As B went for her lessons, I couldn’t help but notice this prominent sign.
Which was a cute standee proclaiming that voice lessons were available.
I have been singing in church choirs and musicals, as well as leading worship since my youth group days. So I have some basics in singing, but I always felt that I lacked rigour in my technique, and certainly have much room for improvement.
So after making some enquiries, I started voice lessons with Ms Kinah Jorge. I was so excited!
As you can see, Ms Kinah has a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Santo Tomas, and was a top scholar, no less! She has also participated in Masterclasses conducted by internationally renown performers such as Miyako Shimizu.
All this certainly showed when I attended her class!
Ms Kinah is extremely affable, and put me at ease immediately with her warm, bright smile.
She is as patient as she is cheerful, which is definitely a boon to anyone trying to learn how to improve their voice.
We first went through basic breathing techniques, which are the core of singing properly. Most people under-estimate how important proper breathing is, and think it’s all about pitch, diction or rhythm. But without the right breathing from the diaphragm, everything else will just fall flat, because air will not flow as it should from the lungs, and there will always be insufficient support in bringing out the right tonal quality.
As a note to self, here are the basics that I need to remember:
- Breathe deeply and quickly through the nose, silently.
- Expand your lungs by pushing down the diaphragm.
- Tuck in your bum after you complete your breath, and continue to tuck it in more as you sing, so that there is maximum support in terms of one’s breath to the end of the phrase.
- Shoulders and chest should not move at all when breathing in.
And all that is just about breathing!
- Open your mouth such that there should be a dome that can fit an egg or small apple.
- The soft palate (roof of mouth) should be high.
- The tongue should rest low (tip to meet front teeth).
- The cheekbones must always be lifted up. Smile!
- The positioning of the vocal sound should be right in front of one’s face or forehead (head voice).
- Do not push too much (straining).
- Sing the first note lightly, and relax.
- Let the music emerge in a pure stream, bright instead of ‘too rounded’ and swallowed in as a dark choral tone.
- Take your time and breathe enough before singing.
- Sing SMOOTHLY and connect note to note “like spreading butter”.
- Relax your shoulders at all times! (Can rotate them when singing to check how relaxed they are)
So many things to remember! I could feel my mind being boggled by having to remember to do so many things at the same time, or in quick succession. But I think all this is necessary, for sustainable singing. I was once told that if one is singing properly, one will hardly feel any strain on the vocal chords. So I really hope to be able to master the right techniques, which will help so much in the long run!
I felt that it was especially helpful to have one-on-one vocal lessons, because she could hear exactly what I was doing, and point out immediately what needed correction.
I could take my time to try and try again till I nailed a breathing technique, or the position of my mouth.
What helped a lot too, was standing right in front of a mirror! A mirror is a must in every vocal class, I realised. It becomes a lot easier to see what the teacher is referring to, and self-correct one’s standing stance, or the position of one’s lips.
Ms Kinah was very encouraging throughout, and her voice is certainly top notch! I enjoyed hearing her sing the phrases the right way, and immediately get an idea of how it was supposed to sound, and figure out how to create the same sound quality through following the techniques she outlined.
It was also just so fun to find someone who is just as passionate about singing as I am, if not certainly more! We enjoyed singing “On My Own” together as a first song, after we went through the technique portions.
I even have homework, which is to practice breathing techniques and exercises daily, till they become second nature. I have been dutifully practicising, which should help in due time!
At the second lesson, I picked the song “Indescribable” to practice, since I have always found it very challenging. Ms Kinah went through the song with me, line by line, and it was just so helpful to be told how I should improve each line. Many times, I don’t even realise that I’m singing it the wrong way, and that it could sound a lot better by focusing on her tips.
So I’m certainly learning a lot through these lessons, and whilst they are not easy (my brain!), I do look forward to them, and hope that I will improve in time, as well as lock in all these techniques for use whenever I sing.
For enquiries, call: +65 6235 6488
Note: Thanks Aureus Academy for sponsoring 2 months of lessons for the purpose of this review!