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Sore Throat Relief for Singers and Vocalists

Sore Throat Relief for Singers and Vocalists (in fact anyone who is serious about keeping a healthy voice)

This guide is written primarily for the singer, but is useful to everyone who needs sore throat relief or suffers from a hoarse voice.

Our vocal cords are delicate membranes surrounded by muscle. These membranes need to come together solidly to create a clear sound. Sometime infection or over-use can cause these membranes to swell, resulting in hoarseness. Continued over-use, shouting, and even whispering can, over time, result in damage of the vocal cords, which needs medical attention.

Warm-up your voice before you start. You wouldn’t see an athlete tearing around the track without warming up their body first, so offer your voice the same consideration. It doesn’t take much effort.

• Start with a few deep, controlled breaths, followed by some humming.

• Hum your favourite song, if scales are not your thing.

• Use your voice to make a squeaky door being opened sound (use the ee sound to slide up and down your vocal range).

• Move onto singing some of your gentler songs, before you start tackling the belters.

• Also know your limits. Don’t try to sing too high, or too low until you are warmed up enough. Start at a comfortable range and extend from there.

Avoid abusing your voice throughout the day. Don’t talk for long periods of time – you will find your voice will get hoarse. Avoid whispering. This is stressful to your voice and will cause vocal fatigue. Do not shout over loud noises, such as machinery or concerts. I’ve know a few who have yelled at rock concerts, etc, and haven’t been able to sing for months afterwards. It’s just not worth it!   Talking for prolonged periods is also a hazzard for your voice. So many teachers, sales reps and call-centre staff end up having problems with their voice because of not taking care of their voice, or giving it enough rest to recover.

Vocal hydration is extremely important. Our cords are delicate membranes, which dry out very easily (especially when talking or singing in dry, smoky atmospheres). So drink plenty of water.  There are a number of sprays and lozenges on the market which can help. Also steam inhalation is good at getting moisture onto your cords.

Drinking – (alcohol that is!. We’ve all needed Dutch Courage at some point, but alcohol can lead to damage of your vocal cords. Huh? I hear you say. Alcohol numbs our nervous system, and helps lose our inhibitions. For example, Normally, when you’ve not had a drink, you know when your voice is tired, or when you have pushed your voice too far because you will feel discomfort in your throat. However, since you’ve had your drink, the alcohol can numb your throat, loosen your inhibitions, pushing your voice past its usual boundaries (this may take the form of shouting or singing too loud, too high, too low, or simply for too long a time period) and you can’t feel those warning signs. You wake up in the morning, with a sore head and no voice for several days (or in some cases several weeks!)

Smoking. There are no health benefits to smoking, so either cut down or stop completely. Smoking affects your lung capacity, irritates the membranes in the windpipe, resulting excessive mucus and a cough, which can inflame the vocal cords, as well as all the other health problems associated with smoking. That leads me onto recreational drugs – if drinking and smoking are bad – drugs are even worse. Don’t go there!

A few tips to help you recover from a sore throat:

1. REST!!

2. Drink plenty of Water.

3. Avoid Tea, Coffee, Cream & Alcohol

4. Take Vitamin C tablets or eat fruits/ vegetables rich in Vitamin C to aid your body’s natural defences. Hot Lemon & Honey or Blackcurrant both contain vitamin C and anti-viral properties and fresh ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties – grate a little ginger and add it to hot water, sweeten with honey if required.

5. Severe, violent coughing can injure the vocal cords. Cough Syrup, Throat Sprays and Lozenges can help.

6. Hot Water Steam Inhalation, with or without a few drops of Eucalyptus, Peppermint or other Essential Oil helps to clear the sinuses, and get moisture onto the vocal cords

7. Do NOT attempt to Sing and avoid Talking until you feel better to allow the inflammation an opportunity to reduce. This may be even take several weeks

8. On recovery start with some gentle humming for 5-10 minutes at a time and slowly build up to a few vocal exercises in your mid- range gradually expanding the range over several days. The rate of recovery will depend on the severity of illness and how experienced a singer you are. Any recurrence of hoarseness stop and rest the voice for another couple of days.

And Most Importantly – Take time out. We all need to have a break. You need a complete rest from singing at least once a week and I mean a complete rest. No practice, no singing along to your favourite records, no singing in the bath etc. Also if you done a hard day or long gig, then give your voice a rest the following day.

If symptoms continue, seek advice from your own Doctor.


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Panofka Vocal ABC

First Lessons in Singing

Heinrich Panofka (3/10/1807 – 18/11/1887) was a German violinist, voice teacher and composer. He became interested in the training of the voice, and with Bordogni he founded in 1842 an Académie de Chant. The aim of these exercises are to give the singing student more control over their voice, improving their breathing, working on the tone and resonance, improving their range and agility.

Panofka Vocal ABC – First Lessons In Singing

Although these scales are almost 200 years old, you will find that they are still used today in many voice institutions and singing lessons all around the world.

This compilation of 14 singing exercises date back to the early 19th Century when it was popular to vocalise along with piano accompaniment. They were traditionally sung wordless, but on vowel sound.

We suggest you use the vowel sounds to sing along:

  • Ah as in Apple
  • Eh as in Air
  • Ay as in Sky
  • Oh as in Orange
  • Ee as in Bee
  • Oo as in Room.

The practice of solfeggios is useful to instrumentalists and to those who intend to become composers, but is detrimental to those who wish to become singers. In fact, by commencing with the study of solfeggios, we break the established rules for developing and preserving the voice.

The human voice must mot be considered as a complete instrument upon which every kind and style of music can be executed.

It is only when the voice is fully developed that it is able, without injury to itself, to sing with the syllables do, re, mi, fa, etc.; in other words, to begin the practice of solfeggios.

Pupils, by beginning in this manner, give all their attention to intonation, and none to the quality of tone, or the manner of producing it. Now the least movement of the mouth, the tongue, the cavities of the nose, the cheeks, or even the teeth, will alter the quality of the tone of voice.

For example : when we sing “do”, we place the tongue to the roof of the mouth. When we sing “re”, we lift the tongue. To sing “mi”, we close the mouth before giving the tone. To sing fa, we first obstruct the emission of the voice to pronounce the F. And for sol, la and si, we move the tongue in various directions.

On every one of these syllables, the pupil, following the natural effects of the vocal mechanism, will alter the quality of tone, and contract faults , which afterward it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to rectify.

Thus people who have, before the change of voice, been accustomed to these movements of the tongue, find difficulty and sometime impossibility in the delivery of the higher tones, and the voice becomes false, weak and worthless.

The cause of this is evident. Pupils who practice solfeggios neglect the quality of the tone. Some open the mouth too wide, others not wide enough ; some sing through the nose, others in the throat, etc.

These few line will suffice to demonstrate that this manner of teaching the elements of singing before the change of voice has taken place, is the real cause of the loss of so many voices, of their bad quality and the weakness of the breathing organs.

In learning properly to deliver the voice and to vocalise on the vowel a (ah), instead of using the syllables do, re, etc., it is the ear which will lead pupils, not the notes. The vocal organs will, therefore, assume from the beginning the most natural position for singing, without the pupil bestowing special attention to it.

Convinced that teaching the elements should be summed up in a few clear and concise principles, easily understood, I offer in the following pages a preparatory method of singing, to those who would avoid the evils of commencing with the solfeggios.


First chapter of the preface of Panofka’s Vocal ABC.

Exercise 1 – Of the delivery of the voice
Exercise 2 – Agility 1 – Exercise on three tones
Exercise 3 – Agility 2 – Exercise on five tones
Exercise 4 – Agility 3 – The scale
Exercise 5 – Agility 4 – The scale: forte, less forte and piano
Exercise 6 – Exercises of three scales
Exercise 7 – Minor scales
Exercise 8 – Exercises extending the octave
Exercise 9 – Arpeggios 1
Exercise 10 – Arpeggios 2
Exercise 11 – Portamento exercise in fifths
Exercise 12 – Portamento exercise in octaves
Exercise 13 – Portamento exercise in broken chords
Exercise 14 – To swell the tone

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 1 - Developing Tone

On Delivery Of The Voice

In order that a tone be beautiful, it must be pure, clear and sonorous. The purity is obtained by an open and frank attack of the tone with a little stroke of the glottis, an infallible means to obtain a perfectly true intonation. The clearness will be acquired by the delivery of the vovel a (ah). The sonority depends upon a proper opening of the mouth, which should be done in a natural manner, taking care that it is without effort, and that the delivery of the tone is not obstructed.

From the first lesson the utmost attention must be given to the beauty of the tone.

It is presumed that the pupil is acquainted with the rudiments of music.

The teacher sings the seven tones of the scale, and the pupil repeats them, attacking the tone in the same manner : commencing with “C” the delivery of which is easy for all voices. The mouth must be open before delivering the tone ; for if the mouth is only opened just at the moment of attacking the tone, either a guttural or a nasal sound will be produced.

The teacher will then continue to make the pupil deliver, by chromatic degrees, all the tones, the emission of which is easy; ceasing immediately when the pupil has any difficulty in producing the tone.


The upper and lower tones which cannot be delivered at the beginning with perfect ease and sonority, must not be made the objects of special practice ; they will in a short time be developed, merely by the study of the study of the tones that are easy to deliver.

The exercises are written in chromatic progressions, commencing with “A” below the staff, and ascending to “G” above the fifth line; the teacher will find it easy to indicate the tone with which the pupil (whose voice he must have examined) should begin and end his exercises.

These should always be sung with full voice, taking care that it is never strained.

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 2 - Fluency On A 3rd

Agility – Exercise on Three Tones

The pupil having learned to deliver isolated tones, will now proceed to an exercise of three consecutive tones.

In this, the first tone should be attacked with a short stroke of the glottis. The teacher will first sing this exercise to the pupil.

Note – Beginners almost always lower the voice at the third tone. The best means to remedy this defect is to beat the time and mark the
third beat more distinctly.

The exercise must be first sung slowly and then progressively quicker.

In contralti the diversity of the register will become apparent in this exercise, either on the three tones D, E and F sharp, or on E flat, F and G, according to whether the first register ends with G or with F sharp. (…) In the voices of children the transition from one register to the other, although by no means so apparent as in the voices of adults, is nevertheless easily observed.

Consequently, in practising this exercise, the teacher must not lose sight on the union of the two registers. The best way to attain this result is not to let the pupil know that any difficulty of this kind is to be overcome ; and also, while breathing time, to assist him by an accented beat, as soon as he passes from the last tone of the first register to the first tone of the second register. The pupil, feeling himself supported, will overcome the difficulty without thinking of it.

It must be remembered that this union of the registers is more easily accomplished in the voices of children than in those of adults ; especially of women, whose voices have often a power and vigor which give too great intensity to the extreme tones of each register. In such cases the passage from one register to the other cannot take place without showing a perceptible difference; and it becomes, of course, more difficult to give homogeneousness to the two registers. In the voices, however, of some persons, especially from the Southern climates, this union is sometimes attained without any difficulty.

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 3 - Fluency On A 5th Scale

Exercise On Five Tones

The same rules as No 2. In this exercise, the fifth tone is generally sung too low.  The teacher, therefore, while beating tie, must accent the 5th tone.

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 4 - The Major Scale

The first tone to be attacked with a short stroke of the glottis, and all the tones sung in moderate movement, with equal force and full voice.

When the pupil can sing all the scales by chromati degrees, from the tone which they can easily leliver up to the last one, rendered with the same facility, the teacher can make them sing each scale three times. first  forte, then messo forte, and the third time piano; at first moderato and then progressively quicker, according to the flexibility of the voice of the pupil.

This exercise will do much toward developing the respiration

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 5 - Developing Tone and Breathing.

The aim of this exercise is the same as exercise 4 –  to sing the scale three times. Starting loud (forte), then a little quieter (mezzo-forte) and then quietly (piano), whilst maintaining accuracy with your note placement.  This exercise will do much toward developing the respiration.

The first tone to be attacked with a short stroke of the glottis, and all the tones sung in moderate movement, with equal force and full voice.

When the pupil can sing all the scales by chromatic degrees, from the tone which they can easily deliver, up to the last one, rendered with the same facility, the teacher will make him sing each scale three times: first forte, then mezzo-forte, and the third time piano; at first moderato, and then progressively quicker, according to the flexibility of the voice of the pupil.

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 6 - Agility and Breathing

Exercises of Three Scales

This exercise requires equality and roundness and the avoidance of precipitation.

In singing the three scales a great step has been made toward what is called “establishing the voice” (poser la voix). To establish anything is to give it a fixed place ; thus, the exercises practised until now have, so to say, fixed the tones in the larynx, which has become a sort of keyboard, where each tone has its proper place. Consequently the pupil will never sing false, if he only thinks of the tone to be sung before he delivers it.

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 7 - The Minor Scale

This scale, which is of a melancholic character, requires great attention.

It is the augmented second between the sixth and seventh tones of the ascending and between the second and the third tones of the descending scale, which gives it a particulat charm; consequently it requires great care in the intonation of these intervals.

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 8 - Agility Scale (9th)

Exercise Extending The Octave

This scale works on your vocal agility. It is a 9th scale (an octave – 8th and an extra note) up and down the scale twice. The first time sing it loud (forte) and the second time sing it quiet (piano). This exercise will do much in making the voice flexible.  Also help with your tone and breath control.

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 9 - Arpeggio

This exercise is an arpeggio scale (1,3,5,8,5,3,1 interval x 2) This exercise then increases in semitones up the scale. 

The rendering of the arpeggios in triplets and semiquavers requires much attention with regard to intonation.  The teacher, while beating time, will do well to accent the final tone

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 10 - Arpegppio

This exercise is an arpgeggio exercise (1,3,5,8,10 – 8,5,3,1 intervals x2). This exercise then increases in semitones up the scale. 

The rendering of the arpeggios in triplets and semiquavers requires much attention with regard to intonation.  The teacher, while beating time, will do well to accent the final tone

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 11 - Portamento Exercise In 5ths


Portamento (Italian) means a technique of gliding from one note to another without actually defining the intermediate notes; a smooth sliding between two pitches. This exercise requires you to start the first interval of a 5th loud (forte), then repeating it quieter (piano). This exercise then increases in semitones up the scale. 

To connect two tones well in a slow movement is called portamento.

What has been learned until now, is the foundation of singing. To deliver the scales with equality. roundness and correctness, and with the lights and shades of forte, mezzo-forte and piano, is one of the most difficult exercises.

The result of the studies thus far is to have establsshed the voice, smoothed the larynx, accustomed the ear to difficult intonations and considerably to have strengthened respiration.

The pupil knows how to sing in quick movement ; consequently it will be easy for him to sing in slow movement, as he can already manage his breathing and his voice.

In now applying the portamento to fifths,* the pupil must connect the key-note with the fifth, avoiding either abruptness or mewing, but in a natural and graceful manner.

The teacher must sing a series of fifths by chromatic degrees, that the pupil may well understand the manner of singing portamento, both forte and piano.

The same rules must be applied to the study of the octave (n°12) and of the broken chords (n°13).

* I have selected the fifth, because it is the most sympathetic interval to the ear, as well as to the voice, and for this reason the easiest to be sung correctly.

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 12 - Portamento exercise in octaves

Portamento (Italian) means a technique of gliding from one note to another without actually defining the intermediate notes; a smooth sliding between two pitches. This exercise requires you to sing the first octave loud (forte) and the second octave quiet (piano). The exercise then increases in semitones up the scale. 

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 13 - Portamento exercise on Arpeggio

Portamento (Italian) means a technique of gliding from one note to another without actually defining the intermediate notes; a smooth sliding between two pitches. 

Panofka Vocal Exercise No 14 - Swell On The Tone

Swelling The Tone

Start the note quietly, increasing your volume and then bring it back to quiet. The exercise will then increase in a series of semitones up the scale. 

Swelling a tone is holding it the required time, while increasing and diminishing its power.

This exercise is a most difficult one. it requires a well-practised ear, in order to preserve the right intonation, and also a sufficient respiration. It has been placed at the last, because the previous exercises have prepared the pupil to execute it with ease and correctness. The pupil must stop holding the tone as soon as he finds his breathing becoming weak, and he must also take special care not to force a prolongation of the swell.

Start the note quietly, increasing your volume and then bring it back to quiet. The exercise will then increase in a series of semitones up the scale. 

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Christmas Karaoke

Christmas Karaoke

Christmas Karaoke – Find all your favourite Christmas Carols and Xmas  Pop Songs all available as a karaoke video.  We have one of the biggest Christmas Karaoke Videos collections all in one convenient place.  Sing along by yourself or gather a few friends for a fun Christmas party.  

We have listed them firstly as Traditional Christmas Carols, followed by Popular Christmas Pop Songs.   

All these tracks are available to purchase at higher quality here


Christmas Carols:

Christmas Pop Songs

Traditional Christmas Carols:

  • 12 Days Of Christmas Karaoke
  • Angels From The Realms Of Glory Karaoke
  • Auld Lang Syne Karaoke
  • Away In A Manger (Kirkpatrick Tune) Karaoke
  • Carol Of The Bells (as featured in Home Alone) Karaoke
  • Coventry Carol – Lully, lullah, thou little tiny child, Bye bye, lully, lullay. Karaoke
  • Ding Dong Merrily On High Karaoke
  • Deck The Halls With Boughs Of Holly Karaoke
  • Gaudete Karaoke
  • The First Noel The Angels Did Say Karaoke
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen Karaoke
  • Good King Wenceslas Last Looked Out Karaoke
  • Hark The Herald Angels Sing Karaoke
  • I Saw Three Ships Come Sailiing in On Christmas Morn Karaoke
  • In The Bleak Midwinter – (Darke) Karaoke
  • In The Bleak Midwinter  (Holst) Karaoke
  • Joy To The World The Lord has come. Let Earth receive her King Karaoke
  • O Christmas Tree  – O Tannerbaum Karaoke
  • O Come All Ye Faithful Karaoke
  • O Come, O Come Emmanuel Karaoke
  • O Holy Night Karaoke
  • O Little Town Of Bethlehem Karaoke
  • On Christmas Night All Christian’s Sing Karaoke
  • Once In Royal David’s City Karaoke
  • Silent Night Karaoke
  • We Three Kings Of Orient Are Karaoke
  • While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night Karaoke

Christmas Pop Songs

  • It Was Only A Winter’s Tale – David Essex 
  • All Alone At Christmas (From Home Alone 2) – Darlene Love
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
  • Ave Maria – Celine Dion – Schubert
  • Believe – Josh Groban (From the film Polar Express)
  • Blue Christmas – Elvis Presley
  • Christmas Song – Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire
  • Do They Know It’s Christmas – Feed The World – Band Aid
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • Driving Home For Christmas – Chris Rea
  • Fairytale Of New York – Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues
  • Feliz Navidad
  • Frosty The Snowman
  • Hallelujah – Alexander Burke
  • Happy Christmas – War Is Over – John Lennon
  • Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Judy Garland (From the film Meet Me In St Louis)
  • I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
  • I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday – Wizard
  • It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas
  • It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year – Andy Williams
  • Jingle Bells
  • Jingle Bell Rock
  • Last Christmas – Wham – George Michael
  • Let It Snow
  • Little Donkey
  • Lonely This Christmas – Mud
  • Mary Did You Know
  • Mary’s Boy Child – O My Lord – Boney M
  • Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade
  • Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens
  • Mistletoe – Justin Bieber
  • Mistletoe and Wine – Cliff Richard
  • Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy – Bing Crosby David Bowie also by Aled Jones and Terry Wogan
  • Rocking Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
  • Santa Baby – Etta James – Also by Kylie Minogue
  • Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
  • Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande
  • Silver Bells
  • Sleigh Ride – Just hear those sleigh bells jingle
  • Step Into Christmas – Elton John
  • Underneath The Tree – Kelly Clarkson
  • Walking In The Air – Aled Jones  (From the film The Snowman)
  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas – and a Happy New Year
  • When A Child Is Born – Johnny Mathis
  • White Christmas – Bing Crosby (Originally from the film Holiday Inn)
  • Walking In A Winter Wonderland
  • Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time (Christmastime) – Paul McCartney

Xmas Karaoke videos.  Instrumental versions all with lyrics on screen. 

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Choosing A Singing Teacher

choosing a singing teacherChoosing A Singing Teacher.

Good singing teachers are able to teach you the right technique and habits from the start and is a very good way of making progress, especially if you are a beginner.

Learn To Sing books, CD’s or Videos are great for introducing you to singing  and if followed correctly can help improve your knowledge and your singing. However, only the personal interaction with a singing teacher can truly help, as they are able to see and hear you sing, and can tailor your lesson to suit you as an individual.

 Below is some advice to help you choose a singing teacher.

Places to look for singing teachers:
Internet websites
AoToS  Musician’s Union  ISM
Local college/school departments
Recommendation from friends, choir member etc.

Choose someone who is personable and easy to talk to and who can explain what to expect in your lesson.   You want to find a teacher who will make the lessons interesting and fun, and give you the right mix of vocal exercises and working on pieces that you would like to work on.  Singing lessons should not be a chore.

What qualifications and experience does your teacher have?
Membership of a professional music teacher’s organisation is always a positive sign, as is evidence of previously successful students.

Consider the distant you have to travel to your teacher.  There’s nothing worse than having to travel a great distance for your lesson, after a long and busy day.  You will soon start to resent the travelling, and this could filter down to you resenting the lesson, and eventually your singing.

Choose someone who can teach you the style you’re interested in singing, be it jazz, classical, rock… it is no good going to a classical teacher if you want to improve your rock voice. Be clear about what tuition you are after.   Some teachers feel that you’re best getting tuition from a teacher who shares your vocal range (eg a soprano teacher can teach soprano better) This is a matter of personal choice, and a good teacher should be able to handle all ranges

How much will it cost?
Shop around and see who does the best deals.  Will you get a  ‘trial’ lesson or  discount for booking a series of lessons.  The most expensive lesson’s, are not necessarily the best.  Also check what their cancellation policy is.  Some teachers want 24 – 48 hours notice of cancellation or you may still need to pay for your lesson.

What are the expectations of the tutor for practice. If they are expecting you to practice several hours a day, when you already know that you don’t have that amount of spare time, then the relationship is not going to work. Be realistic about how much time you have and how quickly or steadily you wish to progress.

Will you go to the teacher or will the teacher come to you.  Is there any flexibility in this, eg if your car has broken down.

Will your teacher be buying your music books, or will you?

What should you expect from your teacher
Your teacher shouldn’t take phone calls or sit at the computer checking their emails during your lesson.  It’s your time which you are paying for, so unless it is an emergency, settle for nothing less!
Your lesson should not be full of unwanted distractions, including the teacher’s children constantly wandering in and out of the room.  A good teacher will have a separate room to teach in.
Another point, your lesson is about you and for you.  It’s essential that you have two-way relationship with your teacher, but be wary of the teachers with the over-inflated ego’s.  They should be interested in improving  you and your singing.



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Singing With Emotion

Singing With Emotion

Singing With Emotion Vocal Exercise to the song What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor.

What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor is such a well-known Children’s Song, and it is incredibly wordy, which is great for warming up lips and facial muscles. Also it is a fun song to sing when you need to work on emotive singing  Try singing each verse with a different emotional emphasis as described in the video below..

We have used each verse of What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor to try singing it while expressing a different emotion. We prompt you on each verse to sing either Happy, Drunk, Scared (panic), Angry, Flirty, Sad, Secretive, Funny. We have included the sheet music and the lyrics.

Observe what each emotion does to your voice whilst singing.

Do the dynamics change?

Does your vocal quality change?

Do some verses feel easier than others to sing?

How does it come across?

Do you feel different when singing that emotion?

What could you do to improve the feeling you are trying to replicate?

Ask yourself these questions and maybe get someone in to listen to you and let them guess what emotion you are trying to put across. You can use this exercise as a singing warm-up, a diction or emotive exercise, or you may just want it for the nursery rhyme backing track.

Singing exercises when done on a regular basis, will help strengthen, increase the flexibility and the range of your voice too. They will also help with your tone and resonance and placement of the sound.  This particular exercise is for all voice ranges, but please see our other videos for Low, Middle and Higher Voice Ranges if you think these are more suitable to your needs.






Verse 1

What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
What shall we do with the drunken sailor,
Early in the morning?

Hooray and up she rises,
Hooray and up she rises,
Hooray and up she rises,
Early in the morning!

2. Put him in the longboat until he’s sober, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

3.Put him in the scuppers with the hose pipe on him, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

4. Pull out the plug and wet him all over, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

5. Give ‘im a dose of salt and water, (x 3),
Early in the morning!

6. Scrape off his chest hair with an old razor, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

7. Stick ‘im on his back with a mustard plaster, (x 3)
Early in the morning!

8. Put him in a leaky boat and make him bale it, (x 3)
Early in the morning!


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Voice Registers

Voice Registers

Voice register is a term used to describe the difference in tones produced by the human voice in varied ranges. People who sing may have noticed that they experience sensations in different parts of the body, depending on what range they sing in. This can be attributed to the presence of different vocal registers.  

We have 3 main voice registers:

  • Head voice
  • Chest voice
  • Middle Voice

Head Voice

The higher register of the voice is known as head voice.  Singing in this register you feel the resonance more in the bones and cavities of your face and head.   Head voice is more associated with light, bright singing tones and is higher in pitch.

Chest Voice

The lower register of the voice, or chest voice, is where our speaking voice occurs  Singing in this register is usually accompanied by a resonance in your chest, hence the term.   Chest Voice is often associated with deep, warm, rich sounds and is lower in pitch.

Middle Voice

Our middle register is where we mix the elements of head and chest voice.  Think of it as altering the balance of treble and bass on your sound system to make it sound better. Each singer must learn how adjust their own levels of bright and dark tones, through resonance and blending of the vocal registers. As we sing from low to high (or vice versa high to low), an untrained voice will experience notes which don’t resonate quite right.  Your voice may become weaker and thin sounding, or you may struggle to secure the frequency of your note (you may be slightly off key).  This is known as the bridge or break point. Also known as Passagio in classical singing.  

How to master the break

Singing lessons will help you develop your middle voice.   Through vocal exercises, you will improve the tone and flexibility of your vocal cords/fold.  You will understand your chest and head voice registers and be able to connect the two as you increase your voice range. You will learn to adjust (mix) your voice to add the desired tone for what it is you are singing.  You may want to sing a high note, with a darker, more powerful resonance, or sing a low note with a brighter tone to it.

Vowel sounds will have an effect on your middle register.  Some vowels are narrow sounding and are easier to control in a head voice, whereas wider vowel sounds are easier to control in a chest voice.  By adjusting the tone and weight you put on these vowels will help you with mixing the middle voice. The more in-tune you are with you register breaks, the better able the singer is at anticipating the need for vowel modification and attention to resonance. Much of this knowledge is gained simply by trial and error, and with the help of a teacher who understands different techniques to help ease these transitions.

Some more on Vocal Registers:

  Whistle Register (also known as the flute register) is the highest vocal register, and is so called because the timbre of the notes that are produced from this register is similar to that of a whistle.  Whistle tones are created by covering the opening to the larynx/trachea with the epiglottis, allowing for air to escape through a very small hole.  In whistle register, only the front part of the vocal cords are vibrating together.  Whistle register, although very high, should be able to connect with your other registers.  

Falsetto is a musical term for a male voice that’s artificially high. Falsetto means “artificial voice” and comes from the Italian word falso for “false.” Falsetto is where the vocal cords are not fully connected and adducting along their length, but have blown apart creating a Mickey Mouse sound.  You may be able to produce the same high notes of head voice or whistle register, but true falsetto will not connect with your other registers The differences between whistle voice and falsetto can be difficult to hear, due to differences in tone between singers, that said in an exaggerated form it’s the difference between Mariah Carey hitting the highest note you can think of (whistle) and Neil Young’s highest notes (falsetto).  Though they are both in the higher register, whistle voice and falsetto are physically different actions of the vocal cords.

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Choosing the perfect audition song

Choosing the perfect audition song

Choosing your perfect audition song can be pretty overwhelming especially when you have only one chance to perform it.   You need to choose a song which will showcase your vocals and make you stand out from the crowd.  Choose your song wisely as the wrong audition song can really affect your confidence and your goal.

Some ideas on choosing the perfect audition song:

  • Go through the list of songs you sing or listen on Spotify or Youtube for song ideas
  • Find a song that suits your vocal style and range.
  • Ask yourself is it a song that showcases your voice.
  • Is the song suitable for the genre or the role you are auditioning for.
  • Check the audition guidelines. They may already provide a list of pre-approved songs, only want ballads or ask you to prepare multiple song choices.
  • Avoid choosing a song you think the people holding the audition want to hear if you struggle to sound good singing it.
  • Your song shouldn’t be too easy, but also don’t pick something so difficult, that you struggle to sing it.

Try to avoid really well-known songs and completely unknown songs unless the audition asks for it.  If you pick a really well-known song eg Angels by Robbie Williams.  The people running the audition would have heard that song so many times before or they may compare how you sing against Robbie Williams, unless you know you can really ace it or put your own twist on the song.

Equally, choosing an unknown song may leave the people running the audition with nothing to compare it to, or spend time wondering who the song is by, or asking colleagues, when then should be listening to you.  Choose something in between these two extremes.  Something known, but not too obsure.

Think about a song with a big climax or big ending.  Go out with a bang rather than fade away.

Beware of current audition song trends.  There are so many times at auditions where people tend to sing the same song.  Avoid the latest big ballad or popular musical number. You want to stand out and make the people holding the audition to take notice of you, not groan and switch off at having to hear the same song again – no matter how well you sing it.

Once you have found a few possible songs. Try them out.  Sing along to them. Get your friends to listen to you, or record yourself singing them and listen to the recordings.  Ask for feedback on your sing and your performance.  What is good? What can be improved on?  Is it good enough to make you stand out in your audition?

Practice, Practice, Practice. Then practice some more.

Check how long you have for your audition slot.  Some auditions only want 16 bars or a verse, chorus and close.   If the song you have selected only shows your voice off towards the end of the song, consider coming in from the second verse.   Are you using dots (sheet music)?  Then clearly mark where you want to come in from. If you are using tracks, then it’s more difficult, but maybe get a friend to edit it for you, or there are many companies out there who will edit tracks to suit professionally.   Keep your song as short as possible.  The last thing you want is to be cut off before the climax of your song because you’ve run out of time.

It’s also a good idea to make multiple versions of your song—one very short, one medium length, and one longer in length—in case your preferred length is too long for a particular audition’s request and you need to use the shortened version. That way you’ll already be prepared if the people holding the audition asks you to sing more for them.

It’s always better to be over prepared. Have a back-up song prepared just in case you are asked to sing something else.  Have a different styled song if possible.  This may be because the people running the audition like what they hear, or they want to see what else you can do, or they may think your voice may lend itself to a different style.

It’s completely normal to feel nervous when performing your audition piece for real.  Make sure you are well rehearsed and that you know your song and lyrics inside out. Be well prepared on the day, that you have your music, routines, drinks and snacks all ready and that you arrive in plenty of time for your slot.  Warm up and practice at the venue before your slot, so that you walk into your audition with confidence and deliver a knock-out performance.


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Learn To Sing

Learn To Sing

Learn To Sing

Learn To Sing with Successful Singing. We have lots of online advice and articles to help you learn to sing. Use our vocal exercises, scales and voice lessons, to help strengthen and develop your singing voice. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned singer our videos and exercises will help you get the most out of your voice. All our exercises are free to use online..

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Vaccai Vocal Exercises

Vaccai Vocal Exercises – Vocalises

Vaccai Practical Method of Italian Singing.

The Vaccai Practical Method of Italian Singing has long been an indispensable introduction to classical singing and singing in Italian.  Rather than using scales and exercises, Vaccai uses a series of short songs each highlighting a particular skill and aspect of classical singing.

This compilation of 15 singing lessons date back to the early 19th Century when it was popular to vocalise along with piano accompaniment.  These video exercises have been re-created with both English and Italian lyrics and available in keys suitable for High, Middle and Low voice ranges.  These singing exercises are still used today in training the singing voice.  We have made the audio tracks available in the different keys to listen to or if you need to purchase them.


Lesson No 1 – The Diatonic Scale

Lesson 1 (part ii) Intervals Of The Third


Lesson 2 II – Intervals Of The Fourth



Lesson 2 II (part ii) – Intervals Of The fifth




Lesson 3 III – Intervals Of The Sixth



Lesson 4 IV – Intervals Of The Seventh


Lesson 4 IV (part ii) – Intervals Of The Octave




Lesson 5 V  – Half tones or Semitones



Lesson 6 VI – Syncopation




Lesson 7 VII – Runs and Scale Passages




Lesson 8 VIII – The Appoggiatura taken from above or below



Lesson 8 VIII (Part ii) – The Acciaccatura


Lesson 9 IX –  The Mordent


Lesson 9 IX (Part ii) Different Ways Of Executing The Mordent


Lesson 10 X – Introductory To The Gruppetto Or Turn

Lesson 10 X (Part ii) The Gruppetto


Lesson 11 XI – Introduction Of The Trill Or Shake


Lesson 12 XII – Runs And Scale Passages



Lesson 13 XIII – The Portamento


Lesson 13 XIII part (ii) – Allegretto





Lesson XV (Lesson 15 – track 21)


About Nicola Vaccai

VACCAI was born on March the 15th, 1790, at Tolentino, near Ancona, Italy, but the family soon moved to Pesaro, where they remained about twelve years. This is where Niccolò received his first instruction in music.  He was then brought to Rome for the purpose of studying law for around five years; then, renouncing this profession as distasteful.  He then devoted himself entirely to music, taking lessons in counterpoint under Jannaconi, and later { 1812) studying the art of opera composition under the guidance of Paisiello, at Naples. While in Naples he wrote two cantatas and other church-music; in 1814 his first opera, I solitari di Scozia, was brought out at the Teatro nuovoin that city.  Shortly after, he returned to Venice, where he stayed seven years, writing an opera , and also several ballets; yet none of these ventures succeeded in winning for their author even the evanescent vogue of an Italian opera-composer; he consequently gave over dramatic composition in 1820 and turned his attention to instruction in singing, a vocation in which he was eminently successful in Venice, Trieste and Vienna.

Again devoting his energies to composition, he wrote operas for several leading Italian theatres,  still without success; but few of his dramatic works became known abroad, among them being La Pastorella, Timur Chan, Pietro il Gran, and Giulietta e Romeo.  The last-named opera is considered his best, and its third act, especially, was so much liked that it has frequently been substituted for the same act of Bellini’s opera of like name, not only in Italian theatres, but even in Paris and London.  To the former city Vaccai journeyed in 1829, visiting London a few years later, and in both attained to great and deserved popularity as a singing-teacher.  Again returning to Italy, he recommenced writing operas, one of this period beingGiovanna Grey, written for Malibran, in honor of whom he composed, after her decease, in co-operation with Donizetti. Mercadante and others, a funeral cantata.  Most of these operas also met with hardly more than a bare succés d’estime.  In 1838, however, he was appointed to succeed Basili as head-master and instructor of composition at the Milan Conservatory, which position he held until 1841 when he retired to Pesaro.  Here his last opera, Virginia, was written for the Teatro Argentino at Rome.  He died at Pesaro August 5, 1848.

Besides sixteen operas, he composed a number of cantatas, church-music of various descriptions, arias, duets and romances.  Although unable to secure a niche among Italy’s favorite dramatic composers, Vaccai’s lasting renown as a singing-master shows that he was possessed of solid, if not brilliant, artistic attainments.  His famous “Metodo pratico di canto italiano per camera” [London, 1832] is still a standard work in great request, and his “Dodici ariette per camera per l’insegnamento del belcanto italiano” are scarcely less popular.

The general plan of the “Practical Method” is to render study easy and attractive, without omitting essentials.  No exercise exceeds the limit of an octave and a fourth (c’-f’’, transposable to suit any voice).  There are fifteen “Lessons,” which are not bare solfeggio on single vowels or syllables, but melodious exercises-for scale-practice, for skips of thirds. fourths, etc., up to octaves; on semitones, runs, syncopations, and all graces usually met with-written to smooth Italian verses.
The extraordinary and undiminished popularity of this method is attested by the numerous editions through which it has run; yet it is not merely the method for dilettanti, but can be used profitably in conjunction with any other system of voice-cultivation, being admirably calculated for strengthening and equalizing the medium register, for giving confidence in taking difficult intervals, and for enforcing habits of precise and distinct articulation and phrasing.