The Voice behind the Music

change your thoughts

Be the Singer you Love

Singing as if you are someone else can help you get out of your way and take the pressure off. It can also help you escape your less productive singing habits and enjoy some already well tested good habits. Sing as an opera singer would. Just pretend, feel silly if you must. Start by first hearing the Opera Singer in your mind and then, without question or holding back, sing like them. Try on your favorite singers of all time, go directly to the top of the list. Take on the physical stance and confidence of your personal Singing Legend. You may notice that you have better tone and breath control. You may find that getting to the end of that line or singing that difficult passage is effortless. Beeeeee that other singer, the one you love.

Vowels “The Long Tube of Sound”

Words are made up of a series of sounds rather than a solid square block of sound. When singing there is all sorts of room to play with the word; movable vowels and consonants. One word (or group of sounds) moves to the next group of sounds continuously.

The longer more expressive sounds are generally vowels. I like to think of the vowels as my “long tube of sound “ which I then shape with my tongue and lips slightly to make the consonant sounds.

To practice, start your first word of a line with its vowel-sound even if the word actually starts with a consonant. This will help you to start with an open throat. Begin by thinking of and shaping your throat with the vowel sound you are about to sing while breathing in. Then sing the first vowel sound, and without stopping that sound, shape the first consonant of the word.
Your sound should be continuous from sound shape to sound shape. The only time the sound will stop is when you take a breath.

aaa-th-aaa “the” aaathaaariiiiveeeerriiisswiiiide (the river is wide)

You can practice whole melodies on one vowel sound to help smooth out all kinds of difficulties. Slide from note to note to help maintain composure and relaxation between pitches.
Next you can practice the song using only the vowel sounds of each word (leaving out the consonants altogether). This takes a bit more work mostly because it is hard to think that way. You can write out the vowel sounds and then sing them (considerably easier). Sing continuously moving from one vowel to the next, only stopping to take breaths.

Try to remember it what this feels like. Change nothing, do nothing.

Add back in the consonants trying to maintain “your tube of sound”. Try not to pinch off “the tube” when you shape the consonants. Merely move your tongue or lips slightly (as little as possible) around the tube. There is no need for facial exaggeration when making consonants.
Check yourself out in the mirror to monitor. Happy tubing!


Renewable Dreams

I was reading Bette Midler”s tips “10 Things I Know Now” in AARP yesterday. Ha Ha, I can’t believe I was reading AARP it but I was. She said something like “if you lose your dream get a new dream.” So simple. I love wisdom tidbits especially from people who have experience. Dreams born from passion, mother and child.

Giving up a dream can be as hard as quitting an addiction.How do you know when your dream is unhealthy? You were high once, then hit ground, high again, then bouncing. That’s the nature of dreams. If a dream has a material goal with a predetermined ending point still unrequited (which has a certain sexy appeal) when do you stop?

I can definitely relate with being disappointed that things turned out differently than an originally imagined ending but usually I hear that stupid song again. It’s one of those annoyingly catchy jingles with words like loser and quitter snaked in the verse. Then there’s the bridge with that fantastic turn around at the end “Just One More Time” and I head to the cash register.

The death of passion however is another story. If the mystery is gone why would you want to do anything? If there isn’t something born greater than yourself and your practice time, then boo hoo, it’s bad. I’ve been there, to the point of no return. Allergic to my own dream. The loss of creative passion was unfathomable to me, I walked around checking my pulse, I couldn’t believe that I had killed that part of me. I was in the mud in the dark.

Luckily for us sensitives, passion can be resuscitated with a good set of paddles and some mouth to mouth. You fly to the ER. You get a heart transplant. There is a recovery period. For me it was pretty damn long. I still walk gingerly, looking nervously behind me hoping the boogie man is gone. I stumble across a new dream.

Having a passion or dream is more a way of being in and WITH the world. It can have an outcome but that is not the real “WHY” of it. Now I think of dreams very much the same as sleeping dreams; veiled, transparent, unpredictable. One minute you’re at the grocery store squeezing avocados and then you’re in a kayak cascading down a 100 foot waterfall and your groceries stay in the boat unsullied. That’s magic. Letting your dreams morph over time keeps them a renewable resource, a reason to be, a process not an ending point. Like Bette said: “squeeze an avocado, get a kayak.”