Sunday, April 7, 2013

Letters from a Vocal Coach: How to Realign Your Vocal Placement

Whilst training a student who has struggled with voice placement issues for quite a while, I decided to write an article solely based on how I discovered the root of the problem and how I solved it. So yes, this, as it were, is a case study piece that may trigger a few alarm bells should you be experiencing a similar problem.

Do you feel a strain in your voice? Are you singing unnecessarily high and reaching the limits of your range and feeling desperately uncomfortable? Are you experiencing a sort of whiny, screechy tone coming from your voice and is there a nasal tone added to the list of vocal malfunction? Let’s correct your placement!

A strained whiny voice when singing just doesn’t sound right. It can be irritating, and I’m sure—if you listen to yourself well, you’ll realize something is amiss. People carry such baggage around them for years and I’ll tell you something, some habits are unbelievably difficult to ditch. You have to want to do this. I’ve seen so many people hanging on to their old habits. To become a better singer, you have to make a decision to change. I’ll show you a quick solution to realigning your vocal placement.

Go back to the voice you speak in. That’s the one area you could never go wrong. I’ve never heard anybody run into any of the above problems when they speak. So let’s get back to basics. Speak. Speak the line you want to sing, first. And then try singing that line in that same voice. If you’ve managed to wing it correctly thus far, your next step is to take it up a few octaves whilst ensuring that your placement, as in the way you’re well placed when you speak (no strain no pan), is right. If you do this correctly, you’ll be surprised how farther up the scale you can go with the same good placement and form. If you lose your balance, go back and start again.

Time and time again I’ve corrected, quite easily, students who couldn’t help but sing way above key, by simply asking them to stop and speak out the note instead. And then I would say… “Now, on that note, here comes the next key.” And miraculously, this little maneuver manages to realign their vocals in key. Don’t ask me why people shoot up to high octaves like that, it’s so endemic, one has to make a concerted effort (even under supervision) to correct this.

These are one of the many reasons one's placement would go wonky. That’s when the strained vocals and mangled tones become commonplace with you and leave you wondering WHY you’re not singing properly, comfortably, and enjoying the experience. Singing is meant to be fun and enjoyable. Not some arduous task that puts you in a position of wanting medical attention. Singing properly can’t be that difficult to achieve when you go back to basics. So in future, whenever you’re stuck, please bookmark this page and return to this article for guidance.

To find more handy singing tips and articles on this blog, run a search for Letters from a Vocal Coach and or Singing Lessons.

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Vocal Coach & Author
Letters from a Vocal Coach
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