As we begin, let’s look at one of the most basic aspects of singing: connecting the tone. After you’ve worked on this technique for several days, go on to the next lesson where we’ll continue working on this skill.Remember: Singing and speaking are very similar. In speaking, your voice is divided into short bursts of tone. In other words, it is percussive. When you sing, the tone needs to be more sustained much like a violin player.
Just a word of background: As we mentioned, our American culture is not helpful in regard to singing. Most of the ‘pop divas’ don’t use their voices very well. Hence, your concept of good singing might be flawed. But, with work you can become confident with your singing voice. Also, you may not be able to sing very high—that is, you have a limited range of singing. In comparing singing to athletics, it’s a little like trying to run without ever stretching or strengthening your muscles. It’s hard to do. But, if you use the proper singing techniques, over time your muscles and ligaments will stretch and your range will increase.
CONNECTING THE TONE
So, let’s start this session. We will use the hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy" as your training hymn. (You can download it from our website.) As you sing with the hymn, don’t sing words. Instead, sing along on a single vowel such as "oh" or "ah". (Listen)Try to sing each line not emphasizing each word. But, "even out" the words and connect them with your tone. Also, do not allow the tone to have any spaces between the words. You should be trying to make a continuous tone, breaking only when you take a breath.
After singing through the hymn two or three times in this manner, turn the hymn "off". Sing through the hymn (a cappella) one line at a time using "oh" or "ah". Repeat each line two or three times. Be very "picky" and make sure that you are singing:
After you have sung each line (or phase) several times, go back to the hymn and sing it through (still not using the words) at the faster tempo (speed). You should notice a difference. If you don’t, try it until you do. But, don’t expect success instantly. It will come, but only through careful, consistent practicing—and don’t forget to keep in mind the suggestions from the first Singing Lesson!
As will be the case in future sessions, don’t be afraid to practice using more than one hymn during your practice time. The more you practice, the faster you will progress. You were created to sing! So be committed to being the best singer you can be. You will be rewarded for your work.
By the way, if there is something you don’t understand, don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail at paul at songandhymns.org. I’ll be glad to help!