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Love to Sing E-book and CD Review by Donna Campos

Marcia McCarry
Singing Made Easy
P.O. Box 1163
Livingston, MT 59047
(406) 222-6307

The Love to Sing E-book and CD is an audio program of vocal exercises for students to use as warm-up activities before rehearsals and/or performances and to improve their overall singing ability.

Vocal exercises include various sirens, jaw and tongue relaxation and exercises, 5-tone scales, ascending and descending octaves, and more. A complete list of the specific exercises are included on the website with phonetic references and musical specifics and are also listed on the back of the audio CD case.

Marcia McCarry also produces a five level series of Singing Made Easy vocal music courses based on the Suzuki teaching method, the Vocal Music Exercises in The Love to Sing E-book and CD are recommended for use by Level III and higher singing students. The audio CD is over 19 minutes long and is divided by 14 tracks that are listed on the back of the CD case in detail. Marcia McCarry moves right into the vocal exercises on the CD, explaining what sounds are to be made and then demonstrating them with clarity.

Ideal for use by students in choirs as a pre-performance warm-up or by students of any age who desire to improve voice quality when singing; users will be seasoned singers seeking improvement. It may be used in a homeschool environment as a music lesson for singing technique and voice quality, but best supports an existing musician seeking improvement.

The printable workbook offers excellent explanations of relaxation exercises and is written to the performer in an effort to improve singing techniques. The twelve lessons are easy to understand and offer straight forward instructions for pre-performance preparation, breathing exercises, posture, technique, and memorization tips, all simply described in the e-book. The end of the e-book also includes two pages of a "Reading List for Singers" and "Books for Singers and Actors."

The "To Do" List in the book is an excellent resource for performers as they plan any musical presentation. We enjoyed the various relaxation techniques and many are appropriate for relaxation activities beyond singing routines. My daughter and I are both singers in various church level performances, including praise team leadership, and we decided to implement the Love to Sing lessons several times each week for thirty minutes, focusing particularly on Wednesdays before her performance time with her praise team. The exercises are easy to do and the audio CD offers excellent examples of exactly how to sing each exercise. We both gained better vocalization and increased breathing strength in just a few lessons and by reading the e-book instructions. The e-book is written in a very encouraging style, is incredibly easy to read, and is organized in a straight forward format that makes finding various lessons for specific practice easy. The printable format also allows the user to choose what is necessary for printing and what can simply be read without making a hard copy. We liked the Love to Sing exercises and found it easily adapted with our basic piano activities, while being just as easily utilized alone for thorough lessons or simple warm-up exercises before performing. Marcia McCarry offers an excellent resource for singers of all kinds that will increase professionalism, confidence, and overall ability, regardless of whether you are singing for pleasure, performance, or both.

Although references are made to beginning singers and those just learning to sing, the activities are well suited for experienced performers. My son is a beginning singer and was not prepared for the various vocal exercises, nor did he find enjoyment or value in the skills presented. At 9 years old, he was a bit young for true advantage from this program, although an interested singer at any age will find value in the program if they are active singers. The program is suggested for students working at a Level III or above in the Singing Made Easy program and I would agree that the Love to Sing exercises are most appropriate for singers seeking improvement rather than brand new students. The various lessons will not all be completed every time you work through the program; as you have your selected piece memorized you will no longer need to complete the memorization activities, when you first begin you will not be preparing the "test recording" or demo, and tips for performance need not be studied every time you work through the activities.

A recommended plan for use of the various lessons would have been nice, but the course is designed to work with an individual and it is easy enough to utilize the lessons a student needs and skip others until they are essential. We found this CD and e-book advantageous to our singing skills and it easily improved our vocal ranges, breathing abilities, and singing presentation overall, but is definitely best for an experienced vocalist.

Marcia McCarry and the various Singing Made Easy publications offer incredible skill improvement courses to singers at all levels of vocal ability. The Love to Sing Vocal Warm-up exercises Audio CD and e-book are excellent training tools for soloists of all ages and abilities with singing experience, whether at home or during public performance, quality vocal improvements will be gained when using the exercises. The e-book offers tremendous encouragement, tips, and a broad range of activities and exercises to improve relaxation, voice training, and general vocal skills for singing. The entire presentation is an excellent value for the price and with the immediate download ability through the website, it offers instant gratification for excited singers who find the materials via the internet. Flexible scheduling and use of the program is left to the user allowing teacher and student to learn together at a pace ideal for their home school, or use of the program as preparatory exercises before performance. Overall vocal improvement will include many aspects of singing, as relaxation, breathing, pitch, posture, presentation, and more, are all addressed in the Love to Sing program. Vocalists will enjoy improvement when utilizing the Love to Sing exercises regardless of age or years of experience, any soloist will increase their abilities with the e-book lessons and Love to Sing!

-Product review by: Donna Campos, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2008.