TSM Vocal Course 1.1

Vocal Course

by Sylvi Lane

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10 lessons

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1.1.1 PRESENCE- basics

Posture, Awareness
Focus inside, Outside, feel the air, temperature, Connect with others, Make yourself as big as the room, Make yourself as big as you possibly can


Exercises and Practices:
Take a song to sing and walk through the room / Sing it introvert to yourself / Sing it to another person in mind / Sing and fill the room with it / Sing it into the universe

Did you feel tension with any of the exercises?

Did you feel uncomfortable?

Could you release tension?


1.1.2 THE INSTRUMENT IS YOU- exploration

Exploring your body as an instrument, looking at the:

Larynx, Tongue, Jaw (Open-close to the front- to the back, from side to side), Vocal chords, Lips, Lungs, Mind over matter


Exercises and Practices:
1 Exercise opening these intercostal muscles by just moving them

2 Inhale as much as possible and feel all the muscles in your torso

3 The whole body as an instrument


1.1.3 FEEL THE SWING basics 1

We’re going to talk about swing time in a medium swing tune

Explanation how to learn, how to study, learning how to swing by a bit of knowledge listening in detail, and copying, internalize and adapt swing FEEL! Accents

Exercises and Practices:
Regular SCAT vowels 4/4 measure 120BPM

The walking bass bounce

1. Use BOUNCE every beat, sing along
2. Use accents on 2 and 4

Interpretation of the 8 notes: triplet feels

-Sing the bass notes over the complete progression



Find YOUR key, fit the song to your range and voice color, and sing the song in a key in which you interpreted best

Question: what is your idea for this song?
A mellow atmosphere or a lot of energy, sing your power notes on the right spot in the theme. What tempo? What color in my voice I want to use? What is the dynamical range in your interpretation of the song?

Exercises and Practices:
You can choose a lower key if you sing a song as a ballad

Or higher cause you sing it is a faster tempo, with more energy

What a difference a day made twenty-four little hours brought the sun and the flowers since there used to be rain; Interpretation exercises. Exercise for finding your power:

Sing an ad-lib line half steps ascending: this song we feel


1.1.5 LYRICS- Exploring Lyrics
Types of lyrics, Very poetical, really straight forward, Lyrics analysis, Lyrics with no development, Lyrics with development

Exercises and Practices:
Everybody say out loud the lyrics of one of your songs and discuss with each other what you think are the hooks metaphors the build up in storyline


1.1.6 Breath in, breath out

In this lesson we'll talk about breath support and breathe control.

We don't necessarily need big muscles but we need to learn how to control the airflow,

We train the pressure of the air underneath the VOCAL CHORDS that are closed to get a solid sound, half closed when we whisper.

This pressure varies with the height and volume of the tone

But these differences are really small

Exercises and Practices:

1. Stretch and breath in and out / Arms up / Bending over / Eagle

2. Breath out, everything, as much as possible, THEN RELAX breath in comes naturally

3. A - Try to inhale low-belly out, diaphragm down / B - Try to inhale and put out lower part of the chest

4. A FFFFFT!!!  Short and forcefully, feel the air flow back in by itself, feel the muscles work / B Cough  / C inhale fast versus inhale slow

5. 4 counts in, 4 out on ssss, 4 hold it / 4 out on mmmm / 4 out on oo / 4 counts out on sharp ssss / 4 on sshhhh / 4 on mmmm

6. Project words loud: a - percussive onsets:  trip clip cow hold dot cat stop / b - more mellow onsets:  hey why. Sheep blow. Frame gum / c - project with different dynamics and speech melody:  copy | paste | love | scoop | gold | stare | deliver | frown | postcard | fly | to | come | back | forth | do | people | improve | guide

7. Say words with different emotions:


9. Staccato


1.1.7 Feel the swing basics 2
Swing needs SYNCOPATION!

What makes a rhythm swingy anyway?

Exercises and Practices:
Sing an excerpt of “My shiny hour” / “Fly me to the moon”


1 melody Lines in quarter notes versus lines with syncopation

2 with words Use fly me to the moon / my shiny hour

Realize the emphasized syllables of the words do matter.

Transcribe the first 8-16 bars of Sarah Vaughan solo over “Fly me to the moon”


1.1.8 Lyrics – Second Story-Line
Saying what the lyrics mean, are about in a one liner, which is the first storyline

Based on that you can create your own second story line, which is your interpretation!

Exercises and Practices:

1.       Give two examples of what your story is with the lyrics

a.       I am a happy so and so, just madly in love, it’s in return

b.       I am in love and afraid to let it go, to loose it

2.       And who are you in the song

a. I am the woman in love telling it to a friend

b. I am the woman in love and I look at myself thinking ‘She is crazy!’

Make up a story based on the lyrics that I tell my friend

And notify he talks back!

Try this with a few songs: one person tells the story and the ‘friend’ can talk back, ask question, and make it into a conversation.



When we sing the moment that we inhale is the moment we do all the preparation for a good start 1. Make sure you feel the body stays comfortable throughout the inhaling and singing 2. Make your throat spacious / Work that Diaphragm:

Exercises and Practices:
1.       Legato,

2.       Glissandi

3.       On notes (C- D- E- D- C / C- E- G- E- C / A With horse lips / B On vvvvv / C On an open vowel / D With lyrics

4.       Make jumps

5.       SING A SONG and do it more or less in time but only inhale as short as possible and not too much
B- with every syllable evenly short
C- with every syllable evenly long
D- the lines going from soft to medium loud to soft etc


1.1.10 IMPROVISATION: Scat vowels
Old school scat vowels / 8notes / Triplets / Rhythm

Exercises and Practices:

Trading on a chord progression:

ll   Fm       l Bb7sus Bb7 l     Eb maj7     l       ‘/,       ll

Just compare Ella with Chet Baker and you will realize there are so more ways!

Latin version:

ll   Fmin7  l  ‘/,    l   Eb7     l   ‘/,   l

l    Db7     l  C7  l   Fmin7  l   ‘/,   ll