Canadian Musician


Angela Kelman

Archive for the ‘Vocals’ Category

More About Breathing…

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Quote Of The Day:
Most chick singers say “if you hurt me, I’ll die”… I say, “if you hurt me, I’ll kick your ass” – Pat Benetar

And she sings it like she means it. Don’t we all want to be that kind of confident singer who can sell a song with great emotion, bang on pitch and power. Great breathing is the foundation to delivering a song in that way. In my first blog posting I stressed the importance of correct breathing in the performance of a song. Once you have your singer’s breath happening correctly, here is the next step in making the song feel and sound effortless in it’s delivery, maintain great pitch and access your power.

Regulating The Breath
In the performance of a song, each phrase will vary in length. It is important that you learn to regulate your breathing for each individual line, or phrase, of a song. You don’t want to take in a maximum size breath when you only have a 4-word phrase to sing. Having too much leftover, or residual air, at the end of a phrase will cause problems. For example, when performing a song, each new breath may require varying degrees of the capacity of your air tank to be used. A phrase or line of a song with 4 or 5 words in your lower range may only need 30% of the total air capacity in your tank, while another phrase that has 10 words, is in a higher range, and needs power to project may need 100% of the total air capacity in your tank. Where the notes in a song sit in your range, how much air you let escape around your tone for emotional effects, how much power you want to sing a phrase with and the length of a phrase are all determining factors as to how much air, or tank capacity, you need to take in between breathing points.

Learning to identify and regulate the amount of air needed for each phrase will rapidly become second nature. The song will always give you clues as to what it needs from you, breathing-wise, with each phrase. You will understand this more when we talk about “mapping out” a song later in upcoming blogs.

Until next time…Breathe and Happy Singing!


Step Up To The Mic… Holy $#!%, Now What???

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Welcome everyone to my blog site “Step Up To The Mic – Holy $#!% Now What???” . I am very excited to be a guest contributor to this new and informative site. In this first post and the posts to come I am going to share a lot of the technique, tips and tricks you can use to become a better vocalist and performer. After singing professionally for 20 years I started vocal coaching which opened up a whole new world of being able to share with other performers exactly what they need to do from a physical and technical standpoint to thrive as a singer and diagnose specific challenges that they may be having. For me the journey of becoming a great singer presented itself in 5 dominant categories, hence my program, “The Five Point Singing System”. In this first blog I am going to give you a quick oversight into what those 5 points are and focus on Step 1 – Breathing, which is what I think is the foundation of great singing.  Hopefully this information can help you start to analyze your own vocal technique and be able to recognize what you are doing correctly and also learn to identify and fix what you are not doing right so that you don’t end up damaging your voice or limiting your vocal capabilities.

First the 5 Points:

1. Breathing

2. Diaphragm Support

3. Placement/Resonance

4. Vocal Path

5. Vowel Modification

Point 1 – Breathing

In my world, breathing correctly is the first and most important step in becoming the best possible vocalist you can be. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard singers who don’t breathe often or big enough, which more often than not, creates major pitch and projection problems. I know I don’t need to tell you it’s never fun listening to a flat singer. This is often the outcome of not breathing at the right place in a song or not taking in the required amount of air to get to the end of a phrase. Taking in the proper breath is akin to a car having gas in the tank. If a car has no gas in it’s tank and it needs to go up a hill or speed up a little it won’t happen. If you have no air in your tank, so to speak, you will be unable to hit the big notes with correct pitch or be able to project the notes. Identifying where and how much you need to breathe in the delivery of a song can make or break your precision of pitch and control of projection.


Singer’s Breath

The movement of the breath into your body is as important as getting the breath in. The proper way to take a singer’s breath is to imagine sucking air in through a tube into your mouth. While the air is coming into your body, your tummy should be expanding as if filling up a balloon from your bellybutton upward. (This is a bit of a challenge for those of us who have been told to keep our stomach sucked in all our lives. Let your inner beer belly hang out, everyone – at least until you get the hang of taking a singer’s breath correctly.)  Don’t worry – you won’t always have to think of it as sucking in through a tube. We’d have a lot of funny looking singers if everyone took each breath this way.  This visual just makes it easier to understand at the beginning. So, remember “air in/tummy out” to fill up the tank. The direction that your tummy moves when breathing in and learning to regulate the amount of air you take in with each individual breath are the secrets to having great pitch and power.


Until next time… Breathe and Happy Singing!



Canadian Musician Associated Sites

Norris-Whitney Communications Inc.   Canadian Music Trade   Professional Lighting & Production   Professional Sound   Music Directory Canada   Music Books Plus