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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The beauty of backing off vocal pressure

I just wrote with a wonderful new pop artist, Skye Dyer, today. She was suffering from an allergy attack, with the resulting swelling of the vocal cords. As I watched her sing our song for a worktape cd we made, I noticed something she did to accomplish a good vocal in spite of her compromised vocal condition.

She backed off the pressure. As she "went for" the highest part of the song, I inwardly cringed as I played the keyboard, expecting her to do what I see far too many singers doing... applying force to reach that note. And she didn't. And it came out with an unexpected clarity and openness.

Backing off air pressure is a master vocal technique. Fear can make it almost impossible without the confidence that it will indeed work. My suggestion for you:

Get out your hardest song. At the place you have the most trouble, try applying so little air pressure that it seems you're breathing the note in instead of out. Spin it, weightlessly, using pelvic floor support and having your head in line with your tailbone.

Let me know how it works for you. And look for Skye Dyer songs and concerts on the horizon. She's great.



  • At October 1, 2008 at 4:37 AM , Blogger Kelley Ann Hornyak said...

    Judy, thank you for pointing me to this post. Singing with far too much pressure has been my problem for years. I think I may have some real damage as a result of that, and I'm (possibly naively) hoping to heal that on my own with softer speech and less pressure when singing. I am learning so much from you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. There are so many of us out here who can learn from you.

  • At October 4, 2008 at 5:09 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Kelley... I want to encourage you that backing off the pressure can bring MIRACULOUS results.

    Try singing with a paper pad in front of your face so you can hear your voice bouncing back to you. Back off like that paper is someone's ear and you don't want to make them cringe from your yelling pressure. Hey... I think I'll do a post about this, it works great for a lot of people.

  • At October 13, 2008 at 12:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    To Judy-
    I always knew how important dynamics were, but until seeing it explained this way, I didn't fully grasp the importance.

    I can't begin to describe the problem areas this little suggestion has helped me to solve.

    To Kelley Ann - I think you'll heal just fine. I mean, if you have any hoarseness or anything not going away, you'd wanna see a doctor. But, for normal wear and tear, you really can start to feel the healing, once applying this technique.

    Know something I've learned? I try to incorporate the natural tone of my "yawning voice" into my high notes... I'm not sure how to make that make sense, though.


  • At June 5, 2011 at 12:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Judy: I was just reading in Wayne Dyer's recent book "The Power Of Intention." In it, he describes Skye's life long desire and gift for singing, and her decision to leave formal voice and music training in a major university. He and she agreed that she needed to be open to pursuing her dream to write & record her own music in a state of openness,and grace apart from the university, but in cooperation with the Universe. I now know that you became an integral part of her achieving her dream, to invoke the magic Wayne speaks about so often. Thank God for you, and your magical gift of serving and blessing us all so that our music can be heard.
    Dr. Dwaine Allison

  • At June 5, 2011 at 11:04 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Dr. Dwaine... What a sweet note; mucho thanks! Actually, you know, you are a big reason I can do what I do.

    I find it amazing how we are purposely connected with others for reasons that often only materialize down the line. I'm very grateful to have been placed in your path- and I 'pass you forward' all the time!


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