Types of voices

Singing starts with our speaking voice….and we are all blessed with a speaking voice that is uniquely our own.

Some people have a breathy voice, while others don’t. Some people have thick cords while others have thin. Some people have a larynx that sits higher in their throat than others. Some people have short tongues, while others have long. Some have limited jaw mobility.

As you can see, the list is endless for physical reasons why you sound the way you do.

It’s always a good idea to learn from a professional the type of speaking voice you have. Good singing starts with good speaking.  Good speaking requires the same vocal habits as good singing.

There is a singing coach who is also a speaking coach names Roger Love. I believe he trained in speech level singing years ago. He has loads of valuable resources. Check out his website here. http://www.rogerlove.com/

Are you mixing?

Have you figured out your vocal habits yet?  Are you mixing?

Are you getting through your passagio without a flip?

Are you feeling strain in your throat as you sing your high notes?

There are many facets to singing well, but mastering your middle voice (mixing) is key to building strength and stamina.

Try the nasty buzzy hum exercise. Go from your lowest notes to your highest notes. What do you feel? Are your high notes dull?

If you are mixing well, you will siren through your entire vocal range.

If you feel strain or an awkward feeling in your throat, then try again….but lighter. Find that “light is right” coordination that gets you through the middle voice. You may find that your low hum is weak. That’s OK, this is where you need to be. It will get stronger as you focus in on the sensation of allowing your voice to resonate in your “head” as well as your “chest”. Add a puppy dog whimper sensation to your hum. This will help get those cords to close.

Questions? How did it go? Let me know!

Singing technique for children

Children deserve the right to explore and learn about their voice just as much as teens and adults. Don’t you wish you had more direction with your voice when you were a child? I know I do. Children learn to speak by mimicing what they hear, and children can learn to sing by mimicing what they hear as well. However, listening to commercial/contemporary music is not the answer. In fact, this is what causes many young singers to run into poor singing habits.

How we sing can be a direct result of how we speak. Vocal habits (good and bad) are developed early in childhood, and can be carried on throughout a lifetime. Many factors influence the speaking habits of children, such as coping with asthma, allergies and reflux; genetic factors such as the shape and size of the vocal structure including the mouth, throat and jaw; social components such as whether a child lives in a busy and loud household; and what about the child who attends sports events and has developed the habit of shouting and yelling.

Parents need to be made aware. A child’s voice is an instrument they will have for a lifetime. If managed properly from an early age, it will grow and develop into a beautiful, healthy instrument.

In my studio, children are encouraged to sing from a very young age. We make high sounds and low sounds, loud sounds and soft sounds. We learn to hoot like an owl, and meow like a cat. All these coordinations are useful in learning to sing.

Small group settings work well, and are especially fun when incorporated with actions for the very young. It’s important to not make practising sounds a serious task. Most children will simply copy what you suggest and have fun doing it. If this is repeated regularly, their small voices with memorize these coordinations and easily repeat back on task. Pitch is then usually mastered if sounds are encouraged in a consistent way in the same part of the voice every time.

Your GPS to a better singing voice

There are no short cuts to having the voice you always dreamed of. However, with a good singing coach you should notice improvements in the first lesson and continue to learn and grow. With a good singing coach you should see a plan of action that will take you to a better voice one exercise at a time.

Knowing your vocal habits, good and bad, is a huge step towards better singing. A good coach should be able to tell you the issues standing in your way at the first lesson.

Not all coaches will have the same suggestions and exercises for improvement. Some will focus on breathing exercises, or abdominal muscles and posture. Some will focus on your song material. This is where you, the singer will need to decide if this coach is for you.

When you come to my studio, you learn about your “mix” or “middle voice” first, and what your singing habits are. Sure your breathing and posture are  important, but these coordinations will take hold nicely as you learn how to transition through your passagio without strain or a break in register. We will start with a focus on cord closure, air flow and vowel formation.

From there I will map out an exercise plan for you one week at a time. You are included in the plan. You get to know your voice and what it can do, and you learn what needs the most work.

In no time at all you will understand what makes you “tick” as a singer. You will learn how to engage your body for strength and endurance without undue strain.

Learning to sing to your maximum potential is a balancing act. In my studio, you, the singer, are involved in the process. You will know exactly why I have picked certain exercises for you, and you will understand how and why as your voice unfolds.