All Things Vocal Blog & Podcast by Judy Rodman: September 2007

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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The "two-fingers-at-larynx" vocal recording trick

I had an interesting studio trick occur to me tonight. I had a late background vocal session and I am TIRED. I had a phrase that I needed to sing in a high "middle" voice (head voice wouldn't have been the right blend). Normally that's no problem if I use "studio hands", but tonight I found it difficult to do without raising my larynx because my support was lagging ( butt was dragging!)

So I tried something- I very lightly touched two fingers to the front of my larynx (Adam's apple) to remind my larynx that it didn't have to lift to hit those high notes.

Darned if it didn't work! Just this slight suggestion to my automatic nervous system was all the reminder my voice needed, and I dropped the tension trying to build in my voice. I first heard of it from Boston vocal coach Jeannie Deva, who uses it in exercises to remind the larynx not to lift. It's a bit of an advanced technique for the recording studio, but it can come in very handy if you learn to use it in such situations.

Let me know if you try it, or want to learn it.

Lastly... sorry for the blog post about that MTM video again.. I was doing some experimenting with sending YouTube videos to my blog. I thought it was just a draft... I didn't know it would publish automatically. Duh. I deleted from my blog, but you'll have to delete from your email box. Please pardon.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

Vocal training - Who needs it?

How do you know if you need vocal training? To help you decide, I put the following questions together:
  1. Breath - can you get enough breath in; can you control that breath when it is directed at your vocal cords?
  2. Open throat - Do you EVER experience throat tightness resulting in a feeling of vocal strain?
  3. Articulation - Does your audience have trouble understanding you? Could a deaf contingent in your audience read your lips and face and understand you? (They should be able to.)
  4. Emotional connection - can you line up your performance focus and make somebody feel what you're trying to communicate?
  5. Range - do you have enough vocal range to sing your songs without strain?
  6. Bad vocal breaks - can you sing in a constantly changing mix of head and chest so that your voice doesn't "break" and you don't have to push the your top chest voice?
  7. Volume - can you control your levels so that you don't yell in places and then disappear in other places? (A nightmare for your listener or the recording engineer)
  8. Pitch - Do you have pitch problems?
  9. Tone - Is your voice harsh or weak, tinny or "hooty", limited in "colors" with which you can communicate different emotions, missing richness and resonance?
  10. Miscellaneous vocal problems - Are you needing to recover from vocal damage or dysfunction? Do you have trouble with uncontrolled "flutter" when you sing? Is your voice too breathy anywhere in your range? Does your voice hurt in any way when you sing? (Note... if you sing properly you will get PHYSICALLY tired, but should not get vocally tired ("fried").
  11. Level of vocal ability - Do you want to increase what your voice can do in any way?
I hope this helps you with your decision, and if you are studying voice, I also hope this helps you figure out whether or not your training is working! (If you are my student, use this list as a checklist for further goals you wish to reach - and lets discuss them at your next lesson) Read this blog for continuing free vocal info, and be sure to share your questions, concerns and comments. Contact me for lesson scheduling, in office or via Skype or phone.