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Travel Breathing

“To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

Fresh air is THE best for yoru singing voice!

Fresh air is great for your singing voice!

Travel time is an EXCELLENT time to improve your breath control and your health all at once.

Whether you’re traveling in your car to and from your job, waiting in an airport getting ready to take a vacation or travel from city to city for business purposes, taking a power walk around your neighborhood, walking to the store or from class to class on campus, or from your kitchen to your bedroom, you can use this time to improve your breath control.

What’s Going On In Your Head?

Before I explain, I want you to think about what you do when you travel to any of those places.

Are you thinking about your home life, job, money, relationships, your health or the world situation? Are you trying to solve problems? Does any of this cause you stress? [continue reading…]


Simply Relaxing Breathing

This is short and simple.

Lie flat on your back on the floor.

Close your eyes.

Relax your arms and legs.

Rest your hands with your palms up.

Make sure your legs are uncrossed.

Now breath in slowly to the count of 8.  Hold your breath for 4 counts.

Slowly release your breath to the count of 8.  Hold your breath again for 4 counts.

Breath in and do the same thing over again.  Repeat until you are relaxed.

You’ll be amazed how much better you’ll feel and this little breathing technique will improve your vocal power by helping you to control your breathing as you sing.

Image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/shawnzlea/ / CC BY 2.0


Susan Boyle – Her Technique

I just watched Susan Boyle singing the Rolling Stones song, “Wild Horses” and was thrilled to see that the audience doesn’t care about her age, her weight or anything about her. She’s fantastic and I am super happy for her success.  She is 48 and kickin’ it!

susan boyle

Susan Boyle- an artist

Now, the reason I am writing is that I was thinking today about her technique. She obviously has had some good training, so her technique is solid. She knows how to use her breath to sustain a tone without gasping for air, her tones are clear and she has power when she goes soaring upwards. A great technique!

Her vocal coach, Fred O’Neil, who is originally from Ireland, has a professional classical background, including performances in opera, musical theater and on television all over Europe. He tells about how Susan Boyle needed to learn about diaphragmatic breathing and smoothing out her voice from low to middle to high registers without breaks or changes in overall sound. Check the link at the end of this article for an easy way to strengthen your own diaphragm.

Here is what Fred O’Neil says about singing as a child: [continue reading…]


BlueJayPeanutI think today is the day I should go up the mountain trail and give you another voice lesson.

I have not hiked there in several weeks and it is a beautiful clear sunny Fall day.  A blue jay hops along the ledge on my patio wall then flies to a low branch of a young oak tree, now nearly stripped of golden leaves.  He hopes that I will give him some peanuts and looks through the sliding glass door at me, turning his head as if to say, “where are the peanuts?”  I put out peanuts early in the morning (5:30-6am) and it is now 9:15am, so I think, he is out of luck.  He disappears into the forest and I keep typing.

Suddenly, I see a blue shape swoop back onto the ledge.

“Ha, that’s what you think!” this same jay signals, staring at me with a glint in his eye as stands proudly with a large peanut in his beak.  “See, I don’t need your old early morning peanuts anyhow because someone else knows that I like to sleep in late, so there!”  I laugh and think about how much gratitude I feel for living in this peaceful place, far from the hubbub of the city, away from noise, crime, anxiety and pollution, cooking and heating on a wood stove.  It is a simple life in a complex world.

Then I think about how complex a voice is and yet how simply and effectively a blue jay communicates with his voice and wonder how my online singing lessons can help you with your voice.

With blue jays and voices in mind today I invite you on a journey to a distant place, past all boundaries and obstacles that may stand in your way.

If you would like to come along with me on this journey, I guarantee that you will discover things about yourself and life that you may never have known existed before.  This journey starts deep inside yourself, hidden inside the chambers of your mind and muscles and the minutes parts of what keeps you alive.

Take a deep breath and let it out slowly and let’s go!

Where is this distant place where you are going to send your voice?   Think of it as a spot on top of a mountain, way over there – somewhere out in front of you. You can see the mountain but you aren’t near it. You’re on top of a different mountain and there is a canyon in between. You can see the highest point, but you can’t get there from where you are.

All of a sudden, you see someone whom you haven’t seen in years standing on the top of the mountain. Someone you care about and love with everything in you. But you are on this side of the canyon and the person you love is on the other side of the canyon. They do not know you are there and so do not see you.

What to do?

You yell loudly, but the wind is blowing through the trees and the sound is bigger than your voice. The canyon and wind form a boundary line, a barrier for you. So, you yell louder, but the only result is a sore throat and a cracking sound in your voice.

Next, you try jumping up and down and waving your arms, but you are too far away and it doesn’t do the trick.

You consider lighting a fire. That will get attention, but probably only from the fire and police departments. Besides, the fire would just chase your loved one away.

So, now what?  (here is where my online singing tips come in!)

You think back to something your singing teacher ( me ♥) told you about projecting your voice, something you did not fully understand at the time. Quickly, you try to recall what she said and then envision seeing her cup her hands around her lips and calling out to someone. You remember her telling you to do the same, imagining that you have to get your voice through a tiny hole in the corner of the room where the ceiling meets the two walls. Her voice sounded really loud when she did it, almost like yelling, but it didn’t seem like she hurt her throat.

“Do it,” you call out through the wind. “Get over yourself and do it!”

You cup your hands, placing them around your lips, then remembering that she told you to let go of the tension in your hands, your neck, your jaw and your belly, you plant your feet and call out “Hello,” stretching out the vowel “o,” like she did.

The sound doesn’t get very far and it bugs you because it doesn’t sound good enough to go anywhere, let alone over to the other mountain. You look down and kick the dirt, berating yourself. When you look up again, you see your loved one starting to walk away, not because you don’t sound good, but because they can’t hear you. Frantically, you try again.

“Hellooooooooo,” you call out through the wind, “hellooooooo, heloooooo,” with more urgency and higher pitched now, “heloooooooooooo.”

Something connects inside of you. Your whole body feels alive for the first time in years, almost like every cell is tingling, vibrating with power and joy. You realize that you aren’t just calling out anymore, but you are singing and your voice is strong, so you keep singing out across the canyon. You begin to hear your voice reverberate against the huge granite boulders and it gets louder and louder as you let it go, not caring how it sounds anymore. You are totally focused on making sure your beloved hears you.

Suddenly, they turn their head in your direction see you!  They calls back to you and BOOM, there’s an earthquake, and all the boulders fall down around you and you never see your loved one again!

No, seriously, when being heard is so important to you that you don’t care about anything else, you will let go of all your tension and unleash the natural power of your voice. That’s what it means to project your voice.

Now let’s go up that mountain together.


Projecting Your Voice

I am posting several of my original SingBabySing™ online voice video lessons so that you can find my resources more easily.  Here is a post about projecting your voice, or getting it out there so it can be heard without hurting your throat.
If you have questions for me, please leave them in the comments section below. Remember that I am here for YOU! —Joy


Make your day go better by doing these healthy breathing preps before you get out of bed.


Image courtesy of Paul Arthur

Lie flat on your back with your legs uncrossed and hands at your sides

Focus on a point out in front of you, on the ceiling if possible

Take a deep breath, fully expanding your belly and keeping your shoulders from tensing upwards

Purse your lips like a fish and let out your breath with an “sss” sound directed towards the point in front of you, like it’s coming from a slow leaky tire. Try to keep the breath from bursting out of you all at once.

Repeat above 3-5 times

Take a deep breath and as you let it out, make a VERY GENTLE “mmm” sound as though you’re tasting something delicious, then spin the sound up and down as long as your breath lasts

Do the entire breathing activity 3-5 times (or more) before you get up and enjoy your day!


Feel Better Now

Ever feel like giving up?  On everything?  Or, at least your dreams?

I sometimes do.

Trying to bring my dreams to fruition so that I can help the world be a better place through singing and teaching others to sing is not easy.

So what do I do?

I sing.bird singing


Because singing makes me feel better.


Because singing is a proven method of increasing endorphins, those feel-good hormones

Because I know what singing can do for my health, my attitude, my mental alertness and my inner calm.

The deep breathing that goes along with singing techniques brings more oxygen into my body.

I stay mentally focused in ways that nothing else, and I do mean nothing else, can help me to do.

There is so much about the use of the human voice that adds to a better world that a short blog post cannot tell it all.

But I want to encourage you to feel better today.

I encourage you to sing, even if you do not feel like it.  Even if you feel silly doing it.  Even if you are just laughing at me and what I am saying to you right now.


A song from your childhood, for instance.

Or a song that is popular now.

It does not matter because what happens on the inside of your body when you are singing is going to happen with either one.

Just sing to feel better now.

And while you are at it.  Encourage someone else to sing with you.  That does even more amazing things for your health.


Calming Voice Activity

A Calm Voice Is A Powerful Voice

calm cartoonWhen you get stressed out, you stress your vocal cords, whether you realize it or not. The adrenaline in your system will tighten the muscles around your throat area and that tension will cause strain when you speak or sing.

That can drain and/or destroy your vocal power because the damage done can eventually cause polyps and all sorts of vocal problems.

That is why it is incredibly important to learn ways to calm yourself when using your voice.

So, here is a simple video voice activity for you to use daily tokeep calm so you can have a powerful voice for years and years to come.

It was originally posted on my SingBabySing YouTube site.


Reasons To Sing When Depressed

Ever get discouraged or depressed?

If you were honest and answered “yes” (at least the discouraged part), read on.

If not, read anyway because you might be able to help someone else who has trouble with depression and discouragement.

faces of depressionWhen you are depressed, the last thing you want to do is sing, right?

But that is the time YOU NEED TO SING THE MOST!

No way, you say?  That’s stupid or lame?

I know, I know, I’ve been there, I’ve done that.

There have been days when I have not wanted to get out of bed for anything. I hate those times, don’t you?

But you are reading this because you want help.  You’re reading this because you need answers, and I have them for you.

For example, a recent lesson I gave to Susan, a wonderfully talented woman from Los Angeles who came to me because she had not been able to find an answer for her vocal problems, demonstrates what I’m saying. Her main problem with her voice was a very tight tongue, and she had been unable to find relief from the distress and yes, the internal depression that it caused her.  She had gone to many other voice teachers before she found my original SingBabySing Voice tips on YouTube from and thought that I seemed pretty different than the other voice teachers she had worked with.  Turns out, of course, that I was!  She had a breakthrough after only 2 lessons.  You can hear what she has to say about it at Free Voice.

I actually call myself “whacky” because I definitely challenge people to sing outside their boxes and stretch them to overcome what they think are their limitations. But there is a method to my madness which has a serious outcome, the IMPROVEMENT OF YOUR VOICE!

Here are 5 reasons to keep singing when life gets you down and you feel depressed.  There are more, to be sure, but let’s tackle these first:

  1. Scientific studies show that singing releases endorphins, those feel-good hormones you get after exercise or laughter.
  2. Singing causes you to concentrate on something other than your worries and everything that makes you sad or anxious.
  3. When you sing, you breath more deeply and so you get more oxygen in your bloodstream.
  4. Singing works muscles deep inside your body that you usually don’t reach, even when you work out at a gym!
  5. Singing helps you to communicate with others better, and as you know, much of depression has to do with your interpersonal relationships.

And so I urge you to SING TODAY, right now, even while you are reading this.  Just think of a favorite tune of yours and start humming it.  You’d be surprised by what can happen.

Meanwhile, keep singing and always remember….

Singing Is Your Joy Released!

Joy Sikorski, Master Voice Trainer

Image courtesy of Kevin Dooley’s Flickr photostream


Free Voice

Ever Feel Like Your Voice Is Locked Up?

I recently gave a couple of lessons to a wonderful woman named Susan.

Sing by ktylerconk (Tennessee).

(No, that is not a picture of her!)

She found me on my SingBabySing YouTube site and decided to contact me.

It turns out that she started singing when she was 3 “all over the place” and at age 9-10 was chosen to sing opera in New York, but when she was a little bit older, she had some traumatic experiences that caused her to lose her voice.  She went to a number of voice teachers after that to get help, but nothing worked.  Her voice stayed locked.  Oh, she could sing, but as you’ll discover in the interview we did together after I gave her 2 voice lesson and a bonus lesson, her voice was never free the way she wanted it to be.

After she emailed me, I asked her a few questions about her voice and discovered that she had been frustrated for long time over a tightness in her tongue that made her feel like her voice was trapped, restricted, unable to express the beauty she longed to express.  She has written many songs and has had some success within the entertainment industry, but was not satisfied with the sound her voice.

Even though she had been to many voice teachers, no one seemed able to help her, not for many years.  You’ll find out how many years (kind of amazing) by listening to the her interview with me, taken after she took 2 lessons with me and experienced a major vocal breakthrough.

Listen to what she has to say.  It could change your voice….and your LIFE!

Here are a few excerpts from what she had to say in the interview.

  • I went from teacher to teacher to find my voice….and they always said you have the best  voice, just open your throat, just relax….your larynx is going up and they would show me how to do it and I couldn’t do it.  I would sit in front of the mirror and just open my throat, push my larynx down and stick out my tongue and say “ah, ah” but it wasn’t happening. This went on for years and years and years….but I’ve never been able to give up this dream of having a free voice.

  • What really helped me the most….was when I called you [after the first lesson] and I said, “My tongue is still tight”, and when I came back you said, “Let your tongue be tight, don’t fight your tongue.”  I think that was the opening because fighting something just makes it worse.

  • Being tight and really going into that tightness opened up a whole world and I think that was the big breakthrough.

Keep singing and remember,

Singing Is Your Joy Released!

Joy Sikorski, Master Singing Trainer

The Flickr photo used in this article is from ktylerconk (Tennessee)’s photostream
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