Tag Archives: vocal technique

BAM!! POW!! HI!! : The Singing/Speech Connection- Part 2

Hello….and Happy Spring!!!

Here is the video with demonstrations and further explanations of the exercises I introduced in my last post. Remember to warm up before trying them out. ENJOY!!!

Be on the lookout for my “UNLEASH YOUR VOICE” vocal exercise series coming very soon.

BAM!! POW!! HI!! : The Singing/Speech Connection- Part 1

We all know that balance is the name of the game when it comes to good vocal production. We are aware that yelling is not optimal to the health of the instrument. Neither is an anemic, unenergized way of singing. Both can lead to undue tensions in the throat and be evidenced by a high larynx. I find that clients can achieve a good sense of vocal equilibrium by becoming more aware of how they use their voices when they speak or call out (not yelling) and how healthy chest voice is important for the voice as a whole. Let’s face it- when people think about singing, they often screw things up by trying too hard to make it sound one way or another. Approaching vocalizing from a place of just making sound can keep the student from overthinking and, perhaps, let their production become more reflexive.

Here are some exercises that I am using more often to help students make the mental and physical connections between speech and singing functions. I find them helpful for pullers and timid singers alike.

1) ‘POW’- It’s very natural for a student to make a very energized, physically engaged sound with this one. I have the singer to speak the word several times as if they were mimicking the sound of an explosion or a punch (think the old “Batman” TV series). I find it helpful to have the client place their fists in their sides or two fingers at the solar plexus to get an awareness of how the body supports itself naturally when making an energetic declamatory sound. After saying the word a few times, we move on to singing it in a comfortable pitch range. I tell them not to actually think singing at this point, however, because it tends to take them out of a strong but unforced sound. I want them to focus on ‘sounding’ and not ‘singing’ yet. Depending on the singer’s tendencies, I either take them up in range by half steps on single notes with a short sustain, or go with either a 1-3-5-3-1 pattern or a five note scale. They are not allowed to increase volume as they ascend. I remind them that the sound will thin a bit as they travel from chest into middle voice. For the hard core pullers, I have them to monitor the movement of the larynx and the base of the tongue with their thumbs.

2) ‘BAM’- The approach with this one is largely the same as the previous word. I will sometimes start the singer in middle or head voice, with a child-like pharyngeal production (think Bam Bam Rubble from “The Flintstones”). We then work downwards towards chest voice then ascend again. When I ask students to rate the difficulty of this sound ( On the ‘Dial of Difficulty, 1 is super easy and 5 is ‘call an ambulance- I think I tore something), they seem surprised that they don’t have to go past a ‘3’ for a very solid but free sound.

3) ‘HI’- I user single tones almost exclusively with this sound. I have the client to speak ‘HI!’ then immediately sing it on an assigned pitch. Again, I like for them to think that even the sung tone is really just elongated speech. I take them up by whole or half steps from near the top of their speaking range through their middle voice, at least. They are reminded to let the pitch of the spoken ‘HI!’ start to rise as if they are increasingly excited. For some, it helps to have them think child-like if they feel like effort is increasing. Some of my strongest chest pullers are noticing less strain getting through the first bridge.

I will be posting a video soon to share demonstrations of these exercises.

HAPPY SINGING!!!

Agility and Style 4: Descending Minor Pattern with Fall-off and Added Fifth Jump

HAPPY 2017!!!

I now bring to you the more advanced version of an exercise I shared a couple months ago. It marries technical work (register balance, legato, resonance) with style elements, namely developing the flexibility and aural awareness needed to do runs, riffs, and licks successfully. I have added a jump of a perfect fifth to the beginning of the scale run which increases the difficulty level a bit. Make sure to spend some time with the previous version in the “Agility and Style 3” post before undertaking this exercise. Be careful of not locking the jaw muscles or the tongue as you execute the fifth jump. Start slowly then work up to a faster tempo.

This exercise is very effective and a lot of fun…so have a good ol’ time with it.

Happy singing!!!

 

Agility and Style 3: Descending Minor Pattern with Fall-off

Over the past four years, I have been intentional about finding or creating exercises that are technically and stylistically appropriate to my clientele, which is comprised of mostly non-classical singers. We want to develop register balance and connection, good legato, and good projection while also addressing some of the style elements as well.

The exercise featured in this clip is a fun and effective tool to train the ear and the voice. I use it with my students to prepare them for tackling riffs and runs as well as to work on smooth register transitions. This is the first level of the exercise – Level 2 follows in an upcoming video. Try it out- you’ll have a ball!!

Happy crooning!!

Earl Harville VOX- UNLEASH YOUR VOICE, UNLEASH YOUR ARTISTRY
To schedule lessons or a FREE 15 minute consultation, call (562)387-8025 (leave voicemail) or email earlharvillevox@gmail.com.

 

 

The ‘NG’ Exercise

Happy Summer!!!

The ‘ng’ sound is a quite useful tool in training the singing voice. It aids in establishing a good adduction of the vocal folds while allowing the singer to experience good nasal resonance (not to be confused with nasality, which is a topic for another day). For some, exercising on this sound may also help in keeping the tongue from pulling too far back in the mouth while ascending their vocal range.

Like the lip trill and fricative warmups I covered in the preceding posts, the ‘ng’ is a semi-occluded sound. They are all created with two places of closure within the vocal tract- one being the vocal folds and the other being some combination of lips, tongue, or the roof of the mouth. There is a positive energy boost to the folds in this setup that aids in good adduction and an easy, consistent flow of air. They are also useful as cooldowns after a lot of vocal activity.

Try using the ‘ng’ sound on the various patterns I demonstrate in this new video, being mindful to keep the tip of the tongue right behind the lower front teeth as the back of the tongue raises towards the roof of the mouth. Pay attention to the buzzy sensations in the mask area- that nasal resonance is good for you.

ENJOY!!! KEEP SINGING!! 🙂

Lip Trills Revisited

Lip trills have become an ever-present exercise in the modern voice training landscape. Like the fricative sounds I presented last time, they are semi-occluded sounds, meaning they are produced with two places of closure within the vocal tract- one being the vocal folds and the other being created by some combination of lips, tongue, or the roof of the mouth. A positive energy boost to the folds in this setup results, aiding in good adduction (cord closure)and an easy, consistent flow of air. They are also useful as cooldowns after a lot of vocal activity. What I have found, though, is that a lot of students have a hard time executing them properly and can get frustrated in the process. This video gives helpful hints to allow you to perform these lip bubbles more efficiently. You can thank me later. 🙂

Go forth and SING….SING…..SING!!!!!!