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So What is Holistic Vocal Coaching in Singing Lessons?

Classical Pop Vocals

Holistic Singing Teaching and Vocal Coach Online

Holistic singing teaching involves so many different things, hence “holistic”, it’s all-encompassing. Encapsulating it may best be done by describing actual lessons that have occurred this week. Here are four examples.

  • The first example is an older student who simply loves singing and also wants an outlet to chat and share her current feelings and thoughts, music providing the safety net for opening up.

  • The second student is a professional rock-pop vocalist who benefits from further advancing his pop vocal technique on a weekly basis via specific breathing and postural aspects that you will find with few other vocal coaches.

  • The third student is someone seeking to gain her professional pop vocal diploma. She is further developing her technique as for the previous, but is also massively connecting her emotions and expression through her vocal tone.

  • The fourth student is a young student who simply loves music and singing. She arrives and leaves with a beaming smile and fun is all that she needs!

Vocal lessons that enable safe sharing of emotions

Pupil A was an in-person new vocal pupil singing lesson, a more ‘mature’ lady of later years and it was wonderful to help her free up her throat and remove all tension, adapting a common vocal technique called “mirening”. She particularly enjoyed applying this to “I dreamed a dream” as she admired the Susan Boyle rendition. She was extremely nervous about having her first ever singing lesson despite her age. A good proportion of her singing lesson also involved her sharing thoughts and feelings that were clearly on her mind. It’s interesting how music helps us open up and allows to feel safe in a position of emotional vulnerability.

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Breath relaxation and posture to engage high notes

Pupil B is a professional rock and pop vocal student who has vocal coaching singing lessons to enhance his full-time career in live gigs. The strategy for his lesson was quite different, it was technique based to ensure that his high notes were powerful without any strain.

The holistic element to this lesson involved focused breathing, based on natural breathing techniques, to ensure complete muscular relaxation. This was then followed by a particular yoga style stance that unlocks the coccyx, allowing the ‘tail’ of the spine to move, ensuring that the breath travels through the entire spine, which lengthens, and that the sound travels as if the throat were a drainpipe, open and free. Unlike pure intercostal breathing technique (although this certainly engages the intercostals), this kind of breathing is flexible and in no way rigid. This is vastly more effective and equally very powerful. He achieved high notes in a way that he had never achieved at all and felt extremely relaxed at the same time. He regrets not having vocal coach lessons earlier on in his career.

Professional Pop Vocal Coach Online Diploma Lessons

Pupil C is a pop vocals student. She previously had pop vocal lessons but had largely just copied what she had heard in the voice of her favourite artist, Beyonce. Beyonce is undoubtedly a lady with enormous expression, highly developed vocal technique, excellent use of vocal licks, and who has a grounded spirit and beliefs through her church gospel upbringing.

Vocalist’s Breathing

Pupil C has been working on three aspects. Firstly, she is developing the same technique as Pupil B, a free, flexible, open, strong breath support technique (yes, you can have all of these at the same time!).

Vocals and Emotional Expression

Secondly, she is developing a connection between her feelings and emotions, connecting them with the tone of her voice and creating a variety of colours within phrases, verses and choruses. This starts by coupling memories of strong emotions and attempting to sing single notes in a way that portray different emotions. It is interesting how we learn this from an early stage as babies (we detect emotions in our parents’ vocal tone and develop them in our voices even before we can speak full sentences) but we lose it as adult vocalists. Imagine phoning someone you know well, they answer and you can identify how they feel even before they tell you, just from the tone of their voice. This connection with singing as a huge area of exploration in my teaching, creating really expressive performances in the work of my students.

Emotional through Vocal Coach Online Licks and Vocal Improvisation

Thirdly, she is developing improvisation and freedom through the study of licks. There’s both technical and expressive elements here. Firstly, familiarity with which notes ‘sound’ right through the use of scales such as pentatonic or natural minor is undoubtedly important. Not all pupils come to me with an academic understanding of what each of these scales are, they more ‘feel’ if it’s right or not. She does actually know which scale is used because she ‘feels’ it, but has not necessarily connected the scale with its name. The use of the scale names means that pop music theory is being incorporated into lessons and so a deeper understanding is developing.

The next stage is to use these ‘feelings’ to create improvisation and lick development that isn’t simply a copy of another artist. That can be quite tricky, but it’s important that singers develop their own style. Improvisation is quite scary for many because they don’t want it to ‘sound wrong’. The holistic side of this is not just the freedom to be yourself, but it’s embracing a safe environment in which there is the space to experiment and a great outlet for how you feel. Some people don’t like discussing their emotions, but often feel much safer releasing them through their vocal performances and improvisations. Once the first steps are taken, the benefits are enormous.

Beginner Singing Lessons

Pupil D oozes enthusiasm all of the time in her beginner singing lessons. Of course, she really loves singing and so she smiles from beginning to end. As her singing teacher, my job is not simply to teach her songs, but it is to further develop her technique and expression so that she progresses to a more advanced level. The art of teaching in this case is not to put her off with too much technical talk and yet to still achieve the technical development. The art is creating exercises which are creative, game-like, that allow her to ‘get it right’ without having to think about which muscle is working where and how. Younger students gain awareness of their various muscles as they grow up, but they don’t always have the same level of self-observation. Self-observation is part of the lessons and part of gaining a greater understanding of how our bodies work in order to sing best. Fun must still be a central part of the lesson too!

Your Holistic Vocal Coach Online and Singing Teacher

Well, you’re reading an article by a vocal coach and singing teacher who trained at the Royal Northern College of Music Conservatoire, a highly classical establishment, has a PhD in Musicology, grew up with a cathedral style choir training, who lived with a Mandinko tribe in Gambia to learn their tribal songs, who worked with and recorded other tribes in South African in Ladysmith, who has directed a Gospel Choir in the UK, who co-directed a We Will Rock You season in a theatre, who has coached Musical Theatre soloists and Pop Vocal Coaches, who learns Hindustani music from a guru in Sri Lanka weekly (vocally) and who reached no. 1 in the UK, no. 33 globally for putting jazzy twists on pop songs in the Reverbnation Charts. Holistic vocal coaching and singing teaching? Absolutely!

Holistic Vocal Coach Online and Singing Lessons

Whether you are a professional vocalist, a beginner singing lessons student, someone seeking fun, a person singing to release emotions, if you wish to connect your emotions with your vocal tone and phrasing, are younger or older, please get in touch.

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There are thorough vocal coach online methods in the Maestro’s library. New courses are being continually added. Train your ear and technique thoroughly so that you can sing the way you want to and stylise the way you want to. Develop vocal coach runs that match those of leading singers such as Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.

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Vocal Coach Online and 1-1 Face-to-Face Lessons

For individual, holistic pop, jazz, musical theatre and classical lessons in piano, singing, vocal coaching and organ, visit Lessons are available online or in person at my home study in Yarm, Teesside, UK, near Middlesbrough, Darlington, Stockton, Northallerton and around 1 hour from York, Durham, Sunderland, Leeds and Newcastle.

For pop vocals visit Pop Vocals Lessons For classical singing visit: Classical Singing Lessons.

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