vowel correctly without them been separate is to think of pulling with my soft palate (yawning feeling) and also to think of my lower support. If I think and do these things it will make it easier for me to sing each phrase/vowel correctly. In this lesson we also sang through my chosen song ‘I don’t know how to love him’ for my singing assessment which will be taking place next week, I sung through this to make sure that I had remember all of the techniques that Gavin taught me when we was working on this repertoire at the beginning of September. I managed to perform this song to a good standard and I did put all of the techniques into the song that Gavin and I had worked on previously. The only criticism I received was to think of different ways of expressing the lyrics ‘I don’t know how to love him’ this is because these lyrics are constantly repeated throughout the song. It was ironic that Gavin said this to me because in my acting through song lessons Gareth said to me I need to think of all of the different meanings these lyrics could mean. I am feeling confident about my singing assessment next week as I believe this song is now at a high enough standard. In this lesson Gavin and I also discussed new rep ideas for me to learn other the Christmas holidays. There were plenty of suggestions that were made but my personal favourite is ‘Once upon a time’ from Brooklyn the musical. This is my personal favourite as I believe it will be extremely challenging for me as throughout this song there are a lot of transitions from chest to head voice and this is something I believe I need to work on. Other suggestions include:
• Ghost- With You
• Anything Goes- Anything Goes
• Company- Another Hundred People Got Of The Train
• Tell me on a Sunday- Tell me on a Sunday
• Fame-Out Here On My Own
I have continued to work on the assessment chords however I have been focusing on the descending phrases instead of the ascending. I personally believe I have hacked the ascending phrases as my jaw doesn’t move as much as I have found the correct placement and I am now using the correct muscles instead of my jaw however I know I still need to work on the descending phrases as my jaw still moves a hell of a lot. I think this is because I haven’t yet found the correct placement, I understand if I keep rehearsing the exercise slowly the correct placement will come within time, therefore I am going to continue working on this until I identify an immediately improvement. I do believe singing through the phrase is helping me as I do find for certain vowel e.g ‘AR’ my jaw isn’t moving much at all both when I do it fast and slow. However Im still finding the immediately transition of vowels from ‘OR’ to ‘AR’ difficult, but Im sure this will become much easier within time. Last lesson I recorded Gavin singing the song study so I can continue rehearsing and listening to it in my own time, Im still getting used to the tune so I wouldn’t say I am yet confident with it however I am familiarising myself with the tune and pitch, soon I will start to focus on learning the lyrics. In relation to my chosen rep ‘Out here on my own’ I have identified since Gavin and I had the conversation about confidence and self-belief I am finding it easier to sing the ‘Big, belting part’ of the song, however this is in my own rehearsal time when there is nobody listening to me. I have recorded myself singing this section and I will attach it to the post, I just hope I can sing this part of the song in my next lesson with confidence!
on the 1/12/15 we worked on many things in my lesson, for starters we went over the assessment chords, I sung through them as a warm up and Gavin and I noticed that when I sing the chords ascending my jaw doesn’t move and my placement is spot on as my soft pallet is always risen however when I am singing the chords descending I tend to lose the placement and my jaw and head moves for each vowel. Gavin suggested that I continue to rehearse this using the same method as I did last time which is to sing each vowel separately but slowly, he said I need to focus on the descending vowels now and not so the ascending as my placement is correct for the ascending chords. In this lesson we also worked on first page of the song study, I found this difficult as I have never come across this before therefore I recorded Gavin singing it so I can work on the timing and tune in my own time, I think this song study has a beautiful tune and I also think the lyrics are interesting as they will allow me to show emotion whilst singing it. In this lesson we also continued to work on my chosen rep ‘Maybe I like I this way’ in this lesson we both identified that I don’t believe in myself when it comes to singing the ‘big’ section. Towards the end of this song there is a big, belting section the lyrics been:
Maybe tomorrow it comes crashing down,
Maybe next week I’ll find another clown,
Maybe I’ll try to go a different way,
But look who’s sitting here today.
If I could change,
If I could grow,
I’d ask for nothing more,
And through that door I’d go,
But if I’m through
Why do I stay?
This section requires a lot of emotion and belting in order for the message to be communicated correctly however because I don’t believe in myself, im lacking confidence which then leads to this section not been at a strong enough level in order for it to be successful. Gavin and I had a conversation on how I could start to believe in myself and he said I need to let myself go because I do have a good belting sound. I honestly know that I am more than capable of performing this section of the song to an extremely high standard therefore I need to work on it in my own time and just let myself go!
I have been working on singing each vowel of the assessment chords slowly and each phrase separately Whilst doing this I have had to keep my mouth in the shape of the vowel and try not to change the positioning when going up or down the scale, I have identified that I tend to move the positioning of my jaw more when going down the scale, I also move my head for each vowel, I believe this is due to old habits however because I am now aware that I do this I can try prevent myself from doing it by watching myself in the mirror and identifying when I do it etc. Overall my jaw moves more when singing down the scale, I have identified that when I have been singing each phrase slowly my jaw doesn’t move much at all this is more than likely because I am thinking about not rushing the phase and spending time on it whilst thinking about other techniques. I have also carried out some independent research in relation to my chosen repertoire ‘Maybe I like it this way’ I thought it was important that I watched a range of different singers performing this song so I could identify how they show emotion throughout the performance. I have attached my personal favourite below, this performance is my favourite because ‘Lippa’ the lady singing the song uses her hands to express her emotion which is something I do, you can also identify the emotion within her face, she has great facial expressions. For instance when she sings the lyrics ‘I like the way he combs his hair’ she smiles and briefly laughs to herself. Overall the way this is performed is the way I aim to perform it also, however I will add some changes for instance different blocking and gestures. I have also looked at the lyrics and thought of different gestures to add to my performance.
Fast forward to 1.17.
In this weeks lesson we continued to work on the assessment chords that I have been working on over the past few weeks. I have developed a lot when it comes to performing these chords, for instance my jaw hardly moves now because I have figured out how to prevent it from working too hard. However even though I have improved on this, Gavin has asked me to work on the whole phrase in my own time but singing each vowel separately and slowly. Whilst doing this I have to keep my mouth in the shape of the vowel and try not to change the positioning when going up or down the scale, I need to keep my mouth open and in the same position at all times, this way the exercise will remain much easier and strong as I won’t be working my jaw too much. In this lesson Gavin played the song study on the piano and I recorded this so I can be confident with the tune for next week’s lesson. We will start to work on this properly in my next lesson. In this lesson I also sung through my chosen rep ‘Maybe I like it this way’, Gavin complemented the song and said it suited my vocal range. One weakness we identified was that I give too much away at once and when I try to put emotion into the song my support collapses. For example at the beginning of the song the lyrics are ‘I know it’s wrong, I know he’s rough, I don’t know what to do because we’ve been through enough’. To me these lyrics need a lot of emotion behind them in order for the message to be communicated to the audience correctly. However because I have tried to add emotion it leads to my support not been as strong as it should be because I try to put emphasis on the words by saying them softly. Gavin said I need to make more space and support when I add dynamics otherwise the overall sounds i create wont be as strong as it could be. Soon as he explained this to me I understood exactly what he was trying to say! From now on when I add dynamics and emotion I will make sure that the sound is supported and strong. Gavin has also asked me to listen to the last part of the song so I can pick up the tuning and correct timing, we will continue to work on my chosen rep next week.