Cindy Shadrick Voice Studio

Voice Instructor, Vocal Coach, Music Director

The Secrets to Successful Leaps

One of the biggest struggles singers have when attempting to sing a beautiful phrase is how to approach a leap. I define a leap as a skip larger than a fourth (example: C to F). The key here is breath support. You can tell when the breath support isn't stable if you're singing a leap and you need to add an "h" sound to your vowel. Also, the tone becomes breathy. The air needs to spin faster as you ascend in pitch and you know that you need to support the tone with great breath support. But are there any tricks? Yes!

First off, you need to recognize the highest pitch in the phrase. Rarely will the highest note of the phrase be the very first pitch, so you need to prepare your inhalation for the highest note. This means you must create the space in the back of the mouth, and also between your jaws, that is required for the highest pitch. Then, inhale and prepare the body as if you're singing the highest note first. It's ok to have a little more space and breath support than you need for the lower notes, but never is it ok to have not enough space and support for the top notes.

Secondly, you'll want to put the consonant that begins the word of the highest note onto the end of the word from the preceding lower note. Rather than having to stop the air flow to put on the consonant, this will allow you to ascend entirely on the vowel. Remember, a crisp explosive consonant will act as a springboard to propel the sound up and out.

The last great trick is to begin singing louder on the bottom note and continue the crescendo through the top pitch. Think of riding a bike uphill. It's much easier if you start pedaling faster on a flat surface before you reach the hill rather than attempting to begin with a dead stop at the bottom of the hill.

Obviously your body alignment and breath support is key, but hopefully with these tricks, you'll find a much more successful way to sing your leaps.