Use this book to put together your personalized vocal practice from Jeff Rolka’s YouTube channel. Read up on what the videos are meant to help you achieve and see Jeff’s recommendations for moving forward and constructing workflows. Included are several sequences for beginners, a massive workout for intermediate vocalists and plenty of ideas for the advanced vocalist to continue to expand their range, increase agility and get more from their voice.
Now in it’s third edition!
This edition adds over one hundred videos to the book. New to this edition is the inclusion of the questions, with links to the answers, of the Community Questions videos. Each of the questions beginning with Community Questions 10 has it’s own link taking you directly to the answer!
Like the first two editions, nearly all of the links in the guidebook take you directly to the singing and exercises on YouTube. You can always go back and listen to my intros if you like, but the guidebook gets right down to singing!
Daily Singing Warm Up March 2019 Trill Exercises With Chords Feb. 2019 Daily Warm Up Jan. 2019 Wide Interval Practice Nov. 2018 Daily Warm Up Nov. 2018 Scales and Chords Oct. 2018 Full Range Warm Up Sept. 2018 Extended Range Warm Up Aug. 2018 Daily Singing Warm Up July 2018 Warm Up With Chords June 2018 Daily Warm Up Agility/Wide Intervals April 2018 Riffs April 2018
Balanced Chord Based Warm Up Agility Warm Up Feb. 2018 Minor Key Warm Up – All Voices Extended Range – Pentatonic Scales Vowel Balance 2017 Daily Warm Up October 2017 Full (insert fach here!) Range Warm Up Full Range Warm Up for (insert fach here!) How to Sing Over the Break Full Range Warm Up (insert fach here) Improve Your Tone (insert fach here) Range Warm Up
This amounts to a study of approach the secondo passaggio from below, and a few exercises of ascending over the secondo passaggio using intervals. Great for the vocalist working on smoothing out the transition while still determining their fach.
The beginnings of phrases are critical points. Begin them unprepared, or poorly coordinated, and the rest of the phrase is easily compromised. This practice focuses on exercises that help us improve the coordination of the onset of the flow of air and vocal fold adduction (closure).
Singing Warm Up Full Range Agility Practice May 2020
There is more to this warm up than a title alone can say. It is an agility practice, done with a metronome so that we get as consistent an increase in tempo as possible while being extremely gradual in it. Additionally, each fach is different in the area of focus. Case in point, the alto mp3 spends a little extra time in the area of the middle voice registration event, where altos can have some difficulties. Sopranos have a section on the primo passaggio, mezzos and tenors focus primarily on the secondo passaggio, and baritones do a bit of a deep dive down low as well as spending time at the secondo passaggio.
Often we sing with chords, rather than melodies being played for us to sing to. This is a chord based warm up suitable for use by all voices. I’ve included the PDF lesson transcript in case you want to learn the chord changes!
Released between November 2019 and March 2020, these comprehensive studies of five fachs cover all cardinal vowels, transit the ‘break’, and focus on some of the unique challenges that each voice type faces. All MP3s include a PDF practice guide that has the scales and ranges played on the MP3.
There is no fooling around on these MP3s. Virtually no talking, and straight into the vocalizations. The goal was to get as efficient and comprehensive a warm up in around ten minutes as possible. As such, the general ranges for each fach (voice type) correspond to what I would expect them to experience in the average repertoire selections. There will absolutely be exceptions, but each fach covers some specific challenges that they face, cover all five cardinal vowels, and keep moving in order to get you singing! All MP3s ascend to and over the secondo passaggio (the break.)
Beginner Singing Lesson – Melody Line Singing – March 2019
This is a really fun and relaxing melody line practice that stays in a pretty comfortable range. Ideal for those having intonation difficulties in their songs or when you find you have trouble staying on your part. Kind of intermediate but really pretty basic stuff here.
Daily Singing Warm Up – Collected Ranges – March 2019
These are really comprehensive warm ups. I had a request to do the ranges in groups, as opposed to five separate videos. Each of these videos covers the vast majority of the tessitura associated with either lower voices types (male vocalists) and higher voice types (female vocalists). Range for the lower videos is d2 to d5; range for the higher video is e3 to d6.
This is a familiar pattern re-purposed for ear training as well as vocalizing. I have been thinking a lot about the second scale degree, and wanted to allow us to focus really closely on the tuning of it. I play the patttern slower than usual in this MP3, giving you a chance to really listen to the scale degrees. Mid range by design, if you wanted to work these exercises over the secondo passaggio, consider getting the next fach up – ie., tenor gets the alto range, etc. Sopranos, in that scenario you would sing the alto version up an octave.
Ideally suited for intermediate to advanced vocalists wanting to fine tune their ear training around the second scale degree while still doing a comfortable vocalization (all cardinal vowels are presented).
The first Daily Warm Up of the year! Lots of upper register work in this one as well as a focus on wider vowels (ah and oh). Slower tempos makes the focus here on legato and connection. Enjoyable and moderately paced.
Long tones or messa di voce exercises have for a long time been the standard in improving tone production for singers. In this MP3 for all vocal ranges I work through four patterns to help you cultivate a full resonant tone using all five cardinal vowels. This MP3 is good for all vocalists, though new singers may find that the phrase lengths are a bit long at the tempos in this MP3 and the necessity of some specialized vowel practice will be revealed while working through the patterns.
I’m trying something new here – including my PDF guide of the lesson along with every Mp3. Enjoy!
Comprehensive is the name of the game with this MP3. Divided into two halves, the first half of the practice stays below the secondo passaggio (the break). When that gets comfortable, go on to the second half of the MP3 to do the high range practice. Major sixths, sevenths, ninths, tenths, and perfect octaves are practiced.
For intermediate/advanced vocalists looking for a wide intervals that are not normally done in vocalizations.
I’m trying something new here – including my PDF guide of the lesson along with every Mp3. Enjoy!
This is a no nonsense straight-forward warm up. Does include some pentatonic scale practice and a nice messa di voce closer. I took some liberties with repetitions and extensions of exercises based on the needs of the fach I happened to be playing the warm up for. If you try them out, let me know if you like them!
For intermediate/advanced vocalists looking for a fast paced general daily use warm up.
When we sing songs, rarely is there another instrument or vocalist that is singing the melody along with us. This warm up goes back and forth between the scales being played and then not being played. When they are not played, we sing along with some chords that work with the scale melodies. This is a fun, fast paced practice that is great for our overall musicianship, ear training, and vowel alignment.
For intermediate/advanced vocalists looking to work on more independence and better intonation.
Full Range Warm Up – Sept. 2018 – Round Robin Vowel Alignment Practice
This practice focuses principally on the transition around the secondo passaggio (the break) and is works through the five cardinal vowels in a ’round robin’ cycle. This gives one the opportunity to ascertain whether there are any differences in your vowel alignment based upon the vowel that begins the phrase. If discrepancies are found, then you can focus on the vowel that began the phrase in these or other exercises to work to get in alignment with the rest of the vowels to improve response.
For intermediate/advanced vocalists mostly comfortable with the transition across the secondo passaggio.
This is quite the workout. Advanced in the range it covers, each exercise starts with the lip trill to orient you to the range and patterns. Uses a pentatonic scale pattern that is aggregate in how it works. Extends beyond head voice into falsetto / flageolet ranges.
For advanced vocalists comfortable with the transition across the secondo passaggio.
Daily Singing Warm Up – July 2018 – Sustained Notes
This practice incorporates sustained notes into several of the exercises. The initial exercise doesn’t have sustained notes, but is a longer phrase to get airflow going. I make it a point to go through the lip trill in each exercise to emphasize the notion that the freedom to sing the phrases fluidly is largely dependent on having sustained substantial sub-glottic air pressure (support.)
This is designed to not only help with vowel alignment but to help make the transition between singing along with a melody that is being played while you’re singing it to singing with only chords in the background. To work on this, most of the exercises are repeated; first done with the melody and second with only chords.
There are two mesa di voce inspired exercises designed to help ground you in your key area (the first one) and the second is designed to help you begin to get harmony singing in your ear by starting on the third of the key areas tonic triad.
The practice is rounded off with a pentatonic scale exercise that ascends over the secondo passaggio (the break) and a minor key scale done with both melody and chordal accompaniment.
Appropriate for intermediate to advanced vocalists or anyone who wishes to sing songs without a guide track or guide vocal.
Meticulous and evenly paced. This warm up goes through the five cardinal vowels in a sequence meant to help establish good overall tone and response as well as help align the wider vowels ‘ah’ and ‘oh.’
Appropriate for beginnerish vocalists and experienced wanting an evenly paced thorough warm up.
Yes, this lesson is paced and kept in a very narrow range in order to facilitate new vocalists practice. That being said, these exercises and the approach to vowel alignment presented here is a good practice for all of us. You begin with a brief vowel alignment primer using short syllables and then proceed into comparing and contrasting vowels in a melismatic setting. Finishes up with a chordal exercise that goes through all the vowels in a novel way while holding one pitch for the entire duration; kind of messa di voce inspired that last exercise!
Daily Warm Up – Agility and Intervals – April 2018
This daily warm up starts off with patterns that will be familiar to you if you’ve used any of my other videos. It quickly starts getting into some more advanced and challenging patterns especially considering range and vowel changes. I specifically wanted to get the intervals of a Major sixth and Major seventh into a warm up as I haven’t done them in awhile and they are too easily over-looked.
Full range, all five cardinal vowels are represented. Fast third pattern that ascends over the secondo passaggio and interval leaps over the secondo passaggio with both the Major sixth and Major seventh intervals.
A requested video to do some riffs. I decided to have a little fun and I transcribed one riff each from Beyoncé, Sam Smith, and Freddie Mercury! If you want quick access, here’s an unlisted playlist link:
Familiar patterns but without the benefit of me playing the melodies. This has the effect of having us focus a bit more on our aural skills (ears! Ear Training!) and helping us to really internalize these scales and patterns. Additionally, with practice, you can really begin to hear the melody notes in relation to the chords, which is exactly what you do when you sing along to a guitar or piano accompaniment.
Does not transit the secondo passaggio (the ‘break’) but does ascend up to it for each fach (vocal range.) Intermediate, but recommended for most vocalists.
Beginner Singing Lesson Vowel Alignment – February 2018
Whether you’re new to singing instruction or have been studying for awhile, I have to say, this is a really evenly paced fun practice. Meant to help new vocalists work towards consistent sound and response from their voices – it focuses on the five cardinal vowels and getting them all sounding consistently.
For the more experienced vocalists, the somewhat slower tempo and even pace ends up being incredibly relaxing and soothing. In the video I get all zen’d out it feel so relaxing. Recommended for all.
Fast paced and full range – this warm up focuses on fast moving patterns and note/vowel combinations. For the more advanced singer needing a comprehensive warm up. Ends with a minor key palate cleanser!
Beginner Singing Lesson/Fundamental Technique November 2017 – Suitable for beginning vocalists, vocalists new to vocal training, vocalists getting back into singing after having some time off or those wanting a very relaxed easy paced warm up.
The exercises here are slower in pace and stick to narrower vowels to begin with. The focus is on increasing our aural acuity (ear training) so that we more easily sing in tune and focus our vowels. Includes some of my favorite coordination and endurance exercises suitable for newer vocalists or those wanting something more relaxed.
Extended Range Warm Up November 2017 – This warm up incorporates some airflow and coordination practice into scale patterns that are meant to help integrate the registers of your voice. Pentatonic scales are used with both the lip trill as well as a variety of vowel sounds as well as a long scale pattern that ascends to the fifth, back to the tonic and then up to the ninth and back.
This warm up also includes one of my favorite engagment and vocal fold coordination exercises; a series of short notes followed by short breaths into a five note scale. Does wonders for aligning your voice and vowels. In this warm up it is used to help align your voice up to the secondo passaggio (the break) in order to have good hand-off between thyroarytenoid dominant singing (chest voice) and cricothyroid dominant singing (head voice.)
Vowel Balance Warm Up 2017 – I’ve been on a vowel alignment or ‘balancing’ kick this October. Alignment of vowels is crucial to good registration technique, and one of my favorite, if challenging, ways to work on this is to do what I call ’round-robin.’ In this set of exercises I take you through the five main vowels used for vocal practice. What is different about this is that we’ll start each exercise set by shifting the order over by one vowel. This has the benefit (and challenge!) of putting each of the five vowels at the tonal onset; each in it’s own turn. This allows you to listen carefully to how balanced the tonal onset for any given vowel is, and broaden your awareness of potential inconsistencies. This work out goes over the secondo passaggio (the break) and also incorporates both played scales and chordal accompaniment, so sometimes you’ll sing the exercise over chords instead of me playing every note for you. Great for ear training!
Daily Warm Up – Full Range. This warm up is meant to balance vowel production in the zona di passaggio right up to the secondo passaggio (the ‘break’) in each of the vocal ranges. Begins with a coordination exercise but quickly moves on to flowing lines to work on agility and connectivity within a phrase. Includes several exercises to be done without the melody being played while singing it in order to work on ear training. High range exercise is meant to serve as a means by which to not only work on endurance at and above the secondo passaggio but also evaluate the smoothness of your transitions between vowels. Released October 2017
Full Range Warm Up Released November 2016. Begins with some tonal onset and balancing exercises but quickly moves on to agility and range expansion practice. Includes an old favorite scale pattern that I haven’t used previously in videos.
How to Sing Over the Break – This is the step by step process I take singers through in order to understand how the voice works over the break and ultimately to smooth out the transition from chest voice to head voice.
Some of the best exercises I have found to increase coordination between the vocal folds and onset of airflow resulting in much greater consistency of tone, responsiveness of voice and ultimately range.