Updated: Nov 14, 2018
Kent Michael's Blog
When people think about ways to improve their singing many people may think about using their diagrams to enhance their voices, the quality of voice projection, focus and or concentration. However, many performances will involve much more than the music or the techniques. I am a credible source to this concept because from 2014 to 2016 I sang with the People's AME Zion Church in Syracuse, New York. We often worked with other churches to form a mass choir in different collaboration events. The goal of this particular collaboration was to form a Community Mass Choir with the anticipation of working with Fred Hammond the famous gospel singer This event was to be one of the biggest Extravaganzas of 2016.
The event was taking place at Bethany Baptist Church. We signed contracts with various coaches regarding our attendance and housekeeping rules before we were allowed to participate in the event. The preparation to sing backup for Fred Hammond was intense. The preparation took several weeks. We really wanted to be prepared and confident before Fred Hammond came to town. We had various coaches they instructed us on the importance of Lifestyle/culture. So one might want to say how does lifestyle/culture play a part in this kind of industry?
Tip #1: Lifestyle/culture plays a very important part if you are serious about music and if you want to improve your performance. One of the first things that our coaches taught us about was the importance of sleep. Depending on the song, the tempo, and the musicians you would need to be fully awake and aware of any changes that needed to take place during the songs. If you were sleepy you could embarrass yourself and draw a lot of attention to yourself in a negative way. You could miss your keys and you could possibly throw other people off too.
Tip #2 You need to be flexible and willing to adapt to changing environments. As we were rehearsing our coaching team was reaching out to Fred Hammond's team to confirm or reject some of the ideas or changes that were taking place. So in order for the event to go smoothly, we had to be willing to compromise even if some of the changes made us a bit uncomfortable
Tip #3 Patience you need to be patient with the process. You need to be patient with yourself because sometimes our bodies change. You may be feeling great today and you're hitting all your notes; then the next day you could have a scratchy throat. It might be Springtime and you might be an allergy sufferer. You have to know not to push yourself too hard on those days. You must also be patient with your co-workers sometimes they will be on point with their notes and other times they will not. Let's not forget about the musicians on instruments they are human too so there are some days where they will start out hitting all the right keys and other days they may drag behind. You must be patient with the process because you have different components and pieces working together to form one melodious piece and we all know that Rome wasn't built in a day and really good songs don't usually come together in one day either.
Tip#4 Drinking water, one of the things that we learned about was the importance of water. We all know that our bodies are made of more than 70% water and performances are very hard work. You are using various muscles to produce a sound and not just the ones in your throat. Therefore it is very important to use lukewarm water when performing. When that idea was first introduced to us we cringed because lukewarm water normally tastes nasty to most folks, but we adapted. We learned that cold water actually constricts your throat and you have to work harder to produce the sounds that you need.
Tip #5: No smoking. One of the things that we learned about was the importance of airflow and the ability to control air flow when producing different notes and keys. Smoking not only affects your lips and your throat but it also affects your lungs. As a person smokes the chemicals such as tar and other harmful additives stick to the lining of the lungs so now this person has to put extra strain and extra work on their lungs to perform. Also when people smoke it affects their teeth and their gums not to mention the smell sticks to your clothing so any other person who was close by that does not smoke will smell you.
Tip #6: Dairy snacks are another tasty topic that we learned about. We learned the importance of not eating dairy snacks before going on stage. This was extremely hard for me because I love to have my milk whenever I have a sandwich. We learned that when you consume milk and dairy products your body will produce more mucus. This is mostly because cheese and many other products that come from cows are actually formed from white blood cells and in certain cases mucus. So this can affect you when you are performing; you may need to clear your throat more than you normally would. Especially if you have eaten the dairy snacks.
Tip # 7: Use honey in tea or other drinks instead of sugar before you go out to sing that day. At first, this concept seemed very gross to me because we normally use honey when we are sick or we don't feel well. Many of us were not taught the benefits of honey. Honey actually soothes your throat and keeps it lubricated I started bringing water and honey in a bottle. At first, a little taste of it was pretty yucky but I understood the importance of this event and I was willing to go through a little discomfort for a while to keep my throat lubricated. So there you have it I have to give you 7 tips to improve your singing use them wisely. Jump to top