I am delighted to say that my vocal exercise MP3’s will soon be available for sale and download on my website!
Why pre-recorded vocalises?
- More effective practice. In the past I often assigned a certain exercise in a lesson, only to find the next week that the student had done something different, or had only practiced it in their easiest range, or was just singing badly out of tune. This applies mostly to the amateur singer, but also to voice majors who come without instrumental experience.
- Online instruction. During the COVID-19 pandemic, most voice teachers have switched to online instruction. One of the limitations of technology is that the piano accompaniments used during the lesson must originate from the student’s side. Pre-recorded vocalises allow them to sing their exercises as they would in a traditional lesson, i.e. with piano accompaniment.
Beginners and those without a keyboard or keyboard skills need something to guide them in their own practice. For these students I have developed Beginning Vocalises for Medium Voice, a 25-minute collection of 12 exercises, harmonized and played on the piano. Each iteration has the range of only a fifth or so. The exercises outline typical patterns within a narrow range: triads, five note scales, etc. The total range is from a bottom note of Bb to a top note of Eb. Most singers can manage this.
I suggest at first just practicing one staccato and one legato exercise per day (5-8 minutes) for the first month or so, then the first six (12 minutes) daily for a month or so, then the second six (12 minutes) daily. At this point the student is probably ready for more complicated vocalises. In my own experience as a voice teacher, this structured approach leads to rapid improvement.
Advanced students often need something to warm up with at a remote location, before a rehearsal or audition, or may need help playing a complicated exercises. Pre-recorded vocalises are a convenience. I developed the Advanced Vocalises in two versions (low voice and high voice) as a 45 minute collection of fourteen exercises, each spanning an octave or more, harmonized and played on the piano. The total range is about 2 octaves, Low version usually works from a G to an F#, the high version from about Bb to C.
What about the printed music? Companion PDF’s of the printed exercises will be available as well.
What about McClosky?
David Blair McClosky was a pioneer in the field of vocal rehabilitation and a nationally recognized teacher who advanced a tactile and physical approach to singing, eschewing imagery and other indirect techniques. I studied with McClosky for one year privately and then for two years of my master’s degree in Vocal Performance from Boston Conservatory.
McClosky’s book, Your Voice at its Best, originally published in 1959, is available in a new edition (2011) from Waveland Press, and also sold on Amazon. McClosky published some of his favorite vocal exercises in the book, and I have included McClosky’s examples as the even-numbered examples in both sets of Vocalises. Beginning Vocalises and Advanced Vocalises can be used as a companion to the book. This is the first time McClosky’s exercises are available as sound files.