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Voice and Guitar (Guitar Lesson)

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Mark Lincoln

Voice and Guitar

In this lesson, Mark delves into the concept of combining both your voice and guitar into one neat little package you can deliver to your listener.

Taught by Mark Lincoln in Guitar Performance seriesLength: 21:47Difficulty: 2.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (02:13) Voice and Guitar

1. Warm up the body
2. Single note hum
3. Three note hum
4. Hum "me-me-me-me" to "mah-mah-mah mah" to "me-ma-me-ma-me."

Wake up the breath with "sah-sah-sah" etc. long and sustained then five times stacatto.

5. "Sah" in five note descending scales, then five note ascending scales
6. Work these scales faster and faster, then louder and louder
Chapter 2: (03:26) Performance Practice singing along with rhythms that we’ve been working on in the last few lessons. Practice singing single note hums first. Then, sing/make up a melody line that you think might work with the chords you are playing.

*Note: Make sure that your voice feels smooth and "slippery" before moving on to the next section of the warm-up. "Slippery" meaning relaxed, not cracking, moving easily through the notes.

In last week's lesson, we talked extensively about all (or most) of the factors that contribute to being a good singer/performer. Poise, confidence, spontaneity and years of diligent practice, amongst other aspects, are all important. Let’s take a closer look at some of those other factors that may need closer inspection.
Chapter 3: (02:26) Emulation Emulation

The act of copying another performer's style, inflection (the voice's pitch or loudness), and timbre (quality of tone of someone's voice) is an excellent way to learn and acquire performance skills. Most singers, guitar players, as well as other types of performers usually have an idol that they've listened to, watched and copied for years. Who are your idols?

Exercise 1

Pick a song that you like and listen to it with no one else around. Make sure there are no other distractions that might interfere with the exercise. Pay close attention to how the singer uses his or her voice, how and when they sing in falsetto or if they do at all, what the timbre of their voice is like, what kind of style do they employ, etc. Literally tear apart every aspect of his/her performance. Pay attention to each and every detail of the song. Make sure that you have gone through the warm-up process (always available at the beginning of each lesson!) before singing to avoid any undue damage to your vocal chords. Then, once you are warmed up, try and sing the song like they do. I know this will not be the first time some of you (or maybe all of you) have done this, but I want you to get in the practice of active listening and emulation. Working through this process on a regular basis can help you build upon your skills.
Chapter 4: (03:02) Enunciation Enunciation

Simply stated, enunciation is the act of speaking clearly and articulately. The definition remains the same when applied to singing. Articulating the words of a song can make your performance sound more concise and subsequently, more powerful.

Exercise 2

This might be a great exercise to do when you're by yourself, since from an outsider's perspective, you may seem odd doing it! Stand in front of a mirror and sing the same song that you emulated in the first exercise. Now pay careful attention to how your lips form the sounds when you're singing. Over-form the vowels and consonants to get a super-clear perspective of how your mouth should feel when singing these words. Really form your words clearly as if your eighth grade grammar teacher were standing over your shoulder. Sing the entire song in this manner and don’t forget to laugh a little.
Chapter 5: (02:40) Decision Time Decisions, decisions, decisions!

As always, there are a multitude of decisions to make when singing, playing an instrument, or any other creative endeavor. Some of these include "should I sing clearly or mumble the words of the song." (Shania or Bob Dylan). Or "should I sing this next part in falsetto or my natural range?" Also, there are decisions within decisions - micro-decisions. One example of this is "should I sing an ascending scale over this next stanza that I just decided I would sing in falsetto?" These decisions contribute to what could be called your style and inevitably, all of the decisions will be up to you in the end. You will determine whose work you will emulate, whether you enunciate clearly or make your lyrics indiscernible and whether you decide to sing in falsetto or not.
Chapter 6: (03:55) Vocal Shaping Shaping

As we discussed briefly in the last lesson, shaping simply describes the manner in which you "shape" your mouth. Change the shape of your mouth, and you’ll change the sound coming out of your mouth. Different mouth shapes make different sounds and these different sounds can be used to your benefit when you perform.
Chapter 7: (04:05) Implementation Exercise 3

Once again when you find yourself alone and without any distractions (this may be tougher for those of you with children!), go to the mirror again. You can sing the same song that you've been working on or pick another for this exercise. Make sure your vocal chords are good and warm and then sing your song. But while you are singing, pay close attention to the shape of your mouth! Is it perfectly round, is it just barely open, is it oblong, or is it? What shape is it? Pay attention to how the note sounds that's coming out and then change the shape of your mouth. How did the sound change? Is the quality better or worse? Can you tell? How does the shape change as the song progresses and intensifies? Keep mental or journal notes as to your discoveries in this experiment.

Let's see if we can apply the techniques that we've discussed today to the context of a song. In this next part of the lesson, we're going to use the following chords: Am, Am7, D9/F#, F, G/B, D, and E






F major




D major


E major


We'll be playing these chords using the "down down down down" strum. You can also try this progression with the palm muting technique. Another option is to mute the third strum. Watch me in the video for hands-on instruction as to how to make these particular chord changes with the variations as well.

Exercise 4

Play through the chords while emulating the style that I've shown you today. Try to sing the song in the same manner that I do. Make sure your voice is good and warm before you do!

Exercise 5

Play the song again. Only this time, make sure you are enunciating every syllable clearly. Do this exercise in front of the mirror again if you think this will help you form every word clearly.

Exercise 6

You know what to do! Change the shape of your mouth as you sing and take note of the relative changes in sound as you do so.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

viajer1028viajer1028 replied on March 2nd, 2010

I meet you today in the cam, I came and check your lessons and I love the way you teach. You show commitment to your virtual students. Looking forward to see more of you lessons. Thank you!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on March 2nd, 2010

Hi Viajer great to meet you in the chat and also to have you as a new member! Talk to you soon, Mark

obldaveobldave replied on September 12th, 2009


Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 14th, 2009

Thanks Dave and good to hear from you as well! Mark

J.artmanJ.artman replied on September 13th, 2009

Great lesson Mark!

Mark.LincolnMark.Lincoln replied on September 14th, 2009

Thank you Mr. Snow and nice to hear from you! Mark

Guitar Performance

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Performing live or in a studio situation is a goal of many aspiring guitarists. Vocal training and the ability to sing and play at the same time are skills that will help in this endeavor.

Lesson 1

Introduction to Singing

Mark introduces you to the wonderful world of singing.

Length: 15:12 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Vocal Exercises

Mark Lincoln guides you through stretches and vocal exercises to warm up the voice.

Length: 23:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Vocal Vibrato

Mark continues to discuss vocal warm-ups and exercises. Then, he moves on to explain vibrato.

Length: 23:42 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 4

Warming the Breath

Mark covers some singing terms and teaches an exercise that is used to "warm the breath."

Length: 19:10 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 5

Singing and Guitar

Mark Lincoln talks more about vocal exercise and warm-up. Then, he moves on to discuss singing and playing at the same time.

Length: 26:12 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 6

Singing Exercises

Mark Lincoln provides more singing exercises to practice while playing your guitar.

Length: 26:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Singing and Playing Revisited

Mark returns to singing and playing. Mark teaches proper form while singing and playing, cognitive exercises, and chord progression basics.

Length: 17:54 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 8

Anatomy and Dynamics

Mark Lincoln discusses song dynamics and the anatomy of songs. He also explains more about singing and playing.

Length: 23:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

Rhythm in Music

Mark Lincoln explains how rhythm is used in music.

Length: 15:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Technique Applied

Mark Lincoln applies singing and playing techniques to the Doors song "Riders on the Storm."

Length: 17:19 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Palm Muting and Separation

In lesson 11 of his performance series, Mark discusses the palm muting technique and how to separate your singing from your playing.

Length: 23:30 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 12

Picking Vs. Strumming

Mark discusses how alternating between arpeggios and strummed chords can add contrast and flair to your music.

Length: 15:02 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

Silence Is Golden

Mark discusses silence in music and how it can transform a piece. Additionally, he explains how to use silence effectively in your playing.

Length: 16:40 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

Warm-up and Practice

In this lesson, Mark Lincoln talks more about warming up your voice and walks you through a few exercises that will aid this process.

Length: 16:14 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Preparations for Playing Live

Mark provides a lecture on items you should do and think about to become a proficient live player.

Length: 20:57 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Voice and Guitar

In this lesson, Mark delves into the concept of combining both your voice and guitar into one neat little package you can deliver to your listener.

Length: 21:47 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

A Day in the Life

Mark Brings us Lesson 17 today to explain the preparation that goes into a performance. Mark tracks back up to 36 hours in advance, and shows us some routines to prepare for a great show.

Length: 19:09 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

The Dynamics of a Song

In this lesson, Mark teaches all of the diverse parts to a song with regards to dynamics.

Length: 20:17 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 19

Proper Breathing Routines

In this episode, Mark talks about proper breathing techniques and routines. He gives us eight points to work off of when singing and playing together.

Length: 23:34 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Play Along with Mark Lincoln

Mark Lincoln brings us a great play along opportunity. Mark provides lyrics as well as the chord progression for this play along. He also breaks down key elements such as palm muting, hammer-ons, bending,...

Length: 24:06 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 21

Palm Muting Technique

Lesson 21 is a repeat of lesson 20's content only with a whole new set of chords and techniques. The"chords de jour" will be a little simpler than lesson 20's and will also include a much more in depth...

Length: 20:05 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only

About Mark Lincoln View Full Biography Mark Lincoln was born in S. California but was raised near Portland Oregon in a town called Beaverton. When he was twelve years old, he began his journey into the realm of the creative by composing poetry and was later published in a journal called "In Dappled Sunlight." He wrote for four years until his older sister blessed him with his first guitar, an old beat-up nylon stringed classical guitar. Mark played that guitar for five years, continuing to compose his own lyrics and starting the process of matching his own words with chords that he was learning on the guitar. He learned to play chords from his friends and from music books that he both bought and borrowed. Mark cited his four biggest influences, at that point at least, as The Who, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, The Rolling Stones.

Mark cites his most current influences as Radiohead, U2, older music by REM, and Peter Gabriel amongst others. He performs with two acoustic guitars, one being a six-string M-36 Martin with a three-pieced back for increased bass response, and a Guild Twelve-string which is his most recent acquisition. Mark is fond of saying that the twelve-string guitar is better because you get two guitars for the price of one, but he still plays his Martin equally as much and with the same passion.

Mark ended up in Fort Collins Colorado where he currently lives, works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and continues to write, teach and perform music. He currently performs with a group called "Black Nelson" as well as with a number of other seasoned professional musicians including his cousin David, a virtuoso lead-guitar player. Mark has performed in many of the smaller venues in Denver and Boulder, as well as some of the larger ones including the Fox Theatre, The Boulder Theatre, Herman's Hideaway, and also at The Soiled Dove where he opened for Jefferson Starship as a soloist. Some of Mark's originals are also available for your listening pleasure on MySpace.

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