Making the leap to improvising with your voice

One of the first "rites of passage" that IFR students experience is the transition from singing scale notes mechanically to singing freely and creating melodies with them. As with most things, it's only the first couple of steps that are difficult. Soon you'll be on your way, composing your own melodies all day long.

To help you make this leap, here's how I explained it to another IFR student, along with a video demonstration:

Hey David,

I am practicing the IFR exercise "Sing the Map" and I am able to move up and down the scale but I cannot yet make interval jumps and "wander freely". Should I just keep practicing moving through the scale? Will this bring about the ability to sing the notes freely one day? Or will this mechanical approach hinder my artistic expression?

Thank you,
Trevon

David's response:

Hi Trevon,

Thanks for a great question. I think my main advice would be to avoid turning your singing practice into something mechanical. We're not just trying to learn how to execute the scales with our voice. The purpose of the exercise is for you to really get to know the sensation and the particular beauty of each note, because these are the raw materials of your art.

But you raise a good question. If you are only able to sing the notes in order, then how are you supposed to make the leap to wandering freely using interval jumps? I think that the key is to study the sounds in a way that gives you this freedom right from the start.

I have a video that will demonstrate exactly what I mean. It's from my video course for guitar but you can apply everything I demonstrate to the piano as well. This is the first video in a series that I did on Seven Worlds, and it shows you a good way to practice the exercise if you are just getting started. Then depending on your own comfort and mastery, you can certainly go beyond what I'm demonstrating in this video. But first you need to be able to do the things I'm demonstrating here.

free video lesson - Seven Worlds, level 1

Please click the icon to the left to watch the video, and pay special attention to the singing exercises. (You can skip to about 3:21 in the video because the first part is just a demonstration of how to build the exercise on the guitar.)

Please check it out and use the singing demonstration as a model for how you should begin exploring each of the seven harmonic environments. If you follow this approach, you'll have the ability to "wander freely" right from the beginning because it forms a basic part of the way that you are studying each set of sounds.

Please let me know if this helps or if you still have any questions or difficulties.

David