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A Thanksgiving Message

I always knew I wanted to be a singer. But until I started working with all of you over a decade ago, I would have never known that what fulfills me the most, ignites my passion and drive, brings me incredible joy and humbles me daily is teaching. You may think you are the student, but I learn from you every single day. You inspire me with your dedication and willingness to be brave on this exciting and sometimes frustrating path. I am grateful to you for trusting me to be a part of your process, your development and your artistic journey. When you shine, my heart is full! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. All my love and gratitude, Arden

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A Tip To Find Effortless Singing

It’s so awkward being at a show and watching a singer work really, really hard. You see their neck veins pop out, their breaths are gasping and labored as they push and squeeze the phrases out. They have no idea how to sing without strain and it’s exhausting to watch. Have you seen a singer like this? Nothing is worse. Well, I take that back. . . .there is something worse. . . . . BEING that singer who’s pushing, squeezing and otherwise working  waaaaaay too hard. Not only does it alienate your audience, it just doesn’t feel good to sing that way. The truth is, your body wants to sing without strain. If singing doesn’t feel good, that’s your body telling you that you’re not doing it right.  With efficient technique, singing feels effortless. It doesn’t feel like work. In fact, it hardly feels like anything at all . . . . except really, really great! If it feels like a whole lot of work, your body is signaling that you haven’t quite found the sweet spot of efficiency yet. But have no fear! Finding the sweet spot of efficiency is not as elusive as it sounds. One of

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The Power Of The Mind/Body Connection In Singing

You know how I’m always encouraging you to tap into your awareness and cultivate the power of the mind/body connection in your singing? Well, I saw this headline the other day and I had to bring it to you. It’s such a testament to the power of the mind/body connection that if you have ever been in doubt, it serves as a great reminder. For those of you not following the news or who hadn’t heard this story, a group of thirteen Thai boys and their soccer coach were trapped for 9 days deep in a cave after the entrance got flooded. They were without any food, any light or much fresh water until on day 10, an international team of navy seals and cave divers found them, miraculously alive, and managed to get them out after week long rescue mission. It turns out that the boys’ coach, who led them on a hike into the cave when it flooded, trained in meditation as a Buddhist monk for a decade before becoming a soccer coach. According to a bunch of news sources, he taught the boys to meditate in the cave to keep them calm and preserve their energy throughout the

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Improve Your Breath Support With These Two Singing Hacks

Today I’m bringing you two short and sweet technical tips to help you achieve a more reliable breath support. To improve your breath support, it all begins with words. That’s right. . . . not the air, not your diaphragm, not your lungs. . . . words! The words we use to direct ourselves in our technique and around our support REALLY matter.  Changing words shifts understanding. A new understanding shifts mindset. And a new mindset results in a new physical response which helps your body work for you instead of against you in accessing your most efficient singing technique. I love clever life hacks (who knew a balled up piece of tin foil makes a great substitute for steel wool??). Consider these breath support tips my version of clever singing hacks. They are achieved by merely changing a few words! Watch the video. And if you’d like a more in depth understanding of how to achieve proper breath support for singing, check out some of my earlier posts and accompanying videos on the topic: “How To Sing With Appoggio” has really good explanations and exercises for how to find and feel your support correctly in your body. Understanding and

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How To Get Unstuck & Stop Struggling

Is your inner voice really harsh? Does it LOVE to criticize you? Does it constantly tell you how much your are lacking, remind you of all the ways it thinks you are bad or wrong, berate you for doing too little or too much. . . . .is it ever satisfied??? A few weeks ago I wrote to you about a question I am often asked: What keeps talented singers stuck and struggling? Today I have another actionable tool for you as we continue that conversation. This tool will help you get out of your head and move past the struggle by changing the way you relate to your inner voice. You see, when you hear that critical voice, it’s not you. It is not the voice of your true self. It’s the voice of your ego, otherwise known as your “inner-critic”. The voice of the true self so often gets drowned out by the ego/inner-critic that at times the inner-critic is the only voice we hear. But it’s not the only voice that’s there. Learning how to detach from your inner-critic and connect to the voice of your true self can be game changing for improving your singing and getting you “un-stuck”. I know, you’re thinking “Oh

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A Tip To Reduce Tension & Increase Vocal Range

As many of you know, I have a four year old daughter. One of the things I learned from parenting her throughout the toddler years (and now the preschool years) is the value of re-direction. Thank the lord for re-direction!!! I can not overstate how many times this tactic has saved me from being on the receiving end of a major fuss. And for singers, the value of re-direction is just as strong. Re-direction is a really powerful way to combat tension. My favorite re-direction tool is opposition. There are SO many useful applications for opposition in singing. The one I’m focusing on today is using opposition to help singers increase vocal range. In my experience, most singers have much more range then they’re currently able to access. The reason it’s so hard for many of you to make use of the upper reaches of your range is because too much tension builds up around your larynx as you rise in pitch and you get stuck. The idea of opposition can make all the difference in the world in reducing tension in singing to increase vocal range. Watch today’s Blog video to learn how to employ opposition to help you

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StarWars & Singing: How To Sing Without Tension

One of the things many singers struggle with is how to sing without tension. If you know me, then you can guess my response for how to sing without tension has something to do with the mind/body effect on your singing technique. There’s a quote in Star Wars that I love. When Yoda is instructing Luke Skywalker, he says: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Singers, this is your mantra!!! It applies to you in the same way it applies to Luke when he’s stuck in the swamp. When we try, we tend to force, manipulate, over-think and overdo which all causes physical tension. We tense because we don’t inherently trust ourselves to make the sound we want without any excess “trying”. Luke tries to force a solution in the swamp and nothing is working. But when he heeds Yoda’s words, stops trying so hard and trusts his training and abilities, he is able to channel the Force to get the ship out of the swamp. When we are in “try” mode, like Luke, we don’t believe we can get what we want unless we try really hard. And just like Luke, all that trying gets in the

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Achieving Lasting Breath Support The Italian Way

Throughout history, there have been many, many things Italians have contributed to culture and society that we just wouldn’t want to live without. Think espresso, the jacuzzi, the Mona Lisa and jeans. (Yes, denim can be traced back to Genoa in the 17th century as being worn by sailors. Who knew?) But given what I do for a living and my creative passion, my favorite of all Italian exports is . . . . . . drumroll please: Appoggio What is Appoggio you ask??? Appoggio is an Italian concept of breath support for singing that has been used by centuries of opera singers to achieve a consistency and stability of breath and tone. You don’t have to be an opera singer to reap the benefits of incorporating the idea of Appoggio into your singing. And don’t worry, singing with Appoggio isn’t gong to make you sound like an opera singer if that’s not your bag.  What it will do however, is bring you more freedom and power through stabling your breath support in each phrase. And THAT is what you want no matter what genre you sing. Are you curious to learn more about what Appoggio is and how to

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One Mistake That Keeps Talented Singers Stuck And Struggling

There’s one question I am asked all the time: What’s the secret to great singing? Now, I totally get it. Who doesn’t want in on the secret to greatness? The thing is, there’s no useful, practical answer to this question. While these kinds of broad inspirational secrets are easy to soak in, they are hard to execute. They’re designed to address an insecurity with instant encouragement, without providing any real strategies or substance. As such, they are rarely actionable. Since I’m all about taking action and digging down to guide you in the real work that will facilitate lasting change in your voice so you sing with your full potential, naturally such a question pushes my buttons. There’s a better question though – One I wish more singers would ask me. Here it is… What specific mistakes keep talented singers stuck and struggling? Now THAT’s a question ripe for an in-depth, tactical and actionable answer. Like most things worth learning, the answer can’t be summed up in a sound bite. Perhaps this is the beginning of a book I should write! But for now, we can start the conversation by discussing something talented singers can do to move the needle in

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Two Breath Support Myths Dispelled with a Before & After Video

Dispelling myths about breath support is like taking a sledgehammer to a cracked foundation.  I think most architects would agree that when it comes to building a house, getting the foundation right is the most important part. Without it, the building will not stand (at least not for long!). In the very same way, our breath support is the foundation of our singing. It is from this support that our sound maintains stability. Yet it seems for SO many singers (even those who have had tons of training) a truly solid understanding of this foundation remains elusive. Unfortunately there’s a lot of misleading and contradictory information out there which only serves to confuse more. So in this blog post, I’m going to try to address what I find to be the two most common myths about breath support.   Myth #1 – You should breathe into your belly. Noooooooo! When I see these words on paper this technique looks even more ridiculous. Breathe into my belly? I’m pretty sure I don’t have lungs in my belly. If you’ve heard this, it’s because someone has noticed you are taking shallow breaths which pull your chest and shoulders up. The things is,