Nuggets of Wisdom

  • "Singing is stretched out or prolonged speech"

  • "Normal speech lies in a much more restricted range of pitches than singing. It usually does not exceed a perfect fourth or fifth, whereas an untrained singer is asked to sing about an octave and a fifth, and the trained singer at least two octaves"

  • "Differences between speaking and singing-dynamic levels, distribution of sound energy, vowel stress and breath capacity"

  • Speech levels-habitual vs. optimal; optimal=best tone, carrying power and endurance

  • "Singing is not a natural process, it is a highly skilled art, and requires highly developed muscle reflexes. Singing does not demand much muscle strength, but it does call for a high degree of muscle coordination"


  • Hum with hands placed over the face and nose

  • Hum with hands pressed over ears

  • Say 'Um-hum' raising the pitch with lips closed

  • Don't force the voice down, let it down

  • Warm-up with sounds that activate the jaw, lip, tongue and soft palate-yah, bah, mah, lah, ding, hung-gah, etc.

  • Warm-up with sounds that will stimulate vibrations in the head and chest-ding, mum, boom, noh, voom, none, one, zoom, etc.

  • Three factors that affect the ability to sing higher or lower; energy, space & depth; higher=more, lower=less

  • Apply singing energy to your whole body without exerting too much local effort

  • Feel the center of gravity move lower in the body when needing more support for higher tones

  • Line up your vowels first horizontally and then vertically

  • Always make a legato connection to the high note from the lower note immediately preceding it; do not disconnect and then jump at the upper note

  • Slightly lower your chin just before a high note to maintain good laryngeal posture and resonance adjustment

Thoughts on Vibrato

  • The average pitch vibrato rate is between five and seven times per second, the average extent of pitch variation is one half step

  • Creates pleasing flexibility, tenderness and richness to the tone

  • Faults related to vibrato; rate of speed, extent and respiratory energy

  • The Bleat-caused by pulling in the abdominal muscles and vocal fold motion of grabbing/releasing

  • Straight tone-the larynx resists excessive breath pressure causing the tone to become straight(without vibrato)

  • The wobble-two main causes are lack of physical and vocal exercise

  • Balanced support and released tension will go a long way toward solving most vibrato problems


Julie Freebern