Sunday, October 25, 2009

From the Vocal Point of View – Working on the Instrument or Working on the Player? The Answer is…?

It’s a well known fact that it takes two – the instrument and the player. It certainly took a pink grand piano and Liberace very efficiently taking the maximum capacity out of it by simply knowing how to properly access it and, thus, provide us with what we call a Total Performance.

Let’s imagine for a second that the piano would have broken strings, was untuned and the pedals would not work – nobody, not even Liberace, would be able to extract the proper sound out of it, technique or no technique. Let’s now also imagine that the piano would be perfect and the player would be using his elbow to play on it. I don’t think the proper sound would be provided by this technique of playing!

Similarly, to have a good voice is not good enough. You need to know how to “manipulate” this voice in a smart and efficient way, so that the instrument still will sound tuned and remain to be healthy and the “player” will sound pleasant and adequate, complying with the standards of professional singing.

Interestingly enough, if the vocalist applies his voice in the proper manner it instantaneously improves the “instrument”, ie. the tone becomes fuller, naturally more supported as the abdominal muscles are now involved in the proper support of the sound, while the vocalist is lifting that sound off of the vocal box and restructuring his whole voice into his facial cavities and putting them to work in full conjunction and coordination with those abdominal muscles.

There are a lot of vocal methods which are suggesting to be working on some vowels, sometimes strange sounds and needless scales. Some of them sound absolutely ridiculous, but if, even for a second, you could imagine that those sounds and scales actually could improve the voice, nobody ever suggests how to apply those evidently useless exercises to the actual singing.

So the answer is – work on the “instrument”, assure that your throat, larynx and vocal box in general are in good condition and, thus, it does not possess excessive mucous or extremely dry, but to assure it even more, make sure that you release your throat from excessive sound pressure, thus giving it a rest while other more proper body muscles are doing the hard but mostly smart work.

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