Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

For Strainfree Vocal Power... watch where you squeeze!

Ever heard the phrase, "sing your butt off"?

Well, that's what works, and that is the source of the "Power" I suggest for your voice in Power, Path & Performance vocal training.

Funny story.. I got turned down for a voice teaching position at a university once. They didn't like it when I mentioned the apparently taboo body part in the lesson I gave at my teacher audition. (They also didn't like it that I taught by my own method.)

OK, this may be squeamish to some, but imho, I don't think real singing is for the squeamish. The truth is, your voice needs your butt. Literally.

If you tighten your butt, notice a correlating tightening of your lower abs. This will cause a shifting of your abdominal contents upwards, which supports the diaphragm moving upwards. However, it's vitally important that you don't let the squeeze move upwards to the bottom of your ribcage. This area should remain wide and flexible to give your diaphragm the ability to control your airflow.

Fact:
Squeezing at the wrong place- your ribcage- directly applies squeeze at your larynx.

Try it... press your elbows into the sides of your ribcage and slump forward so you get a real good squeeze there. Feel it in your throat? Not good in any genre, for any reason except some weird sound effect you need to make... and that better pay reeeeaaallllyyy well.

Sometimes I call this the "power of the pelvic floor". You can think Elvis, if it pleases you. However you picture it, singing is like many other athletic endeavors in that its power base should be centered right in front of the tailbone, in the pelvic floor, the hips, hey... the butt.

Think about the butt's contribution to ...
  • horseback riding
  • golf
  • baseball
  • wrestling
  • weight lifting
  • soccer
  • dance
  • tennis
  • volleyball
  • swimming
  • skating
  • most any other sport you can name
Then realize that great singing is truly an athletic event. I like to term well-executed vocal exercises "vocal aerobics".

So there. Go sing your butt off- not your throat!

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