Foundation 101 Course
Welcome to the new and improved Foundation 101 singing course with Bohemian Vocal Studio. The course is divided into two main sections, the informative Foundation stage, and the practical Warmup stage. In stage one, we’re going to develop a working relationship with each important element of the voice, from diaphragmatic breathing, to shaping vowels, mixed voice, twang, range, tone and so forth, and then we’ll bring it all together in the stage two warmup.
The warmup itself is designed to foster balance in beginner singers, and RESET the balance in experienced singers, so even if you’ve been singing for some time already and you feel like you’ve got a handle on the breathing or buzz side of things, it’s important that you use the course and the warmup the way that I’ve designed it so that you get the most out of the course and the best out of your voice.
How To Use This Course
The first time you use this course, it’s important that you sit to watch the informative videos in a comfortable and distraction-free environment. Throw a pair of headphones on (watch out for any loud sections!) and immerse yourself in the foundation elements of singing. Then when we get to the warmup stage, you can start singing along with me, or simply listen to each exercise example – remember, each voice is different, and you need to develop each technique for your voice in the best way possible.
Start light, gentle and with resonance – it’s important that you avoid a breathy or pushed tone at all cost to avoid forming bad habits or hurting your voice. If something doesn’t feel right, you’re not doing it correctly. Take it slow, sing carefully, focus predominantly on connection and resonance and you can ask questions at any point by using the ‘Leave a reply’ box below.
Before we get started, I recommend joining the private Mixed Voice Singing group so that you can receive feedback and tips from me along the way as we progress. It’s free to join, it’s private for members only, and you can share clips of your singing or covers for appraisal and help from both myself, and also other experienced Bohemian Vocal Studio students who can show you the ropes.
I suggest bookmarking this page to retain your private link to the Foundation 101 singing course – you should also have a copy of your link in your confirmation email. Please email me if you’re unable to find your link.
Informative Foundation Stage
Afterwords and FAQ
Before we get started with your warmup schedule, I wanted to add a few things that either slipped me in the videos, or have been commonly asked questions regarding the Foundation 101 course.
I’m struggling to raise the soft palate on the N/NG sounds
Okay – the soft palate will raise when you yawn; and on these open resonant sounds, it can be helpful to first yawn through the nose to feel the lift in the soft palate while the velar port is open – performing the start of a yawn will ensure the soft palate is raised into the resonant space in the back of your head. It takes time, but if you start with this ‘lift’ motion each time your practice, it will become second nature for you.
Chest and Head voice ARE separate – I’ve seen them in a video
Absolutely, but in a practical sense – this doesn’t help you sing better. The result of these two separate vibratory mechanism is two forms of resonance which is the way we’ll be focusing on your voice through the warmup. Quoting wikipedia will not help you sing better, learning to blend resonance will help you sing better – let’s focus on the latter for now.
Breathing through the nose doesn’t raise the soft palate
You’re absolutely right, and that was not my instruction. I first have my students breathe in through the nose to identify opening of the velar port, and then immediately breathe out through the mouth to identify closing the velar port – in this closed position, you can now raise the soft palate more effectively by performing the start of a yawn, breathing high into the head, inhaling on the start of a “K” sound and a plethora other methods of raising the soft palate – the important thing here is to raise the palate to allow resonant space.
There’s more than three vowels
Yes. The main vowel’s we’ve discussed here in Foundation 101 are the ‘base’ vowel sounds, AH, EE and OO which make up all other vowel sounds. The remaining vowel sounds will be covered in Growth 101, but I want you to focus intently on the sounds we’ve been through in this course so that you can safely make a definition between your singing voice, and your speaking voice.
I’ve been told to sing with a wide smile
In my studio, a wide smile that spreads the lips will result in a figurative rap on the knuckles – while this may initially help you brighten your tone and raise the soft palate, it has a detrimental effect on the clarity of your tone and also your ability to sing in mixed voice – this will force you to pull chest voice higher than I recommend, and force you to them hand over to head voice instead of blending the two as we’ve discussed.
Why does the warmup start so high
I’m glad you asked. The main purpose of Foundation 101 is to set you up with the fundamentals required to sing more efficiently while also bridging a connection between chest and head voice. I’ve found over many years of coaching that strengthening chest voice excessively, while strengthening head voice separately, results in a defined break through the registers, or worse, a perpetual belt which will not allow you to sing with finesse or control. Sing light through the middle and take your time, a strong middle voice is the key to becoming a great singer.
I can only trill with my fingers in my cheeks/lips
That’s okay for now, don’t agonise too much over the perfect trill. With time you’ll gain more use of your articulators while also developing better breath control – which in turn will improve your ability to trill.
It’s all too much.
I’ve kept things as simple and practical as a can in the course, but yes – it’s a lot of information and a lot to apply. Try working at each concept a week at a time – practice the exercises while solely focusing on placement. Then the following week focus on retaining placement while blending a touch of mixed resonance and so forth. Singing takes time, so take your time digesting the information in the course until you’re ready to put it all in practice.
Why are you singing so light?
Starting light is the only effective way to bridge a connection to chest and head voice. Initially, the balance between TA and CT, and chest and head voice, will be skewed either way towards a push, or towards falsetto – instead, we want balance without muscular effort for the time being. Trust me and practice light – and your voice will build and grow with practice and time.
I need help.
You can ask a question about the Foundation course and singing in general in the Mixed Voice Singing Group, and of course you’re welcome to book a Skype session with me in the menu at the top of this page.