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Scales & Arpeggios

Mochten de toonladders die tijdens oefeningen in de zangles worden gebruikt nog onbekend zijn, of niet zo duidelijk bij een online les, dan staan hieronder enkele voorbeelden om ze alvast eens te leren kennen. Dit zijn slechts voorbeelden, tijdens de les gebruiken we misschien andere toonhoogtes.

In case the scales used in the singing exercises are still a bit unfamiliar or not quite clear in an online lesson, I have put some examples below to help you get to know them. Please note that these are just examples, we may use different pitches in the lessons.

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Female 5-tone scale
Male 5-tone scale
Female repeat scale
Male repeat scale
Female long scale / arpeggio
Male long scale / arpeggio
Female broken arpeggio
Male broken arpeggio

4 Easy Steps to relax your breathing
Step 1: Go outside!

Try to go outside each day and take a walk in the mornings before your busy day starts, for a break in between (zoom) meetings or in the evenings before you go to bed.  I like walking in the woods or fields, but a park or nice streets will do nicely as well. Leave your phone in your pocket and do not take it out unless you really have to. Take your time to take in your surroundings; see the way the sunlight highlights the morning dew on the grass, feel of the wind blowing through your hair, anything that you notice is fine… slowly breathe in and out. Relish the feeling of being outside! Enjoy!

Step 2: Breathe out!

This exercise will help you to relax your breathing and help you learn to use the full capacity of your lungs. It works like this: Stand up straight, shoulders back and head straight, but do not hold your head up. Breathe normally. Now breathe out until you feel your lungs are empty and nothing comes out anymore. Do this a few times to get used to it without getting stressed out. Breathe out and do not breathe in straight away. Instead, hold your breath before you breathe in for a few seconds. Now breathe in, your body will automatically do the work for you. No need to exaggerate by taking an extra deep breath. When you breathe in after holding your breath for a few seconds, focus on feeling how your belly rises and your rib cage expands. Allow yourself to feel the air move into your body!

Step 3: Breathe low!

Many people, especially women, breathe quite superficially. We are told to hold in our tummies, as  we do not want to look fat. This shallow breathing does not help us to relax, let alone sing well. 

So let’s look at a way to lower your breathing: take slow and relaxed breaths. Lay your hand on your chest, aim your breathing in the direction of your hand. Move your hand slowly, step-by-step, downwards and each time you move your hand you continue to direct your breathing towards your hand. Move downwards until you have your hand on your lower belly and you feel your belly rise with your hand when you breathe in. Now continue to keep breathing low for a while. Mision accomplished!

Step 4: Breathe slowly!

I use this exercise a lot for my singing students, but also when I need to relax before a gig or one of my yearly IVA teaching tests. It is a nice way to regulate your breathing, not just for singing, but it does help to sing long phrases. Make a “phew” or “tssss” sound while breathing out. Breathe in for 4 seconds, by taking a long slow breath in. It does not need to be an extra deep breath, but a normal one, just slower. Now breathe out for 4 seconds, making our “phew” or “tssss” sound while breathing out. Continue to breathe in and out like this until you feel very comfortable. Now continue to breathe in for 4 seconds, but breathe out for 8 seconds with the funny sound described above. You can expand the amount of breathing out from 4 to 8 seconds and then to 12, 16 or 20. As soon as you are comfortable with expanding the time breathing out, you can then reduce the time you breathe in: e.g. to 3 or 2 seconds and even down to 1 second. Keep the exercise nice and comfortable, do not strain, it is not a contest! Good luck!

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