We start our first lesson as if we are first grade pupils who learn to write and read. I want to remind you from the very beginning that this is going to be a vocal lesson no sol-fa and no theory. Of course you need to know some basic rules for example which letter to use to mark the notes.
I have armed myself with the book Elementary theory of music by Parashkev Hadjiev to be 100 % sure in what I am saying here and to avoid any misunderstandings. For further details about which letters to use to mark the notes you can check up in this book. You can use whatever book you want in your own language. It is important at least for you to know the note equivalent of the different letters and to know the notes.
C D E F G A В (Н) / do re mi fa sol la si/
My advice to you is when you are trying to train your voice alone is to get to know it better.The easiest way is to find out what your vocal range is.
Start with the C key or do (the red one) and sing the tones in succession. My advice is to go down (the B key on the left side of the red C key) and then to go back. Sing quietly without shouting and pushing your voice too much. Your aim is to find out your vocal range and start working.
Vocal range is the measure of the breadth of pitches that a human voice can phonate”. (Wikipedia)
After you have done this you can learn about some other characteristics of your voice but that we will discuss later. Now please write the results in a notebook.
I want to add that the vocal range is actually the number of tones you can use. So even if you can sing really high or low tones the truth is that you may never need some of them. In other words don’t torture yourself too much during the exploration period.
If you are my students that will be my first job. I will also write down the results because the vocal range will develop if you work hard every day!
When you know your vocal range well you will be able to hear the different registers of your voice- low, medium or high. This will allow you to define what kind of voice you have. For girls-alto, mezzo-soprano, soprano and for boys- bass, baritone, tenor.
Now you see how many things you can learn by performing such a simple task!
And here comes your vocal teacher- to show you the specific characteristics of your voice in the different registers. In which register your voice sounds natural and relaxed, in which tense and where it “breaks” or the natural transition. With simple word from which tone your voice start to change and needs help to sound better. For female voices the transition is where you start using the throat or the so called throat singing ( F on first octave) and this in pop or jazz singing is not appropriate. At least these are my observations. Every voice is different.
/If you don’t have a vocal teacher but you want to find out what your vocal range is we could do this together online. Send me some records (audio or video) of you doing the exercise on firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have an online piano you can use it/
I forgot to mention that the piano is divided in octaves. Here is a picture that shows them separately.
Picture two shows my vocal range. Can you find out what it is?
It is from fa on octave 3 to sol on 5 octave.
My vocal range is richer in the medium and high registers. The low one is not that rich. But when I started working with the vocal teacher at New Bulgarian University Iliyan Paraskov I could not sing any tones from the low register. I am the living proof that you can change your vocal range the way you want.
Good luck and don’t forget to share your results! Leave your comments about the lesson and the text!