One of my favorite teaching devices is using analogies and similes to explain something. I appreciate that a lot also as a student. In the past weeks, my voice teacher has used this resource multiple times. For lowering the larynx, I’ve been told to think of yawning (even, starting a yawn). The second one was thinking of the facial gesture of someone who is crying (the cheeks slightly upwards, the eyes a bit closed). This is great for inducing the kind of larynx placement we are looking for.
Speaking of crying, it seems like the body mechanisms involved could facilitate voice production for singers. Just hear a baby crying! They can get very loud and cry for long stretches of time without needing any voice training. When a person cries, there’s an emotional element already there that is part of this body mechanism. For that reason, it would be a good idea to remind ourselves of singing as an act of emotion sharing. We could even bring this to our vocalizations!
There are specific exercises that can be useful to bring the larynx down. This week I experimented with some of them (you can listen to a sample below, in the recordings section). The ‘U’ vowel would be the best to get a low larynx position. If you put a hand on your Adam’s apple and try saying ‘UHHHH’, you’ll easily notice the downward movement. Compare that to what happens when saying ‘AHHHH’.
This week I also tried an exercise to release excessive tension in my tongue. This is something I started noting when practicing my American English accent. There are sounds that call for a very loose tongue. If you have even a bit of tension, it’s hard to get the right sound. Even though I trained that for some time with the spoken language, in singing it seems to be a different thing. Time to work on that again!
The Fifth Week of Practice
On November 1st I had my fifth voice lesson. This is how I’m officially starting my second month of practice 🙂. The practice is getting more consistent now. This week, I only missed one day of practice (November 4th). I’m trying to avoid skipping days from now on.
Now that I’m feeling more comfortable with the vocalization routines, I start appreciating more the technical work I do in between the lessons. At the beginning of the project I only wanted to sing the songs. It’s not that I don’t look forward to singing the songs anymore. I realized that the technical work provides me the training I need to be able to express what I want to share when singing. It’s a means to that end!
This week I finally chose the third song I’ll practice in this project: Der Neugierige, by Franz Schubert (number 6 piece from Die schöne Müllerin, D.795). It’s one of my all-time favorites by Schubert!
Here’s a short excerpt (I’m playing the piano part here):
Mandee Madrid-Sikich has timely uploaded her piano accompaniment version in Ab major, so I’ll be happy to use it for my practice sessions. Thanks Mandee, one more time!
On a side note, here’s a recording of the AH-UH-AH exercise mentioned above (the goal is to keep the larynx way down all the time):
Finally, here’s a recording where I’m trying to keep my tongue free of unnecessary tension while practicing with a MI-AH sound:
That’s all for now! 😊