High and TIGHT larynx? Think "Lifted and LOOSE" instead! Sometimes a High Larynx Position gets a bad reputation since it can contribute to excessive brightness in the voice. It can cause a feeling of strain, like you're trapped by a vocal wall that you can't push through. Yet, the High Larynx Position isn't totally to blame! Low Larynxes are WIDE larynxes. This means that when your larynx is in a lower position, the vocal cords actually need to work harder to come together. When we lift the larynx we also NARROW it, requiring the vocal folds less effort to make contact. Therefore, with Higher Larynx Positions, you can actually LET GO quite a lot! So, why not try out lifted and LOOSE?
Have you ever asked yourself - "What STYLE of voice do I have?". The truth is, nobody is BORN with one particular singing style. Individual style develops over time and is influenced by the music you enjoy hearing and singing. This means you can and should sing multiple styles! But, what happens if you love a certain style but have difficulty producing it with your own voice? Immerse yourself in it! Be disciplined in listening to various singers you admire and notice the nuances of their musical choices. Then, copy copy copy! Stylistic aspects can be mastered gradually through skillful mimicry. Solid vocal technique still must accompany any style you sing. However, with practice and attention to detail, you'll be able to sing the musical style you were "born" to sing!
Have you ever felt like you can't inhale DEEPLY? Try a Resistance Breath! First, create a tiny opening at your lips like drinking through a straw. Second, place your finger in front of your lips. Third, inhale the air. Be sure to make it somewhat difficult to take in the air. The sound should be a bit noisy (like slurping a milkshake through a straw) and should take a while (10 to 20 seconds). For added awareness, place a hand on your abdomen or on your ribcage. Notice what happens as you draw in the breath. See how far you can expand the ribcage and how much you can allow the abdomen to relax. This tool is used by athletes, people with breathing disorders, and…. you guessed it… SINGERS!
Looking to increase your Nasal Resonance? First, identify what it feels like to use Nasal Resonance. For many, vibrations are felt in the front of the face, around the nose, and under the eyes. This can be most easily felt while singing "MM". Sing "MM" on ascending and descending pitches and experience these vibrations. Then, see if you can feel these same sensations while producing your vowels! Try singing "MM-AH", slowly changing from the "MM" to the "AH" while continuing to keep the sensation towards the front of your face. You should be able to achieve this quite quickly and enjoy it's benefits immediately. Increasing Nasal Resonance will greatly improve the quality and FLEXIBILITY of your voice!
They say that you can't sing your best sitting down... or CAN YOU? As a singer, you will sometimes be asked to perform in positions (like sitting) that can be less than ideal for making your best sounds. Good news! Good singing posture can be achieved within almost any position! When you are in a less than ideal physical situation, search for opportunities to lengthen your neck and spine. Find chances to breathe deeply and freely in the abdomen and ribcage. Whenever possible, loosen as much muscle tension as you can while still performing the movement authentically. Whether sitting, standing, lying, or dancing, you'll prove that you can sing your best no matter what position you find yourself in!
Developing as a singer takes a lot of concentration on the intricate nuances of Vocal Technique. A great deal of mental focus is required for success. However, once in awhile, take a step back during your Technique practices. Let go of your conscious mind and any RIGID focus you've had. Practice SURRENDERING your voice. Feel the liberation as you lose yourself in the music. Enjoy the vibrations created by your own voice as you move from vowel to vowel. You might even try closing your eyes or moving your body ambiently in this process. You'll be amazed at how some technical improvements can only be achieved by LETTING GO of focus and effort. Singing is a marvelous balance between thinking hard and not thinking at all!
Whether it's over an orchestra, in an auditorium, or across a crowd of people - it's common to want our voices to CARRY. Unfortunately, it's also common to tighten or squeeze parts of the throat in an effort to do it. The famous saying "Many hands make light work" applies here. Instead of the brute force of projection alone, it's better to use SEVERAL ideas instead. First, make sure that your breath is not being shoved out, but rather allow your sound to be carried on a steady flow. Next, take advantage of the brighter resonances of your voice like TWANG. Higher overtones help sounds waves to travel. Finally, allow your larynx, neck, tongue, and jaw to feel relaxed and loose so that your sound doesn't get constricted. These many vocal hands will make your work light. Keep calm and CARRY on!
Want to give a truly AUTHENTIC performance? Then avoid falling into the trap of trying to act out EMOTIONS while singing. Don't attempt to be "happy" or "sad" (or any other emotion) because you feel that it's a happy or sad song. In real life, our emotions are revealed to us and to others as a result of our CIRCUMSTANCES. Instead of focusing on which emotion to act out, try to identify a few elements of circumstances in your song lyrics. These elements include: the immediate problem that needs fixing (aka the "crisis"), what you want (your "objective"), who you want it from (your "other"), and the what you will do to reach your objective (your "action"). If you focus on these elements, the emotions will often reveal themselves, allowing you to deliver a believable and truly authentic performance!
Practice makes perfect! Right? Well, for singing perhaps it's better to say, "Perfect practice makes skillful singers". When practicing, focus on targeting a SPECIFIC skill and ensure that you are doing so in a healthy way and an intentional way. Just imagine if every day you practiced increasing your range, you strained and tensed your muscles to hit the high notes. You would actually be practicing BAD habits that may lead to vocal problems in the future. So, the next time you practice, focus on healthy technique and specific new skillsets - make THOSE your habits! While we may never be perfect singers, we can become perfect practicers!
Want to really do your Vocal HOMEWORK? Then keep an Observation Journal! All aspiring artists must be very focussed to have a career in the Music Industry. This means disciplined practicing, studying with skilled instructors, and performing regularly. But, an often overlooked aspect is becoming a studious OBSERVER of music and the performing arts. Attend live performances and take notes on what other singers did that worked or didn't work. Listen to great recordings or watch live videos and notate the specific technical, stylistic, and dramatic choices that top artists have made. Keep an Observation Journal of your studies. It's one thing to be a FAN. It's another thing to be a PRO. By consciously studying the Arts in this way, your own artistry will grow by leaps and bounds!