Tag Archives: singing lesson

Taking Your Bow and Leaving the Stage like a Singing Professional

The manner in which you take your bow after completing your singing performance depends on the concert. If you’re a famous diva, you may curtsy, but it’s better to wait on that until you arrive at one of the big opera houses. Until then, use the tried-and-true standard bow: Bend from the waist and bow your head to the audience.

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  • After you find your spot on the stage, stop in place (with your feet close together) and lean forward from the waist. You want your head down, looking at the floor momentarily. Otherwise, it looks like you’re looking up to make sure that everyone is clapping.

    Remember that you have to lean forward in your performance attire. If that’s a gown or tuxedo, make sure that it isn’t so tight that you can’t bend over at all or without revealing too much cleavage when you bow.

  • Your hands can be along the sides of your legs or clasped in front. Allow your hands to slide down your leg as you bend over. Remember not to put your hands in front of your zipper if you choose to clasp them.
  • Slowly count to two and raise your torso again. After you bow, acknowledge your accompanist. If the piece was a huge ensemble number, you may bow with your accompanist. You want to make that decision in advance and plan who bows when and after whom.

    Some people like to turn and extend their arm to acknowledge the accompanist. If the pianist isn’t leaving the stage with you, that’s appropriate. But if you’re a team, plan bows separately and then together.

Exiting the stage is also an art. When you finish singing and take your bow, head toward the exit. Look at your audience again and smile as you exit the stage. If the audience just loved what they heard, they may continue clapping, so you can take another bow.

Wait for the peak of the applause and then go back onto the stage. If you had an accompanist playing for you, ask the accompanist to bow with you again or bow with you at the next curtain call.

Depending on the situation, you may want to prepare an encore. How will you know when to sing the encore? Finish your last number, hear the applause, and exit the stage; return to the stage for your bow and exit the stage again; and return to the stage and sing the encore, or return for another bow and then come back out to sing the encore.

An encore is appropriate for a recital where you are the main attraction or for a performance with a group such as a band or symphony. When you do more performing, you’ll figure out when an encore is appropriate and what to prepare for the encore.

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Singing: Overcome Performance Anxiety by Forming a Game Plan

For every singing performance, make a plan of action for success. Assuming that you’re going to succeed means that you will. Assuming that you’re going to fail is the same as giving in to those voices in your head. Reframe those stupid things people have said to you in the past about your performing abilities. Being critical is human nature, but remember that it’s only one person’s opinion.

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Try these tips to get your game plan in place:

  • Make a specific timeline to get yourself ready to sing at the time of your performance. After you develop your practice routine, you’ll know how long it takes for your voice to be ready to sing at your best. You can plan your warm-up time for the day of your performance to get ready. Consider these suggestions:
    • Take time to vocalize or warm up the notes you’ll sing in the performance.
    • Vocalize long enough for your voice to be singing at your peak when you walk on the stage.
    • On the performance day, sing through your song enough times that you feel confident, but not so many times that your voice feels tired.
  • Invite someone who helps boost your confidence. Do you know someone who can encourage you as you walk out for the performance? Discuss your fears with this friend or confidant and then discuss your feelings after the performance. You may find that your perception of that awful note isn’t what your friend heard. Having a support system with you helps you quiet negative thoughts that may creep into your head.
  • Look at each performance as an opportunity to succeed. You have to expect success before you can achieve it. Success doesn’t just happen, but you can make it happen.
  • Practice what you intend to do. If you plan to take a moment and take a breath before you begin to sing your song, practice it that way. Taking that moment to quiet your mind and settle your racing heart is worth it. By practicing and visualizing your success, you can more easily make it happen.

    You can also practice walking across the stage, singing your song, and then bowing. You may have to practice this in your living room, but you want to practice what you’re going to experience in the performance.

  • Chart your improvement. Make a list of what you want to accomplish, and, with each performance, shoot to accomplish one more task on the list.

    For example, the first task may be remembering all the words. By practicing with distractions at home, you boost your ability to concentrate. When you remember all the words at your first performance, you may want to try remembering the words and breathing consistently at the second performance.

    Just getting the breath in your body and then using it helps with many other technical problems. Give yourself a gold star when you achieve each goal.

Before singing your song in public, try it in front of some friends. If you give smaller performances a few times before your big one, the song may seem familiar and not so scary.


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Improving Your Singing: Sustaining Tone

Sustaining tone is a singing must. Have you ever run out of air before the end of the phrase in your song and then had to sneak in a breath? Sneaking in a breath is legal when you sing, but you should sneak a breath because you choose to, not because you have to.

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Among the times you ran out of air, you may even have had to take a breath in the middle of a word. Yikes! It’s not a federal crime, but you came to the right place for some tips on applying your breathing skills to sustain tones.

Connecting the dots with legato

Those gorgeous tones that professionals sing so effortlessly happen because they know how to connect the pitches of a song. Singers sometimes sing a melody one pitch at a time, not thinking of a continuous line or phrase.

To make the phrases legato (smooth and connected), think of the pitches as having no empty space in between. The sound needs to flow from one pitch to the other, and the feeling in the throat must be a continuous sound even while you change pitches. Singing a long line of tone is possible because of breath control.

While singing the pattern in the following illustration, focus on making the sound legato and concentrate on the connection between pitches. Find your alignment, practice the breath a few times, open the back space, and begin. Allow your body to open as you inhale and steadily move back in as you sing.


Trilling the lips or tongue

Really let those lips trill on a long, slow musical pattern. The purpose of the lip trill is to monitor the flow of air — you can’t continue the lip trill without the air flowing. By making the pattern longer, you get an opportunity to sustain the tone longer. If that lip trill is just too much for you, feel free to use a tongue trill.

The principle is the same: trilling the tongue but maintaining a consistent flow of air. For this pattern, you want to monitor how your body moves as you trill — gradually moving.

Focus on creating a legato line as you sing the pattern in the following illustration. Find your alignment, prepare your breath, and begin.


Working your breath control

The pattern in the following illustration gives you the chance to sing and put all your eggs in the basket. Instead of playing the exercise faster, slow it down to make it harder, so you really have to work the breath.

Think through all the skills that you can apply (using great posture, opening the space in your throat and mouth, and getting breath in your body) so you’re ready to put it all together when you sing this pattern.

The pattern in the following illustration is played slowly to allow you to lengthen your breath and sing long legato lines. You have time between each repetition to get your breath. Remember to find your alignment, open the back space, allow the breath to drop in your body each time, and keep your chest steady throughout the pattern.




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