Thank you for a great year!

If you have been following my singing blog, you will know I have trained in a few different methods of singing over the past years. Each one has been slightly different, yet the same, if that makes any sense.

In my early years, I trained in Bel Canto with various teachers and later went on to Speech Level Singing and Estill Voice Technique.

As a singer in my teens, 20’s and 30’s, I always felt I had two very different voices. My “choir” voice and my “rock band” voice. I struggled with understanding what was going on and how to get the sound I wanted without hurting my throat.

A revelation came when I studied Speech Level Singing (Seth Riggs). I learned how to use my entire range efficiently without flipping, pulling, or straining. Those of you who have studied SLS will understand what these terms mean. I learned how to “mix”. That is, I learned how to bridge in my middle voice by allowing transition to my head register without strain. I later went on to teach SLS and continue to use a lot of these concepts with my students.

My issue with SLS started when I came to a stalemate about my middle voice while singing a song for a Level 5 SLS teacher. I was singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow in the key of C major. The first two notes are middle C to high C. This is a big leap over the female first passagio. My teacher was listening for a certain amount of cord closure and head resonance on the high C. I was able to produce the coordination and sound he wanted, but I personally didn’t want to sing my song the way he wanted me to sing it.

After studying Estill Voice Technique, it became clear to me that SLS is a safe and effective way to balance the voice, and to stay in “shape”. The exercises are fabulous, and I do them every day. However , with SLS I would never learn about safe belting or even a better understanding of your voice.

It is important for each and every singer to understand their own voice. When you know what you are good at, and what you are not so good at, then you can take the steps necessary to achieve the voice you always wanted.

In 2014 I will continue to share with you exercises and explanations that will continue to help you understand your voice and the art of singing. I welcome your questions and concerns, and hope you find my posts engaging.

Let’s face it….we all have one thing in common…we all want to sing the best we can!

The larynx….an interesting subject….

As I study various singing methods, I realize that we are all trying to invent the same wheel safely…. just a little differently.

I want to talk today about one of the differences I see in Speech Level Singing and some other modern contemporary singing methods.

The subject on hand is the larynx.

From my experience with SLS, the larynx needs to remain stable and reasonably low (or neutral) as you ascend in pitch. However, in some contemporary methods it is said that the larynx will rise as the pitch ascends, especially around E flat above high C for women and A flat below high C for men. This is typically where the male and female 2nd passaggi are, or in other words the 2nd “gear change”.

This intrigues me and I explore it with most of my students.

In my studio, those who sing more “classically” are encouraged to keep their larynx low in song. This allows them to ascend higher with a nice warm, full and open classical tone. These singers have up to five octaves when vocalizing.

On the other hand, my students who sing rock and country in song are encouraged to monitor their larynx and surrounding muscles to ensure that there is no undue tension as they ascend into their 2nd passagio. The larynx will rise a bit as they belt out above their 1st passagio in song. However, they are encouraged to vocalize with a neutral larynx, which allows them to exercise in 5 to 6 octave ranges.

ALL my students under 16 are encouraged to sing with a neutral larynx, and a full balanced voice in exercise and in song.

The rising of the larynx is an interesting discussion among vocal teachers.

Is it safe and OK for the larynx to rise in rock/pop/belt singing? What do you think?