Some people are born with their singing apparatus already aligned, and they go on to careers as fantastic vocalists. When you ask these people for singing tips they sometimes have no idea how they do it – it just comes out!
And then there are the rest of us.
We have the music within, but for some reason it does not come out the way we intend. What to do?
Over the years I have come to understand that many singers often struggle not with needing to do something better. Rather, they are needing to STOP doing something which stands in the way of their natural, beautiful voice, coming out!
In these cases, the first thing we need to do is:
Using vocal exercises which are designed to sound a certain way we can listen and observe the singer’s sound to get some clues. For instance, when asked to sing up and down a scale on a single vowel, does the sound of the vowel change? Does the jaw move when singing a scale on one or more vowels?
I like to think of a free voice like an open road – a freeway with fresh asphalt and no speed limit! But for many of us, there are obstacles on the road like debris, road blocks, construction-zones. If we can reveal the obstacles we can then…
The vowel changes when moving up and down a scale? The obstacle to remove is an over-active tongue. Sometimes, in an effort to enunciate we ‘chew’ our voice. Stop the chewing and the vowel stays steady and clear!
The jaw closing when moving up a scale? This is a sign that the breath support isn’t sufficient for the higher notes and we naturally ‘cheat’ by closing our jaw to raise the air pressure. Unfortunately, the sound we get sounds more and more like shouting! If we can get the client to stop closing the jaw then there is one less reason for poor breath support from below!
We may discover a “construction-zone” – an area of the physical apparatus that requires strengthening before the voice will release. See my post on Strong Core, Strong Voice for more on this!
With the obstacles removed the voice can change, sometimes drastically. With the release of the natural sound and talent of the voice comes an substantial increase in quality, ease, and enjoyment! I recall, when I experienced the release of my own voice, that the full-body sensations were mind-blowing, opening a brand new range of experience and enjoyment!