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February 1, 2015

Singing tips for actors

Filed under: Teaching thoughts/tips,Uncategorized — jan @ 8:09 am

1) I suggest that you warm up your voice – low and high notes daily. Get used to making plenty of sound in both registers.

2) Then really go about the house singing ordinary conversation. Let your voice go high and low, but realize that mostly we sing in our talking range which is a balance between those two registers.

3) Diction! Diction! Diction! I doubt you will reach a point where someone will say, “That is too much.”

4) Open your mouth and move your lips. Not only will that let the sound out and improve your diction, it also will look like you are doing something. You don’t want to be a ventriloquist on stage.

5) Move around the house as you sing – it will be more than your blocking will be in the show, but if your body is free and relaxed, you will sing more easily and the muscle memory will carry over when you are standing still.

6) Don’t fret too much about which register any particular note is in. If it is a full sound and in tune, it won’t matter if it is in head voice, chest voice or something in between. Sing your songs often so your voice gets used to switching registers.

7) Become your character. The audience won’t remember how any particular notes sounded if they believe you are your character.

December 24, 2011

2011 puzzle solution

Filed under: Advent — jan @ 10:38 am

click to download as pdf

November 27, 2011

Advent 2011

Filed under: Advent — jan @ 6:57 pm

Here’s this year’s crossword grid!


December 19, 2010

Holiday Greetings 2010

Filed under: Advent — jan @ 11:30 am

December 24, 2008

Crossword solution…..If I do this correctly

Filed under: Advent — jan @ 11:02 pm

crossword SOLVE 08.xls

The solutions

Filed under: Advent — jan @ 6:14 pm

The Wise Men from “The Christmas Crib” by Roy Ringwald

From the faroff mountain, over desert sand,
Come the holy wise men from the Eastern land.
On their camels riding, with their gifts in store,
Holy wise men, coming, worship and adore.

Joyful Singing (4 part round) by Adrienne Tindall, 1995

Listen to the angel song;
see the heavens filled with light;
join your voices, sing along:
peace to all the earth this night.

November 25, 2008

Advent clues 2008

Filed under: Advent — jan @ 6:59 pm
Across Down
2 A place to store valuables
5 L.A. state
11 “__ you knew Suzy”
12 Root tone or C
13 Graceful aquatic bird
15 Lotion additive
16 SEE DAY 5
17 Feathery scarves
18 SEE DAY 6
20 Chemical suffix
22 SEE DAY 7
23 Rubber wheel part
24 Take legal action
25 Feline
27 SEE DAY 9
28 Buddy
29 Gather
31 Mothers’ mothers
35 “____ Lang Syne”
36 Messiah
40 Woe __ __!
42 Ad awards
43 Lithium symbol
44 Cost
45 By way of
47 SSE opp.
48 SEE DAY 13
49 Audi model
51 Conceited
53 SEE DAY 15
54 Foot-shaped device
57 Quaker you
59 October fun night
61 Hand digits (or Don Flentje’s nickname)
63 Quick sleep
64 Feather go with?
67 Cravat
68 Actor Craven or Anderson
69 Indonesian Island
70 Primary color
73 Amer. teachers group
74 The Lollipop _____
75 SEE DAY 19
77 SEE DAY 20
78 Disaster Org.
79 SEE DAY 21
80 Dr’s compliment
81 SEE DAY 22
82 SEE DAY 23
83 “Up __ the housetop”
84 SEE DAY 24
1 Party, Ford model or dinnerware
4 Shouted golf warning
5 Superman’s outerwear?
6 A before a vowel
7 Sci. research facility
8 Many
9 Fellow who built the ark
10 SEE DAY 3
13 Ought
14 SEE DAY 4
16 This puzzle is one
19 Metal used in bronze & pewter
21 Tortilla chip dip
24 SEE DAY 8
25 Ordinary
26 Metallic element symbol
28 Buddy
29 SEE DAY 10
30 Australian big bird
32 Regret
33 Brooks or Gibson
34 SEE DAY 11
37 Yes opposite
38 Between kdg and high school
39 Textile of flax plant
41 Adam’s third son
42 SEE DAY 12
46 “Love __ ____, life is strange, Nothing lasts, people change”
48 SEE DAY 14
50 Exist
52 Brit school
53 Iowa college
55 Possess
56 SEE DAY 16
57 “____ the night before Christmas”
58 Hip
60 We’d like to live __ ____ street
61 SEE DAY 17
62 Ford car model
65 Everyone
66 SEE DAY 18
68 Well-being
69 _____ umber pigment
71 Always
72 Sample CD
73 Gas for signs
74 Actress Jewell or jazz artist Allen
76 Ewe’s spouse?
79 Start of Santa’s laugh

November 23, 2008

2008 Advent crossword puzzle grid

Filed under: Advent — jan @ 10:01 am

crossword grid 081.xls

September 12, 2008

Adults who can’t “carry a tune”

Filed under: Teaching thoughts/tips — jan @ 12:57 pm

Most often when an adult student comes to me for voice lessons because they can’t carry a tune the story is this. When they were children they were told by a teacher to mouth the words because they weren’t singing the notes. They stop singing and are frustrated. Would you tell an child that he/she “can’t do fractions” so just pretend to do the math problem? Of course not. Well, if you work with a child who is struggling to sing, that can be fixed easily, too. It takes a lot longer if you wait for the child to grow up.

And then there are the singers of most any age who make you cringe because they have so many out of tune notes. Most often, it isn’t because the singer can’t hear the notes. It is most often because the co-ordination of the muscles isn’t in sync for them to produce the notes they hear. It’s fixable. It often takes time AND maturity. If you are someone who thinks you can’t sing and you really want to sing, find a teacher who will work with you. Don’t choose a teacher who will say, you can’t do it!

August 19, 2008

What to ask a prospective voice teacher

Filed under: Teaching thoughts/tips — jan @ 7:14 am

I’ve a friend who is looking for a voice teacher. I’ve written this advice:
I’m finding it difficult to put into succinct words what you want to know about a voice teacher. The problem is enhanced by the fact that there is no vocabulary that all voice teachers use – let alone basics that all voice teachers agree on. But let me give it a shot.

There still exists among some teachers the myth that young voices should not be taught the low chest/belt voice. Indeed the bottom part of a woman’s voice sounds like a man. Yes, different muscles are involved than the ones you use singing in the high “head voice” register. There is a lot of disagreement about the register in the middle – but it is basically a balance between the upper and lower registers. You want a teacher who understands all three registers (or some just think of it as two registers.)

Why? From my years of teaching experience, there are two really good reasons. I’ve heard some singers who consider themselves to be classically trained professionals whose voice becomes so quiet when they get down to middle C that you really can’t hear them. The lower registration has never been taught. They have no sound at the bottom. What good is that? Secondly, over the years as I have watched professional singer/actresses, it seems to me that the ones who become ill the most and lose their voices most often are the ones who have no belt voice. The muscles haven’t been trained. They have no strength to hold up singing 8 performances a week.

So, though there are many, many ways to teach voice, you want a teacher who understands registration and wants you to sing it all. I think that is the most important criteria. I think you will also want a teacher who will let you sing both musical theater and classical songs. There are techniques in classical singing that are difficult to master if you only sing musical theater, but at the same time, theater songs are fun. And you want to do it all. Some musical theater requires a classical technique. Some requires a “pop” voice. It will be more fun for you if you have a teacher who is comfortable with both.

The grammar here is sketchy – mixing singular and plural, etc. – but I hope it makes sense.

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