Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Vocal Workout Drills Exclusive Audio Tapes (Case Study #1)

If you’re curious to find out more about how vocal training is conducted, this case study article would be the perfect place to get to know how things go down in my voice studio. You’ll be surprised to discover that I occasionally record training sessions in my studio, on my Dictaphone, for future reference or to pass on to my students so they can go home and have a listen. So in essence, it becomes more like a theory lesson you can go back to, bundled into practical vocal workout drills. If you didn’t pick up some of the tips I give in class, when you go back to have a listen, chances are the penny will drop. So welcome to my very first audio tapes case study article, to help you understand better the rather interesting process of learning to sing.

Case Study #1 is a gospel and choir singer. Her schedule involves many hours singing in church, which she has been doing for an extended period of time. And it is for this reason that her voice, having been used incorrectly for a very long time, is pretty much on edge and is seemingly tired. Her voice needs to be rebalanced. It is the only way she’ll be able to move forward to sing with better ease and with no strain and no pain. Now let’s quickly analyze my findings about her voice and what I’m doing to remedy her bad vocal posture in this particular recorded vocal training session.

To begin with, this is only her second lesson. You’ll note that she sounds throaty and uses a lot of force to sing. At the very beginning of the tape you’ll notice how she pumps more air through to try and cushion the blow to her vocal chords—a natural reflex—so don’t let this surprise you. In other words she is hard on her voice and is basically positioned in shout mode and completely lacks speech level posture—which is the correct way to sing that allows you to sing with the same ease and comfort as when you’re speaking comfortably. You’ll also find that combining vowels in the scales isn’t quite working because her old shouting habit kicks in to restrict her from moving up the scales. And so to help her get through that bottleneck, I switch her to lip rolls and tongue trills to enable her to break through the areas in her range where she would normally pull up her chest voice (shout), and you’ll find that this slight adjustment in training works remarkably well. As we continue through the vocal workout drills with me on piano, she gradually begins to relax her outer larynx muscles, thereby enabling her to sing in the direction of her upper register with more ease and with a far better, sharper and more connected tone. Remember, this is only the second lesson for Case Study #1 and so no doubt, you’ll note she is making very good progress in just that one lesson. With time, she will have eliminated all of the roadblocks that are preventing her from singing comfortably. To have a listen to my exclusive tape on Case Study #1 (with Kiswahili instruction), click here.

You are the instrument, learn to sing like a pro!


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