Archive for May, 2009

Mouth and voice

May 18, 2009

The idea here, in the mouth region, is again, to release the tension, but after it is released, the objective is rapidly moving, freer mouth structure, not a great resonanting vocal structure (as suggested by Alan Greene). This will sound more natural.

Zen and the imperfect

May 17, 2009

Ancient Japanese Zen art, architecture, pottery, etc. frequently have imperfection built-in. A tea cup that is not symetrical, a house with an irregular window, etc. The Zen way of looking at life realizes that life has imperfections, and builds this into art, and admires imperfection as part of the living experience.

Western art strives instead for perfection–symetrical, balanced, geometric. These arise from Greek ideals of perfection.

In singing though, audiences frequently prefer the living life and its imperfections.

Until one reaches perfect singing (very difficult for most), it is actually better to acknowledge one’s imperfections in voice, understand the audience frequently wants to hear this imperfection, and utilize this.

Chen Sun

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question on yoga stretches

May 17, 2009

What is the best yoga stretch for the sides of throat muscles?

Aging and singing

May 16, 2009

As people age, they seem to lose some of their singing tonal qualities and pitch range.   Why?

Athletes need muscles, which is prime in the mid 20s, so we can understand why athletes tend to be in their prime in the 20s.   But is this true for singers?  The amount of athleticism involved in singing is miniscule.

Singing is more akin to acting–very little athleticism to accomplish a goal.  The youthful muscles might not be key; emotional maturity makes a big difference in acting, as well as in singing.

Drinking, smoking, acid reflux–yes, these will all degrade the voice, possibly permanently.   But, suppose someone didn’t do any of these, why can’t he or she sustain a lifelong great voice, as good as younger and possibly better?

VocalPosture.com speculates that this is somewhat possible.  All that a voice is is a vocal tract in action.   As long as the tonicity of the muscles in the vocal tract is intact, there is no reason why an older vocal tract can’t produce sounds as well as an younger one.

VocalPosture.com speculates that it is primarily due to a process called shortening of the muscles due to aging and injury that the vocal tract muscle tone is thus degraded.  

Thus, to reverse much of the effects of aging, as it relates to the voice, the objectives are:   to keep posture aligned so that shortening is reduced; to then stretch what has shortened

Posture and many illnesses are related

May 16, 2009

We will discuss later posture and its influence on illnesses as acid reflux and prostatitis, and we’ll also discuss how posture’s related behavioural disorder–compulsion–can exacerbate depression, over-eating, sadness.  Compulsion is very related to singing, as possibly the primary reason singers are unable to improve rapidly is because of their body’s compulsions.   Changing singing and changing posture are difficult without solving compulsion.

Feet

May 16, 2009

Fixing your posture starts at your feet. Very few people are completely symetrical, so the first question is is one side of your body taller than the other? If so, you may want to wear lifts on one side to balance. The new type of gel shoe lifts can be purchased economically, and simply inserted into the shoes.

Sandals are difficult to handle–Croc sandles work well here, because they have an edge that will help hold the gel insert.

Singing emotions and microexpressions

May 14, 2009

To better understand how microexpressions (which I claim the name doesn’t explain its causes well, as are many terms in the “subconscious” terminology) affect singing:

To sing an emotion, basically the vocal structure needs to be formed in a certain way…. whether it is sadness, anger, happiness.   This means that there are large muscle movements that cause a sad face, an angry face, an enthusiastic body, etc.  

Microexpressions are frequently subconscious reflexes, and my claim is that these are imbued within the tonicity of muscles and the myofascia tissues.   This is less of a nerves issue, but is instead a failure in the nervous system complete circuit.

What happens with the microexpressions is that they prevent the larger muscles from fully extending itself.   Hence, if one has suppressed sadness, the imbued sad tissue-tension counter the happiness gestures.   So, if one tries to sing happy, and is feeling sad unconsciously; yes it will work, but not nearly as well as if the microexpression sadness wasn’t there.

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Emotions, posture, and microexpressions

May 13, 2009

I agree, Judy, posture and emotions are interrelated. This is why in meditation there is such an emphasis on a straight spine–because a straight spine gently pulls all the tensed and loose muscles into alignment. This is also why yoga has pose and counterpose. The objectives of both of these practices are to reach a spiritual level where the “soul” isn’t affected by the emotions. In modern terms, we can think of this as “detensing” the muscles to achieve mental and emotional flexibility and stability.

There was a U. of Chicago scientist Eugene Gindlin (sp?) who wrote a book titled “Focusing”, which described a term now known as “microexpressions”? These are subconscious emotions, usually not visible to outsiders, that express true emotions. This gives a clue as to how emotions work–they are bound up with the muscles.

Thus, I’m suggesting, unless suppressed microexpression emotions are gotten rid of, it is very difficult to sing the songs that the feel is counter to the emotions. It is possible though to sing songs that the feel is consistent with these emotions–this can also be a form of sublimation.

Microexpression emotions cannot be gotten rid of by forcibly getting one into good posture–it takes a long time to get rid of these emotional muscular miniscule tensions.

Anyhow, these ideas are being blogged in my VocalPosture.com website.

Posture and Singing, response to Sally

May 12, 2009

Thank you Sally,

The basics are as you state below. www.themodernvocalist.com/group/detense May I add a few more matters:

How a problem originates and how to solve these may be strangely different. And in dealing with people, we’re also dealing with areas such as compulsion and the subconscious–these affect posture in unexpected ways as well. VocalPosture.com will explain how many of the suppressed emotions are manifested in and can be corrected by posture alignment methods.

Having said this, and agreeing with you on the basics–here’s what I’m suggesting are to be added:

1. Eastern therapeutic arts are good at restoring posture–they’ve been doing this for thousands of years.
2. If the posture is tilted, the sound travels to the ear through the bones and oral cavity differently– one doesn’t hear oneself accurately when the posture is not optimal. You may be correct in that one doesn’t also hear oneself accurately in relation to other people in all cases. I haven’t got to the stage where my posture is good enough that I can hear a recording and say that’s exactly the way I heard myself without the recording. However, as I straighten my posture, my self-hearing accuracy constantly improves.

 

Notice it is not possible to hear accurately just by simply straightening up one’s posture.   The prior posture had excessive tension and looseness– and when one postures up, the tonicity of these change.   The tensions should be gotten rid of first.   At least, this is my current hypothesis.

 

Also, much of hearing oneself is mental.   What I’m suggesting is that by correcting the posture to change one’s emotions, one can even mentally hear better.  In Hindu and Buddhist thought, this is alike seeing reality by getting rid of emotional bagge.  Instead, I’m suggesting hearing reality by getting rid of emotional baggage.

3. I don’t see good singing as comparable to speaking. There are lots of speaking skills used in singing that can create all kinds of effects, particularly subtle effects skills learned from daily speaking.  However, in my personal case, a full voice is rarely used in my speaking. My opinion is to first create a good resonanting cavity, then add singing skills, and then add talking nuances.

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May 12, 2009

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