This is the second post sharing vocal pedagogy songs, composed as simple, beautiful songs to help singers establish and practise various aspects of vocal technique. I set out to create songs that were genuinely a joy to sing as well as useful vocal exercises. The first post is over here.
5. What Will I Do With Ye?
This song supports the belly's engagement in an energised vocal tone. The short notes are opportunities to practise the sense of breath in: belly relaxes, sing: belly engages. Use the longer phrases to maintain that same sense while singing legato. The words are taken from the English folk song - Can Ye Sew Cushions.
6. Song Keeper
Song Keeper features the fabulous NG consonant, which puts your tongue in a great place for singng. Do it, notice how the middle of the tongue is high in the mouth? Take the tip of your tongue, place it against the inside of your lower front teeth. Now run the tip down, there's the teeth ridge and then a soft squashy bit. If you pop your tongue tip here in this squashy bit as you sing all the 'nga's of the song, you will be giving your tongue a lovely stretch.
I've also used G and K for back of tongue work. Let the back of your tongue enjoy making these consonants, and see if you can create a similar feeling of stretch and curve through the vowels, after these consonants..
7. The Valley
An easy, relaxed lower jaw is great for singing. When I taught at primary school I used to tell children they were robots who had been built by Fred. Fred was widely and correctly acclaimed as a brilliant robot builder, but at the very last minute of construction, he got distracted. He had put the jaw bolts in but hadn't tightened them. They were loose. He forgot, thought they were complete and sent them off into the world. And that was fine. They were great robots, with unusually loose jaw bolts. Luckily for them, this is useful for good singing.
Really let your lower jaw relax when you sing this song sweethearts. Discover how your tongue's newly found confidence means it can shape the vowels even if the jaw relaxes.
8. Night Fire
This is a very gentle song, with round easy vowels and soft consonants. Its job is to help you relax while you sing. If you can, sing it lying on your back with your knees bent. What can you relax? Jaw, tongue, neck, shoulders, legs, bum, back, front, top, bottom.. Nice work possums. Singing isn't as natural as breathing - it is breathing, just breathing. The first singing exercise I learnt was the YAWN - SIGH. In this exercise you half yawn to breath in, and half sigh as you sing. How relaxed! Sure, there are a few things to engage as you sing: belly, cheeks, tongue. But this engagement comes from elasticity not rigidity. So go on, let go!