Tag Archives: voice classes

Finding Your Voice in Song

By: Stefanie Emery 

voice lessons

Many people are intrigued by the art of song and the beauty of the singing voice. For some, singing can come naturally, but for others it may be their life’s work to create the best singing voice possible. Either way, there are many mechanics and techniques that go into a well balanced singing voice.

When we learn that our natural speaking voice is in fact the same “voice” we use to match pitch for singing the mystery and challenge of singing can be simplified. The simple idea that we can transfer the speaking voice that we use to communicate every day to song will help a singer manage the obstacles of matching pitch, creating rich tone, and avoiding an overly breathy sound. 

Let’s break the singing voice down into three main areas. Chest Voice, Head Voice, and Mixed Voice.  Although we access these three “voices” differently, and they have different qualities to them, our goal is to create a consistent sound throughout all of our vocal “registers” thus leaving us with “one voice” instead of three completely different sounding voices. This is a big goal for most vocalists, as navigating between these areas can produce very different tones, volumes, and characteristics if not trained with proper control. Here are our three “voices” and some details on the resonators within our body that produce these sounds.

Chest Voice 

Most commonly recognized by the area where we use our natural speaking voice, the Chest Voice is accessed through the chest, acting as it’s external resonator, and in the mouth as it’s internal resonator. If you place one hand on your upper chest and say “HEY” you should feel a vibration in the chest. Chest Voice is where we produce our strongest sound which is usually the most easily accessed with lower pitches (think back to the speaking voice) and into a mid to higher register where we can produce big, belty sounds. 

Head Voice 

Head Voice is the opposite of Chest Voice because it is a much lighter sound and feeling. Think about taking all the weight away from a big chest voice and hitting pitches in your upper register, these are notes that feel higher and are not as easily achieved in a lower speaking voice area. Head Voice resonates externally in the back of the head and internally in the nasal cavity. To feel the Head Voice place one hand on the upper back of your head and say “WEEE” in a high pitch. You may feel that resonator vibrate slightly. Now say “What’s Up Doc” in the style of Bugs Bunny. Hear that very nasally sound you just created? You are using your Pharyngeal Resonator, or nasal tone, which is accessed externally off of the nose and internally at the back of the Pharynx. Your Pharynx is located internally towards the back of the head within the vocal tract. 

Mixed Voice 

Mixed Voice is where we combine the resonators of the Chest Voice and Head Voice, while  including the Pharyngeal Resonator to add in nasal qualities. Without this nasal component we won’t be accessing the “Mix” of these two other resonators to their fullest extent. All three of these resonators are present in a well balanced Mixed Voice. We use Mixed Voice to achieve rich, full sounds that span between our Chest and Head Voices allowing us to achieve the most consistent sound spanning our low and high registers. Mixed Voice can be used in our upper register to achieve higher pitches without them sounding thin or weak.

Learning how to access these three areas of the voice and how to coordinate the proper mechanics can be achieved through vocal technique exercises, experimentation, and application in song. 

Hearing Chest, Head, and Mixed Voice in Song 

While listening to a singer navigate through their vocal registers you can now start identifying which “voice” they are singing in. Dissecting a vocal performance is a great way to learn the different qualities of these areas of the voice. First, recognizing the pitch is most helpful because it will give us a clue to what register of the voice they are in. Is the singer singing low or high notes? Do they sound strong or light? If the sound is lower and strong there’s a good chance they are singing in chest voice, and if the sound is higher and light they are most likely in their head voice. Mixed Voice is sometimes challenging to identify because it usually sounds strong and has a large resonance. Many singers use their Mix to get powerful sounds in their higher register, thus, at times tricking the listener to think they could be in a powerful Chest Voice.  The song “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele is a great example of hearing all three of these voices. She uses her Chest Voice in most of the song but flips into her Head and Mixed Voices in many areas to create dynamic interest and to also achieve higher pitches with ease. Stylistically, she is choosing which voice to sing in to create differences in feel and tone, which creates an interesting performance rather than one that can feel monotonous and dull. When a vocal stays in the same area through an entire piece and lacks stylistic freedom the result is sometimes flat and underwhelming. Using your ear to analyze a vocal is a wonderful tool as it allows one to compare another vocalist’s abilities and begin utilizing the learned techniques in practice. 

Finding your natural singing voice is fun, experimental, and exciting. Knowing how your own voice operates is the first step to becoming a better more well-rounded singer,  and with dedicated practice you may start expanding your vocal range, techniques, and overall sound. As much as singing is technical it must also contain emotion and feel, because without those characteristics it may begin to sound lifeless or even robotic. Remembering that the tools, techniques, and mechanics of the voice are extremely important for vocal success should always be paired with the knowledge that music is an art and without personal expression and thoughtful emoting one will only be attaining, at best, fifty percent of their best possible sound. 

Kids Music Lessons and Classes

piano lessons philadelphiaPhilly Music Lessons is a family owned and operated music school located in the heart of Fishtown, Philadelphia. We offer private lessons (all ages), baby and toddler classes (ages 0-3), big kids music classes (ages 4 -6) and group lessons for kids (guitar, violin and voice).  We have a number of teachers with extensive experience working with children. We make sure to keep each lesson or class fun and entertaining, while providing the musical foundation necessary to learn at higher levels as your child grows. Students have the opportunity to perform in biannual recitals and shows throughout the year.

Contact Us to Get Started!

Big Kids Music Classes Ages 4-6

$15/class with monthly sign-up (trial class is half-price)
$20/class Drop-In
Saturdays at 11 AM (45 minutes), ages 4-6
Fishtown, Philadelphia
(610)451-7883

Join Here!

Xylophones and PianoCovering the fundamentals of piano (keyboard instruments), ukulele (fretted string instruments), and drums (percussion instruments), our music class for kids, ages 4-6 is a creative, group approach to learning music. Children have the opportunity to gain a broad understanding of music for $15/class (45 minutes each). The fundamentals they learn will pave the way for studying a variety of instruments. Core musical concepts will be explored through experimentation and social learning.

With small class sizes, there is ample room for discussion, questions, and spontaneity. Experimentation and fun are key, and curiosity is embraced. Subjects covered include how instruments work, note reading, ear training (pitch), time, and rhythm. How sounds are made (with strings and mallets inside of the piano for example) and how pitch changes are observed through play. Art is also used to reinforce concepts, illustrating notes, finger numbers, patterns, and more. Instrument making will engage children, bringing the learning process into the home through the collection of natural materials for production.

Each child will also be able to take home their own kazoo. Kazoos help strengthen connections between the voice and ear (pitch). Learning to make noise by following patterns on piano or notes on paper is a practice they can take home week after week. Encouraging children to hum while working with their favorite songs is a great way to build ear skills! If you are interested in classes, but can’t commit to our regular schedule, you can drop in to classes for $20 with notice (contact us here).

 

Private Music Lessons

Starting at $25 for 1/2 hour
By Appointment, all ages.
In-Home Lessons throughout Philly & The Main Line
Fishtown Studio Lessons
(610)451-7883

Schedule a Lesson

Ukulele, guitar, voice, violin, piano, cello, flute, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet lessonsStarting with kids ages 4 and up, private music lessons are available for guitar, piano, ukulele, bass guitar, upright bass, drums, flute, voiceclarinet, violin, cello, saxophone, trumpetbanjo, and trombone.  Lessons begin at $25 for a half hour in our Fishtown studio (view our rates for more information). Our teachers work with kids of all ages and skill levels, making sure to keep the lessons fun and exciting. Our goal is to inspire a life-long passion for music just as our first teachers did for us! For in-home lessons, our teachers travel throughout Philadelphia, the Main Line and Lower Merion. If students have an interest in taking lessons with friends or family members, we also offer joint music lessons! Please ask about our rate difference for joint lessons of at least 2 or more children.

 

Baby and Toddler Music

$10/class with sign-up (monthly)
$15/class Drop-In
Tuesdays, Wednesdays 10 AM
Wednesdays 11:30 AM
Select Saturdays at 10 AM
Ages 0-3 yrs (Families and caregivers welcome)
Fishtown, Philadelphia
Stroller Accessible!
(610)451-7883

Join Music Classes

babies and toddlers play songs fishtownJust a walk from anywhere in Fishtown, Kensington or Northern Liberties, these music classes are a unique way to meet and play with others in the community. Fishtown is just off the Girard or Aramingo exit from I-95, or a quick spin through the city for Philly families. Tots gather weekly for sing-alongs, movement and other musical activities specially made for babies and kids. Children will have the chance to learn songs together and explore a variety of kid’s instruments: jingle bells, the piano, shakers, and more. Little babies usually enjoy sitting in mom’s lap as they listen, observe, and learn. Toddlers tune in each week to familiar friends, songs, and beloved routines. Three year olds lead, participate, and add both spontaneity and creativity to classes. Providing energetic vocals and guitar, our teacher plays plenty of classic and new children’s songs (with rhymes, hand games, and playful lyrics). These are the kinds of classes that will kick off your day with good cheer! Weekday music takes place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 AM and Wednesdays at 11:30 AM. Weekend music times are indicated on our calendar (typically 2-3 Saturdays per month).

Classes are $10 each when you sign up for the month (with flexible make-up options on Saturdays and select weekdays). We also welcome occasional visitors (drop-ins) for $15/class! If you want try out a class before signing up, you can always contact us to attend your first class for free.

 

Beginner Violin, Guitar, and Voice Classes

$15/class with monthly sign-up (trial class is half-price)
$20/class Drop-In
Summer classes begin in June
Multiple Times
All ages (age groups: 4-6 yrs, 7-10 yrs, 11-14 yrs, 15-19 yrs)
Fishtown, Philadelphia
(610)451-7883

Join a Class

music classes fishtown phillyOur teachers have created group classes for some of the most commonly learned instruments. Taught by our violin, guitar and voice teachers, classes focus on propelling complete beginners forward to a place where they can begin to play songs together. Students will learn their preferred instrument among peers, and can gain performance experience with recital opportunities. At $15 each, classes are organized into age groups and arranged based on availability and instrument. Classes can occur on weekday or weekend mornings, afternoons, or evenings (contact us to find out more). Our next launch of classes will be for the summer months, set to begin in June. Classes take place throughout the summer and can be extended into the Fall based on group interest. For students with irregular schedules, drop-ins can attend classes for $20 each.

Students will need to bring their own instrument. If students do not have a violin or guitar, Philly Music Lessons offers beginner violin rentals, and we can also make suggestions as to where you can rent or purchase a decent instrument.