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Acting in Plays, Singing/Singing actual notes with guitar


QUESTION: Hi. I'm a beginner at guitar and wanted to sing also. I was wondering if during my guitar practice i could sing out the notes themselves, ie. cdefgabc, instead of do re mi fa so la ti do.

It seems more intuituitive as with this as i would not only remember the pitch of the note i will be voicing but would also greatly help in composition. As everything will be mapped to the actual notes.

Do you think there is anything wrong with the above technique?( A side question: If i do what i say should i go ahead and sing out sharps and flats also?)


ANSWER: Hey, Sunny –

Thank you for the question.

I never sang "do-re-mi, etc." as a student and have never used "do-re-mi, etc." with my clients. That's for the music schools. Their students must pass tests related to "do-re-mi, etc."

Your ultimate goal is to hold your pitch and maximize your breath control – especially with songs you compose for yourself and hope to sell. Just bear in mind that you still have to be aware of how you place and control the vowels. For example, hold onto the vowel sounds for five counts on the words:  "D sharp / E flat".

Always warm-up before you rehearse or learn new material. If you don't, then you invite all kinds of vocal trouble.

I am a vocal coach to working singers in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm also an entertainment critic for –
and Classical music reviewer for – When you're ready to come to San Francisco for vocal coaching, contact me at:

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Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for the reply.  Not being a native English speaker i needed to look up the words
'vowel' and 'consonant' it said a vowel was a,e,i,o,u and possibly y. Everything else is a consonant.  

In your reply you refer to holding the vowel pitch in E sharp/ D flat.

Do you mean E.....Sh(consonant?) A.....rp(consonant?)
D(consonant) fl(consonant)A.....t(cons.)

Hi, Sunny –

Thank you for the follow-through question.

I'm sure you understand. When you say the letter "D" it begins with the consonant sound of "d" and continues with the vowel sound of "e".

Play D# on your guitar. On that tone, hold the vowel sound of "E" for five beats. Take a breath. Now hold the "ah" sound (as heard in the word "hot") of "sharp" for five beats. Take a breath. Now, on one breath, sing the words "D sharp" – holding the "E" sound for five beats and the "ah" sound for five beats. Like this: Deeeee Shaaaaarp.

Practice this at a medium and steady volume. In other words, not loud – and don't change the volume (louder or softer) over those five beats.

Your idea of singing the name of the note on the note you are playing is a good one. But you need to do exercises more complex than that. For example, singing a series of 8-tone scales back and forth, throughout your range, on the vowel sound of "ah" – just as you would if you were singing "do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do". Don't underestimate the effectiveness of "do-re-mi, etc."

Best regards,
Sean Martinfield

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Sean Martinfield


I am a professional vocal coach in San Francisco. I have published over 3300 responses related to vocal training - particularly as it relates to Musical Theatre, Pop/Standard, and Opera. I have 30 years of experience as a personal trainer to working singers and actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I sang professionally for 20 years and know what it means to live the life of a musician. I can determine your voice category, i.e., Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Alto, Alto Belter, etc., and how to broaden and strengthen your range. Need an audition song for a Broadway Musical? I can assist you with your song selections and help you build an audition portfolio that demonstrates your vocal category and meets the requirements specified in the audition notice. I have created a vocal methodology, "The Belter`s Method". It will enable those in Cabaret and Musical Theatre to practice more efficiently because it focuses on the vocal demands of professional performers and will keep you performance-ready. If what you want is a better voice and more control over your career moves and choices, contact me at: I am also a music and cultural critic for and I interview internationally recognized musicians, singers, dancers, and recording artists -- particularly those who are now appearing or scheduled to perform in San Francisco.


As a vocal coach, I work primarily with singers and actors throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. My students range from absolute beginners to working professionals, from kids to senior citizens. The vast majority of my clients come to me through recommendation. I know how to identify any singer's vocal category, i.e., soprano, tenor, alto, baritone, etc. I know how to muscle-up every singer's vocal range and to expand it beyond conventional definitions. I have developed a vocal methodology for those who want to know how to belt, THE BELTER'S METHOD. There are a number of major components to my work as a vocal coach. The first is to identify the client's vocal category and to strengthen and maximize the vocal range accordingly. Then it's about teaching a reliable vocal workout that will enable the client to gain better control of their musicianship. That includes scale work to expand the vocal range and to improve placement, breath control, and diction. Then we work on material for the audition portfolio, the immediate job or assignment, a recording session, etc. My task to is to better equip singers and actors who are hoping to or relying upon their performance skills and vocal endurance to maintain a career in the Performing Arts. My clients regularly appear in cabarets and musical productions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Some have worked in New York and gone on National Tours. For more information, Contact me at:


San Francisco State University – BA in Theatre Arts; graduate work in Theatre, Philosophy, and Comparative Reiligion. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley – Graduate work in Ethics

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