Hello everyone! Fall is here, and the smell of pine cones and pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks are in the air. Our favorite Christmas tree "pop up store" just received their annual delivery of freshly cut spruces and pines for purchase from folks like me anxious to decorate them for the upcoming holidays!
I just came from my morning workout at the gym where I desperately tried to put in an extra hour to prepare for the onslaught of turkey, stuffing, Pecan pies, egg nog and all the wonderful things I strive to avoid (sometimes failing miserably!) the rest of the year next week.
My biggest struggle this time of year is trying to avoid gaining weight! Can YOU relate to my struggles? If you are a singer in any capacity, it is a very high likelihood that you struggle with weight gain as well. I don't know what it is about us singer's and having a propensity for gaining weight, but it seems to be one of the occupational hazards of being a singer!
But body weight is not the “weight” I'm talking about in this post but rather vocal weight, how it affects the voice negatively and how to reduce it!
One of the things my vocal coach Maestro David Jones noticed about my voice in those first lessons with him in 1999 was that I sang with a tremendous amount of vocal weight, especially through the passaggio area between Eb4 and F#4. Years of incorrect vocal production forced me to sing with an unhealthy amount of breath pressure, which in turn closed my throat to such a degree that I literally had to push the breath through those notes to squeak out anything above the staff in the tenor range. The result of this constant pushing was an unnatural thickening of the vocal folds.
One of the exercises that helped the most in reducing not only breath pressure, but the thickening of the folds was the two octave Vocé Cuperto. This phenomenal exercise which is featured prominently in my instructional DVD/CD called “Let Your Voice Soar” began working it's magic almost immediately.
One of the key components of this amazing exercise is the fact that it balances the breath pressure between the bottom note and the top note in such a way that it becomes almost impossible to push breath pressure to achieve it. Maestro Jones gave me homework after those first lessons and said to me "I recommend you do this exercise often throughout the day!" Because my voice took to the exercise so quickly, I had no problem applying this to my daily vocal work out. In a few weeks I noticed that there was a lot more ease in my overall vocal production. I still had a challenge getting through the upper passaggio notes, but the challenge became less and less with each passing day.
My history of pushing breath pressure through the folds made it difficult for them to close completely. The result was a severe lack of ring or any semblance of resonance in my voice. Maestro Jones soon began introducing exercises designed to create healthy adduction of the vocal folds. This included copious amount of staccato exercises which gave my abdominal muscles quite a workout, but the results were great. I often wonder why I don’t have six pack abs from all of the years of doing vocal exercises which engage them so actively!
It is amazing once you understand that healthy vocal fold adduction and balanced breath pressure go hand in hand. However it is a bit like that question “Which comes first, the chicken, or the the egg?” Do we need to develop healthy vocal fold adduction first in order to develop a balanced breath support system? Or is not the other way around? Actually it’s both at the same time. Vocal exercises focused on developing these key components are immensely important.
I have been so blessed to teach the concepts of the Swedish-Italian school of singing for almost 18 years. I am in constant awe of how quickly the exercises begin to balance the registers of the chest, middle and head voice, reduce breath pressure and thin the vocal folds in such a way that the voice grows on ring, not muscle. Now you can have begin to learn the concepts of the technique with my program called “Let Your Voice Soar” by ordering the digital download from the website: www.voicesoaring.com.
It is now available for 15% off the retail price of $55.00 U.S. Stay tuned for another helpful tutorial in the next few days featuring some of the best staccato exercises I know! ��Happy Singing. Jeff https://youtu.be/fN9yD311e7I…