Structuring Your Practice Time

Last week, I addressed my five points of vocal technique that I use for starting out beginners in my studio, which is reduced to the handy-dandy acronym, BRAAP™. Students who work with me receive vocalise sheets that they can draw from to set up their practice time. This is just to get them started, because I don’t do the same exercises with everyone. Or, at least, I don’t necessarily do them the same way with everyone.

If it works better for you to do an exercise on an /u/ vowel tha an /a/, we might do it that way (at least as a gateway for /a/, because, let’s face it, you’re going to have to sing that vowel). If an exercise designed to work through your passaggio gives you fits if it’s done top-down, we’ll flip it the other way (and vice versa). And I make up all kinds of exercises on the spot for people – some of which I actually remember when I see them the next time.

In a lesson, we generally spend about 10-20 minutes on vocalizing, depending on what you have to work on that day. I always start out with alignment and then move into SOVTEs (lip trills, tongue trills, etc.), and then move from there into other components of technique. Even though the vocalise sheets are set up based on one specific component, we don’t do that in lessons. A resonance exercise might be followed with an articulation exercise, back to breath work, into a registration exercise, then some work on releases, depending on what I hear.

Honestly, a good vocalise – and I use good vocalises – encompasses multiple concepts. Breath is always there. Just like it is in our lives.

On Wednesdays, I do a Warmup Wednesday video on IGTV, which I then put on YouTube. Tomorrow I’m going to go over the BRAAP™ checklist that I’ve created for my students to structure their at-home practice time, which I will be giving away as a free download to the first 15 people who ask for it. Not sure what time I’ll be on – probably around 1pm ET.

If you’re interested in getting back to basics in the New Year, I’ll be offering a 3 hour Vocal Bootcamp on January 9 from noon-3. More details to follow!

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If you’re looking on how to become a Curiously Strong Singer/Performer in 2021, contact me to find out more about MVS and set up a Vocal Discovery Session.

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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