great singers, great singing technique, how to sing better, how to improve singing, arden kaywin, voice teacher los angeles, voice lessons los angeles, vocal coach los angeles

How Smiling Will Improve Your Singing

Have you ever noticed that really great singers always seem to be smiling when they sing? (From top Left: Beyonce, Joan Sutherland, Pavarotti, Sam Smith, Audra McDonald, Placido Domingo, Sutton Foster) Are they all just perpetually happy? Are they smiling because their singing technique is so damn great? Au contraire mon frère – their singing technique is so damn great because they’re smiling!! It doesn’t matter if it’s Beyonce or Joan Southerland, great singers across the board know that the secret to great resonance has to do with “the smile”. Whether they’re opera singers, pop singers or musical theater performers, when the camera clicks mid-phrase, they all look the same, they’ve all got “the smile”. You too can improve your singing resonance by incorporating the idea of “the smile”. When a singer has “the smile”, it’s important to understand that it’s really not about showing off your pearly whites and saying cheese. It’s actually about the shape you achieve on of the inside of your mouth when the outside of your face appears to be smiling. It’s that shape which has the biggest effect on your ability to create an amazing, resonant sound easily. Do you want to know what the

Arden Kaywin, Voice Teacher Los Angeles, Vocal Coach Los Angeles, Voice Lessons Los Angeles, Improve Singing

Eliminate The Fear | A Tool To Build Confidence In Your Singing Technique

Halloween this past week got me thinking about the relationship between fear and singing technique. Ghosts and zombies have nothing on the kind of fear that the opening of Gilda’s aria from Rigoletto used to elicit in me. Seriously. . . . there was a time I would rather walk through Haunted Harbor alone at 2am then to have to sing that passage one more time because it exposed every single insecurity I had about my voice and every weakness in my singing technique at the time. So what do you do when you come to a place in a song that exposes the weakest part of your singing technique?  What’s your reaction when you have to sing in the part of your voice that you are really insecure about? Most of us do one of two things: we play defense and pull back to lessen the impact of what we perceive as bad, or we play offense and plough through, trying too hard in an attempt to force a better outcome.  Both are totally normal reactions to avoid the discomfort of feeling “less then” in the moment.  But here’s the thing, these totally normal reactions to our fear and

Frustrated singer, improve singing, singing techniques, voice teacher los angeles

Why You Are Frustrated With Your Singing Technique (And How To Change That)

You are a dedicated singer who has spent years honing good singing technique to improve your voice, but you are frustrated because even with all that training, you are still not singing to your full potential. I’ve been there! There’s a really good reason you are frustrated and one really solid way to change that.  When I was younger, my parents’ bathroom was the site of all my Grammy award winning performances – specifically the shower in that bathroom. Man, I was unstoppable in that shower! I could hit notes in there that were full and sustained like nobody’s business. I remember being so frustrated that nothing ever sounded or felt as good as the songs I sang in that shower. Now, with years of awareness around how the mind / body connection works in singing, I totally understand why singing was easier in that shower. Most people think it’s because the acoustics in the shower are better, but there’s actually another, more powerful reason. When you are in the shower you sing like you just don’t care. Nobody is watching or listening. There is nothing at stake, so you don’t care and you let go. Sound energy responds to

The #1 Thing Most Voice Teachers Don’t Tell Singers

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that the #1 thing most voice teachers don’t tell singers is the following: If you really want to improve your singing, the first thing you must do is to start paying attention to the ways you live in and use your body when you are not singing. Let me back up a bit. See, lately I’ve been noticing how things that have nothing to do with singing actually have everything to do with singing (if you read my last blog post about the link between a certain yoga pose and singing technique, you’ll know what I mean). I’m so aware of how the ways we use our body in our everyday lives when we are not singing or even thinking about singing actually has an enormous effect on how we use our body when we are singing. Becoming aware of these physical patterns can make a HUGE difference in our ability to better employ our singing technique and swiftly improve our singing. Take the example of one of my more petite female students. She was in a lesson recently when we discovered that her petite height was the cause of

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A Tip To Improve Your Breathing For Singing

Breathing For Singing Is Way Easier When You Stop Taking A Breath!   What if I said that your singing will dramatically improve if you stop actively taking breaths? You would probably think I was nuts. But hear me out. . . . . I hate the phrase “take a breath”.  It implies a certain violence – a grabbing, a taking, a fast manipulation to pull as much air into the body as possible in the shortest amount of time. This inevitably creates tension in the ribs, in the muscles of the abdomen, in the muscles of the neck and throat that surround the larynx and tension in the jaw. In my experience, excess tension in a singer’s body is the number one saboteur of a good sound. By “taking” or grabbing a breath, you are setting up the rest of the phrase you’re about to sing from a place of tension rather then from a place of open release. The ensuing phrase will suffer because you receive much less air then you would if the body was free, open, soft and released during the inhale. Additionally, if you breathe with tension in your neck, throat and abdomen, that tension inevitably continues

Arden Kaywin, voice teacher los angeles, offers a checklist to get rid of tension while singing

A Simple Physical Awareness Checklist To Improve Your Singing

The ways in which we use our bodies in our day-to-day lives effects how we sound when we sing. What do I mean exactly? When your body is your instrument, the way you use it when you are not singing influences how it behaves when you are. An example I like to give is of a tenor I worked with who was extremely tall (nearly NBA tall, well over six feet). He had always been taller then everyone around him from the time he was young. Because of his height, his interactions with other people nearly always required him to look down at the people he was speaking to, round his shoulders, cock his head and neck downwards both to try to make eye contact, and to also make himself appear smaller and less imposing to those he was with. When he would get up to sing, the same physical pattern would appear. . . a physical shortening and collapsing. Singing from this position created tension in his neck, throat and sternum which prevented him from accessing the full breadth and energy of his support, limited his range and squeezed his sound. Yet he didn’t even realize it because that

Arden Kaywin, voice teacher los angeles, shows best position for mental practice to improve singing

Mental Practice – A Singing Technique So Easily Overlooked

Sometimes the most efficient form of practicing singing doesn’t involve singing at all. Singing is an athletic endeavor, don’t let anyone tell you any different. We are asking our body to do the same thing over and over again for a desired outcome. Just like a major league pitcher or an Olympic sprinter, a singer’s body is our instrument. And no matter how good your technique or how healthfully you sing, there comes a point where too much practice singing will fatigue your instrument. The common wisdom is that a singer should sing for no more then about three hours a day total, and not more then about an hour straight without a break for vocal rest. But every singer is different. It is so important to know your instrument well enough that you are aware of what it feels like as you approach the threshold of overuse so that you can stop singing before you reach it. After that point, the idea of “mental practice” becomes essential. What is mental practice? Mental practice consists of taking yourself through your music in your mind’s eye (or in this case, ear) in a deliberate and specific way to reinforce your technique and

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Out Of Breath Too Soon? Here’s A Singing Tip

Singers – Are You Out Of Breath? Do you feel like you never seem to have enough breath when you sing? Are you constantly grabbing bigger and bigger breaths only to run out of air in the same place each time? If so, the problem may be that your breath quality is affecting your air quantity. Many singers unknowingly approach breathing for singing as a fast manipulation to pull as much air into the body as possible in the shortest amount of time. They think the only way they’ll be able to get enough air to make it through the phrase is if they actively grab, take, pull, suck, force or “tank up” as much air as possible into their lungs before they sing. What these singers don’t realize is that a breath of this quality creates tension (in the ribs, in the muscles of the abdomen, in the muscles of the neck and throat, and in the jaw), and this tension negatively affects the quantity of air they are receiving. The very thing they are doing in an effort to draw in more breath is actually causing them to receive less. If there is any tension in the body