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Felicia Ricci

What Puppies Taught Me About Singing

You read that right — puppies! Allow me to explain…

One of my students, Claire S., is an assistance dog trainer. She’s enrolled in Singing Transformation and noticed that a lot of my teaching revolved around the following principle:

Singer’s should QUIT….while they’re ahead.

It might sound weird. But it’s a tried-and-true method — not just for learning how to sing. As Claire told me, it’s also great for training service dogs!

Before we talk more about puppies, let’s first discuss:

What does it mean to “quit while you’re ahead” when you practice singing?

In my opinion, the best warmups sessions should end on a “high note” (no pun intended). If you use my 3-step practice system, your typical warmup session might look like this:

  • PART 1: Breath Activation and Stretching (relieve tension, make sure your singer “engine” is working for you)
  • PART 2: “Open Up Shop” (get the juices flowing)
  • PART 3: Skills Work (a couple of challenging exercises, to develop whatever skill you’re working in)

**The quitting happens in Part 3.**

At this step, you might sing through a challenging exercise one time and feel like, “Okay, that was decent. But I can do better.” So you sing through it again.

This second time? Damn — it felt really good! It wasn’t perfect, but you can hear progress. You feel relaxed, and for the most part, very jazzed about how it sounded.

My advice to you is: STOP. THERE. Log your progress, write down what worked, but then close up shop for the day.

Why?

While working on a singing skill, it’s easy to push yourself to the point where you’re straining, pushing, or feeling frustrated.

When you quit while you’re ahead, you avoid that negative spiral, AND you end your session on a positive note — thereby reinforcing to your subconscious mind that you CAN do it.

But don’t just take it from me. Take it from Claire and her experience training little cutie dogs: 

Claire wrote:

“Fel, [quitting while you’re ahead] is the same principle I use when training assistance dogs.

“When we were training a new skill, if we stopped at the point when the puppy had just reached a new skill level, and celebrated it together, they would be able to do it really well the next session, and also be super keen and confident.

“On the other hand, if I pushed them to keep going after the new milestone had been achieved they would begin to go backwards and everything would unravel…next session they would be less confident and clear about what to do.”

“Shorter sessions clearly proved to be the best training method, as the puppies improved much more rapidly and with less stress. Their cute little minds had time to process things in between sessions.”

Didja hear that?

Our cute (singer) minds deserve a break in between training sessions, just like those adorable puppies.

Listen to the puppy… “Don’t over-practice!”

What do you think of this technique? Are you willing to give it a try?

Leave me a comment here on my blog, I’ll read every single one!

xo Fel

It’s here!

In case you didn’t hear, my elite training course Singing Transformation: 360 Degrees of Vocal Training is now open for enrollment!

This only happens about once or twice per year.

This course is my absolute favorite thing I do as a voice teacher.

Get the goods here! >

Are you frustrated with your voice? Read this.

You know what bugs me most? When singers don’t realize their full potential — not because they’re incapable, but because they don’t have the right tools.

In our online singing community there are over 90,000 singers who tweet me, email me, leave awesome comments — you name it! And I can sense the love-hate relationships they have with their voices.

They have spent years (decades, even!) spinning their wheels and not making lasting progress.

Maybe you can relate. You’re a singer with boatloads of potential, trying to piece together the “clues” of how singing should feel. But you feel way more frustrated than triumphant.

You see progress, then setbacks. You learn tips and tricks (possibly from me, on YouTube 🙂 ), but nothing truly STICKS.

You don’t know how to put it together in the right order.

Your voice comes and goes, never seeming predictable.

You start to worry: “Am I just not cut out for this?”

“Do I have to be blessed with that elusive ‘it’ factor that makes singing easy and effortless?”

The confusion ends now.

You CAN absolutely sing, consistently and well. There is a voice waiting to be unlocked. If you haven’t yet, you haven’t been given the right tools.

Singing ISN’T pure natural ability. Singing CAN be developed, and built, in the same way you can build up your muscles in order to lift heavy objects.

Singing is a PROCESS.

A slow burn.

Singing is 50-year marriage, not a weekend love affair.

Singing is about your MIND, BODY, and EMOTIONS, not just physical mechanics.

If you’re reading this email, we’ve already met somewhere on the internet (hi!). You’ve hopefully enjoyed my singing tips videos, where I give you short bite-sized bits of information. Or maybe you’ve enrolled in a few of my specialized singing courses, on belting or warming up.

But I want to go deeper with you.

I want to pull everything together in a manner that makes sense.

I want to show you how my “singing tips” are the tip of the iceberg. 🙂

I want to show you how learning singing fundamentals, empowering yourself to know your instrument, and linking your mind, body, and emotions will make your voice soar.

My mission is to help you build a lifelong singer strategy that puts you in the driver’s seat, and lets you get to know your voice better than anybody else.

If you can relate to any of this, you are my favorite kind of singer!

You are driven, you are committed, and you are not letting setbacks throw you off course.

Let me help you keep going –

I’d like to extend to you an exclusive invitation to my free singing webinar.

Next Sunday, January 15 @ 3PM EST I’m releasing Part 1 of my epic training series, called:

UNLOCK YOUR TRUE SINGER POTENTIAL: Yes, My Dude, You Can Become a Good Singer

**As the video plays, I’ll be there live chatting with you in the comments section of the webinar!**

Be sure to RSVP for the webinar, as space is limited >

This is a 3-part video series that totals over 90 minutes of free singing training! Part 1 comes next Sunday, then parts 2 and 3 throughout the week. 

It’s unlike anything you’ve seen from me before (or probably elsewhere), as we will be learning and singing along together, using powerful visual cueing and creativity to access your body and voice. We will get into the nitty gritty of how to build a lifelong singer strategy that WORKS. And I will show you how to build CONFIDENCE & CONSISTENCY every time you go to sing or perform. 

RSVP for my epic singing webinar, where you can live chat with me! >

This webinar is a free introduction to my elite training course Singing Transformation: 360 Degrees of Vocal Training, which re-opens for enrollment at the end of this month (after 8 months of being closed, eek!). The entire experience — from webinar to registration — is heart-poundingly exciting for me because SO many singers get SUCH incredible results.

I hope to see you there and hope you’ll chat with me!

Lots of love,

Fel

P.S. I want to thank all of you who participated in my singer survey and Skype lottery! Update- I’m still going through all 2,359 response (lol) but will announce the Skype winners ASAP!

In the meantime, be sure to RSVP to the webinar so you can secure a spot — there’s tons of interest this year and I like to cap attendance so that I’m not overwhelmed with the live chatting. 🙂

In my webinar, I will teach you:

  • Why it’s fruitless to worry about your “maximum potential” – and why you (and you alone) determine your own vocal potential
  • Why practicing on your own doesn’t need to be a marathon (and is actually really simple)
  • The REAL reason voice lessons and teachers haven’t worked for you in the past
  • The magical power of visual cueing and linking your mind, body, and emotions
  • Why the best singers are their own voice teachers — and their own cheerleaders
  • How to feel free in performance while still maintaining great technique
  • How to set mental, emotional, and physical conditions so your voice doesn’t “come and go”

Claim your spot at my free webinar >

Let’s do this! xo

How to Sing “Silent Night” – Pop Singing vs. Musical Theater

Time for a ridiculous, holiday-themed video that explores the differences between pop singing and musical theater singing!

More specifically, I will sing “Silent Night” two different ways, all while wearing an ugly Christmas sweater.

The gist of the two approaches is:

  1. Musical theater singing features pure, open, sustained vowels and is more faithful to rhythm.
  2. Pop singing lets you have more freedom with pronunciation. Play around with diphthongs, rhythms, breathiness, and vocal fry, as these simple adjustments can instantly change the genre of the singing. If you struggle with how to sing pop, hopefully these simple approaches can help you start to reshape your sound.

This isn’t a detailed musical theater or pop singing tutorial per se, but it’s a fun ‘n’ silly video that contrasts some key approaches that can help make your singing sound more pop-py.

(Because I personally am a beginner pop singer, I would consider this pop singing for beginners. 🙂 )

xo Fel

P.S. Don’t forget to get on the waitlist for my 8-week online singing course Singing Transformation, re-opening January 2017! The experience begins with a free 90+ minute singing webinar that is pretty awesome. Hope to see you there!

P.P.S. And if you’re struggling with last-minute holiday gift ideas, you can give your singer friends one of my other online singing courses!! Here’s how.

My Skype Lottery is Back!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Nope, I don’t mean the holidays….

I mean: it’s time for my Singing Survey and Skype Lottery! Woooooo!

Can you lend 3 minutes to answer my quick survey?

Every year I revise my elite 8-week training program Singing Transformation directly from your singer feedback. Singing Transformation is my “teaching opus” — my mondo fun and cool singing course designed to teach CONFIDENCE and CONSISTENCY in a truly epic and comprehensive way.

The best part: I add to it every year, and use your comments to help shape (1) the way I teach, (2) what I teach. Plus, I’ll use your feedback for all of my future courses / videos / teaching topics.

The more I can get to know you, the better I’ll be able to help you. 🙂

Extra cool part? If you complete the survey you’ll be in the running to get a free Skype session / convo with me — I’ll be picking 3 singers to chat with from all those who enter.*

Fill Out the Singer Survey and Enter My Skype Lottery >

*You can also complete the survey & simply opt-out of the Skype lottery, either way is cool 🙂

Thank you SO MUCH for being such an awesome, helpful, valuable member of my online community. Without you none of this would be possible!

Love and surveys,

Fel

P.S. Even (especially!) if you’re already enrolled in Singing Transformation, I’d love to hear your feedback. The survey takes about 3 minutes and asks you about your top singing questions, as well as the kinds of topics you’re interested in.

Take the survey and help a Fel out >

Your answers will help me make Singing Transformation even better this year — and hopefully we’ll get a chance to Skype chat (fingers crossed).

xo

How to Purchase a Fel Singing Course as a Gift

Hey, great idea! Here are the instructions.

  • Select, checkout, and purchase.
  • After purchasing, please email Support@FeliciaRicci.com with
    1. Subject line: “Gift Purchase”
    2. The name of the product you purchased.
    3. The email you used to purchase.
    4. The name and email of the intended GIFT RECIPIENT.
  • Within 1-2 business days, a support staff member on Team Fel will reply with your gift recipient’s login information (he or she will use your recipient’s provided email).

 

 

 

 

Are You Scared Of Being Accomplished?

I sat down to write a singing-related newsletter but all the topics kept falling flat (no offense, singing, I still love you, but that’s the truth).

At this moment, on the verge of 2017, my mind and heart are seated on the metaphysical equivalent of a Six Flags rollercoaster.

There’s a fine line for me to walk with respect to divulging personal thoughts. I don’t want to veer too far off topic — you most likely found me online and enjoyed my singing lessons and info, and Dr. Phil moments might not be your thing —

But what the hell. Maybe we can relate to each other and stuff. 🙂

Here goes.

Accomplishment scares the sh*t out of me.

On the Grand Staircase of Life (I don’t even know what that means? But let’s embrace this architectural metaphor for a second) I do this thing where I painstakingly climb to a new, higher step, look around, smile, feel the accomplishment, take a breath….

…then feel the blistering altitude, the ensuing vertigo, clutch my pearls*, start screaming “It’s too high! It’s just…too…high!” and summon all my willpower / recite every motivational mantra / close my eyes and sway softly in order not to tumble straight back down.

(*I don’t actually wear pearls.)

Bottom line: fear makes every accomplishment feel risky.

I’m pointing this out because this is way more subtle than I, and maybe you, ever thought. I always thought fear was OBVIOUS, like a villain in a movie. Sneering and greasy and wearing dark clothing and speaking in vague accents.

But in real life, fear works undercover. Fear stages subconscious sabotage. Fear dresses up as “common sense.”

Fear isn’t a monster. Fear is familiar. Fear tells us:

“If I [ACCOMPLISH X] then there are downsides. Better stay safe.”

“And if I DON’T [ACCOMPLISH X] then there are actually many benefits! Life can stay warm, fuzzy, comforting, and status quo.”

Here are some examples taken from “Fel’s Fear Brain,” a mysterious and baffling entity:

  • “If I become more confident, then there are actually downsides. I could turn off my friends, my customers, my family, and be a lonely, confident weirdo.”
  • “If I DON’T become more confident, at least I know I’m taken care of, and life will stay normal and steady and familiar.”
  • “If I perform more, then there are actually downsides. I’ll seem like a stuck-up, attention-seeking nut. Worse, I could make a fool of myself, and invite ridicule, and make people think I *think* I’m so amazing, when in reality, I’m not!”
  • “If I DON’T perform more, at least I can stick to what’s working, and not suffer any embarrassment or revelations that I actually suck.”
  • “If I grow my business, then there are actually downsides. I’ll lose touch with the people I love (you, my students), I won’t have any time, I will stop being genuine, I will become a greedy freak, I will grow a goatee and laugh maniacally.”
  • “If I DON’T grow my business, I won’t have to worry about more responsibility, or any competition, or any other conflicts. I’ll stay small but familiar, and unthreatening.”

….I think you get the idea?

But even though I’m shaken and wary, I feel hopeful. Why? Because I’m NOTICING this dynamic.

Noticing fear’s subtle UPSIDE/DOWNSIDE tactic is the first step to moving beyond it.

So I’m asking you to ask yourself, on the verge of 2017, to do the same.

Time to engage in a long, hard, intimate, maybe even sexy stare at your fears.

Ask yourself:

  • What am I holding myself back from doing?
  • Is it…singing more?
  • Making time for myself?
  • Taking care of my body and exercising?
  • Performing in front of others?
  • Auditioning for that local musical?
  • Speaking in front of coworkers?
  • Giving a lecture at a nearby school?
  • Asking for a raise?
  • Changing careers because WHAT THE HELL?
  • Starting my own online business?
  • Writing that love letter?

Fear will act accordingly. It will show you all the DOWNSIDES of acting up. It will also show you all the BENEFITS of staying exactly as you are.

But we know better now, don’t we?

When you’re on the “Grand Staircase Of Life” (lol this metaphor), and you summon the courage to take one step higher, before you leap back down, take a pause and remember:

  • You are not alone. We are all secretly worried, wondering, seeking, embarrassed, and winging it. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
  • Acting with faith and courage is (1) easy to write in a social media quote, (2) really f*cking hard to do in real life. (“Leap and the net will appear” — YEAH OKAY HOW ABOUT NO?) 🙂 But it will get easier.
  • Have patience through the fear. If you can feel fear or discomfort and not run from it, often you can literally change the feeling. A daily meditation practice (or daily singing practice! for many, singing = meditation) can help you hone in on these fearful feelings, and ultimately release them.
  • You are contributing to a higher good. When we elevate our state, and move toward joy, we elevate the mood of the planet. (Example: “Auditioning for that local musical means I will move closer to my dream of performing, which means I will live with more joy, which means I will encourage others to do the same.)

Here’s the moment where we all take a long, cleansing sigh.

This felt good to write. I hope it also felt good to read.

I want you to know that I’m here for you, and that each and every one of us has a vital mission to move toward joy and the highest version of ourselves. That doesn’t necessarily mean the big bucks, or the best grades, or the best house, or the best resume —

It means having the strength to perceive fear, and take each new step anyway. It means having the courage and faith that we’ve all got each others’ backs.

I’m here for you. Thanks for being there for me.

Love,

Fel

P.S. Leave me a comment about anything at all. I’ll read every single one.

Sneak Peek at The Lazy Singer’s Warmups!

Do you struggle with knowing how to warm up your voice, especially on days when you’re time crunched?

I’ve been there.

Even if you only have 10 minutes, it’s better to warm up efficiently than to skip a practice session altogether.

But WHAT exactly do you do? And is it really possible to get good vocal work done in a short amount of time??

Yes.

And I’ve got your back 🙂

Enter: The Lazy Singer’s Warmups! — my brand new warmup set. It’s designed to build consistency, vocal freedom, and relaxed, open singing in just 10-33 minutes per day.

You get the MAXIMUM amount of results in the absolute MINIMUM amount of time.

If you only have 10 minutes, I’ve got you covered. A little more time? You can keep going with 3 more. And so on. And on days when you have 33 minutes? Do the entire set!

Any way you slice it, you build vocal consistency without wasting time.

As a bonus for my awesome email subscribers and blog followers, I’m posting Lazy Warmup #2 below — it’s called “The Lip Trill Extravaganza!”

For a sneak peek at what these warmups are like: (1) Watch the Cue video, where I explain how it works and what to do, (2) Watch the Demo video of me singing through the entire warmup, (3) download the audio file (.mp3) for you take with you and practice, (4) sing along and feel how this simple warmup gets your voice all gooey and open!

The full set of Lazy Singer’s Warmups includes 12 warmups, each with a detailed cue video and full demo video, as well as audio downloads for all warmups. You also get a free bonus .PDF of singing-related FAQs that will become available in the next couple weeks.

Please watch the cue video, and then give The Lip Trill Extravaganza a try (you can sing along with me)!

 

Right-click HERE to download the “Lip Trill Extravaganza” audio file >

 

Do you like what you’re seeing / hearing / feeling? I hope you’ll join me in the full Lazy Singer’s Warmups course!

*UPDATE on 11/25/16 — All warmups now available! 🙂 Get them here!*

Lazily yours,

xo Fel

How to Sing Any Song with Modified Lyrics

This video is about my favorite singing “hack” – modified lyrics! This easy singing tip will give you the most bang for your buck, even (especially) if you’re a beginner.

If you’ve watched my “How to Sing Chandelier by Sia” video, or any others in my pop song series, you know that I like to take regular English words and translate lyrics into singer-friendly vowels. Why? It can do WONDERS for your singing.

When you rewrite singing lyrics with more “open” vowels, which are easier and more resonant to sing, they become a million times easier for singers to tackle.

What’s more, it makes your singing tone less closed or pinched, and more open, rich, and resonant.

I get tons of requests to translate specific songs, which I will keep doing in future, but I also wanted to give you my guidelines so that you can do it for any song that you like to sing!

Be sure to download my .PDF summary so you can check out the best singer vowel translations and start singing in with a more open, resonant, and beautiful tone.

Please leave me a comment to let me know if this video helped you translate and sing your favorite songs!

xo Fel

 

Sing Without Tension – 3 Easy Warmups

Vocal tension is the #1 culprit of strained singing, vocal fatigue, burnout, and vocal problems! These 3 warmups will help prime you for relaxed, open, free singing.

Remember: if you’re someone who experience lots bodily tension (like yours truly!), singing without tension is possible — you just have to incorporate relaxation techniques into your vocal routine.

The 3 vocal warmups in the video below are:

(1) The Teapot Hiss – eliminates lower body, ribcage, and lower back tension that can creep “up the chain” and affect your voice.

(2) The Scary Lion’s Yawn – busts jaw, tongue, neck, and throat tension, all in one!

(3) “Oh, Wow!” – a simple warmup to reinforce a relaxed jaw and open throat.

Try these simple vocal warmups and let me know if they help you relax and free up your voice! I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Also — stay tuned for my vocal warmup series called “The Lazy Singer’s Warmups,” coming soon! Sign up for email updates to the right and you’ll be the first to hear about them, along with fun bonus goodies, once they’re released.