Dear mins - Voice questions!

Play more than piano? Interested in a different instrument, including voice? Talk about it here.

Postby 73-1078374881 » Wed Apr 07, 2004 6:09 pm

Dear Mins, I understand that you teach voice as well, so I had a question... When crescendoing (is that a word? :p) while singing, I concentrate on three big things: pitch, the crescendo, and vibrato. Now for some reason, I can't do all three at once!!! If I crescendo, I go flat. If I crescendo but don't do vibrato, I do okay, but I sound like a car horn. :O If I want to stay on pitch with vibrato, then crescendoing kind of goes out the window. Any ideas? (I hope I described this okay!!)
User avatar
73-1078374881
 

Postby Mins Music » Wed Apr 07, 2004 7:13 pm

When getting louder, you're actually using more breath and therefore using your diaphragm to 'squeeze' the air faster for you. Vibrato is produced by the muscles around your neck and throat.

For good control of pitch, (determined, first, by how you 'hear', how your brain interprets the need to your muscles in your throat which then tells the vocal folds (old word use to be chords, but this word gives you a completely different idea of what they are) how tightly to constrict which determines the speed at which the folds open and close - and that gives the pitch ... so what was I saying? Oh, to control this well, you need to leave out the vibrato. Concentrate instead on a very flat tone. And before you try to sing gradually louder, sing one whole note smoothly, without warbling.

How to attain a smooth tone? It's controlled by the consistency of air that is released (controlled by your diaphragm). You know if you are 'expiring' this breath consistently if you can roll your lips for a very long time. Some teachers refer to this as blowing 'raspberries'. (or pretending your a speed boat!) If the roll stops, the breath has not be released evenly.

For a well controlled crescendo, you need to increase the amount of air going through your folds. A lot of people increase in pitch as well as dynamics. They may be focusing on their diaphragm, which is a good thing, but forgetting to listen to themselves. Listening and internal focus are essential elements to singng. If we don't 'hear' well, we can't make the necessary adjustments.

So! Instead of concentrating on pitch, the crescendo and vibrato, concentrate on your diaphragm (you need to feel it 'squeeze' contract very smoothly), listening to yourself, and the amount of air you're expiring, (it should be quicker and quicker and quicker as you get louder and louder and louder).

Hint! For crescendo, you need LOTS of breath in the first place and learn to economise.

Decrescnedo actually offers people more of a challenge then crescendo; it's harder to do.
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
User avatar
Mins Music
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:12 am
Location: Goonellabah

Postby 81-1074658942 » Thu Apr 08, 2004 12:24 pm

o yes decrescendo is SO hard! Especially on high notes.


How do you keep your register changes smooth? My break is at a high F# [I'm a soprano]. If I have a bunch of high notes all in a row I'm just fine, but when I'm singing way up high and then have to go down to a D', I get this raspy tone.

How do you avoid raspiness? Especially when trying to sing louder?

Found something cool. Vocal technique There are tons and tons of articles about vocal technique. It's a really happy thing! I just read the one entitled, "some personal convictions about breathing" or something along those lines. They talked about managing breath by slowing the ascent of the diaphragm. They suggested keeping the sternum high and the ribcage 'open' [can't think of a word...]. To get this put your arms over your head, then lower them slowly without moving your chest. When you breath in this position you should feel your sides and back expand a little bit, but you probably won't hear yourself inhale. I've been playing with this a bit, and it's helped me keep my tone going through long phrases.

maybe someday I'll learn not to be so longwinded! but I just thought that was pretty neat.
User avatar
81-1074658942
 

Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:19 am

Reading your discussions about voice is really interesting, because with piano too it's much harder to play soft than loud!!

Dr. Pianoplayer
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
Dr. Bill Leland
 
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Postby 73-1078374881 » Tue Apr 13, 2004 2:57 pm

Hey Mins! Thanks for the response... I've been practicing lately with just taking a note and practicing crescendoing with a straight tone and concentrating on my diaphragm. Since the note I always pick is A, I've been walking around sounding like a demented pitchpipe, but it's helping! Thanks!!
User avatar
73-1078374881
 

Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Apr 13, 2004 5:15 pm

Careful! Bedrich Smetana went insane imagining that he heard A440 sounding in his head all the time!

Dr. Who
Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
Dr. Bill Leland
 
Posts: 548
Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2004 5:58 pm
Location: Las Cruces, NM

Postby Mins Music » Tue Apr 13, 2004 8:07 pm

Quidam wrote: How do you keep your register changes smooth? My break is at a high F# [I'm a soprano]. If I have a bunch of high notes all in a row I'm just fine, but when I'm singing way up high and then have to go down to a D', I get this raspy tone.

We have trouble jumping from registers because our folds acutally need to expand (for lower notes) and contract (for higher notes). That's why you get a very different quality to a D (one note for middle C) and the octave above - sometimes we sound 'thin' up in the higher registers; that's because our folds are in actual fact, 'thin'.

What to do abouti it? Exercise. Starting low and going very high, you want to 'slide' your pitch as smoothly as you possibly can - like a chromatic scale. There are three ways of practising this slide between registers.
The easiest is saying Rrrrrrrrr. Slide from low to high and then to low again. Try not to jump in pitch suddenly, and of course the slower you go, the better the exercise. Take lots of breath, concentrate on that diaphragm and economise your expiration.
When you've tried rrrrrrr, proceed to a very quiet and controlled ooooooh. Up and down. Slowly, smoothly.
A great warm up is to do this exercise VERY loudly with your upper teeth pressed on your lower lip: like how you pronounce 'VVVVVery vvvivvvacious!'. HEAPS of breath, releasing the breath quickly - but still controlled and smoothly. You should sound like a siren. Up and down.
Don't strain your neck, don't push from your throat. Support the tone with lots of breath.

If you feel 'raspy' one of the reasons could be lack of moisture in your body. If we haven't drunk enough, the first place that loses moisture is around your mouth and throat. Folds need to be well lubricated for good sound. Otherwise it's like rubbing sandpaper together. Ouch. THat can literally hurt and swell your folds. In fact with continued practise, you can even cause calluses!

Solution? Drink plenty of room temperature water (quicker to absorb) about 20 minutes before you practise (takes this long to benefit).
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
User avatar
Mins Music
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:12 am
Location: Goonellabah

Postby 81-1074658942 » Tue Apr 13, 2004 9:37 pm

O thanks so much for the advice!!!!!!!! YAY! i can't wait to try this stuff. My best tone quality occurs around a high A. kind of strange. So I'll do all this high stuff and it sounds good and then.. hello lower register how are you doing today? not so good?? oy.....
I'll work on the stuff you said, and tell you how things work out!
User avatar
81-1074658942
 

Postby 81-1074658942 » Fri Apr 16, 2004 7:12 pm

What are some things I can do to develop a richer tone? I know I have to wait for my voice to grow up, [I'm 15] but is there anything I can do now?
User avatar
81-1074658942
 

Postby Mins Music » Sun May 09, 2004 7:08 pm

Teaching singing is practically impossible through cyber space :O More so than any other instrument, its important to see what the student is doing, but CRUCIAL to hear what they are doing!!! There is treble and bass in everybody's voice, and it depends on muscle placement (as well as heaps of other things) whether we bring out the treble or the bass.
Sometimes, doing 'impressions' can help us develop a particular tone we're after. For example, if you think you're tending to bring out the treble side in your voice, pretend you are an old man African singer with a deep voice. It doesn't mean that you are trying to get to note beyond your range, it means you are thickening your folds to get a richer tone. There is countless qualities we can achieve through our voice and experimentation with the risk of sounding completely ridiculous is one method to get there without the help of a teacher by your side.
Generally speaking, avoid 'singing through your nose' i.e. make sure the sound isn't 'pressed' high in your nasal passage. Sing the sound 'ng' as in 'lung' for at least 8 beats, and you will feel where I'm talking about.
An exercise to ensure the sound is being projected well, is to start off singing 'nnnggg', proceed to 'nnnn' sound (tongue just behind your top teeth), then a 'mmmm' sound, (tongue flat behind bottom teeth), then open your mouth to an 'ahh' sound. Do this all in one breath.

There are so many styles of singing, and so many different recommendations. Some contemporary singers recommend we sing the same way we talk. To experiement. Say: talk, normally. Than hold the word "t a l k" a little longer. Then hold it for 8 counts. Go up and down in pitch and your 'singing'. This method is sometimes needed to reach low notes out of our normal 'head voice' range.

To sing in head voice, think of calling your cat. "Puss puss puss!" Then hold the word longer and longer. That's your head voice.

OOOPS!! I think I've rattled on beyond your initial question Quidam!!

Anyway, without a teacher, just experiment and focus internally to 'feel' and hear what you're doing. If you like it, keep practising that way. If you don't like it, try something else. ???
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
User avatar
Mins Music
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:12 am
Location: Goonellabah

Postby Mins Music » Sun May 09, 2004 7:20 pm

Quidam wrote:know I have to wait for my voice to grow up, [I'm 15]

There are some voice teachers that will not take on a student until they are 15. I know of others who refuse to teach until you're 18!

I don't have this policy. Singing is so much to do with how you hear. And how you hear starts from the womb! For my young students (up to 15, and sometimes older, depending on their experience) I sing with them. Its very important that you're exposed to a lot of singing that is IN PITCH! Formal lessons (especially the classical style, i.e. opera) won't benefit a five year old - but singing nursery rhymes with them will!!!

I know that both you and Violinist enjoy singing and Violinist has been asked to begin teaching singing. There are ways of going about this without necessarily conducting formal lessons, and they're most beneficial for young children of five six and seven. There are even ways of benefiting children younger and you don't have to worry about HOW they're singing, just that they are doing it and they have a good model to follow! THAT's the important part, that you are the good model. If you can sing Mary Had a Little Lamb in pitch, and with a firm tone, then you've got the workings of a good singing tutor for young children!

Does anyone else teach singing? What are your thoughts?
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
User avatar
Mins Music
 
Posts: 524
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 5:12 am
Location: Goonellabah

Postby 81-1074658942 » Wed May 12, 2004 10:13 pm

he he I don't mind rattling on. I do enough of it myself. Thanks for the tips. I ALWAYS to impressions. I'm really pretty good at imitating things, so it's very very helpful. But honestly, I had kind of forgotten about that. Weirdly enough, if I can hear the voice I want in my head it just kind of seems to come out of my mouth. I don't mind sounding ridiculous either. It makes me laugh anyway. :laugh:

I have some friends who are very good singers, and they're also really helpful.

I love to sing! :D
User avatar
81-1074658942
 


Return to Multi-instrument

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron