I’ve recently returned from an Estill Voice Workshop, and what a truly eye-opening experience it was. So interesting to see and hear singers learning how to belt and make sounds that others would consider “extreme” and damaging. Yes, that’s what we were doing…..experimenting with our voice in a safe and controlled manner.
What is most interesting is that Estill looks at all “recipes” of the voice. In other words, every sound you can make is acceptable as long as it doesn’t make you cough, tickle or scratchy (I’m sure you know the feeling!) This is what I love about Estill….a solid foundation of research on vocal coordinations that solve many mysteries of the voice. For instance, unlike SLS, Estill teaches the student how to move their larynx up or down. Yes, you can move it up and down on purpose! It’s perfectly safe! It’s perfectly normal! And, it’s also a must-do when you are learning to belt properly. Sure enough, rock, pop and gospel singers have been doing this for years. Come to think of it……..so have I! But note….I’m not going to say it’s easy, and in fact, it’s quite the contrary to belt safely.
This made perfect sense to me. My experience with Speech Level Singing taught me to keep my larynx in a neutral position. Yes, it could move around a little, but belting was discouraged. I had problems with hoarseness and strain from time to time in my career, and that’s what led me to SLS in the first place. Speech Level Singing helped me sort this out very well. When I became in great vocal shape with SLS exercises (in other words…a strong mix), I noticed I was able to sing higher than ever before in the middle area of voice without strain. Thank you SLS!
But……yes, here is the but…..now, I feel like I sound like everyone else. I feel anonymous. I don’t have the signature sound that I once had. Sure, I can sing well and safe in my mix, but the audience of today’s contemporary music is looking for an edge….more of a beltier sound. They love to hear a singer being on the edge…..just think Adele and Celine Dion and Steven Tyler!
That’s why I’m thrilled I went to this Estill Workshop…..Belting, here I come again. I welcome you back into my life! However, this time I have the ingredients to do it safely. Yes, this time I will belt out that song and the next, and the next, and the next….. And, by the way, did I mention……..the safest way to belt…..is in a mix! Did I say thank you Speech Level Singing yet????