Learning to sing – the foundations

Sandra is a practical and pragmatic singing teacher and her sessions are illuminating and informative. She will encourage and show you how to use all of your body and senses to listen, respond and support your singing as you start a fascinating vocal journey. Great singing is as much about listening as vocalising.  She believes that ‘good vocal technique’ is really a much more natural position to sing in than the poor, ingrained vocal habits we choose to inflict on ourselves!

Her aim at all times is for you to release your voice in a comfortable, enjoyable way – harnessing your own passion and courage to explore and open your voice.
Sandra’s sessions cover a full explanation of the breathing and vocal mechanisms so that you can fully understand your unique instrument. You will be given specific singing exercises to practice at home, that help to strengthen your diaphragmatic breathing, integrate your voice in to your body and sustain an open and relaxed throat whilst you’re singing.

These components form the grounding of your technique and start the process of integrating the sound deep into your body. It is this integration that produces quality, resonance and conviction in your singing. From this place you start to experience your voice and your singing in a whole new way. And it is a lot less effort! Your vocal range extends as you allow the voice to move correctly through the natural registrations, you produce a more vibrant, rich and varied tone, and so your voice becomes more expressive. You will discover different dynamics, characters and colours of your voice that you can use in your songs. You become a singer.

Interpretation and Performance
After studying the fundamentals of singing and breathing techniques, you progress into the interpretation of songs and how you bring your new mastery into practice. Learning how to build a song with light and shade is an essential art and using your interpretative skills such as storytelling and expression, helps your audience connect with both you and your singing. Learning effective performance techniques and presentation skills builds your confidence and gives you a command of the stage and is a very useful technique in job interviews too!
Most of us are shy to put ‘ourselves’ into our songs at first. Learning to express and deeply connect with your own emotions through your singing and making the song speak for you, takes time and a lot of courage. Daring to let yourself truly commit to the songs message, is a key part of any performance and having a strong technique enables you to do that consistently and effectively.
It’s the difference between ‘faking it’ or ‘feeling it’

There are, of course, very good reasons why the voice doesn’t open like this all the time. If there are old emotional issues, bodily tensions, stress or a real fear of expressing ourselves, this can inhibit even professional singers from really letting go.
It takes courage, presence and openness to the process, to sing. Reaching those high notes can feel quite daunting and challenging and it can take a lot of trust in yourself to learn to master them!  Finding that courage is part of becoming the singer you want to be. It is exciting and very rewarding.

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Sandra Smith is the director of The Lost Sound Dartmoor Folk Choir, visit their dedicated website to find out more.

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