What Equipment Do I Need to Practice My Singing?
Nearly every hobby or pursuit that people enjoy requires some specialized gear, equipment, or supplies. Golfers carry a whole bag full of clubs, gloves, and shoes. Basketball players need a hoop that is ten feet off the ground. Artists often prefer to work in a studio that is filled with supplies and has been dedicated exclusively to supporting their artistic efforts. Singers, on the other hand, require very little paraphernalia because their instrument is with them at all times. Singers can sing wherever they go and they can even perform other tasks while doing it. Nevertheless, there are some pieces of equipment that, though they are not completely necessary, still come in handy for a singer who desires to get the most out of his practice time.
Piano The most useful item a singer can have is probably a keyboard of some kind. Even if you do not play the piano, you will want to be able to locate the starting pitch of a song you are working on or pick out a new melody one note at a time. Having a grand piano in your practice room might make you feel like a star, but it is certainly not necessary. Any piano will work, as long as it stays in tune; so don’t be afraid to check thrift stores and garage sales for a good used piano.
Keyboard Electronic keyboards are also very handy. They come in a wide range of sizes and offer many different options. If the room you practice in is small, you can make good use of a compact keyboard that only has 1½ or 2 octaves. Many of these are battery operated so you can take them with you if you practice somewhere other than your regular spot. Lots of keyboards are programmable so that you can play a melody once and have it recorded. You can then repeat the song as many times as you like by only pushing a button or two. Keyboards usually have internal metronomes, also, which will help you keep the rhythm of your song steady. You can use your keyboard to add percussion or bass sounds to your singing, as well, to get an idea of what it would be like to sing with a band.
Recording Device You will find lots of ways to use a tape recorder. It is very helpful to record yourself singing and play it back so that you can hear how you sound. If the slight background hiss you hear in a tape player bothers you, get a mini-disc recorder. The sound quality with those is on a par with a CD player. Try to listen to yourself with an open mind and be willing to correct any errors you hear. Is your diction clear? Do you hit the proper pitch on each note? Are sustained notes held long enough? Can you hear loud inhalations of breath? Are your vowel sounds uniform?
You can also use your tape player to record your band or pianist playing the accompaniment for your song. That way you can practice over and over without tying up the other musicians.
Mirror You might be surprised at how helpful it can be to practice in front of a mirror. A full-length mirror is best if you can get it, because your whole body is used to project the emotion of your song to an audience. Watch yourself while you sing and notice your posture, how wide you open your mouth, whether your shoulders are lifting up and down as you breathe, and the way you move your body. Be brutally honest when you observe yourself and try to decide if you would like to watch yourself perform.
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Filed under: Singing Success
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