My chosen field to develop a personal skill in is singing.
Relating to the Kolb reflective practice cycle, I will start by creating an experience of myself singing so that then I can have a basis to work from, to self observe and reflect upon;
I attended a singing lesson with my singing teacher Marissa Steer. In the lesson we went through some vocal warm ups using different techniques such as; lip trills, breathing and articulation.
After warming up I asked my singing teacher to analyse my vocal ability and technique;
I have over the past year progressed well in my singing. I have more control over my voice, more confidence.
My breathing technique has improved helping me to keep in time during songs and performances.
The dynamics in my voice have improved helping tonal qualities improve.
The things that I can work on;
It is always neccessary to carry on improving your technique so my teacher advised me to keep practicing my breathing, timing and control.
Taking this constructive analysis and advise from my vocal teacher I will proceed to practice these techniques and hopefully improve my singing all together.
Learning from the experience!
How can I begin to improve my vocal technique?
- Well, one I can practice.
- Two, I can research into more detail the singing techniques I want to improve in.
So I have decided to research into singing techniques;
I have researched a certain singing technique, Brett Manning’s ‘Singing Success’.
After having many unsuccessful singing lessons from different teachers in the past, Brett decided to start having lesson from the famous Seth Rigs., a world renowned vocal instructor. Seth is best known as the innovator of what is now called speech level singing and the teacher of the stars. Brett manning said that within the first ten minutes of his first lesson with seth, he realised that the majority of his previous training was a waste of time and money. Since then he’s erased all the breaks he used to have and nearly all signs of transition from his chest voice to his head voice. Also he now has a five octave range instead of a mere two and feels he is a very good, confident and accomplished singer.
Brett manning decided to make a tape series of himself teaching how to sing in an easy to understand format. His tape is the compilation of years of study. The series is designed in two parts, the first section deals with the technical aspects of singing. That is , how to make the voice function properly and consistently. Over come vocal faults. Vocal conditioning and preservation and most of all develop the full potential of your voice. Brett Manning says that wrong technique frustrates, agitates and is time consuming. It can permenantly damage your voice and force hard to reverse habits and waste years of your valuable time and money. The second half of the series deals with style, covering pop, country, r&b, gospel, musical theatre and classical. While other styles are recognised, these will give the general artistic foundation for all other musical art forms. Proper technique will allow you to sing expressively in all styles.
I am now going to talk in detail about what the singing success series tape involves and what Brett Manning talks about.
1 What is singing?
Singing is sustained speech over a broad range of connected notes using vibrato, dynamics and a mode of interpretation. Simply put, singers are actors and singers is literally acting on pitch.
2. Vocal chords
Vocal chords are two muscular folds located inside the lanx behind the adams apple. They’re shaped in a v, if you put your hand on your adams apple and say uh uh uh, that little clicking feeling you feel in your throat is the beginning vibration of the vocal chords. The process of sound production begins when air passes through the vocal chords and they’re brought together and begin to vibrate creating sound.
Resonance is the amplifying of sound in the cavities above the vocal chords, that is the mouth and the head. The sound is softened or sharpened by the tension and compression of the vocal chords and the height of the laranx. Every human being is created with a god given uniquie facial structure that produces a distinct sound. Most singers use very little of their resonance therefore, limiting their full copacity of tone colour and formality.
4. Vocal registers
There is no concensus on the exact definition of vocal registers, however I feel that our definition best describes the sounds produced. Within singing there are different co ordinations made to make different vocal colours or sounds. These different co ordinations are called vocal registers, which are a grouping of notes which are made with the same mechanic or vocal chord co orndinationa nd have the same sound.
5. chest voice
The first register is referred to as chest voice. This is the voice we generally speak in. the chest voice tends to be a deeper, thicker, richer vocal sound. In the chest voice the vocal chords vibrate along their entire length. The sound or tone resonates primarily in the chest cavity and in the roof of the mouth. The chest voice is the lowest of the comminaly used vocal registers. The sound travels mostly out of the mouth.
6. head voice
This is the voice that resonates primarily in the head or nasle cavity. It is the highest part of your natural range. Sometimes producing a softer or hooty sound while the vocal chords zip up or dampen approximately two thirds of their length leaving about one third free to vibrate. It is much safer and easier than singing high chest tones and the tone quality and malpurity is maintained. When singing in the head voice, very little sound resonates in the mouth but instead settles I the head cavity with a very natural, effortless and forward tone quality.
This is the lightest off all vocal co ordinations and though it gives you much freedom and requires less tension to produce, it tends to be airy andf lacks depth of sound and volume. In falsetto the edges of the vocal chords tend to break slightly apart making it difficult to connect with chest voice.
8. Vocal fry
Though this register is uncommon it is used by some base singers and produces the lowest possible sound, in vocal fry the vocal chords slow way down until you can almost hear each individual vibration of the vocal chords. It is often used in country singing. Vocal fry seems to be somewhat therapeutic to a tired or strained voice, if done for just a short time to relieve vocal stress and to take the weight off the vocal chords.
9. Whistle register
This is also a very uncommon register occurring mostly in the female voice. It is the highest of all registers. When singing in whistle voice the vocal chords zip up almost their entire length leaving only a small opening free to vibrate.
10. Mixed middle voice
This is a blend of head and chest registers. It gives the illusion of singing in higher chest tones, though you are actually singing on a zip up or shortened vocal chord. This is the most popular of all sound because it puts out a higher frequency. The structure of the vocal chords while singing in the mix is similar to the structure of the vocal chords while singing in head voice. However, there is a deeper compression and an edgier sound and the vibration goes deeper in the chord. Instead of having just pure head voice you will have an added presence and mixture of chest which is a deeper edgier sound. In this program this voice will be referred to as the mix.
This is the sound that is used by most grammy award winning singers today when they sing in their upper registers.
11. Disconnect break
A break is any sudden change eruption or shift in tone production. Usually from chest to fslcetto or falcetto to chest but sometimes from chest to head voice. Breaks are commonly used in yodelling as a style or an r&b style. However many or most breaks are accidental or crutches used stylistically to cover up a singer lack of ability to co ordinate between vocal registers.
12. Bridge passage area
This is what many singers refer to as their break, but this is only because they need a change in their thinking and a change in their approach. The bridge is the part of your range where you begin to blend registers. The basis first bridge is approximately a b flat, b below middle c. the baratone tenors first bridge is e, f ,f sharp above middle c. the altos bridge is about the same as the tenors first bridge. The saprano’s first bridge is a, b flat, b above middle c. the second bridge is about a half octave above the first and the third bridge about a half octave above the second until in some voices you pass through as many as four to five bridges. Your focus is not on the bridges when you sing. Your vocal chords simply make the adjustment as you sing higher into your range. This adjustment is the zipping up of the vocal chords from the usage of the whoel chord to approximately one third of the chord over the first bridge. Then at the second bridge zipping up further so that about one forth of the vocal chords are being used. Every time a singer passes through a bridge the tone travels higher into the head or nasle cavity and less out of the mouth.
This is commonly known as the voice box, it is the organ at the top of the windpipe or trackier. The vocal chords and the muscles responsible for co ordinating them are located inside the larynx. The swallowing muscles and the muscles that interfere with easy vocal chord vibration are located on the outside of the larynx and are called the outer muscles of the larynx. The adams apple is the part of the larynx that tends to protrude in the front top part of the wind pipe. It si not noticeable in every one, much less in women but you can feel it if you gently feel the top of your kneck with your index finger and slide down slowly until you find a v shaped knoch this is your adams apple.
Vibrato is an assolation and a pitch that is sung or a variation. Its like atrill so if you start slowly and speed up. We have exercises that help you to develop and refine your vibrato.
This is notes sung short quick and disconnected.
Notes sung smooth and connected.
The approach to singing notes in a separated mannor without singing sticato expecially in trills.
How this technique works
- We shorten the length or the vocal chords rather than continuing to stretch them, this causes us to blend head and chest resonances together as we go up the scale.
- We sing with the inner muscles of the larynx rather than the outer muscles which enables us to use tone with far less effort.
- We develop a gradual blend from head to chest voice with no added muscularture for registration.
- Develop a consitant even sound with no tonal discrepancies between vocal registers.
How do I fix my break?
Other singing techniques often answer this question like ‘if you want to get rid of the break just give it more support’ which really means push harder, create more tension or ‘yell straight chest all the way up to the top of your range’ so you end up losing your voice. And tahts usually the solution for men. For women, usually they say ‘bring that head voice all the way down’ so they do so and never get into chest voice and end up singing in a voice that has no presense. In this programme you will learn the correct way to sing and the correct way to sing is to sing chest voice in the bottom notes and to sing head voice on the tops notes and the blend of the registers inbetween, the mixed voice. So, don’t simply stay in one voice, use all of your voices. So now our answer is quite evident, we mix head and chest voice together and that’s primarily how we get through the bridges. None of this, give it more support, bring it forward, correct your posture. Those things help in some cases but most of the time they hinder you and cause you to tense up so you never get on the other side of your bridge to dicover the rest of your voice. Also we help you to understand the system of the bridges which is really just letting go of tension as you sing higher without going into falsetto.