Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Aging and lower vocal pitch

July 15, 2013

Some possible causes:

1. Muscles lose their tonicity.   But this should not be significant if practicing regularly.

2. Slight bit of acid reflux weakens tissue sensitivity and control.   One reason proton inhibitors help with singing tone.

3. Acid reflux causes mucus production which muffles the sound.

4. How does shortening of body affect this?

 

Anyone know?

Extending lows

February 24, 2013

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=6360

 

“So my question is, how much and how quickly can the low range be extended? And does doing so compromise the high range? It certainly seems like working on the high range has compromised my low range – Eb2 used to be a pretty reliable note for me and now it’s always a stretch…but could it just be cause I’ve neglected the low range?

As far as I know, expanding the low range is mostly a matter of lowering the larynx and maintaining fold closure, any other tricks you’d suggest to increase the low range?”

>>>

IMO, extending lows and highs can be similar and simultaneous. (e.g., think of Tom Jones).

Bass can be increased by extending the vocal tract for greater resonance of low frequncies and reducing amount of sound trapped inside the mouth-throat (enabling more such bass sounds to be released).

Highs volume is increased by sending sounds up through the back of the throat and into the nasal and sinus areas.

Increasing both is by first creating a longer, more spacious vocal tract in uplifting the back of throat (this slightly enlongates the vocal tract, enabling for better low frequency resonance), lowering the larynx (this increases vocal resonance space) and opening the mouth larger (to emit more sounds).   Placing the high notes more in the back of the throat in this shape vocal tract shape enables for more high sounds to get to sinus and nasal areas and resonante more.

So, my opinion is to create a singular vocal tract shape that’s right for both highs and lows and work on developing the full effects of this singular shape.    This is supported by Alan Greene’s book, the New Voice.

January 15, 2013

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324595704578241642030220064.html?mod=WSJ_article_comments#articleTabs%3Dcomments

 

Hi Michael,

That’s one way of looking at it.   A reverse way is perhaps sleeping (and also as described in my above post, daytime standing, walking, and sitting) positions can reduce stressors.

Certainly, when one is physically exhausted, falling asleep is rapid.   Why not, then, also mental exhaustion or agitation?  Eastern mystics have always emphasized the role of meditation in relaxing the mind.   How does sleep affect this?

The first and most critical step of meditation is to straighten the spine.  When one sleeps, one can become bent in numerous ways, such that some muscles are overstretched and some understretched.   A natural straightening of the spine will help these muscles to attain correct tone.

Stressors are usually compounded by out-of-tone muscles and glands.   The reasons why takes some time to explain and will be skipped here.  The general idea is to allows the stressors’ muscular and glandular compounding to be reduced by counteracting muscles, to achieve good muscular tonicity.   With this, the degree of stress felt reduces rapidly.

Hence, proper sleeping position, in my opinion, is optimal on the back, such that the spine’s S shape is properly stretched, and then stretching other muscle groups during sleeping movements. Unfortunately, to get to this point, one may need to do lots of extra stretching work.  Once one has sleeping illnesses, it takes some time and effort to recover.

Sleeping position

January 15, 2013

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324595704578241642030220064.html?mod=WSJ_article_comments#articleTabs%3Darticle

Nature’s millions years’ of evolutionary design has already predisposed mankind to proper sleeping position and posture.

Sleeping posture should be seen as part of overall posture.  This article speaks about treating pains with adjusting sleeping positions (and some parts are even inaccurate–for example, with acid reflux, do raise the bed, but don’t prop the head with pillows as article describes, because this bent head-chest position pushes the esophagus closer to acid).   But, the question remains of how is it people have differing sleeping pains to begin with?   How is it that different sleeping positions relieve, or should we really examine using reverse logic, what position-posture caused the pains?

Artificial comfort devices always has some kind of negative affect on evolutionary design, and the bed and pillow are artificial devices.  State-of-nature  sleeping surfaces are usually relatively firm and without pillow.  On such surface, the optimal evolutionary position is most frequently sleeping on the back.

So, how is it that sleeping backside is less common?   The bed and pillow enable these other positions, and over long time, contribute to the mentioned pains.   To properly solve these pains, the view needs to be taken of  incorporating posture-positions and ergonomic furniture during daytime, including sitting and head angles, (chairs, desks, shoes, and even eyeglasses are all artificial devices!) as well as degree of physical activity.

This is not to say changing sleeping positions won’t alleviate pains.  It does say that to prevent such pains involve changing the ergonomic environment daytime and nighttime, so that the efficient-Nature-designed body doesn’t have the pains to begin with.

Classical training for pop voice

July 30, 2012

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=4660

 

The problem with classical training is that it so frequently knocks out the singer’s natural voice.    Pop songs usually are trying to express an emotional story, often using a microphone.  Opera singers are trying to amplify their voice to fill an auditorium.

My opinion is that classical techniques can help, by providing more tools, but don’t let the tools overcome the story-teller.

May 22, 2012

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=4133

>>>So when I’m doing classical repertoire or even something else, and I have a low note to sing, particularly in performances, my heart will start racing and adrenaline kicks in. This can sometimes help high singing, but down low it can screw me up really badly. I was wondering if anyone else deals with this? I think it’s only a matter of overcoming, changing or regulating my body’s natural response to performing. I don’t know if there is any exercise to fix this besides performing more. Does anyone have any advice at all?

 

VocalPosture.com:

Complex set of body reactions. Performing involves audience interactions, and the body naturally reacts with adrenaline, for you are energizing the audience and they are energizing you. Fear of performance also can cause adrenaline. Fear of failure of performance can cause, of course, heart pounding, etc.

There are numerous approaches to dealing with these.

John Wooden (Athletic Coach of the Century awards) advocates practice, practice, practice, and more practice, at very high intensity. And then still higher intensity. Coupled practice with his Pyramid of Character Development.  If you are highly, highly disciplined, this will likely work.

Bhagavad Gita, ancient Greek literatures, and even John Wooden stress “Know Thyself”. This also means accepting oneself. When one knows and then accepts oneself, one is less subject to the opinions of the audience. Of course, not necessarily easy. But, worthy of the effort, because Know Thyself affects all parts of life, and these life experiences also enhance your singing.

Religious teachings of all kinds help build character–which also means being independent of the crowd’s opinions.

Meditation, yoga, Alexander Technique, and VocalPosture.com (my ideas) advocate straightening of the spine. When the spine is straight, the body’s suppressed emotions are “detensed”, and the result is less activation of suppressed emotion to audience opinions.  Your fears are not necessarily at the performance of the note.   The fears are suppressed and triggered by the performing note.  Straightening the spine and simultaneously enables one to sing more emotionally expressively while in control, without vocal and body tensions.

 

 

Shoulders

April 10, 2012

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=3893

“Jussi is considered to have perfect technique, however, on almost every phrase, I see him violating one of the basic rules of technique — he’s taking a high breath. On every single phrase, his chest and shoulders rise. He doesn’t appear to be taking a low breath at all.”

Lots of people have shoulder tension, and lots of people don’t use much of diaphragm when singing; it does not follow from these that the shoulders should not be uplifted.

Shoulders, chest, and diaphragm should be full expanded for maximum air intake.   Analogous to running– max intake when all these are fully intaking air.  Shoulders lift, my estimate, is anywhere from 5 to 15% more air.

If the shoulders are uplifted vertically, this is usually suggestive of tension.   If shoulders are expanded laterally, and then uplifted, this suggests filling with air, and is correct.

Additionally, I disagree with the view that there’s a “correct” shoulder movement or position.   Effective singing is usually a sublimated emotion, and a raised shoulder is frequently or usually a part of fear emotion.

So, the natural position for shoulder should be–  1. When possible full expansion   2. As part of the emotion being expressed.

Singer’s Support

February 14, 2012

 

The question is asked, what is support, and the above was given as a link.  http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=3630 .   And Felipe gave an answer as http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?pid=33758#p33758

 

I’ve had the same question for years.   “Support” usually suggests structural or relationship support, and in singing, it changed into “air flow mechanism.”    This is confusing.   The proper terminology, as best as I can determine, should be “air flow mechanism” or “air flow mechanism as predominantly supported by the expulsion of air through the diaphragm.”   In either case, I suggest the terminology is confusing, as support, in these cases, should comply more with standard dictionary meaning.

I suggest the following:

There’s “structural support”– this is truly “support”, as by the dictionary.   This is how feet support the leg supports the pelvis supports the spine supports the ribs supports the throat supports the head.

There’s that confusing “singer’s support ” which is quite nebulous, because instead of describing a thing (e.g diaphragm), it describes a complex process.

There’s that second “singer’s support”, which describes an implied proper process.

“Singer’s support”, I believe, is more detailed than the simple “singing air flow mechanism caused by the diaphragm” usually discussed.  One has to ask “WHAT is causing the mechanism to flow?”, and if the answer is “the Correct cause is the diaphragm”, the following question is, “WHAT Supports the diaphragm?”.

In another word, there’s a structural support for the diaphragm and the vocal tract, and it supports the “Singer’s support”.  And this “structural support” complies moreso with the dictionary meaning, than a esoteric meaning of “support”.

Is this all simply semantics?   I believe not.   Those in singing typically indicate that the singer should control the diaphragm to power the voice.  VocalPosture believes the control mechanisms for the diaphragm and the remaining vocal tract is NOT entirely volitional control, and from a teaching perspective, the singer is likely unaware of the entire degree of freedom that the entire vocal tract has, such that even the diaphragm’s freedom and entire power are not volitional.

Before the diaphragm (and other singer’s support means) can power volitionally, it (these) has to be SUPPORTED properly– by the skeletal system, the guts and its muscles, the pelvis and lower back in particular, and myofascia.   When looked at this way, the term “support” makes sense and can vastly improve singing.

 

 

 

December 18, 2011

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=3278

“I feel like I use too much air too quickly, and it takes me a while to warm up to a point where I’m not running out of breath on phrases all the time.

Any good practice routines I could try?”

 

Running out of air is frequently due to exertion– that is, one is making more effort to sing louder, more sustained, better sounding, more range.   To preserve air, relax more throughout the entire vocal apparatus.   When the muscles of the vocal tract are relaxed, they can resonate far better, and this automatically increases the volume.   Also, greater relaxation enables for greater range.

 

Earplugs

December 5, 2011

http://themodernvocalist.punbb-hosting.com/viewtopic.php?id=3105

Question on earplugs

 

Consider also Musicians earplugs. Regular earplugs affect frequencies heard, even though covering one ear shouldn’t affect as much, because the mind compensates.

Both Musicians and regular earplugs cause an occulsion (sp?) effect, which will make you think you’re bassier. You’ll need custom made earplugs for singers (about $200 and a skillful audiologist).

One unusual way of solving this, is to adjust for the DJ, by possibly pulling out custom made earplugs, if he doesn’t play so that you can hear your voice.

Lastly, hearing your voice is a trained skill. If you practice a bit, you’ll hear your voice despite the loud music.