So What is Voice Technique, Exactly?

So What is Voice Technique, Exactly?

Jeanie Lovetri, creator of Somatic Voicework(tm) the Lovetri Method

Jeanie Lovetri at Somatic Voicework ™ Review

I used to think technique was boring.  It was just something to get through so that I could sing a song, and perform, which is what I really loved.  It wasn’t until I started studying with Jeanie LoVetri and became certified in her method that I began to find it fascinating.  The reason? She explained voice function in a way that made sense.  Over time I began to understand, and more importantly, experience how mastery of technique  leads directly to freedom of expression — which is the ultimate goal, right?

So what is voice technique, exactly? Functional voice training targets the different muscles involved in making sound to work at their peak effectiveness.  Just like an elite athlete must stay in excellent condition and train consistently in their sport, a pro singer needs to have their voice in great shape all the time.  This means working out a progressive training regime with a qualified teacher designed for the specific kind of music you will be singing (belting out a rock song requires a different sound than singing a jazz ballad) and practicing consistently to stay in good shape.

To give you an overview, these are the sets of muscles used in singing that must be trained:

  • Singing at SVW review at UMD

    Singing at SVW review at UMD

    The Breathing Apparatus.  Includes lungs, ribs, intercostals (muscles between the ribs), diaphragm and abdominal muscles.  Posture (alignment) must be optimal so that the breath can flow freely.  Intercostal muscles must be strengthened to keep the ribs expanded and allow maximum input into the lungs.  Abdominal muscles must be relaxed in order for the diaphragm to descend freely, and must be strong enough to contract and control the ascent of the diaphragm during the exhalation phase.  Your voice teacher should give you some feedback on your posture and give you exercises to help you improve your breath support.  When additional work in this area is needed, an Alexander, Feldenkrais, or Yoga teacher may be recommended.

  • The Vocal Folds (cords). Housed in the larynx, the vocal folds are what actually make the sound, by oscillating and making contact (at an incredibly fast rate!).  While we can’t directly access or control these muscles, we can exercise them in a very targeted way through the different sounds we make.  Your voice teacher should give you a series of vocalises – scales sung on different vowels and consonants, using a variety of tonal qualities – that will stretch and exercise the cords to increase power, range and flexibility.  You will need to practice these consistently to get the best results.
  • The Resonators. Sound bounces off the various cavities in the head, chest, soft palate, and entire naso-pharyngeal area.  In order to project and to control the tone, we need to activate these muscles.  Your teacher should help you create awareness of the resonators, build strength where it is needed, and give you vocalises to exercise the full spectrum of tonal qualities.
  • Articulators.  The final step in the vocalizing process is turning the raw sound into vowels, consonants, words, and finally – meaning.  Your teacher should give you exercises to help free the jaw, lips and tongue, and in many cases, help to undo years of tension and restriction in these muscles.

I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to study with one of the greatest living masters of vocal technique and to see the results in my studio every day!

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