LearnToPlayMusic.com presents Episode 13 of the Music Space webcast – the live Google Hangouts show. This episode’s special guest was Australian singer, presenter and voice talent, Andy Seymour. We discussed the art of how to sing southern gospel, blues & early rockabilly, along with some great performance singing tips!
The Importance of Rhythm in Singing Gospel & Blues
For Andy Seymour, rhythm has always played a major factor in his musical career. Starting by playing drums at six, making a living from drumming at 12 and then progressing into vocals at 18. The musical styles that inspired him – gospel, blues & rockabilly, all have a huge focus on the importance of rhythm. It comes down to the subtle nuances of singing, rather than just singing the notes. If you’ve got a good handle around your sense of rhythm, you can then play with it – pushing and pulling time. This adds more interest to your sound, and can get people up and moving. People aren’t afraid to cry in country songs, they’re written by people who mean what they’re writing. As a vocalist, you have the ability to bring in these raw emotions, and to cry through your voice. This comes not just from the heart, but how you use your voice and implement vocal techniques and rhythms.
Singing Tips – How to Be an Entertainer & Not Just a Singer
As a singer you have to do more than just sing on stage, or run the risk of looking like “Bambi in headlights.” Singing and practicing on your own or with family and friends may be something you are completely comfortable with. But for a lot of people, moving onto standing on stage in front of an audience who is there to see you, with nothing to hide behind, can be a completely daunting task! Singing should be effortless. Creating volume and projecting your voice isn’t all about breathing in deep and shouting it out. You need to be able to relax and to create loud and defined sounds without relying on a deep breath or tensing your face. When you see singers “belting it out,” what you are really seeing is showmanship.
One of our singing tips that may help you to get over the fear of an audience, relax and progress from being a singer to an entertainer is to pick a point at the back of the room, focus on it, and smile at it. This doesn’t have to be just one spot, it could be several. By not looking at any specific person in the audience, and essentially “glazing your eyes over,” you can distance yourself from the audience. This will help you to get over your nerves and focus on your vocals. You can even point or wave at random audience members without focusing on them to provide a sense of interaction. As long as you’re smiling and look like you’re enjoying yourself then the audience should enjoy themselves too!
Singing Tips to Keep Your Practice Sessions Fun
There’s nothing worse than forcing yourself to practice music when you’re not interested in it. One of the best singing tips that we can give you for your practice sessions, is to keep them fun! There is a lot of value in technical practice, such as scales and rudiments. But by adding challenge, difficult songs that you love, and trying to learn them, figuring out how they make particular sounds – you will find a passion for what you’re doing. When you practice and rehearse, you’ve got to be into it; it has got to be your passion – otherwise you’re going to hate it.
How Staying Diverse Can Help Your Career
It’s incredibly valuable for any musician to work on and practice a variety of different musical styles and techniques. Not just because it keeps your practice sessions diverse and interesting, but because it can help you to get more work as a professional musician. You may be able to work as a bluesman in one band, while singing swing in another. If you know how to play a variety of different styles well, then there will be more diverse opportunities for you to practice your skills in a professional environment.
Singing Tips – Warming up Your Vocals
Warming up before a gig is very important. You want to look after your vocals so that you can continue singing for a full set. The first of our singing tips is you should start with a series of exercises which gently ease your vocal folds into getting ready to sing. It’s crying, expressing air out more through your nose than your mouth etc. Another of our singing tips is that it’s also important to warm down once you’ve finished, like any part of your body after an intensive workout.
Singing Tips – How to Save Your Vocals Midway through a Gig
If you’ve failed to warm-up your vocals properly, or you’ve still not got a great handle on how to belt out songs without the excessive use of air, then you may find your vocals wearing out quickly. If you start to feel and sound hoarse halfway through a live set, all is not lost! Here are some easy singing tips for you to learn. It involves a quick 30 second vocal exercise that will bring your vocals back. We recommend visiting a local vocal coach so that they can show you how to perform these singing tips properly. However the basics of the singing tips include closing off the flow of air from your mouth by pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth. And then proceeding to push the air out through your nose, alternating between high and low notes. You can find time to try these singing tips by inviting the lead guitarist or drummer to take a short solo.
We hope you enjoyed this episode of Music Space, and as always – if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment on this post, or email us. Learning to sing can be rewarding for anyone, musician or not! A vocal coach / singing teacher is invaluable in getting you started and showing you correct technique and more singing tips, following a progressive program such as that found in Progressive Beginner Singing can also be of great benefit. Just make sure to keep your practice sessions diverse and interesting by incorporating your favorite songs and style!
About Andy Seymour
Andy Seymour was brought up in an energetic gospel music environment and started his professional music career at age 12 as a drummer. He has a passion for roots music – soul, blues & gospel, and blends them all to create his own unique approach and sound. He has performed around the United States, Japan and extensively in Australia. To learn more about Andy Seymour, you can visit his website or contact him via LinkedIn.
About Music Space
At LearnToPlayMusic.com, we know there’s more to learning music than can be found in a book – it’s also about people. That’s why we bring you Music Space – the weekly live videocast with international music guests performing live and discussing the hows and whys of their experiences in music and life. Each episode spotlights a new music topic relevant to the show’s guest, covering anything from techniques, career advice, performing and singing tips, and essential music theory. Viewers have the opportunity to interact with us during the live videocast by asking questions and posting comments. Episodes are available on the Learn To Play Music Blog, which expands on each topic, invites further discussion, and features more great articles to help you learn to play the music you love.
Happy learning all,
The LTP Music Space Team.
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