Knowledge sticks better if learning is underpinned by random variation –says Daniel Zangger Borch.
To reach our full potential, humans need to stimulate, train, and challenge both the body and brain regularly.
Science suggests that knowledge sticks considerably better if learning is underpinned by seemingly random variation – after the initial basic knowledge has been mastered.
For optimal development of the voice, we need to adjust vocal exercises to ensure we practice and work out all aspects of the different muscles of the voice.
Try some new vocal exercises
These three exercises are from my Vocal Workout Of The Day program. They demonstrate some of the different ways you can train and exercise your voice with daily vocal workouts.
- Male: Ghost Notes with “I don’t know”
- Male: Chest register with “Ye Ya”
- Female: Vocal sound check with “Wo”
To train your voice with these exercises, sing them repeatedly, transposing up a semitone with each repetition. Only sing as high as you comfortably can. After you have reached your highest comfortable pitch, continue to sing more repetitions while transposing down a semitone with each one.
My aim with Vocal Work Out Of The Day was to make it easier than ever to stimulate and exercise all parts of the vocal instrument in deliberate sequence of daily exercises.
Many muscles, different jobs
The different muscles involved in vocalization work differently and have different characteristics, depending on their primary task.
For example, the muscles you use when singing chest register are also responsible for closing off your wind pipe to block foreign material from entering your lungs. This is their primary task, and can be a life-preserving function!
The vocal folds and other internal larynx muscles do not develop muscle mass to the same extent as skeletal muscles, which is why vocal development relies heavily on developing a sharp coordination and balance between the various elements of the voice (breathing, vocal folds and vocal tract).
Unexpected challenges are good for you
In our pursuit of this mental and physical development, it is essential that we occasionally face new and unexpected situations – even obstacles.
By “challenging” the nervous system, we create new “wiring” of the brain and become more mentally and physically flexible, alert and ready for change and surprises.
Repetition is only good at the beginning
When we learn new things, be it a language or a physical activity – repetition is key.
However, when the repetition continues year in and year out, after the basic knowledge is learned, repetition becomes routine and development stops.
A good example of this are the countless people who do the same exercises with the same weights at the gym, jog the same distance at the same pace or play the same tricks and puzzle games year after year, without visible or palpable development.
Sing What You Love
In addition to any training program, singers should of course sing when, what and how much they want. Rehearse with a band, sing to backing tracks, sing songs live, do studio recordings, sing in choirs – do whatever you enjoy.
But remember, to get the most out of your voice in any situation – and to have the most fun – you must commit to a program of voice training so your voice is ready for any challenge and always at its best.
Daniel Zangger Borch is one of Sweden’s most recognised vocal coaches. He has been a regular on adjudicating panels for popular TV shows such as ‘Idol’, ‘True Talent’ and ‘X-Factor’. He is also a professional singer, recording artist (with seven albums) and songwriter. Daniel holds a PhD in Music performance and is Head of the Voice Centre, Stockholm and Zangger Vocal Art. His new book, book “The Ultimate Vocal Voyage” has been released internationally. Stay tuned for his Vocal Work Out Of The Day training program for singers in popular music.