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On Stage

Overview

  • What does “On Stage” mean?
  • On Stage Guide

What Does “On Stage” Mean?

Now that you’ve diagnosed your voice and have a feel for which dimensions to improve upon, you can apply the solutions within the On Stage Guide below to any performance for immediate results. The suggestions take place ON Stage, which means you will remain in performance mode, and not in the mindset of the Vocal Gym. Therefore, the Guidelines are not to be applied. Keep in mind that these solutions are designed to help you maximize your singing based on your current skill level and are not a substitute for quality vocal exercises and long-term behavior development.

On Stage Guide

The following suggestions can address multiple dimensions, not just the one they may be listed under. For this reason, they have been organized relative to the dimension it will benefit the most.


1:
Flexibility Solutions

  • Keep your body in motion to help neutralize general tensions, even if standing in one area behind a microphone.
  • Do simple flexibility orientated exercises to stretch the vocal folds in between songs and during instrumental parts away from the microphone.
  • Temporarily close the vowels (formants) slightly in order to create more back-pressure, allowing the folds to become more responsive.
  • If possible, lower the key of the song to make the higher notes more accessible. This may require additional modification of the melody on lower notes.


2:
Breathing Solutions

  • Consciously inhale through your nose, whenever the spacing of a melody permits, to help calm the mind and keep the diaphragm actively engaged.
  • Sing with a clear tone, whenever appropriate, in order to avoid airy or imbalanced sounds, which often require additional air.
  • If you’re very active on stage, reduce your body’s movement to help reserve oxygen usage, but avoid standing totally still, which can lead to stiffening.
  • When permitted, adjust the tempo in order to assist in the pacing of your breath: speed up if struggling with long slow legato melodies, or slow down if you’re unable to catch your breath during quick-paced phrasing.


3:
Intonation Solutions

  • Simplify the melody or riff (rapid series of notes on a single formant) if the melodic intervals are too complicated or result in undefined note selections.
  • Adjust the stylization of the song to intentionally slide or bend into notes when and wherever appropriate.
  • Wear an earplug or adjust the monitors so that you can hear the notes you’re singing more clearly, and modify accordingly.
  • Introduce or invite additional vibrato to help reduce tension and mask off-pitch moments within the melody.


4:
Range Solutions

  • Increase or decrease volume (air pressure) in order to strategically place notes around the passaggio and allow for the voice to “crack” between registers when and where appropriate.
  • Consciously reduce neck tension and avoid looking or reaching upward in association with a high note, which has a tendency to invite more effort than necessary.
  • Change only the notes of the melody you are struggling with, whether low, high or amidst the passaggio.
  • If circumstances allow, adjust the key of the song up or down to make the notes of the melody throughout the song more accessible.


5:
Tone Solutions

  • Exaggerate the emotional intent of the lyrics to make the general delivery of the song more dynamic.
  • Deliberately modify your tonal textures (its “color,” “clarity,” “airiness,” “grittiness,” etc.) to tame or enhance your sound in an effort to make it more interesting.
  • Increase or decrease air pressure to trigger new combinations of overtones within your instrument.
  • If relevant, adjust your grip of the microphone and the distance it’s kept from your mouth to capture and manipulate the sound of your voice.


6:
Articulation Solutions

  • Exaggerate the words, particularly the consonants, which will help tell the story and assist in defining the melody.
  • Simplify your tone to help reduce any vocal tension and minimize potential overuse of the articulatory muscles.
  • Utilize more body language and facial expressions to tell the song’s story, which will also help to keep the audience engaged and connected.
  • When permitted, decrease the tempo of the song to help facilitate the words and provide more opportunity to enunciate clearly.


7:
Strength Solutions

  • Lower your volume, where and when you can within the melody, to reserve strength and let the microphone do the work for you.
  • Intentionally jump from one vocal register to another, wherever appropriate to do so, minimizing tension and fatigue.
  • Modify or simplify your tone of voice in order to mask or avoid vocal instabilities.
  • When possible, extend instrumental sections and utilize backup singers (or even your audience) during loud, repetitive, parts of a song to help pace your voice.

Activity

Using the On Stage Guide above, identify the dimensions most associated with descriptions below:

What Did You Learn?

  • What “On Stage” means
  • On stage solutions for all 7 dimensions

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