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810 Geylang Road, #03-101

City Plaza, Singapore 409286
Tel: +65-97380708
Email: vocalcoachnarelle@gmail.com

© 2014-2019 Narelle Ong Vocal Studio. Biz Reg No: 53307043X (Singapore)

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ARE SOME PEOPLE BORN TO BE TALENTED SINGERS

 OR CAN IT BE A LEARNT SKILL?

A research done by Medical Daily found that a good singing voice can be taught. It can be trained to be better, just like how a body can be shaped in a gym​. However some people are born with better voices and learn quicker. But ultimately anyone can learn to have a good voice with enough practice. 

Scroll Down to Read My Case Studies

Case Study 1: Bruno Mars & The 7 Fundamental Keys to Great Singing™

Bruno Mars is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and choreographer. But is most well known as a very flexible singer who sings in a wide range of musical styles (i.e. Pop, Rock, R&B, Jazz) and one with great showmanship in his stage performances. He is a four-time Grammy Award winner and named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People in the world.

So, How Did Bruno Mars Make It?

He has a strong Musical Influence at a Very Young Age

His Dad is a Latin-percussionist and his mother, a hula dancer and talented singer. His parents formed a Las Vegas-style revue, providing theatrical entertainment and Bruno Mars had a full performing schedule since age 3; performing 5 shows a week with his family! No wonder he is such a natural performer. 

If you have a child and would like to groom him/her in the area of singing, start exposing them as early as you can to the training so that they can start building their musical influence. (min. 4 years old and above)

If you're adult, it's never too late to begin your Singing Journey. Don't let age be a barrier. Music can be learnt by anyone of any age, even if you're 80 years old!

He makes sure he is technically equipped in his craft and applies them into his songs.

I have created a singing system that works called the 7 Fundamentals to Great Singing and if you apply all of them correctly, I promise, you WILL become a better singer. I experienced a breakthrough in my voice. And I hope to help you achieve yours too. Ok, so let's talk about the Fundamentals Keys now and we shall use Bruno Mar's "When I Was Your Man" as an example for the study.

1. Matching Pitch Perfectly

Singing a song well doesn't require you to have Perfect Pitch, i.e. re-creating a musical note without any reference tone from a musical instrument. But it does require you to hold the melody of a song and singing in tune when accompanied with a backing track or instruments. Learning professional vocal lessons will also require  you to be able to sing back notes that was played on the keyboard for your vocal agility training. 

If you struggle with matching pitch, I have a 2-Months Beginner's Course that could help you! 

2. Planning Breathing Points/ Applying Breathing Techniques

If you listen closely to the song on the above video (you might want to turn up your volume level), his breathing points were well planned and you can hear him taking in the air before he sings the next phrase. Let's look into Verse 1 in details:

At 0:24

// He took a Deep Breath // Same bed but it feels just a little bit bigger now
// Breathe // Our song on the radio but it don't sound the same
// Breathe // When our friends talk about you, all it does is just tear me down
// Breathe // Cause my heart breaks a little // Breathe //  when I hear your name

3. Open Throat Technique

The Open Throat method to singing is a form of relaxation technique, inspired from yawning. When we yawn, it always sound relaxed and as though the sound is "placed" at the back of our throat where our pharynx is. Applying this technique will help you to sound less nasal and less stuck which leads you towards achieving Vocal Freedom. Bruno Mars applied many open vowels like AH, EH, AIR to help him achieve the technique.

E.g. Now ---> N(AH)ow

Down ----> DAH-AH-AH-(AH)own

4. Utilising a Variety of Vocal Registers & Blending Them Well

Singing a song all in the same register will leave a boring performance. Try experimenting a mixture of registers (i.e. Chest, Belt, Mix, Head) to add more entertainment value. Memorise the qualities of each register and remember the place of resonance

Spend about 15 mins a day doing specific vocal exercises targeting registers blending and you'll see an  improvement  especially with vocal control.

An example of a great exercise working on all 4 Registers would be this!

5. Perfecting Singing Articulation (English Songs)

Let's look closer into how Bruno Mars articulates his singing. He has applied all the formulas above and kept his vowels open to facilitate the open throat method of singing.

Chorus - "When I Was Your Man":

That I should've bought you flowers

That AH  shoo-d(uh)v bought (ch)you flowers
And held your hand

And held (ch)your hAIR-air-AIRn             
Should've gave you all my hours

Shoo-d(uh)v gave (v)you (w)all mAH hours
When I had the chance

When (n)AH had the chAIRce
Take you to every party

Take (k)you TUH every party
'Cause all you wanted to do was dance

'Cause (z)all you wanted to do was dAIR-air-air-air-AIRce
Now my baby's dancing

NAH-ah-ah-ow MAH beh-beh's dAIRcing
But she's dancing with another man

But she's dAIRcing with (th)another mAIR(n)

6. Vocal Variety with Expressive Emotions

Want to emote and touch hearts when you sing? Then next time when you see lyrics, treat it like the text that an actor receives. And see the songwriter as a dramatist. If the song is about a break-up or failed relationship. Put yourself into the shoes of the songwriter and walk that path of regret and hurt. And if it's a joyful song about happy occasions, sing like your dancing on a mountain top! Be real and your audience will see your sincerity and appreciate your music.

7. Throw Advanced Techniques to WOW your Listeners: Improvisations (aka Vocal Runs)

Definition of Vocal Runs:

A series of notes on a single syllable or word, as a stylistic or artistic choice and usually to showcase the advanced agility of the singer's voice.

Artists who uses Runs in their songs:

Ariana Grande, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion, Bruno Mars, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey

Try the exercise below to see if your vocals are agile enough to attempt this!

Case Study 2 : Child Prodigy or Trained?

Answer: Trained. 

This is Jeffrey Li, a 10-year-old Canadian boy who participated in a recent Chinese Talent Show, "Let's Sing Kids!". This performance in particular has gone viral on social media and catapulted him to fame internationally. Most people will just call him a talented boy 'born with the gift of singing', but is sounding good vocally exceptionally only for the musically inclined or those born with good singing genes? Not true. Want to know his singing success and secret formula? Let me break it down for you!

Singing Success Formula in 3-Steps

WELL-BLENDED VOCAL REGISTERS & CONTROL

I would believe that he has been singing and receiving formal training since as young as probably age 3! His vocal control is extremely good and his 'switches' between the Chest and Head Voices seems very well rehearsed and planned. I am sure he sings his vocal scales, in particular, sliding exercises; daily and very diligently for about 1-2 hours a day. Here's an estimate, if we calculate 7 years of 2 hours training a day, that would mean he spends about 5,110 hours of vocal training and still counting. No wonder he sounds like a pro! This is exactly like Author Malcolm Gladwell's theory where in his book, Outliers, he says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. SO LITERALLY, ANYBODY CAN BECOME A MASTER AT SINGING (and basically, at any other skill too!) Put in a 100% commitment and regular practice, I promise, you can become a better singer.

undeniable STAGE PRESENCE

He definitely worked with a vocal coach and/or choreographer on his moves. Observe closely on how could “pop” and “lock” his body to timed gestures within rhythmic beats and look as though he has been performing for years! Are you ready to get out of your circular comfort zone and learn a library of moves that forces you out of your space?

perfect singing articulation

Does he sing like how we normally speak. Definitely not.

He applies Vowel Modifications and Connecting-of-Lyrics Techniques to perfect his singing diction.

E.g. 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' by Elton John

There's a calm surrender,          to the rush of day

There's SUH calm surrender,  to the rush SHOF day

 

When the heat of the rolling wind,        can be turned away

When the heat DOF the rollin' wind,  can be turned NUH-way

                                                         

An enchanted moment,          and it sees me through

An NAN-chanted moMAIRnt,  and NIT sees me through

It's enough for this restless warrior,                 just to be with you

It's See-nough for this restless wah-ree-yuh,  just to be whee-th you