Ariella's Vocal Notes - Blog


In this festive time of year, your ears may come across Dicken's Carolers in the mall, or at an event. They are usually strolling in quartets (soprano, alto, tenor, bass), wearing old fashioned garb. One usually has a pitch pipe and they take your holiday requests.

I sang as a Dicken's Caroler for many years through college and after. It was a great source of income for me as a singer, and an interesting seasonal job. When you see these singers, I just want to point a few things out about them so that you take a moment to realize how hard-working they really are.

Most often the singers are given a full book of Carols that they have to learn their own melody for and memorize. That is a lot of melody and lyric. The songs all have their ow...

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We all know someone who loves to sing.

Here are 25 thoughtful musical ideas for the singers in your life:


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Gobble, Gobble to you all. How many of you have had a mouth full of food at the holiday table and been asked to sing?

Your dear relative or friend says, "You know, XXX is a fantastic singer, you have to hear him/her.- XXX why don't you sing that song that you did at the XXX?"

This has happened to me so many times. Usually, I am mid chewing some food. People who don't sing have no idea that we actually need to prepare for these things; warm-up our voices, bring our music for lyrics, guitar, piano, or a recording for accompaniment...

No they just want to hear you sing. And they want to hear you sing at that moment, no excuses. You can tell them you were up all night, haven't memorized, haven't sung in weeks, are getting over a cold. They w...

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How to get paying jobs as a singer- 13 Ideas!

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Don’t wait for your singing to be perfect, nothing ever is.

October 21st, 2014

I was corresponding this morning with someone who recently purchased a Vocal Assessment from me. (A service I provide where people send me recordings of their voice with their questions for my opinion). She wrote me to say that she was working on a piece to prepare to record for me and she was hoping to send it next week.

I responded, “Looking forward to hearing you. Don’t wait for it to be perfect”.

And it got me thinking. Over the years so many people have purchased Vocal Assessments from me and sometimes, they never even sent in recordings for me to do the Assessment, even though they paid me for it.

But I get it. Everyone is always waiting for that perfect recording. In life we wait for things to be perfect before we feel we can move forward on things. The perfect song, perfect teacher, perfect head shot, perfect demo, perfect outfit…

But life goes on, time goes on, auditions get done, record deals get signed, shows get booked, whether or not you are feeling perfect…

Someone could steal your chance if you don’t show up. Perfect or not.

How many times have you heard from someone that they got the part, or gig, when they weren’t ever expecting it?- “I wasn’t even ON at that audition…and they called me”. The opposite is true, I know how many killer auditions I did in my life when I didn’t win the end prize.

Now that I am older, (than I once was ;), I know more than ever, that perfect never, or absolutely rarely ever happens. There is always room to be better.

In singing perfect is NOT Necessary for something to still be FANTASTIC!!!-

Take that in singers out there. We judge ourselves so harshly, constantly self-critiquing of what we could have done better. Singing is about the journey of singing. How do you sing right now, not at your perfect moment?

If you wait for perfection, you may miss all your opportunities.

So whether you are putting together a recording to get a Vocal Assessment from me, or prepping for a huge audition, show or recording, enjoy where your voice is right now. Celebrate it. Be proud of it. Don’t wait for perfect. You can always record, perform, audition again.

Always strive for more in your training, but enjoy your exact moment and level that you are in.

Sing well!
Ariella Vaccarino


12 Tips to prevent or recover from a tired, overused singing voice

October 15th, 2014

Today is the official release of my CD Voice Lessons To Go- Vocal Repair.

In honor of the tired, overused or recovering voice, I have put together a list of

12 Tips to prevent or recover from a tired, overused singing voice.


For the tired, overused,

or recovering voice.

12 Tips to prevent or recover from a tired, overused singing voice.

1. Silence is golden- It is THE BEST thing to do, and will give you the fastest results. Of course silence is not always practical in life.

2. Vocal Rest- This is the second best choice. There are of course many levels of this; not singing, not yelling, not excessively chatting on the phone or with friends. Any rest you can give your vocal chords, will help their recovery.

3. Gentle speaking and singing- Keep everything light. Take the pressure off of your sound and speak gently. Do not whisper (which is bad for you), speak in a relaxed easy, light tone. You should not feel any pressing down in your larynx when you speak or sing.

4. Keep hydrated- Coffee, and non-herbal tea can actually strip your vocal chords of their natural moisture, so watch those things. Drink water and herbal tea with honey to keep your chords in good shape. There is a tea called Throat Coat which is an excellent aid for your voice.

5. Don’t sing full-out on every take and practice- Learn to save your voice for what really counts. If you are rehearsing a show, or song over and over, you can use a gentle voice to “mark” the song instead of blasting each performance like it is opening night.

6. No peer pressure, it’s your voice- If you are feeling sick, or vocally tired, ease off. Don’t feel pressured by others to keep pushing yourself. It will be you on that stage or recording that will have to be accountable for the sound you make when it really counts. Learn to stand up for yourself. If you are tired, let people know that you will be “marking”. It’s probably where we get the term “diva”, and it is spot on and necessary. If a singer does not protect himself, no one will. Be nice about it of course, but always stand up for your voice.

7. If your nose is stuffy sing away, but if your throat hurts when you speak or sing, don’t make a sound!- Pain and hoarseness in the voice when sick usually means swollen chords. Try and sing on those and you can cause vocal nodules (blisters) that can cause long-lasting damage. Shut down your sound and wait for a full recovery before you start back to singing on this one.

8. Sing in the range that suits your voice- Don’t “push and strain” to hit notes. Notes need proper support. If the support is not there, then the wrong muscles get involved which causes strain. People are born with their own range of notes that works. Stick to your range. Of course you can work on extending notes up and down, but do this in your training. Once you master 1 note out of your comfort zone, then go for the next. Also, singing in the right range is not just regarding the high or low notes of a piece. It is also important where the whole piece lays in your voice, this is called the “tessitura”. A full song should feel comfortable in your total range.

9. Sing in the genre that suits your voice- If you have a pretty gentle folk voice, don’t take the part of the belting broadway singer. A soubrette, should not sing dramatic, a crooner should not blast out a big aria. Being able to sing something once through does not mean it suits you. Can you sing that style over and over without strain? That is the test.

11. Warm up your voice before you sing and train your voice!!!!- Singing is like a sport. You would never just run a marathon. You must stretch and ease into a race. Singing is like a race. All your muscles need to be warmed-up so that everything is working to support your sound. Warm-up regularly and train to increase stamina and range. You can use any of my first 4 Voice Lessons To Go CDs to help you with this.

12. When you are vocally tired, EASE back into singing with gentle steps. – You can’t go from 1-100. You can use Voice Lessons To Go-Vocal Repair to help you transition from a recovering voice to a healthy one. Having some sort of organized light program is a great tool to get you on track to healthy singing.

Sing well!

Ariella Vaccarino


Voice Lessons To Go-

The Box Set (v.1-4)

The inside scoop on how the movie FROZEN inspired me to come up with my new CD- Voice Lessons To Go-Vocal Repair.

October 10th, 2014


So here’s what really happened:

I was sitting at the piano with my 2-year-old daughter a few months ago, and she was asking, (more like demanding), that I sing Let it Go from Frozen over and over and over.

Now, Let it Go, sung by the incredible Idina Menzel is a fantastic song and a belting showcase. It takes a lot of power, and honestly very few people can sing it well and correct.

I can actually sing it quite good once or twice

(Being that I am a trained opera singer, my belt voice which is quite naturally strong, is not the voice that I tend to concentrate on and develop).

But for my daughter I kept on singing Let it Go, blasting it out…– “again Mommy, again”

Skip to that evening, my voice did NOT feel good. I felt like I had been screaming at a football game.

I knew that I had broken all the correct singing rules. The rules that I teach my own singing students on a daily basis:

DO NOT: Sing through vocal fatigue, push your natural voice to sound like someone else, or belt louder and higher than feels good and supported…

The next morning, I sat at the piano to get my voice back on track. I knew it would take a few days of proper vocal exercises, vocal rest and monitoring. I didn’t have any performances coming up, so I would be ok.

***And then I thought about it.***

There are probably many singers who have felt vocal strain in their voices at some point who could benefit from a group of vocalises that could be specific to healing their tired overused voice and setting their singing back onto a healthy track.

So, I sat there, with my own tired over-taxed voice, and created my latest CD which I am very proud of: (Another result of the film FROZEN.)


Voice Lessons To Go- Vocal Repair


If you have been over-singing,

loud talking at a party, excessively speaking,

recovering from being sick, or yelling at a game,

Vocal Repair is a fantastic tool for a gentle vocal recovery.

My new CD Vocal Repair is now available for purchase and will ship at the end of next week.

Click here to purchase Voice Lessons To Go- Vocal Repair -delivered world-wide.

Click here to purchase the download of Voice Lessons To Go- Vocal Repair for $9.99.

I’m excited for your feedback on it.

Sing well!

Ariella Vaccarino


Voice Lessons To Go-
The Box Set (v.1-4)


Voice Lessons To Go for Kids!- Sing Out Proud


Vocalize!- The sheet music compilation of all four Voice Lessons To Go CDs.

August 20th, 2014


There are a lot of pressures put on singers. We have a lot of “dues” to pay out while we are trying to make it. Sometimes it is hard to know which things we must do and when to say NO, but it is part of growing up and taking care of yourself.

It is great to take guidance from your teachers and coaches on these things, but bottom line is you will have to be the one who figures out what you can and can not do to keep yourself in the game and at your peak. Whether those around you agree or not.

In college, (I went to USC as a vocal major), I was focused on studying opera. Which is really solo singing. That was my dream. I wanted to be a professional opera singer. To be a vocal arts major though, no matter what your genre was, you needed to fulfill the requirements of singing a certain amount of semesters in a choir.

I had not been much of a choir singer since I was interested in more solo, stage performance for myself. Well, I was in a choir there that was excellent. The director was great, the music was fantastic and it really helped to develop my musicianship which as a soloist tends to be lacking a bit compared to a singer. I was lucky because my director had begun choosing me for the important solos which was great. For example; I was the soprano in Carmina Burana and got to do some fabulous performances with the choir and orchestra.

But I was not just the soloist, I also had to sing in the choir. This was a commitment of a few days a week of hard-core singing. And the music was very hard and high, and demanding. All would have been good except I was also singing in many other classes that were important for my future. Opera ensemble, voice lessons, performances on weekends for things, and I was an opera singing waitress at that time to make money (that is a blog for another time).

My voice was tired. Very tired. Singing on a tired voice can create terrible vocal problems. Also, I was using my voice up during the day for all these things so by the time I went out for important a auditions and performances I was not at my best. Often I silently practiced for my big auditions rather than sang out, so as to save my instrument.

I had to make a hard choice. I decided to quit the choir. I had filled my requirement and was not choosing to continue. I would have received more big opportunities with them, but on the grand scheme of things, I needed my voice fresh for other opportunities that could take me beyond the university confines to follow my dream.

I went in to speak to the director frankly. Until this point he had showed me a lot of respect. The minute I kindly explained my decision and why, he turned on me. Meanly. He told me I would never amount to anything because I was a quitter. This was the same man who introduced me to his wife at an event previously as a “future star”.

This was a very sad, hard moment for me. I realized that life ahead would be really tough as a singer. I needed to rest my voice and knew it was the right decision. Leaving a trail of hate from this man behind me was not ideal- whether it was rationanal or not. It is how bad rumors begin about you as an artist, why people start calling you a Diva, even when you are desperately trying to make the smart choices for yourself.

It behoves people to exploit what they need from you as a singer. They are often not considering what is best for your whole picture. Only you can do that. (Or maybe your mom).

So, know, that things for you as a singer will never be perfect. But you have to know who you are and what you need. Only you will really know. You never know when someone of influence will turn on you in this business. You must stick to what you need and stand proud.

Sing well!

Ariella Vaccarino


Voice Lessons To Go v.1-

Vocalize and Breath


Voice Lessons To Go-

The Box Set (v.1-4)t

August 5th, 2014


Years ago I was studying in the music library at USC when I began speaking to an older student of voice who was getting her Masters. Her biggest advice for me then was to LEARN NEW MUSIC NOW WHILE YOU HAVE TIME. I didn’t really think much of it then of course, I was 20 and had so much free time it never really struck a chord of importance.

When I was in college studying voice I used to go the music library and just pick out scores and recordings, rent head phones and listen to other sopranos singing for hours. I was always looking for that next great audition piece or role. Today searching for music is much easier of course. Put on a singer you love, or song style on Pandora and you will get many options without having to search through the libraries.

The search options and styles may have changed since then but her advice hasn’t. After I left college, my ability to find the time to leisurely search through the best music that would suit and show off my voice began to dwindle.
I became busy; I was either hired to sing for someone learning their music, hitting the audition circuit with the repertoire I knew well, or just busy making money to survive. My free time became less and less as the years passed and my responsibilities grew. Luckily, as a voice teacher, I do get to hear new music now when my students bring things to me that they have to learn which I really enjoy. But other than that, it takes a real effort for me to learn new music since I am so involved with the music I am teaching and life that I am living.

So, heed her advice. If you have time now in your life, study, seek out, and learn as much music as you can so when you are ready to be performing, you will have a lot of music learned and ready.

Sing well!

Ariella Vaccarino


Vocalize! The sheet music

transcription of v.1-4 of

Voice Lessons To Go


The Box Set- v.1-4 of

Voice Lessons To Go

July 30th, 2014


I was recently on a family vacation at a famous Zoo. We were taking a bus tour through the zoo and our tour guide/bus driver began singing to us. She had a lovely musical theater soprano voice and had re-written lyrics to famous music theater songs about the zoo and its animals. It was a real surprise. She freely and comfortably sang beautifully throughout our tour to us. She was not paid extra to do so I am sure. The other tour guides were not singers and did their tours “regular”.

It was interesting as a voice teacher and singer myself to be sitting there having this woman serenade me. I was impressed with how comfortable she was singing to strangers who had not “signed up” for a singing tour. I was also impressed with how talented and natural she was as a singer.

It’s overwhelming “HOW MUCH TALENT THERE IS OUT THERE”, what little opportunities singers have, and how she created an opportunity for herself despite the odds.

It is very hard to be a paid professional singer. I am sure she would love to be being paid to sing on the stage, and maybe she will be one day. But for now, she found a way to still sing while earning her rent.

We all have to live in our lives. Singing is wonderful, but as we get older, bills do need to be paid. I speak often about different job ideas for singers to carry us through. This job, as a bus tour guide through the zoo, was not for singers, but she filled it with singing. Power to her.

It was not necessary for her to sing for us, but she gave us that part of herself anyway, without being paid extra for it. That is someone who truly loves to sing. She was willing to offer her voice up as a bonus to us; taking the time to write lyrics to songs about animals, warming up her voice properly to sound good, just because she loves to sing and has a gift to share.

It was extremely generous of her to be that vulnerable with her talent with us without being paid specifically to do so.

I wonder how many of us would do such a thing?

If all the tour guides were hired to sing, it would not be such a big deal in my mind. It was the fact that she chose to give the extra part of herself because she is a singer which moved me.

We need to make our own opportunities to live our lives as the musical artists that we are.

Most often these opportunities will NOT be given to us.

She could have taken the job and done the tours all day without singing coming home feeling empty wishing she was singing for her job. But instead she created a fulltime singing position for herself. As a result, everyone will remember her, and know her as a singer.

How as singers can we fit ourselves into regular society while still be satiated artistically?

Sing well!

Ariella Vaccarino


Vocalize!- The sheet music

compilation of all four

Voice Lessons To Go CDs.

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