Being An Old Man Helped My Singing (No, Seriously)

What do a park-dwelling Birdman, an old hunchback, and a golden-kneed soccer player have in common?

Watch my latest singing tips video to find out!

In this video, you'll learn how my performing onstage with my musical improv group gave me insight into a new strategy for relieving vocal tension. Specifically: that my playing *old, male characters with hip-loaded posture* helped me to bust singing tension!

Here's my conclusion: loading your hips, tucking your pelvis under, and bending slightly at the waist can help to un-tense your neck, shoulders, and throat. (This is similar to the "butt clench" technique I often advocate for belt singing -- thrusting your energy DOWN into your lower body can help to free up your upper body.)

Yup, I know it sounds crazy. And no, I'm not kidding about this!

 (NOTE: In the video, when I play my weird old man characters, I stick my neck out a bit, kind of like a "chicken-neck." Resist the urge to do this. The most important...

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How to Be a Great Singer Using Musical Phrasing

In today's video we'll explore the question:

What separates a good singer from a GREAT singer?

The answer, in my opinion, is musical phrasing. 

Good singers get the job done and not much more. They think about individual notes and whether or not they can hit them right, and then stop there.
 
Great singers think about how those notes relate to each other and how they can sculpt them into something memorable and moving.
 
This is musical phrasing. And it's tons of fun.
 
 
Phrasing can be altered by adjusting the following 4 components:
 
1. Dynamics (how loud or soft you get)
2. Rhythm (how fast or slow you sing the notes)
3. Onset (how you start the line)
4. Cut off (how you end the line)
 
(Admittedly, there are some more factors, but those are the broadest and most apparent.)
 
The easiest component for a singer to adjust and make their singing instantly better is the first one -- dynamics, or singing...
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How to Hold a Difficult Emotion While Singing

If you've ever written to me and said:

Fel, when I sing a song I become very overcome with feeling and want to cry, and then I lose my technique.

or,

Fel, how do I show real emotion when I sing?

-- then the following process will serve you incredibly well.

But first, a quick story . . .

 

                                 

 

This past Friday I attended a business conference, and in one of our small group exercises, I started crying.

Yup.

My attempt at a "business suit"

If that sounds weird, it's because it kind of is. But this was no ordinary business conference. The goal of our group exercise was to relive a past memory and to hold the feeling of that memory in our bodies.

(Among other things, one greater goal of the conference was to expand our consciousness, to learn to hold feelings, and to use these skills in the service of creating...

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Why You Need A "Singer Survival Technique"

“We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”  --Archilochos

Last month I began performing onstage with my musical improv group Thank You, Places: An Improvised Musical at the Philly Improv Theater. Every other Friday we make up a one-hour musical, on the spot!

If you're thinking: That sounds hard, Fel is so BRAVE! -- well, I have news for you:

It freaking ter-ri-fies me.

Seriously. I think I was more nervous on February 17, 2017, our opening night, than I was when I first went on for Elphaba in Wicked (and that's not a joke).

The face of a woman doing everything she can not to freak out

Why was performing made-up songs so psychologically stressful for me? You already know the answer, I'm sure:

No preparation means you have nothing to hold onto, no rules to follow, and no way to anticipate the challenging parts of a song. 

In contrast, if you want me to do "regular" musical stuff, I...

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What Puppies Taught Me About Singing

You read that right -- puppies! Allow me to explain...

One of my students, Claire S., is an assistance dog trainer. She's enrolled in Singing Transformation and noticed that a lot of my teaching revolved around the following principle:

Singer's should QUIT....while they're ahead.

It might sound weird. But it's a tried-and-true method -- not just for learning how to sing. As Claire told me, it's also great for training service dogs!

Before we talk more about puppies, let's first discuss:

What does it mean to "quit while you're ahead" when you practice singing?

In my opinion, the best warmups sessions should end on a "high note" (no pun intended). If you use my 3-step practice system, your typical warmup session might look like this:

  • PART 1: Breath Activation and Stretching (relieve tension, make sure your singer "engine" is working for you)
  • PART 2: "Open Up Shop" (get the juices flowing)
  • PART 3: Skills Work (a couple of challenging exercises, to develop whatever skill...
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Are you frustrated with your voice? Read this.

You know what bugs me most? When singers don't realize their full potential -- not because they're incapable, but because they don't have the right tools.

In our online singing community there are over 90,000 singers who tweet me, email me, leave awesome comments -- you name it! And I can sense the love-hate relationships they have with their voices.

They have spent years (decades, even!) spinning their wheels and not making lasting progress.

Maybe you can relate. You're a singer with boatloads of potential, trying to piece together the "clues" of how singing should feel. But you feel way more frustrated than triumphant.

You see progress, then setbacks. You learn tips and tricks (possibly from me, on YouTube :-) ), but nothing truly STICKS.

You don't know how to put it together in the right order.

Your voice comes and goes, never seeming predictable.

You start to worry: "Am I just not cut out for this?"

"Do I have to be blessed with that elusive 'it' factor that makes singing easy...

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How to Sing "Silent Night" - Pop Singing vs. Musical Theater

Time for a ridiculous, holiday-themed video that explores the differences between pop singing and musical theater singing!

More specifically, I will sing "Silent Night" two different ways, all while wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.

The gist of the two approaches is:

  1. Musical theater singing features pure, open, sustained vowels and is more faithful to rhythm.
  2. Pop singing lets you have more freedom with pronunciation. Play around with diphthongs, rhythms, breathiness, and vocal fry, as these simple adjustments can instantly change the genre of the singing. If you struggle with how to sing pop, hopefully these simple approaches can help you start to reshape your sound.

This isn't a detailed musical theater or pop singing tutorial per se, but it's a fun 'n' silly video that contrasts some key approaches that can help make your singing sound more pop-py.

(Because I personally am a beginner pop singer, I would consider this pop singing for beginners. :) )

xo Fel

**Editors Note:...

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How to Purchase a Fel Singing Course as a Gift

Hey, great idea! Here are the instructions.

  • Select, checkout, and purchase.
  • After purchasing, please email [email protected] with
    1. Subject line: "Gift Purchase"
    2. The name of the product you purchased.
    3. The email you used to purchase.
    4. The name and email of the intended GIFT RECIPIENT.
  • Within 1-2 business days, a support staff member on Team Fel will reply with your gift recipient's login information (he or she will use your recipient's provided email).
  • **Now the fun part! When you give the gift, be sure to pass on the login information.** You can pass this along verbally, via email, or you can print and fill out one of the following gift notes & give to your friend in person. (Support staff will also attach the gift note .PDF to your email.)
    1. PRINT - .PDF Note for Belt Your Face Off (print, fill...
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Sneak Peek at The Lazy Singer's Warmups!

Do you struggle with knowing how to warm up your voice, especially on days when you're time crunched?

I've been there.

Even if you only have 10 minutes, it's better to warm up efficiently than to skip a practice session altogether.

But WHAT exactly do you do? And is it really possible to get good vocal work done in a short amount of time??

Yes.

And I've got your back :-)

Enter: The Lazy Singer's Warmups! -- my brand new warmup set. It's designed to build consistency, vocal freedom, and relaxed, open singing in just 10-33 minutes per day.

You get the MAXIMUM amount of results in the absolute MINIMUM amount of time.

If you only have 10 minutes, I’ve got you covered. A little more time? You can keep going with 3 more. And so on. And on days when you have 33 minutes? Do the entire set!

Any way you slice it, you build vocal consistency without wasting time.

As a bonus for my awesome email subscribers and blog followers, I'm posting Lazy Warmup #2 below -- it's called "The Lip...

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How to Sing Any Song with Modified Lyrics

This video is about my favorite singing "hack" - modified lyrics! This easy singing tip will give you the most bang for your buck, even (especially) if you're a beginner.

If you've watched my "How to Sing Chandelier by Sia" video, or any others in my pop song series, you know that I like to take regular English words and translate lyrics into singer-friendly vowels. Why? It can do WONDERS for your singing.

When you rewrite singing lyrics with more "open" vowels, which are easier and more resonant to sing, they become a million times easier for singers to tackle.

What's more, it makes your singing tone less closed or pinched, and more open, rich, and resonant.

I get tons of requests to translate specific songs, which I will keep doing in future, but I also wanted to give you my guidelines so that you can do it for any song that you like to sing!

Be sure to download my .PDF summary so you can check out the best singer vowel translations and start singing in with a more open, resonant,...

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