Well, what a week this has turned out to be, not just for those in the UK but all over the world. It’s been great to work with everyone online, especially for those who are brand new to online lessons.
As many of us are doing our bit by staying at home, I thought as someone who spends most of his day teaching and making music from his home studio, I’d share some great resources, suggestions, and advice on how to make the most of singing at home.
1. Schedule time to sing
As simple as it sounds, it’s easy without a schedule to allow time to just splurge from one thing to the next. Schedule even just 15-30 minutes for music and singing every day/other day to help tap into the feel good endorphins that singing gives you (e.g. like this Time article).
Study after study shows that endorphins are boosted when we sing. Whether singing is done in groups or by ourselves, the results are just as positive. So protect your mental health by scheduling in time to sing.
2. Write a set list of songs to work on
Just like having a schedule, having even a short set of songs to help keep you focused on what you are working towards is massively helpful. Here’s an article I wrote a little while ago about how you can build your own bespoke set of songs to help build your voice.
This will help give you a selection of songs for any level you feel your voice is at. To work on these, this leads us neatly to point 3…
3. Grab backing tracks to your favourite songs
While it’s clearly a lot of fun to belt out your favourite tune along with the original recording, for working on your voice and hearing how good you are sounding, backing tracks are great. For those who can’t accompany themselves, these are a lifesaver. They are also perfect for use in your online singing lessons.
My favourite site by far is Karaoke Version. They do high quality backing tracks that allow you to change the key of the song up or down by 1 or 2 keys, all for the same price as just the one track.
From there you can find your favourite backing tracks to sing with, purchase them and download. If you need to change the key further, you can always use free software like Audacity to change the pitch.
4. Get some online voice lessons booked in
For those of you who don’t already work with me, and you’re wishing you’d got started before now, we’ve got you covered. If you’ve got an internet connection, camera and microphone (and especially if you’ve got all of the above sorted), you’re ready to go! Being at home is no obstacle at all to having lessons in the comfort of your own home.
5. Find some online live concerts
Plenty of artists are doing live concerts, streaming them and also storing them online. Billboard has already put together a list (and is regularly updating) of various concerts and livestreams that are available online.
I know the Royal Opera House has put various things online, there are West End musicals filmed in recent years also being made available, and many modern celebrities are doing a variety of streams, e.g. Gareth Malone, Keith Urban, etc. If you have something you’re looking for, just have a quick Google to see what’s out there – you’ll be amazed!
6. Exercise daily
While there’s no substitute for good vocal technique, in this otherwise more sedentary time, keeping up our cardio and lung capacity is unquestionably important for singing. The healthier you are, the easier singing becomes. For those who can’t get out, or who find running unbelievably boring, I can highly recommend an exercise regime called Tabata (link to external site for more detail).
It’s an exercise protocol developed for athletes that involves working out at high intensity for a measly 4 minutes – 20 seconds of exercise, followed by 10 seconds rest, for 8 rounds.
The key here is to go 10/10 effort wise. Your heart rate needs to be around 90% of your max for this to be most effective, but I can assure you’ll know you’ve worked afterwards… and it’s only for 4 minutes! A good version of this that my PT put me onto is:
20 seconds burpees – 10 seconds rest
20 seconds lunges – 10 seconds rest
REPEAT ANOTHER THREE TIMES (TOTAL 4 MINUTES).
Truthfully you can swap any exercise into this protocol. Naturally, the more of your body and bodyweight you’re using, the better, but do what you can.
Remember: Get singing, stay healthy and positive
Keep exercising, keep singing, keep in a solid state of mind, and for those I’m working with online in the next few weeks, I look forward to seeing you then!