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Olga Banis

How to Sing in 26 Languages and Sound Like a Native Speaker

How to sing choir songs in French, German, Italian, Latin, Spanish, Russian

Some time ago, I was coaching a choir that wanted to take part at a choir festival. In order to impress the rest of the choirs and the audience, the conductor had chosen parts of masses in Latin, as well as choral parts from operas in German, French, and Russian. Though I speak German and Italian, French is not my …

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Where do the names of the notes come from? Ut Queant Laxis


Picture this: We are in Italy in the beginning of the 11th century. Specifically, we are in Tuscany and the little city of Arezzo which is in the center of Italy. It’s spring and already the sun is shinning. It’s warm enough to walk around wearing a light jacket. As you stroll around the medieval streets of the city, the …

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Improve your singing dramatically by pronouncing one letter properly


There are 26 letters in the English alphabet but there’s one whose proper pronunciation when singing will improve your sound guaranteed. No matter whether you have a southern accent, northern accent, valley accent, Australian accent, British accent, or anything in between, knowing how to sing your R’s is the best way to start tackling the challenges of singing in English. …

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Vocal folds, vocal chords, or vocal cords?


Let me start by saying that out of the tree ways to refer to the part of your body that generates sound, there is only one that is the anatomically and medically correct terminology and that is vocal folds. There’s another one that is not as technical but still ok to use, and one that is a misspelling of the …

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What happens if you don’t have enough air to finish the phrase?


Times might come when you’ll feel you don’t have enough air to finish singing a word. You know that there is no way on this earth that a choir can sustain a 6-bar note after having already sung the phrase that leads to it. Or is there? But before we answer this question, let’s talk about what choirs shouldn’t do …

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