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Frequently Asked Questions

Do You Teach a Breathing Technique?


Yes! Breathing should be a zen thing to experience. We simply have to allow it to happen instead of forcing it. There are 2 types of Breathing. One that's good for you because it gets a lot of air into your lungs and gives you total control of the airflow that comes out of your mouth; Then there's the other type of breathing that is not good for you because it doesn't get enough air into your lungs and gives you almost no control of how air comes out. We need to get a proper amount of air into your lungs and we need to control how air comes out for singing. So if we can't control how air comes in and most especiallly how air comes back out, we cannot be great singers. Great singing ONLY happens when the RIGHT amount of air meets the RIGHT amount of vocal cords.




What Causes Vocal Problems in Singers?


Weak, uncoordinated, abused, or overly stressed vocal muscles and vocal folds. Singing is an athletic activity and, like any sport, it requires the appropriate muscles to be strong, coordinated, and responsive to the physical tasks of singing. Singing in keys too high for one’s voice causes the larynx to rise in an unhealthy and stressful way which often leads to vocal deterioration and vocal disorders such as vocal nodules (calluses on the vocal folds). Finally, the vocal muscles are not indestructible. Unhealthy lifestyles and poor habits like smoking, taking recreational drugs and drinking too much alcohol could ultimately lead to a SERIOUS decline in vocal ability.




What is the Vocal Break or Passaggio?


The break is a confusing concept, so we must be careful what we mean by it. When singers move their voices from the lower range up through the middle range to the high notes, increased stress is placed on the voice muscles. At specific points in a singer's range, the muscular stress becomes so great that the voice loses its natural and easy production. In order to maintain vocal comfort in singing, as well as retain the voice's natural musical quality, the vocal muscles need to make shifts at these points, and by so doing, vocal tension is reduced, and a singer can move into middle and high notes comfortably and musically. The places where these muscular shifts occur is commonly called a break or, in Italian, passaggio. The male and female voices differ strongly when they reach the places in their ranges where these shifts occur. - With the female voice, there is often a clicking-like sound that indicates that the shift has taken place. The transition area for the female voice is most noticeable because the quality of the voice changes— from the lower tonality that we typically associate with her speaking voice ( chest voice), to one that resembles the sound of a female opera singer— high, without lower speaking voice resonance ( head voice) - With men, the voice acquires a yelling quality when they reach the area of their range where a shift needs to occur. With the male voice, the transition area is not distinguished by such a radical tonal change, although the ah, oh, and eh, vowels sounds can take on a characteristic middle register timbre ( in some instances, the voice production may sound “operatic”). It’s also important to note that artistic judgments, or even genres of music, sometimes make it improper to make a passagio. In rock and pop music, for instance, a yelling-like quality is what is often expected. And it’s often the case that making a passage creates an operatic-like vocal quality, a timbre that is certainly out of place in most, if not all, of today’s commercial music.




Can I Exercise My Voice Too Much?


Within reason, the answer is no. Singing is a sport, so consider your vocal training as if you were going to the gym. At the very beginning, a vocal warm-up of 15 minutes once a day, or even every other day may be sufficient until you build up vocal stamina. But once you get used to vocalizing and your vocal instrument is stronger, a daily warm-up of approximately 30 minutes is not too much.




Why Shouldn't Keep My Larynx Lowered When I Sing?


The Lowered Larynx is a technique only used during exercises and should NEVER be used consciously and consistently while singing. During singing, the larynx is very active and may assume a variety of vertical positions depending upon the kind of singing being performed. For example: - When you are singing high notes softly, your larynx automatically rises to meet the physical requirements for this kind of singing. - When you are singing in full-voice, sustained, powerful singing in low notes, the larynx may naturally drop slightly. - and to give another example, the male falsetto voice always requires the larynx to rise.




Do You Address the Male Falsetto Voice?


No. The Falsetto voice is not directly exercised during our sessions together. It develops as a matter of course as a male builds his natural voice. Most people thinkl that Head Voice and Falsetto are the same thing but these 2 places in the voice are entirely different. Falsetto is produced when so much air blows through the cords that they completely separate and only the outer edge of the vocal cords vibrates. I would prefer that you hold off using Falsetto until you master your Chest, Middle and Head Voices. They are much easier on the cord and will give you more control and more power. Please take note that it is actually dangerous to exercise the Falsetto Voice directly and even to sing a great deal in the Falsetto Voice as it could lead to voice disorders such as nodules.




Do You Recommend Any Kind of Non-Physical Exercise To Aid Vocal Development?


Yes! Singers perform best when they are physically fit and healthy. Cardo-vascular exercise is excellent for your general health; yoga is good for praticing deep, relaxed breathing; pilates training can also helps to develop core body strength. I would say that any routine that enhances physical and mental strength and discipline is beneficial to building your voice.




Can I Learn Singing Without Reading Music?


Yes of course! Some of the most popular singers and composer have never learned to read music. Aside from Opera singers who need to follow complex notation, many professional singers do not read music. The voice is an instrument to itself so you do not need to read music or play an instrument to learn how to master it. But If you want to learn to read music then please go ahead but it isn't a pre-requisite. The only pre-requisite you need is the desire to want to become a great singer and match your desire with a great vocal technique.




You Didn't Find The Answers You Were Looking For?


If you still have any questions about the Method I teach, please do not hesitate to contact me at sarah.mcbrady@outlook.com. Your emails and questions are very important to me and I will always do my very best to get back to you as quickly as possible.




What Is Middle Voice?


The Middle Voice is the bridge between the Chest Voice and the Head Voice. This incredible yet undervalued part of the voice responsible for bringing power and ease to both the speaking and singing voice. Once you find your Middle Voice, vocal tension is reduced and you finally have smooth access to the entire range of your voice without experiencing the dreaded break or passage, or in italian, passaggio.




Am I Too Old To Start Singing?


Of course not! You can start singing lessons at ANY age, you can get discovered at ANY age and you can come to the public's attention at ANY age. Believe me, you're not too old or too young to go for your singing dream or for any other dreams that you may have. Just GO FOR IT and allow yourself to shine!




What Ages or Levels Do You Teach?


I teach students of all ages from 7 years old and up. I also teach students of all levels from beginners to professionals, and everything in between!




I "Can't Sing on Pitch", Am I Tone Deaf?


It is very unlikely that you are tone deaf because only 2% of the population actually is. Tone deafness is a rare condition that results from damage to the ear, ie: from a high childhood fever. So, if you are one of those people who cringe at your own or others' missed notes, I'm happy to let you know that you are NOT tone deaf, you are only tone shy and these pitch problems can be fixed with proper training.




Can Anyone Learn How to Sing?


Absolutely! Whether you're a complete beginner or at an intermediate, advanced or even professional level and no matter how old your are, If you are determined, committed to your passion and willing to take the time to practice regularly, your voice will improve faster than you had ever imagined. There are just three main requirements: 1: Stay in touch with your desire to improve your voice. 2: Be willing to play and to fake it until you make it. 3: Be willing to put yourself first - even if it is just for a few minutes a day. Remember that using your voice well is not about having a special gift, performing on stage, becoming the star of your church, family or community production. At the deepest level, the reason why we need to develop the voice is to allow it to be as expressive and flexible as possible. By setting your voice free, you're also setting yourself free.




Do I have to audition?


There is no audition required to begin voice lessons withme — only a desire to sing and improve your voice! Unfortunately, I am unable to provide any set curriculum for clients that are looking for vocal certification. However, I am able to customize a schedule to certify the amount of time or lessons that clients have completed with me, if requested.




What Do I Need to Prepare for My First Lesson?


While all voice lessons are individually tailored for the needs of each student, I always will begin with a brief discussion about any prior vocal training you may have had (if any), your vocal goals, and any additional questions. From there the lesson is usually divided into 2 parts: Vocal Warmups and Technique Exercises, followed by Material Song work. You are welcome to bring backing tracks of songs l that you’ve been already working on, or that you would like to start working on with me. If you need any backing tracks, just let me you know as I can get them for you and put them in your key free of charge) With that in mind, the time spent on each of these aspects of the lesson depends entirely on your goals.




Can I Record My Lessons?


Not only are you always welcome to record your lesson, I also highly encourage it! Many of my students use their phones to record their lessons, or you can bring a recording device of your choosing. Recording your lesson is a great way to review and continue practicing what you worked on with me!




Do You Offer Gift Certificates?


I do offer gift certificates for lessons with me! You are welcome to print these at home or email them directly to the recipient. Once the recipient is ready to redeem their lesson(s) they can do so by following instructions indicated in the email they received with their gift certificate. They are also welcome to email me at sarah.mcbrady@outlook.com as I am more than happy to help them with any additional questions they may have!