What is “natural singing”? Sometimes we say that someone “is a natural” or that the music seems to come so “naturally” from their throats. What does that mean? If we listen to the following singers – a lead in a traditional Chinese opera, a country singer in a noisy bar, and a Lieder singer in […]
[This is an excerpt from Chapter 3 “The Confusions”.] Long ago I thought of the human voice as an instrument, just in a different family than brasses and woodwinds and strings and electronics, but I now think of flutes and violins and synthesizers as surrogate voices. There can be no doubt that music that used […]
Is “creating space” something you need? If so, how and how much? Let’s say you think you do need more “space”. The Holy Grail for years has been “lowered larynx”, but that is only one way to play with “space”. Two ways of lowering the larynx:
In the online forums I’m seeing many discussions about voice science – Explanations of “open throat”. Descriptions of sound profiles of ideal (so they claim) vocal attributes. Assumptions about desirable vocal timbre. Incessant chatter about formants. Research papers and books and websites and buzz, buzz, buzz about all the visuals and measurables. The author of […]
This term drives me nuts. It’s a great example of describing what happens, but not what to do. If you sing a rising octave sliding between the pitches, and keep it gentle and sweet rather than loud or powerful, you can get in touch with the fact that yes, the cricothyroid muscles pull the thyroid […]
- Teacher gives weird image-based concept, like “breathe through the soles of your feet” (real advice from a real voice teacher).
- She sings the passage to demonstrate.
- The student copies the demonstration.
- Teacher thinks the imagery “worked”, when really it’s modeling better singing that actually worked, and the student found the same effect in her own voice. The teacher may as well have said “feel it in your knees” as long as the demonstration was adequate.
What does “resonance” mean? You can look up different dictionary definitions as well as I can, but today let’s call it “maximum sound output per energy unit expended”. Let’s assume this includes a nice distribution of overtones that gives the voice a pleasing timbre. Generally, when we sing, we are hoping to make sounds that […]
We have a hellacious level of confusion in talking about vocal technique due to the conflation of the universal and the personal. In teaching, we must minimize this and make the boundaries between the two very clear. Everyone has a larynx. The anatomical structures and functions are the same for all. There are variations in […]
We have two accelerating trends in vocal pedagogy that show no signs of slowing down soon. A few words describing each (wording changed slightly to protect the privacy of the sources [OK, I admit, and to avoid needless defensiveness and lawsuits]):
Many, dare I say most, voice teachers use a lot of imagery in their teaching. “The resonance moves from out of the mouth up to the nose, then the eyes, then the top of the head, then the back of the head as you ascend the scale.” “Imagine that your voice is a laser beam.” […]
“Every singer should study classical repertoire and technique.” Many teachers have claimed this. The argument for this is something like: If working “classically” can lead to greater power, flexibility, and stamina, it must be good for all singing. We want those as options, don’t we? A singer can always scale it back. This idea could […]
Like many bloggers, I am often motivated to post something new by discussions that arise in my professional life. Twice in the last year, the words “intuition” and “magic” have come up in regards to teaching. Below is part of my response to a discussion of using “clairsentience” in teaching voice in a teachers’ forum […]