Vocal Technique For Singers

If you are a singer, or you find that your attempts to sing are not as successful as you dream they would be, you must realize like with learning anything else, there are methods and skills to acquire. Singing is an intricate art form, combining natural talent with extensive training and technique.

So what does this journey entail? It starts with recognizing that your voice is an instrument, and like any instrument, you need to understand its mechanics. You’ll begin by learning the anatomy of your vocal apparatus, including the lungs, diaphragm, larynx, and mouth.

Once you’ve got the basics down, we move to understanding posture and alignment; a crucial step for producing strong and clear tones. The shapes of the tones are critical to the clarity of pitch and sound you are producing. Breathing is your base, so while studying with me you will learn to work with these elements to create and experience a holistic alignment of expression in your singing practice.

In my opinion, vocal health is just as vital as technique. I’ll guide you through the habits necessary to maintain a healthy voice—staying hydrated, avoiding strain, and understanding the signs of vocal fatigue.

Finally, this section wraps up with the mindset needed for vocal training. Don’t worry too much about getting everything perfect from the start. Embrace the learning process, as each exercise and technique you master leads to improvement in your overall singing ability.

Moving forward, in the next section, we’ll jump straight into the specific vocal techniques you need to focus on to turn your singing aspirations into a musical reality.

My Petite Baby Grande loves the Children

My Piano Students

I love my piano and my students love my Petit Baby Grande as well. I am not a parent and have never had children, but when the children come through my door and into my studio I feel so honored to be a part of their developing “creative process”. A child is so receptive to music and learning something new. They sit at my Petit Baby Grande and wonder. I can tell that their fingers are tingling, egging to play anything that comes to their mind… I am so excited and thankful to meet them there, and share my joy of playing the piano with them

In teaching children piano I have noticed a dramatic development in the self-awareness and self-esteem of the children over time. The ability of the child to also compose soon after the start of lessons is astounding, and with the grasping of some fundamental elements in music theory, a good portion are very comfortable coming up with their patterns, and can easily create their own music, leading into a natural set of composition skills.

The more the teacher gives the child to explore using the tools (piano techniques)I find that this can and will keep the child engaged in an ever-evolving creative pattern, creating something from nothing which ultimately gives the child a creative outlet and a stronger sense of being. Being a music teacher/coach and having also been a student, I feel that this a more practical way of teaching, because the teacher has the assurance that the child has made a personal connection with the instrument, and most often will always have the piano to go back to.

The piano is also an instrument that all musicians turn to.

I for one have used the Piano for composing, also for accompaniment for others and for myself, performing, and using my Nord keyboard for performing and recording with my Logic Program.

I love my Piano, and so do the children.

Singing the right tune: Clinton Vocal Coach trains singers ages 6 to 80

Jana Szabo directs student and Shifty Sailors member Ted Ravitz to warm up his vocal chords with scales. On any given day in Jana Szabo’s studio, her students sing and push their vocal ranges to the limit.

But for Szabo, “student” is a flexible term that includes both 6-year-olds and 80 year-olds.

“In any community I live in, I need to know that the people, especially the children, aren’t left behind in the arts,” Szabo said. “I was spoon-fed the arts when I was young. I feel obligated to make my community feel the same way, regardless of age.”

The Clinton-based vocal coach has been training singers young and old for 30 years. She brings a flavor of the theatrical West Side of Manhattan to South Whidbey, having grown up in the area listening to the likes of conductor Leonard Bernstein and other Broadway legends. Her background in the Big Apple and being surrounded by music teachers from Julliard sparked her interest in teaching the arts, and she’s never looked back.

These days, Szabo lives to ignite the same passion in her students. She also performs at local venues and works with South Whidbey theaters.

“My interest is in knocking on the door of my students’ own creative potential, and unlocking that doorway using music as the key,” Szabo said.

Szabo’s students range from kindergartners in need of a creative outlet, to retired vocalists, to those in prominent Whidbey groups like the Shifty Sailors and Joann Quintana Band. She says not all vocal coaches are open to working with students of such an age range, with some turning down students they see as too young to have perfect pitch, and others who focus on nurturing young vocalists.

There is no “cookie cutter” method of teaching for Szabo. There isn’t a magic formula or strict code to get her students to the level they want to reach. For example, she doesn’t confine herself to teaching jazz vocals, despite jazz being a large part of her musical heritage. Her training sessions can look much different from one another depending on who her student for the day is.

“One of the great things about Jana as a vocal coach is she’s flexible with her training methods,” Joann Quintana, lead singer of Joann Quintana Band said. “She’s actually come to my band’s practices a couple of times to make the lesson more relevant to my performances.”

Vocal sessions are particularly personalized when it comes to her youngest students. During her vocal sessions with Amelia Rochholz, 6, Szabo will instruct her pupil to sing in front of her reflection in either a mirror or video recording device such as an iPad. Szabo says it’s a way to get the little ones attentive and engaged, since they enjoy seeing themselves perform.

Things look a little different for Rochholz’ 8-year-old sister, Emmalynn Rochholz. The older sister was drawn to the Broadway style of theatrical singing, and is as much of a dancer as a singer. Given Szabo’s Broadway roots, she was able to incorporate dance and mold the sessions perfectly for Emmalynn. As it turns out, Emmalynn Rochholz is a better singer while dancing.

“Jana is extremely flexible with my girls and comes up with creative ways to teach them effectively,” the Rochholzes’ mother, Kristin Hummel, said. “She lets my oldest daughter choreograph her own dance routines to the songs that she creates. It’s been the perfect creative outlet for both of them.”

Szabo says the most important thing in training vocalists young and old is to focus on the individual. She believes some coaches, trainers and educators focus more on their own achievements, where the end goal is to train students their way and mold them into the artist they think their students should be. Szabo leaves that up to the student. For some students such as Shifty Sailors member Ted Ravetz, vocal sessions are for finding his own voice and growing more confident in his own abilities. For others, it’s about fine tuning their singing to fit dance or a backing band.

“I want my students to have control over what they do,” Szabo said. “I can’t teach each student the exact same thing. Otherwise, they’re not molded into the artists they think they can be and the teacher doesn’t learn from the student in return, and that’s important.”

Kyle Jensen / The Record — Szabo is a trained vocalist, director and pianist.

You Can Sing!

You Can Sing!  Use Your Voice as a Key in Discovering Your Creative Potential!  Yes, Holistic Singing!

Singing is not something you “just go and do”.  It’s something that you become a part of.  Does that mean, you become a part of the song?  Or does it mean you become more of a part of yourself to become more a part of the song?  It’s a good question.

Well, there is one answer here, “The Song sings You,  so You can Sing your Song”!  When you simply allow yourself to sing, you will experience this.  Drop all pretenses, forget what any angry teacher or person told you when they said: “You are tone deaf, will you please stop singing?”, or When you “try” to sing, “try” to “hit” a note and “hold” it, it just doesn’t work out as well as you hear it in your head ~ sing it anyway ~ but instead, imagine sending the sound or tone from your “heart”, then the tone can travel and touch “many hearts”.  This is true,  but please,  just read on.

Singing, I tend to believe, is a “Martial Art”. So with this ~ great confident SINGING can be figuratively about taking a LEAP OF FAITH and then preparing to DO A LOT OF WORK!   One thing though is true,  if you believe you can SING WELL, chances are if you give yourself THE chance you actually can!  The CREATIVE MIND is already at work,  it KNOWS more about your GIFTS than you KNOW about them.  You need  TOOLS then that good ol’ thing called TRUST IN applying them my friends, and so yes,  one can be led safely UP the ROAD in becoming a proficient or potentially even a great SINGER,  but this very thing will depend on one’s own LEVEL OF DEVOTION in EXPLORATION process.  Let me help you discover YOUR CREATIVE POTENTIAL using VOICE AS THE KEY!  I promise to not let you down, but you must first decide to partner up with me in the FOLLOWING OF YOUR HEART, and then TRUST that YOU CAN SING.   We would then make a GREAT TEAM!

“Trying” to sing, is sort of like “TRYING TO TIE YOUR SHOE”, you either do it or you don’t, right?   The beauty in singing is done with little or not much effort.  Imagine how a mother sounds singing to her newborn babe.  There’s a  LOT OF LOVE infused in those sounds,  and such little EFFORT.    Can you see the picture?    The path to JOY IN SINGING starts with little effort and a lot of Tender Loving Care.  Yes, Tender Loving Care, for yourself, and the process.   The good sound of music coming out of you, using your VOICE then is IMMINENT.      Singing or embarking on Vocal Training is like having decided to become an “ABSTRACT ARTIST” because in singing you cannot see inside this instrument, so you must train yourself to feel and hear inside this big FLUTE (YOU) if you will, which is quite a different application in the singing artform.   Other musical instruments, such as the piano,  you can see the piano keys, the strings of a sitar, a violin, the holes on the flute to hold down for various notes to be played.   Singing is such a different thing.  

Singing usually happens when one cannot express the same emotion in words as well.  If a person to person communication was more expressive it would, I believe be sing-songy!  If a  song has an element of exuberance, it might then be expressed with extra expressive force.  In singing, the “IMAGINATION IS EVERYTHING” so if you can feel, see the music, then usually you can hear the way it ought to sound.  And as the music sings around in your head, then you will find a pathway to sharing exactly what you hear inside.  One’s “inner ear” is the very delicate palate, and accurate for the singer to rely on,  and should be used and looked at as an ear beyond the ear ~ an INTERNAL EAR.  For example:  If one sings more softly one might hear oneself better.  You will find that this can be a perfect starting place.  Sing as if you were singing a lullaby to a child, or to a loved one in need of a loving touch at the heart level.  Music touches!  Friends, remember, we are made up of almost 70% water, so every tone you sing, has a response in the body, of your own and all of those who have come to listen to you perform, or at any place where you might just “break into song”!

Yes, the “IMAGINATION IS EVERYTHING” in singing.   One easy trick for you would be, eg: See the tone, hear it and then sing it (not before you have taken these three steps). You must realize at the moment when you are singing, that you are as if you were an “ARTIST”, “ALREADY THE SINGER”, this attitude will bring great CONFIDENCE, so that you may begin this creative process “HOLISTICALLY”.

In my workings and the long history of, teaching, composing and performing, SINGING RESONATES as a martial art.  For a good example:  If one should study QIGONG, TAI CHI, AIKIDO, ETC, similar concepts may be transferred to ART OF SINGING.  Then we are on a rich road of experiencing the JOY OF SINGING!

 There’s a great saying I have come up with:  If you love the tone, THE TONE WILL LOVE YOU back.  It’s a boomerang effect.  So LAST BUT NOT LEAST, my dear singing hearted friends ~ in singing the “IMAGINATION IS EVERYTHING”!. 


Yours truly in harmony,  Jana Szabo

My life as an Artist

My life as an Artist keeps expanding me, and bringing me to “New Horizons”. There is always a “New Horizon” for the “Artist” and there are so many reasons why this is evident for me.    The Painting, that I have painted for myself keeps painting itself into a larger more beautiful scape.  This is the “Way of the Artist”.

There are many reasons why I feel that this is evident for not only myself as the Artist but for all in lieu of being an Artist.   The paintbrush keeps painting the painting, the Singer keeps singing the song, the Sculpture keeps sculpting the sculpture.  And each time, this Artists’  world expands.

As a child, on the beach, I was always looking to a new horizon…  Living as an artist from childhood, my first and “Primal” form of expression, a child spun into her imagination mostly, often found gazing at the “Starry Night Sky” in amazement and questioning its magnitude.  The Artist ~ questions everything.  In writing, in dance, in acting,  in singing, in playing the piano…questioning,  as my imagination was always expanding. The unknown pathway most times has been my safest place, sailboat sailing the seas of creativity to always take me safely to a new Creatively Inspired destination.

Another fascinating element I have discovered is, that the more I teach the more I learn.   The more I witness the passion, will, and desire in my students, their fiery passion young and old to attain more skills in achieving their creative ideas,  confirmation of my personal experience is shared.   

The creative “essence” is always available to us, we must recognize the presence of this energy, this place to begin.  In lieu of Art and Artistry, the abstract is lying dormant or active in the imagination.  Slowing time down can be a way in discovering what parts (elements)  exist,  then perhaps we can see what is there to develop, work on with tools.  Skills are acquired with recognizing the need for the application of new tools so that the craft, art form may develop!   As an Artist on my journey, there has been absolutely no way around working without tools which = technique.  

 No matter what the art form of what one’s playfield is… the parts of the piece (the process) matter more than the end result.  If we live in the spaces of each particle while creating,   then we can be equipped and ready to mold, build and play in this “Artform”.    If one takes the time, then time can slow down so that these steps can be taken and fine results will be achieved.  Allow space for your Creative Mind to explore the possibilities of the Gifts you have that might lay dormant.  We are all Artists, one has to be to live life…..so consider Living out Your Creative Expression, and Living it will bring you to meeting the ARTIST IN YOU! 

In Harmony,

Jana Szabo Artisan in the World of Plenty

My Commitment to You!

I’ve lived in the art of music, dance and fine art for most of my life. Yet, music has been the one that has become dominant in my life and in my teaching work. A colorful quest.  My love for the arts has gotten me onto the high dive board, where I once just took the leap and since has been my first and foremost love in my life.  Music, the playing ~ the performing of, and the teaching of music.  This being a craft, which the Art of Music really is; once upon a time took me deep into the vast space of creativity and creating, using music as the vehicle, or “magic carpet”.  From teaching, songwriting, singing, performing, and recording ~ I am still swimming in this vast ocean of my One and Ultimate Love.  This Gift actualizes itself as my commitment to continuing in a “lifetime process” with and within the Artform itself! This is me.

My children students are your children, my adult students are also the children in adult form ~ I am blessed to share my gift to work with all children, all ages, and all sizes from the pre-schools to retirement age, designing programs for the development of gifts that are innately present in the “magical child” from the beginning of “life” until the very end of existence.    

I have been very fortunate to not only work privately with all ages, I have had an opportunity to work with your children in home school programs, alternative schools, Waldorf schools,  Musical direction, Vocal tech work in recording studios, working with actors, teaching voice, theory and piano…while developing my own programs for classrooms, some supported by grants, families, or the public school systems.  I am fortunate, that the root of my work is here in my home studio for my Private students. 

 What a great thing to be blessed with and all of these rewards!   It’s as if the Sun decided to drip it’s Shine into my World, reflecting my Musical Heart, and the absolute “resilience and importance” of this share!  In my work I have witnessed rising talent, I have witnessed locked up talent ~ freed, and I have a chance to be involved in the ever-growing continuing process with the artist as we work together, no matter the age.  

My ever long commitment to the creative development of the “magical children” young to old has been and is the Gift ~ a “Figure Eight Flow”.  My students are rewarded with renewal and more exposure to their gifts and I am as well continually to my own.  The development of and the sharing of these gifts bless me. I witness you shift,  change, and become more of who you want and Dream to Be, and already knew you Could Be.  I am your Facilitator for your gifts of music to RISE AND SHINE!  When you pick me to be your Musical Coach, You have decided to awaken or deepen your musical journey, pathway. 

Thinking like a child is truly when we grow. Just to imagine that when my Adult Children come to my studio, I am ready and prepared to meet them on many more levels ~ because the children bring and teach me so much.   We, all musical children come together here in my Studio for a period of time with a commitment to your musical journey of  Singing, Composing, Improvisation, and Piano ~  which all awaits for you to your own creative gifts which open and bloom. 

Thank you for trusting me with your Creative Process, I promise to take you by the hand (so to speak) from where you are to the next place on your Creative Path, and then again and again. I will be your catalyst in you discovering the Gifts that you wish to share with yourself and others.

The Gift is ours to share as we create, grow, learn and expand together.

In harmony as always,

Jana Szabo

The Joy that Singing Brings!

My “Joy of Singing” is apparent in my Daily Walk. Singing is and has been the “Door” to the “Healing Power” in my Life over the many years! “Singing is, I believe ~ the easiest way to Express ones Deepest Joy, + many other e-motions.” It has the power to “Transmute, and Transform” the Singer and the Audience as well!

I truly believe that “Singing” ~ the “Joy of Singing” is a Rich and Full experience ~ For the one “Singing”.
Singing a Song”. The Dancing of Tones, the Resonance of Tones in the Body Electric ~ your ability to sing in a structure, or simply improvising a story about your day ~ whatever ~ and however it may look it is all “A Weaving of Feelings in Words falling onto Sound Scapes”. “Tone Poems” if you will!

Let’s look at this together for a moment:
If you or a given person thought that you were supposed to “Sing the Song”, and there was a specific method to the “Madness or Mystery” of “Good Singing” that you felt not attainable, not reachable ~ then you must let go of that “restriction” ~ for it has nothing to do with You ~ please “Just Sing”! “Let Go ~ move your Body ~ find the Sounds that come ~ and Sing them. Begin with an Inhale and an Exhale, add Sound to the release and movement of your breath! “Hum your Song ~ then Sing Your Song ~ for it Is Your Song”. This is when you are sure you have Discovered “The Joy of Singing”!

The Good News is, “Singing” is not something we “Go and Do” it is a state of “Being” “Being in Song” “Becoming the Song”! Then, the “Song always Sings itself”…and it will surprise you and “Sing and Dance You all day long in and out of the Song, you are in the flow of Song”, much like the Sailboat set to Sail ~ Once it’s in the flow of Sailing ~ you are in the wind, one with the wind ~ You are “Sailing”!

Do remember the saying “When words Break into Song”? This Is very Key to look at. Words, they literally “Break” into Song! When one’s heart is so full of joy, sometimes sadness ~ and only “Singing that Song” whether it be in your car, in the shower ~ in a musical, vocal lesson, home performance, or at Carnegie Hall will make it all right, either for yourself only ~ or for you and the others you are Singing or Performing for!

“Words Break” into “Song” my friends…Words become Tones. For example; a 1 syllable word ~  the same word can become (break into) a 3 syllable word!  Have a closer listen ~ Consider the difference between Speaking and Singing, friends. Light up Your World with a “Gift of Song” and you will also experience and get to know “The Joy of Singing” and it’s Healing, Soothing, Regenerative, Caring, Loving power…For it is the “Love within Yourself” that will Allow you To Explore the “Joy of Singing”….

I am so glad to share this Joy with You. Jana