A Little Musical Inspiration

A Little Musical Inspiration
"The singer has everything within him. The notes come out from his very life. They are not materials gathered from outside." ~Rabindranath Tagore

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sight Singing Tips by Rebecca McKinley

Here are 5 quick ways to improve your sight singing skills.

1) Practice identifing notes on the Staff and on the keyboard. Drill yourself until you can recognize them in your sleep.

2) Learn how to identify key signatures in sheet music using the order of flats (b) which is B, E, A, D, Greatest, Common Factor. The second to last flat in the sequence is the key signature. For key signatures with sharps (#) the sequence goes Fat Cats Go Down Allys Eating Birds with the key signature being a half step up from the last sharp.

3) Download pictures of the solfeg hand signs and practice singing Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti Do while making the signs with your hands. Remember that you can start on any note as "Do" (also called the tonic and name of the key signature as well) and sing the scale in any key you want. Then simply write in the solfeg for any song that you've identified the key signature of.

4) Practice your rythms. When practicing, remember that each type of note (whole, half, quarter, 16ths..ect) is composed of shorter notes of half its value and that dotted notes add half of the note's value. Also, remember to practice and recognize triplets and any other tricky rythms that you might have trouble recognizing right away.

5) Once you are comfortable with all those individual parts and pieces, put them together and practice. As with any learned skill, practice is essential.

Good luck everyone and happy practicing!!:)

Monday, January 11, 2016

10 Tips For Dealing with a Cold by Rebecca McKinley

    It is extremely common for singers to get sick during this time of year, no matter how many vitamins you take or how much you wash your hands, so here are several tips for dealing with that pesky cold and flu season as a singer:

   1) Drink plenty of water, it helps keep your body hydrated and ready to flush out and fight viruses. Keep an extra refillable water bottle with you throughout the day.

   2) Take naps whenever you can. Even a short nap during the day can help your body restore itself and fight off infections.

  3) Cough drops and mints are your friends. They help to create extra saliva and prevent those awful dry throats. However, do not buy any that contain antiseptic, especially if you need to sing. This is because those types of cough drops are meant to numb your throat and you can do damage without knowing it. Sometimes a spoonful of honey can work even better at soothing a dry throat.

   4 ) Gargling with either a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water or simple warm salt water can help ease the pain and work to kill off viruses as well.

   5) Saline sprays that you can purchase at places like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens are great for clearing out your nose and making sure that the virus runs it's course smoothly without becoming a sinus infection (which can potentially occur when your sinuses become swollen and backed up). Nettipot also works well, but it isn't as convenient as a nasal spray.

   6) Some viruses love to attack the cells in vocal cords, causing laryngitis. If that does happen and you become hoarse to the point where you are having a difficult time singing or speaking, go on a mild vocal rest for a few days and don't sing on swollen vocal cords if you can help it.

  7) Camomile tea is a wonderful way to sooth your throat and bring down the inflammation. Beware of teas like green tea and peppermint that can potentially dry your throat out. Cutting up pieces of ginger to put in your tea and/or chew is also helpful, along with honey (added after the tea has cooled enough to drink).

  8) Beware of ibuprofen, it might bring down the pain and inflammation in your throat, but can cause problems with your vocal cords down the line if used too much.

  9) Decongestants are great to help you breath so you can sleep, but they can be drying so if you use them be sure to drink a full glass of water afterwards.

  10) Sugar weakens your immune system, so be careful of your sugar intake in our fastpaced, modern lifestyle, especially while dealing with a cold.