Singing with Style: Exercise and Enhance Your Voice | Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton | Skillshare
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Singing with Style: Exercise and Enhance Your Voice

teacher avatar Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton, Songwriters, Vocalists

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Introduction

      1:31

    • 2.

      Singing with Clear Pronunciation

      3:13

    • 3.

      Improving Your Vowel Delivery

      2:45

    • 4.

      Improving Straight Tone

      1:50

    • 5.

      Mastering Vibrato

      1:48

    • 6.

      Combining Vibrato and Straight Tone

      1:00

    • 7.

      Warming Up and Cooling Down

      1:38

    • 8.

      Final Thoughts

      1:04

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About This Class

A singer is an athlete. Discover how to train your voice. 

As professional songwriters and vocalists, Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton have turned their powerhouse voices into powerhouse careers. Since 2008, the two singers have collectively and individually toured with major recording artists like Coldplay, Usher, Anita Baker, Demi Lovato, and Jessie J. They have also worked as vocalists on American Idol and The Voice and in films like Encanto, The Lion King, and Jordan Peele’s Us. Now ready to share their top singing tricks and techniques, Denise and Neka dive deep into exercising and enhancing your voice. 

In this in-depth class, Neka and Denise will guide you through exercising and caring for your voice so you can build stamina and prevent vocal fatigue, hoarseness, and tension.  You’ll explore six different vocal exercises that will help you improve your diction and vowel pronunciation as well as refine your vibrato and straight tone approaches. 

Through Denise and Neka’s actionable lessons, you’ll:

  • Practice diction and vowel delivery 
  • Sing an unwavering straight tone correctly 
  • Explore slow, mid-speed, and fast vibrato
  • Move from vibrato to straight tone
  • Discover the importance of warming down your voice

Plus, you get a behind-the-scenes look at some of Denise and Neka’s favorite vocal exercises and how they keep their voices healthy and strong. 

These lessons will provide you with top-notch singing exercises that can be added to your vocal arsenal all while exploring the beauty of your own voice. By the end of this class, you’ll know how to build a confident, malleable, and healthy voice that will keep you singing with ease for years to come.

The third class in Denise and Neka’s five part learning path was created for anyone curious about learning how to sing. Whether you grew up going to choir practice or you’re a dedicated shower singer with a desire to improve your voice, Denise and Neka will cover the importance of exercising your voice. If you’re completely new to singing, consider watching Denise and Neka’s first two classes on learning how to sing. As the only instrument you’ll always have with you, the only thing you’ll need for this class is your voice and, if desired, paper and a pencil for note taking.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton

Songwriters, Vocalists

Teacher

Denise Carite and Neka Hamilton  are professional songwriters and vocalists who have turned their powerhouse voices into  powerhouse careers. Since 2008, the two singers have collectively and individually toured with major recording artists like Coldplay, Usher, Anita Baker, Demi Lovato, and Jessie J. They have also worked as vocalists on American Idol and The Voice and in films like Encanto, The Lion King, and Jordan Peele’s Us. Now ready to share their top singing tricks and techniques, Denise and Neka dive deep into performing and pursuing a musical career. 

Connect with Neka on Instagram and Denise at her website!

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: [MUSIC] A singer is an athlete and we're here to stress the importance of training for your voice. [MUSIC] Hi, I'm Denise. I'm Neka. With over 15 years in the music industry, we have collectively and individually toured with major recording artists such as Coldplay, Usher, Anita Baker, Demi Lovato, and Jessie J to name a few. This class is all about exercising and strengthening the instrument known as the voice. We will do this by exploring diction, consonant, and vowel singing, in addition to explaining and understanding what straight tone is as opposed to using rubato. Finally, we will end this class with the importance of warming down after you've sung and provided examples of how to do it. [MUSIC] The beauty of your instrument is that there are multiple personal ways to help you achieve the sound you desire. It will take you exploring what your voice feels and sounds like while shaping your mouth differently or getting to the vowels and consonants of words faster or slower. These skills are vital to your vocal arsenal, making for an even more confident in malleable voice with performing with others or soloing. Once you complete this class, we encourage you to submit yourselves singing any vowel to a verse and a chorus. [OVERLAPPING] Now let's get started. [LAUGHTER] 2. Singing with Clear Pronunciation: [MUSIC]. Is there a song you love but you have absolutely no idea what's being said? This is because of diction or lack thereof. Diction is the pronunciation enunciation of words. Some artists aren't too big on diction due to adopting their own vocal style and vocal delivery. Others choose to make it a part of their sound. Of course, we want to encourage you to play around with sounds in delivery of words in the safest way. But it never hurts to lay some groundwork by working on annunciation so that your audience can understand you and absorb the words you are sharing through song. When focusing on diction, be conscious of the consonants you are singing. We break these into two categories, voiced and unvoiced consonants. These are all of the letters of the alphabet excluding vowels, we're going to try some tongue twisters. They are a great way to improve and practice enunciation and fluency of how words come together when speaking or singing. First, repeat after me in your speaking voice, reading and writing are richly rewarding. Reading and writing are richly rewarding. Say it a few times in a row. Reading and writing are richly rewarding, Reading and writing are richly rewarding. Now we're going to sing it. Reading and writing are richly rewarding. Reading and writing are richly rewarding. [MUSIC] Reading and writing are richly rewarding. Reading and writing are richly rewarding. [MUSIC] Reading and writing are richly rewarding, reading and writing are richly rewarding. [MUSIC] Reading and writing are richly rewarding reading and writing are richly rewarding. [MUSIC] Reading and writing are richly rewarding reading and writing are richly rewarding. [MUSIC] Reading and writing are richly rewarding, reading and running are richly rewarding. [MUSIC] Reading and writing are richly rewarding, reading and writing are richly rewarding. Thank you, Janelle. The next one we'll do is sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirts for sailors. Repeat after me. Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirts for sailors. One more time. Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirts for Sailors. Great, thank you, Janelle. Now we're going to sing it. [MUSIC] Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirts for sailor. [MUSIC] Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirts for sailors. [MUSIC] Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirts for sailors. [MUSIC] Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirt for sailors. [MUSIC] Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirt sowing shirt for sailors. [MUSIC] Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirts for sailors. [MUSIC] Sister Suzy sat on the seashore sewing shirts for sailors. Very good. Thank you, Janelle. As you work on your diction, here are a few reminders. First, relax your jaw and breathe in from your nose and out through your mouth. Make sure you are conscious of expanding the diaphragm while keeping correct posture. Last but not least, remember to also relax your tongue. 3. Improving Your Vowel Delivery: [MUSIC] As a singer, you are bound to run into some uncomfortable sounds. For example, I know everyone is familiar with Whitney Houston's acclaim singing phrase from, I Will Always Love You. The I in this phrase is one of the five monophthongs or vowels. To sing vowels we use articulators, the jaw, lips, tongue, and soft palate, and we produce a sound with a relatively open vocal tract. Many singers will tell you they enjoy singing vowels because of that openness, making it easier for the air to flow through. To practice your vowel delivery, take a song line or phrase and substitute the line with a vowel. For this warm up, we're going to be singing the melody of Happy Birthday with each vowel sound, A, E, I, O, and U. For all of the vowel sounds, be sure to have a north and south approach as far as your mouth shape and the sound. When singing, note that the A and E should all be in one breath and also the I, O, and U. When you get to the O, remember you have to transition to an U sound. Be sure to form your mouth and lips to distinguish the difference. [MUSIC] Thank you, [inaudible]. You can continue to practice your vowel delivery by substituting various vowels until you go through them all. The way your mouth forms words, tongue placement, proper breath support and control, the beginning and ending of words, projection of sound are some bullet points to draw attention to when delivering to your audience. For good practice, it would serve you to take a short poem and recite it, concentrating on a clear over enunciated delivery. You can choose to highlight certain vowels and consonants sounds. Take the lyrics to your favorite song or a song you're working on and recited in place of singing it. Understanding how the vowels and consonants sound and feel can be helpful when going to perform. 4. Improving Straight Tone: [MUSIC] A straight tone is when you sing a pitch with no oscillation, or in other words, unwavering. Straight tone can be used throughout a vocal performance to emote, communicate, and help with blending when singing with others. The healthiest way to deliver a straight tone sound would be to first do some low, medium open mouth hums, to fill the folds in a relaxed state like so. [NOISE] Another exercise without singing would be to make a z sound like a buzzing bee, and fill the air sustaining it. [NOISE] For the straight tone warm-up, we will be pausing on the same note and connecting it all in one breath on the words le, di, da, de, yu. When you sing, the easiest visual that may aid in delivering a straight tone is to think of pushing the note forward as a straight line. Do your best to be right on pitch by letting the L in le help with the note to be exact. You should feel the resonance in your head. We would love for more bright sound. [MUSIC] Great job, Janelle. Now, you want to make sure that when you exhale, it's not rushed. Correct airflow is crucial for this. Always think of evenly dispersing your air. 5. Mastering Vibrato: [MUSIC] Vibrato, which is total opposite of straight tone, comes from the Italian word vibrare, which means to vibrate. There are many great debates about the vibrato. Some believe you can only be born with it, and some believe if it doesn't come naturally, then you can learn it. We believe the answer to be both. The vibrato can happen when the vocal technique is solid and you're relaxed, which allows the cords to vibrate freely. The muscles of the larynx pulse with rhythm in response to tension and pressure. Repeat after me. It sounds funny, but it can help you get a feel of the motion for creating the sound. When you think of vibrato think of a rhythm. Some are fast, some are slow, and some are right down the middle. I'm going to demonstrate a slow vibrato and a vibrato at mid-speed while Denise will demonstrate a vibrato at a higher speed. [MUSIC] Mid-speed [MUSIC] and one at a higher speed. [MUSIC] Remember that every individual has their own natural vibrato and it is possible to speed it up or slow it down with practice. If you don't have a vibrato, you can for sure practice to obtain it. 6. Combining Vibrato and Straight Tone: [MUSIC] For this lesson, we're going to take these totally two different techniques and combine them. This will help you when it comes to phrasing and being in total control of how you want to perform during a song. Will be singing the vowel sound e, four beats for straight tone, and four beats for vibrato, then back to straight tone, and then back to vibrato. It'll sound something like this. [MUSIC] 1, 2, 3. [MUSIC] Thank you, Genelle. Be sure to implement these warm-ups into your practices every day. 7. Warming Up and Cooling Down : [MUSIC] We've been stressing the importance of warm-ups and breath support all throughout the classes and lessons thus far. But we want to share that it is just as important to warm down after singing as well. When we've used our voices and have added in vocal elements like belting, singing straight tones, singing in airy tones, or singing for a long period of time, you may notice your voice feeling fatigued or even speaking differently. What could be happening is inflammation of the vocal folds or overused muscles in the larynx. A cool down will promote blood flow to these areas and give them a much needed stretch they deserve. Consciousness of vocal health is imperative, and we want for you to be singing properly and in a good voice forever. It's not necessary to be loud, aggressive, or go to the top of your range for a cool down. Here are some light, non-abrasive warm downs for you. Some non-singing warm downs are yawns and head rolls. A light singing exercise would be starting on a root note on a z-sound and slowly and lightly gliding up to the octave and come back down. [MUSIC] Adding these exercises to your repertoire will help you build stamina and prevent fatigue, hoarseness, and chronic tension. 8. Final Thoughts : [MUSIC] Thank you for hanging out with us again. We hope you enjoy this class where we share more on how to stretch your instrument by exploring straight tone, vibrato, consonant, and vowel approaches and how to be mindful of your instrument after doing some hard singing work. Be sure to spend time with your voice for 20-30 minutes minimum a day. Get the proper amount of rest, and of course, hydrate. For the class assignment, submit yourself singing any vowel to a verse and a chorus, or just the chorus to a song of your choice. Record yourself combining straight tone and vibrato and submit it to the project gallery. To end our class, we would like to close out with some affirmations so you can remain encouraged along the journey of learning and finding your voice. You can repeat after us or just listen and absorb the positive vibes. I am capable. I am patient with myself. I give myself permission to learn. If it's meant to be, it is up to me. See you later.