Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tonal Tuesdays - Voice Help

In a previous post, we talked about vocal fry or placing your voice incorrectly and getting that harsh sound.  I have been checking out some great posts by a number of musical trainers and voice health people who have some super ideas for us.

If you have a husky voice when you get up in the morning, take heart.  It is a fairly normal happening according to Dr. Anthony Jahn, an otolaryngologist, or specialist in ear, nose and throat health.  Here he talks about how to manage our husky voice with some very simple everyday remedies like drinking water.  Check it out.  Help for a Raspy Voice.

In this article, 4 singers who belong to a Hip Hop group called Urban Method share their stories of how they kept both their voices and their singing goals moving in a healthy direction.

Judy Rodman a seasoned trainer and performer, has some great tips for the correct posture and mind set for singing and speaking.  So much of our performances are dependent on our having that "heart" she mentions.

Finally, we all know that in order to have strength in our speaking and singing voices we must support our sound with correct breathing.  I remember my very first vocal lesson with Mother Mary Doris.  She put down tissue paper on the floor to protect my back from the cold while I lay down on said paper.  Then, she put a book on my mid-section, now I know it was over my diaphragm.  I was then directed to sing, Three Blind Mice.  The book didn't move.    M.M.D. as she became known affectionately, declared that I didn't know how to breathe.

Now, my 9 year old mind wondered how I had survived thus far but thankfully I never said that out loud.  From there, I learned about the correct breathing and use of the muscle called the diaphragm as explained by Jeannie Deva in this article.  However, I think M.M.D.'s lying down with a book on the diaphragm is unique as I have yet to see it mentioned anywhere.  It lives in infamy.

We'll keep looking for more learning opportunities.  What do you think of these ideas?  Let us know when you find something wonderful to share.


Colleen said...

It's funny, cause I was just talking about this issue of mis-placed voices this weekend. I guess it's because you hear it so often now. We're going to have a lot of mute former pop stars in a few years.

Kari said...

Hi there!
Lovely to read your interesting thoughts and comments on this. Your website is inspiring! I really like your image of the whale spout - perfect for feeling resonation at the top of the head. I use the 'siren' to encourage singers to feel where the sound should be placed. With the mouth open and relaxed, and the jaw floppy, take a quiet 'nnng' sound and slide up and down the register, as high as is comfortable. You'll feel an 'airiness' in the top of the head. It's essential not to push or try to 'create' sound as the sensation will feel 'stuck' in the throat. Practising on an 'oooo' vowel really helps as the larynx is in the best position for this vowel.
I completely agree that correct posture is key. I like to think of 'sumo wrestler' posture - long neck, chin down, shoulders relaxed, knees soft and unlocked, hips tucked in. Not 'parade ground', a trap into which so many singers fall.
A resource I refer to a lot in my coaching is the book 'The Performer's Voice' by Meribeth Bunch Dayme. I really recommend it if you don't know it - great for all voice users, not just singers.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts, keep it up! :-)


Embro Thistle Singers said...

Thanks Kari. Those are wonderful suggestions and we shall use them at our next practice. My basses and tenors will love the "sumo" idea I am sure. We will let you know how it all turns out. Kitty

Embro Thistle Singers said...

Colleen, I couldn't agree more about the state of speaking as well as singing voices. As Kari mentioned, all voice use needs proper training. Like the warning of hearing damage from too loud music and sounds, the vocal damage will be more than evident as you have predicted. The good news is that we will still be making music and talking - lots.