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How to Sing

We didn't think we could carry a tune in a bucket. But after these easy lessons, we kicked the bucket (in the right way)!
How to Sing is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 81.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from how to sing Wonderful! I enjoyed every sesion and was struck by the improvement of the singers being instructed. I am now going to start again and hope I can improve too.
Date published: 2024-07-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Too many irrelevant and unimportant details The pace is too slow. There should be more emphasis on exercises. I didn't make it very far as I quickly became bored with the content and how it was filmed. The teacher is most likely a lovely person but I don't find her funny and she tries to be funny. I quickly got bored with the breathing lesson. It seemed focused on the anatomy of the lungs and the rib cage. Too much anatomy and not enough exercises to improve breathing. Same with building range. There was one very difficult exercise and the chapter stopped. At this point I stopped as well. This is not an expensive course but I wish I would have saved my money for something else.
Date published: 2024-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Too much for me. I guess i don’t have… Basically, this is not for a casual singer. You have to have a lot of time and a lot of dedication to becoming a very, very technically proficient singer. What she teaches is very useful and helpful, i am sure. She really goes into the anatomy of the human body, the parts that produce singing. I was really really impressed with the level of medical/scientific teaching, especially the drawings, diagrams, of the anatomy. She really knows how to teach singing. I thought i was a serious singer, or was going to get serious, but i could not make it all the way through the course. I am a ukulele player, who sings to accompany myself. I love singing and have become a much better singer over the years. I decided a course like this would be the next step. The course only cost me $25 so i didn’t have much to lose. Maybe I’ll go back to the course one day. Maybe when i retire? But as everything is now, there’s no way i could practice like she recommends. All the warm-ups and techniques would take me hours and hours every day and i just can’t do that. So i would say if you are really, really dedicated with tons of time to devote to this course, to your singing development then this course is definitely for you. You will get a lot out of this. But if you’re just an ordinary hobbyist singer or kind of aspiring to sing a bit, i think you will get overwhelmed by the teaching. I don’t want to say anything bad about the course or the teacher, they are both great. There’s so much knowledge and teaching in the course. But i think many people will find themselves overwhelmed. (Note: i had taken some private singing lessons, not many but some. I have attended a week long summer singing program. So i am not exactly a novice but pretty close. Been a guitar player and electric bass player most of my life, never sang really, but in the past 5 years or so I’ve started to play ukulele and sing. When i started singing i found that hey, i could! I thought i sounded good at times. So i decided to try to become a decent singer.)
Date published: 2024-01-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mistitled I usually wait to see the whole course before offering a review. In this case, I thought it would be useful to do one progressively. The reason is that, after Lecture 2, it seemed to me that this course should have been more appropriately titled ‘How to be a Singer’. I cannot conceive, in my wildest dreams, going through 10-40 minutes of ‘warming up’ exercises before I want to sing a three-minute John Denver song. And I did actually read the Course summaries before purchasing, and had some misgivings even then. However, this being the only TTC course on singing, there was no other choice. Just to emphasise the point, I did go so far as email the lecturer mentioning my advanced years, and my preferred song types. She assured me that her course was specifically designed around these issues. So, I bought the course. And I now respectfully disagree. DP is an excellent lecturer with well-thought out presentations, and an engaging manner. Overall, I think that there is too much detail (if one just wants ‘to sing’). For example, the physiology explanations could have been done quicker, as too the lecture on posture. All in all, while a thorough and detailed course, and well presented, if you are someone who just wants to sing a bit better on simple songs, this is NOT for you.
Date published: 2023-11-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent detailed information for singers I greatly appreciate your ability to consistently demonstrate aligned and open resonators throughout all of these lessons Demonstrating the basics throughout really reinforces their importance. I wish I had the information in your program when I first began teaching voice.
Date published: 2023-03-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A High C Note and the C stands for Cringe! Oh, where to even begin…In the history of higher learning, one would be hard-pressed to find a course design so confoundingly backwards as this one! Each lesson comprises a perplexing mix of the following: the professor’s life story (yes, vignettes of her childhood and upbringing in almost every lesson) and her teaching philosophy (honestly, who has a desire to know this except maybe her own former teachers?); a host of astoundingly tedious pedagogical buzz words (evaluate, strategize and integrate, ladies and gentlemen!—lesson 5; an overabundance of scientific/anatomical diagrams of and terms (a HUGE chunk of each session is devoted to this) that really serve no purpose here but as a tremendous amount of filler (this is from someone that LOVES science, but this is absolute overkill here); and a smattering of exercises that by all accounts, appear to be selected based on how silly they make the participant look, rather than their inherent usefulness. Oh, and bad jokes. I mean REALLY bad, jarringly awkward jokes (and I generally love humor, even tacky humor, in a lecture when it is done well—here it is not). This is so the viewer can note how much fun they are having and, lest we forget, the professor constantly reminds us of this as well! Aside from this bizarre medley of activities with surprisingly little relevant content, the course’s most glaring fault is that it comes across rather obnoxiously as a seminar instead of a class. While the one-on-one personalized attention may be wonderful for the on-screen participants, it leaves the viewer feeling like an observer FAR removed from the activities. In the first half of the course, the professor seemingly goes out of her way to give the viewer infrequent opportunities to actually practice singing, and then only towards the end of the lectures. Astoundingly, it’s not until lesson FIFTEEN that voice types are discussed! Little rhyme or reason is given for the small measure of activities that the viewer can actually do at home prior to this, and even then, all energy is directed to giving personalized attention to the on-screen participants, with the viewers generally addressed in a throwaway line such as, “our viewers at home can do this too!” This leads to one of the most infuriating quirks of the professor: virtually EVERY time the participants conduct an activity, she follows up with an interrogation session for them: so how did that feel? And what are your thoughts? It’s really insufferable and has to actually be seen to be believed. To top it off, the six participants in the video have by their own admission had either previous extensive vocal lessons or are singers in a band with years of experience. In other words, the participants that are supposed to be “learning along with the viewer” are already phenomenal singers and virtually NEVER make mistakes! This professor may be a wonderful vocal coach in person, but this course seems to try to go out of its way to avoid doing what is purports to do: to teach us about the joy of singing!
Date published: 2023-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If you really want to sing, get this course! Sang solo parts in two plays in High School 1973. I just recently purchased a guitar & wanted to be able to sing correctly several songs that I also want to play correctly. If I was taught to sing like this course, I probably would be singing & playing for a living. Excellent course & teacher!!
Date published: 2022-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Instructor Knows her stuff. Fun teacher. Good Qualty for a video production.
Date published: 2022-12-19
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Let a master teacher train you in solid singing technique, vocal artistry, and the skills of inspired performance.


Dawn Pierce

Singing is a skill, and a skill can be learned.


Ithaca College

Dawn Pierce is an Associate Professor of Voice at Ithaca College. She earned a master of music in Opera Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, where she also obtained a postgraduate Professional Artist Certificate (Artist Diploma). She abounds with experience in a wide variety of styles and venues, performing in operas, musicals, concerts, and solo recitals. Praised as both an exceptional performer and an empowering teacher, she is devoted to teaching healthy vocal technique and promoting a deeper understanding of artistry and self-expression.

By This Professor

How to Sing
How to Sing


Anyone Can Sing

01: Anyone Can Sing

Begin the course with a first look at the physiology of singing, as it represents a refined coordination of posture, breath, and tone. Learn about the approach you’ll study in this course, based in a thorough view of the science of singing, as well as the art of vocal expression. Then practice basic vocalizations for freeing the voice and testing your range, and finish with a familiar song.

35 min
Vocal Warm-Ups

02: Vocal Warm-Ups

Learn effective vocal warmups, to build proper coordination and balance for your most beautiful singing. Consider the physiological benefits of warmups, and how to care for your vocal instrument. To begin, practice full-body warmup exercises. Follow this with vocal exercises for energizing your breath, engaging with tone, sharpening vocal agility and vowel production, and increasing resonance and range.

48 min
Aligning the Spine

03: Aligning the Spine

A flexible alignment is the foundation for solid vocal technique. Study the structure of the spine and practice exercises to find a free and dynamic posture for your best sound production. Examine lower body and pelvic alignment and note how these affect your singing. Also learn how slightly elevating the sternum and strengthening the back and shoulder muscles help free the breath.

47 min
Head and Neck Posture

04: Head and Neck Posture

Explore head and neck alignment that support a freely functioning vocal mechanism. Visualize the cervical spine and its seven vertebrae, and grasp why head position is crucial for ease in vocal vibration. Practice a range of movements and exercises to experience how vocal tone is affected by head posture, to learn how to maintain a free neck alignment, and to find your optimal, dynamic posture for singing.

47 min
How to Practice Anything

05: How to Practice Anything

Regular and effective practice is crucial for developing your singing skills. Study three primary facets of efficient practice: Evaluate your progress; strategize a plan of action, and integrate your new skills. Grasp what a typical practice session will look like, from your warmup and assigned exercises to applying your new abilities to the music. Also, remember to sing for fun!

29 min
The Anatomy and Physiology of Breath

06: The Anatomy and Physiology of Breath

Now focus on the respiratory system, a foundational element for singing. Get to know the organs and structures that come into play when you sing: the airway, the lungs, the muscles of respiration, and the motions of inhalation and exhalation. Work with exercises to increase flexibility, lung capacity, and the function of your breathing, with both immediate and long-term benefits for singing.

42 min
Inhalation for Singing

07: Inhalation for Singing

Take a closer look at the important role of inhalation in vocal technique. Explore three kinds of breath: clavicular (the upper chest), thoracic (the ribcage), and diaphragmatic (the lower abdomen). Then practice a gentle, three-part yoga breath that uses all of them. Next, apply this holistic way of breathing to a song, maintaining a dynamic posture and guiding your inhalation to release low into your body.

33 min
Exhalation for Singing

08: Exhalation for Singing

In vocal technique, consider how the quality of the exhalation determines the quality of the inhalation. Study the appoggio technique, which focuses on encouraging sternum elevation and rib position during the exhalation. Practice exercises to maintain an open upper body and suspend the inclination to collapse on the exhale, releasing the inhalation and engaging appoggio on the exhale.

48 min
Coordinating the Phases of Breath

09: Coordinating the Phases of Breath

This lesson breaks down breathing into four phases associated with singing: inhalation, suspension, exhalation, and recovery. Work with exercises to coordinate these phases to create habitual patterns for breath. Using the song chosen for this lesson, experiment with how to make decisions about where you will breathe and divide the phrases. Then learn specific tools to troubleshoot aspects of breathing and posture that may be challenging.

48 min
Sound Production

10: Sound Production

Take an overview of the anatomy and structure of the larynx: the cartilage, ligaments, and muscles that house and support the vocal cords. Then look at how phonation or sound production works, and how pitch is made. Explore phonation through a series of exercises, working to create a healthy vocal tone and a balanced, free laryngeal position, without extraneous tensions.

47 min
Onset: Engaging Balanced Tone

11: Onset: Engaging Balanced Tone

In singing, the ideal initiation of sound creates a clear, clean tone. Look at the spectrum of ways to start tone, beginning with aspiration, or “breathiness.” Contrast this with a glottal “plosive” onset and see how both can fatigue the voice. Work with exercises to find an easy, more neutral, and efficiently balanced onset of sound, with minimal effort. Apply this work, using the song “Amazing Grace.”

53 min
Resonance: Exploring Vocal Colors

12: Resonance: Exploring Vocal Colors

Grasp how the vocal tract acts as a resonator and study the physiology of the three main areas of vocal resonance. Learn to shape and control your resonance through exercises that explore vibration in the internal spaces of the vocal tract, creating different sounds and colors. Work to achieve a well-balanced resonance throughout your range, maintaining awareness of the internal spaces.

43 min
Utilizing the Soft Palate

13: Utilizing the Soft Palate

Examine the role of the soft palate in singing. Locate the position of the palate and learn about its physiological functions. Work with mental imagery that will naturally activate and lift the soft palate, and discover how the soft palate affects vocal sound. Using helpful materials and props, work to engage with a more flexible, agile palate, which will respond naturally when you sing.

46 min
Releasing Jaw Tension

14: Releasing Jaw Tension

Consider why jaw tension is undesirable for healthy and natural voice production. Study the parts of the of the jaw, the muscles that control jaw movement, and the motion of the jaw hinge. Work to cultivate a free and neutral jaw position, exploring the release of internal muscles. Using a song, find how the jaw can move independently of vowels, pitch, and the movement of the tongue.

52 min
Your Voice Type

15: Your Voice Type

Begin to explore your voice category, and learn a general way to classify your voice, with the goal of making the most of your own vocal mechanism and choosing repertoire that allows you to shine. Study vocal “registration,” encompassing what are called chest voice, head voice, and falsetto. Find the point where your own voice shifts registers, as a guideline for understanding your voice type.

47 min
Maximizing Your Vocal Range

16: Maximizing Your Vocal Range

With regular practice and solid technique, you can learn to develop and maximize your natural range. Start by further exercising your range. Then explore self-massage of the muscles and joints around the larynx, and work with exercises to develop flexibility in these muscles to expand and unite your range. Using “The Star-Spangled Banner,” experiment with breath, phrasing, and the large range of the song.

56 min
Training Your Tongue

17: Training Your Tongue

Freedom and release of the tongue are essential to healthy vocal technique. Learn about the anatomy of the tongue and its eight muscles and how excess tongue tension is common for singers. Do a series of exercises to work for freedom and to let go of any pushing, retracting, or pressure on the larynx. Over time, explore the effects of these tools and incorporate them into your practicing.

59 min
Articulating Vowels

18: Articulating Vowels

Look into vowel production in singing and how independence of the articulators (the jaw, tongue, and lips) can help to maximize vocal freedom and flexibility. Practice forming vowels without jaw engagement. Learn about the International Phonetic Alphabet, which represents speech sounds. Then work with exercises to form tongue vowels, lip vowels, and diphthongs, bringing them into another fun, original song.

38 min
Articulating Consonants

19: Articulating Consonants

Take a deep dive into the classification of consonants and how they function in singing. Work with eight categories of consonants and discover both where they are formed within the vocal tract and how they are formed by the articulators. Explore voiced and unvoiced consonants, as they relate to sustained tone, and apply your knowledge to the poetic text of a song.

46 min
Diction for Singing

20: Diction for Singing

Clear diction and phrasing are fundamental to vocal artistry. In this lesson, explore how we communicate meaning through pronunciation and syllabic stress. Begin to work with phrasing, how words are stressed relative to each other, and which words to emphasize as important. Consider how to place vowels and consonants in a sung phrase, and start to address intention and meaning in singing text.

54 min
Engaging with Lyrics

21: Engaging with Lyrics

In approaching lyrics, study how to interpret the text. Begin by researching the piece, learning about the librettist, the time period, and the historical context. Also research the composer and how the piece was written. Using the text of an original song, and your character analysis worksheet, work to find your own expressive connection with the piece and create your interpretation of the song.

37 min
Communicating through Song

22: Communicating through Song

Bring your vocal skills to the areas of expression and performance. Grasp the importance of aligning your intention with the message your listeners are receiving. Explore how factors such as posture, facial expressions, physical gestures, vocal resonance, and articulation all communicate. Sing “Auld Lang Syne,” and practice communicating different attitudes and expressive intentions.

49 min
Making Each Performance Personal

23: Making Each Performance Personal

Study core principles of vocal artistry in performance. Learn ways to connect imaginatively with your text and character, to believe in what you’re communicating, and to share your unique perspective as a performer. Working with the song “Danny Boy,” see how sight, sound, and touch feed your imaginative work, and how specificity in your artistic choices gives your work depth and authenticity.

57 min
Singing’s Surprising Benefits

24: Singing’s Surprising Benefits

Having arrived at the end of this course, reflect on your work and consider the physical and mental health benefits that singing brings, including the specific physiological effects of singing and how the lifestyle of singing encourages good choices for overall health and well-being. Conclude by singing a final original song, applying everything you’ve learned, then embrace the goal of scheduling a performance.

58 min