Sunday, November 23, 2014

Speech Therapy: The Key to Finding Your True Singing Voice!

PUBLISHED IN BUSINESS TIMES NEWSPAPER 28/11/2014 == How you speak could very easily prevent you from harnessing your full potential when you sing. Often referred to as your chest voice, your speaking voice -- in singing -- is in your lower register. The trouble is, if your voice -- when you speak -- lacks clarity, power, balance, consistency and resonance, chances are you will likely fall short of the basic qualities needed to becoming a better singer. Singing is defined as sustained speech over a broad range of connected notes using vibrato, dynamics and emotive interpretation. ‘Connective’ being the operative word -- and the reason why this article can help you understand better, the reasons why speech level singing can tremendously improve the quality of your voice.

As a vocal coach, I have seen countless people walk into my studio and make the same mistake over and over again -- they start to sing on a high octave and completely ignore their true voice -- the lower register. In some cases this tendency is so endemic it takes many lessons to help them kick the habit. When you ONLY sing at the top of your range, where else can you go? Doing this seriously limits your range. I always point this out to my students: make sure you use your lower register -- it helps keep you grounded, not to mention, it helps you expand your range effortlessly.

I’ll give you a very useful tip. Get some old records from yesteryear and have a listen to those. Listen to Frank Sinatra (Strangers in the Night), Shirley Bassey (Goldfinger), Julie London (Cry Me a River), Tom Jones (Yesterday), Nat King Cole (Unforgettable), Andy Williams/Nancy Sinatra/Barbara Streisand (Shadow of Your Smile) and you will see that they all have one thing in common. They use their lower register -- a lot. What I like about old songs is they were very well composed… and made to sound simple and easy to sing. Well, because I use a lot of these songs in my jam sessions with the students I vocal coach, they will all attest to the fact that these songs are far from easy to sing…even though they may sound so, they’re quite the contrary. All the more reason, I say, to practice with these enormous classics. If I’m honest, when I was a kid, THIS is how I learned to sing.
Try speaking the following well-chosen sentences into a tape recorder and LISTEN to your voice very carefully. If you don’t like what you hear, chances are you're not speaking in your true voice. So: work on CHANGING the way you speak by using your lower register to speak (as low as you can get); and then try to sing in that same (lower) register, and work your way up the scale. Use that (lower register) as your base voice (your foundation). You'll be amazed what a huge difference it can make to your singing voice. So, speak the following words, and then try singing them.

Good morning Andy.
How’s your leg?
When are you coming back?
Oh, that’s really wonderful.

In summary: An amateur singer, in most cases (watch and observe), will use ONLY their upper register (or thereabouts) when they sing, limiting their range and the quality of their voice with this one endemic singing faux pas. Combine your lower and upper registers to deliver a well balanced vocal range. Turn to old records for inspiration. It worked for me, I’m sure it’ll work for you. Listen to Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Julie London, Nat King Cole, Tom Jones, Andy Williams and you will see that they all have something in common. They all use their lower register and work their way up the scale. The next time you find yourself singing at the top of your range from start to finish, stop and go back to basics. Work your way into a song from the ground up. You’ll only discover your true voice when you use your lower register.

For piano scales backing tracks to do the scales with, please download FREE mp3 from my HulkShare page here!

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