Why learn voice technique?

Why study voice technique?

Have you ever had a dessert that was all sickly sweet frosting and no cake? That’s what it’s like to listen to someone who is pouring their heart out on stage but hasn’t mastered the fundamentals: in other words, has bad pitch, an unpleasant tone, missed or cracked notes. That’s one reason singers need to study technique. Technique allows you to be in control of your instrument so that you can express yourself fully in whatever style you want — and sound good!

Another reason is vocal health and endurance. Do you know somebody who’s naturally slender, and can eat whatever they want and not gain weight? And they hardly ever exercise? I know a few, and it’s very easy to hate them because I have to work so much harder! On the other hand, because I wanted to avoid looking like the Pillsbury doughboy, I’ve built some amount of discipline into my life in terms of healthy diet and exercise. (OK, I’m a long way from perfect, but I have made improvements which I know are going to serve my health in the long run.)

In a similar way, there are people who are blessed with incredible instruments, who just seem to have been born with the ability to open their mouths and make beautiful sounds. (I am not one of them!) But these people are the exceptions. Most of us need to work on voice technique in order to sound great. And I believe that even those “naturals” should learn the fundamentals of their craft to avoid problems down the road.  Otherwise, how will they know what to do when they get a cold? And what will happen to them as they age?

What is voice technique?

Simply stated, voice technique is training that prepares your voice for the challenges of singing songs. It is physical training for the voice: learning to use all of the muscles involved in producing sounds in the most efficient and healthy way.

What are the goals of voice technique?

As I stated in my previous blog, there are several goals that I have for students in terms of vocal technique:

Excellent Intonation (pitch). When you are playing a piano or other instrument, you don’t have to worry about this. As long as the piano tuner has done his job, you can just play the notes and they will come out right. However, because of the subtleties of voice production, you can have a good ear and still have trouble with intonation. Bottom line: if you sing even a few notes off-key, you brand yourself as an amateur.

Minimize cracking. This is a problem for many people and one that I struggled with in the past. It usually happens in the passagio, the area in the middle of your range where chest shifts to head register. Let’s face it – If you have notes you can’t trust to come out right, it’s going to undermine your confidence, and no amount of performance coaching is going to help. Believe me, I tried everything! Finally, through working on Somatic Voicework™ (The Lovetri Method) I was able to smooth the coordination between registers that has virtually eliminated the problem – and given me much more freedom in my singing!

Two to two-and-one-half octaves of consistent tone. You’re going to be very limited in your choice of repertoire if you don’t have a large enough range. This can usually be extended – sometimes dramatically so! – with vocal training.

The ability to sing both loud and soft, all vowels, without distortion. This is the indication of a consistent yet flexible voice that is capable of power and nuance.

Maintain vocal health and build stamina to meet professional – level performance demands. Some of my students have to sing four sets a night with a loud band, or perform in a show six days a week. These kind of performance demands are similar to what elite athletes train for. Vocal technique raises your endurance level and teaches you to use your voice correctly so that you can prevent injury and sound great – over the long haul.

If you have particular issues or concerns about your voice, and would like to find out how you might benefit from learning voice technique, please contact me to set up your free consultation.

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