The Use of Scales in Singing Exercises

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If you have been singing for a while, you know how important it is to do singing exercises.  However, many singers, after a time, will start to slack off and end up forgetting what those singing exercises were that worked so well.  If you’re new to singing, you’ll have to do singing exercises, and it’s good to keep doing them throughout your lifetime to maintain your voice.

In order to increase and maintain your singing power, expand your range, keep your voice flexible and stable, and help your pitch accuracy, singing exercises are going to be a lifelong commitment.  Here are some of the more common singing exercises based on scales to help you:

  1. Scales For Strength and Stability – One of the first singing exercises that you should do will help to increase the strength and stability of your voice, particularly one note at a time.  Choose the most comfortable note for you to maintain, take a breath, and sing the one note.  You must hold it for as long as possible and keep it as steady as you can.  Do this a few times, and then move up or down the scale doing the same thing for each note.  If you have problems with a note, make sure you remember which one, and practice it more often to help it equal the other notes.
  2. Scales to Improve Diction – The singing exercises that improve your diction, or the ease in which one pronounces words correctly, are also usually simple scales, but now they involve much more mouth movement.  Your voice will move up and down the scales, while your mouth moves to make similar sounds.  Some diction scales may include small little verbal exercises such as, ‘My mother made me mash my M & M’s.’  For this particular example, you would increase in scale to the word “mash” and then go back down.  The similarity is in the M’s that are being repeated throughout the exercise.
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  4. Scales to Increase Range – When practicing your scales, it is good to attempt to go a note higher or lower.  A good way to judge this, and to know if you can comfortable reach a higher note is to simple use the ‘mm’ sound and slowly increase or decrease your hum.  Do this smoothly without a noticeable transition, somewhat like a siren.  This keeps your voice from having the additional strain of suddenly changing from one pitch to another and you will find that you have capabilities that you didn’t think you had.
  5. Scales for Flexibility – There is only one way to really increase the flexibility in a voice or to maintain the flexibility that you do have.  This is a form of ‘jumping’ scale that can assist your voice in brief staccato notes that ‘jump’ around.  For instance, if you were to sing ‘la-la-la-la’ and every note you sang were to skip a note, increasing then decreasing over a series of 8 notes, you would hit every note in your scale.  The next time you do this, you would start with a slightly higher or lower pitch.  Doing this throughout your vocal range will increase and keep flexibility in your voice, and is actually quite enjoyable to do and hear.

The use of scales in singing exercises is ages old and will continue to be the best way to achieve better pitch, expand the range you currently sing, and increase your singing power and still keep your voice stable.

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