Get more Resonance at no extra cost! Resonance is essentially everything that you can change ABOVE the vocal folds. With Resonance, there is less pressure, effort, and cost to the vocal folds themselves. The good news is - you can get Resonance for FREE! Want more "brightness" in your voice? Don't try to over-compress the vocal folds to create it. Instead, use TWANG. Twang is a narrowing of the vocal tract via the AryEpiglottic Sphincter. This sounds very fancy, but it's easy to accomplish. Try experimenting with Twang characters like witches, nerds, cats, or even a duck. Or, try a vocal exercise on a bright NAAN-NAAN while making sure the larynx and embouchure stay fairly neutral. Twang gives your voice stronger Resonance without costing the vocal folds a thing. It really is the vocal deal of the century!
Why do we practice proper posture in Voice Lessons when in reality we'll be dancing, sitting, crouching, or even laying down when we perform? Well, consider an ATHLETE. They aren't running marathons on a treadmill or competing on how much they can stretch their hamstrings. They are conditioning the body in optimal ways so that it can do many things on the court, track, or field. Similarly, when we do vocal exercises, we're conditioning our vocal and postural muscles to perform optimally on the stage or in the recording studio. Start thinking of the Vocal Studio as your GYM and the stage as your FIELD. Without becoming rigid - stand up straight, keep the back of your neck long, and your sternum lifted. If you've trained your body under these controlled conditions, your voice will have an advantage when it comes time to perform in any situation!
Do you need a REASON to sing? No. But, if you think about it, you certainly have one. Or many! The Reasons people sing and express themselves through song are limitless. Each Reason is as unique as each person. Identifying the Reasons behind your singing is a powerful step toward becoming a True Artist. It helps you find song repertoire that speaks to you. It helps you perform from a place of authenticity since nobody in history will ever communicate through song exactly like you do. It helps you to feel grounded in yourself when the world tries to make you something other than beautiful YOU. So, every now and again, make sure you remember the REASON why you are doing this. It will guide your way. Like it always has.
How are Vowel sounds made? Each Vowel has it's own FORMANTS. Formants are "resonances of the vocal tract". The pharynx creates the first Formant and the oral cavity creates the second Formant. The first and second Formant are called Vowel Formants because they are responsible for the way we hear the strength and color of each vowel. The configuration of the tongue, larynx, soft palate, jaw opening, and pharynx determine the resonance of these Vowel Formants. As a result, there are endless ways that singers can articulate and modify vowels. However, our FIRST goal is to produce consistently clear and understandable Vowel sounds throughout our vocal range. Once you've got your vowels all sounding like themselves, then you can modify them for more strength and color. Or, in other words, you can FORM your FORMANTS!
When acting a song, remember to SAY your words! This may sound silly or obvious, but try speaking the lyrics of a song you love to sing and you'll quickly notice how unnatural some of the speech patterns become. Every word is part of a sentence, even though this is always obvious in the rhythms of a song. That's why it can be easy to neglect these inflections and phrasings when we're caught up in a soaring melody or a fun groove. As you work through a new song, practice SPEAKING the lyrics. Really make sure that the meaning of your sentence remains honest even as you return to the rhythm of the song. Follow the WORDS to your destiny of beautifully acted songs!
Many singers are seeking to break into the Music Industry. And obviously, the competition is very stiff. Yet, SONGWRITING can save the day! While it's indeed possible to set oneself apart on vocal chops and performance skills alone - it's MUCH easier to break into the industry if you can write a great song. Plus, singing your own songs gives you a larger degree of control over how your artistry is seen and heard. If you aren't yet a Songwriter, don't fret. Now is the time to start writing down lyrics or poetry when you feel inspired. Now is the time to start learning the piano or guitar that you've been meaning to learn. Now is the time to think of your artistry as something entirely your OWN. By taking these steps toward Songwriting, you'll begin to feel a new sense of EMPOWERMENT over your career's future!
TICK TOCK. Your number's been called. TICK TOCK. It's your turn in the audition room. TICK TOCK. Nerves are jumping, your mind is racing, and it's tougher than ever to catch your breath. TICK TOCK!!! Before you launch into your song... slow time down. Pause. Not with held breath or tense muscles, but with your imagination instead. Imagine time slowing nearly to a halt. Listen to your heartbeat and acknowledge it. Take a moment to breathe, to take in the room, and to really SEE your scene partner - imaginary or otherwise. What will seem like an eternity to you will really only be about 3-5 seconds of real time. Yet, you'll have allowed the INFINITE to join you in the room. And, this cool, collected, calm focus will last your ENTIRE audition. … tick … tock…
"Not all who wander are lost!" In fact, this is the key to finding your voice! Singing is less like walking down a straight road and more like WANDERING through a beautiful expansive park. We must wander around on many different paths - sometimes looping backward - sometimes going off in a totally unexpected direction - sometimes veering from the path and having to climb back on. The more you wander and get lost, the more you learn your way around. Your voice is not a destination at the end of some narrow path you force yourself to walk upon. You are already in the park. You just have to learn your way around more. Thinking this way will free you from rigid mindsets and will make your practicing a "walk in the park"!
What do you do when it's time to sing your awesomest HIGH NOTES? Do you close your eyes? Do you stare straight ahead like a deer in the headlights? Do you have a ZOMBIE-like out-of-body experience? It's important that in performance we drop any EYE habits that we may have developed during practice. When we listen and focus too hard, our eyes freeze up and we lose our stage presence. For the audience, this is like watching a singer take a BREAK. Momentarily, the singer is thinking about something else that the audience is not a part of. The performance only continues after the high and difficult part of song is over. When a High Note is approaching, stay connected to your audience and your message. Don't place your High Notes in the back of your mind. Place them in the hearts and SOULS of your listeners.
Have you ever heard of a "Baseline Scope"? It's essentially a Vocal Fold checkup that singers get BEFORE something goes wrong. It's unfortunately quite common for singers to wait until they have a problem with their voice before forming a professional relationship with an ENT or Laryngologist. But, how will you know what your vocal folds should look like if you've never seen them when you're healthy? This is why most Voice Doctors strongly recommend having a Baseline Scope on file. Especially if you plan to have a long career as a singer. So, if you're serious about long-term vocal health, start forming a team that is bigger than just you and your Voice Teacher. Start building a professional relationship with a trusted Laryngologist who understands the needs of professional vocalists. The best way to start is to schedule your Baseline Scope!