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!

Friday, March 2, 2012

What Singers Can Learn From Master Musicians

Well, actually singers can learn lots of things from master musicians, but I want to highlight this one today: The secret of the light-just-right touch. Great musicians know that pressure matters, for instance...
  • When drummers hit drums too hard, they lose tone from their drums. They end up sounding oddly smaller with more attack than tone.
  • When guitarists/bassists/etc strum or pluck too hard, they lose the best resonance of their instruments, and makes fluid playing movements harder. 
  • When piano players strike keys too hard, they also lose the best tone... whether playing acoustic or electronic keys. In the recent TV documentary about Elton John and Leon Russell's "The Union" project, I heard Elton speak about Leon's great touch.
  • When string players bow too hard they cannot control pitch or tone and usually get sent to distant rooms to practice:)
  •  When horn or other wind instrument players blow too hard, they get a pitchy splat... and not in a good way!

What master musicians know and practice is the secret of the light-just-right touch which coaxes the brilliance out of their instruments, gives them control of pitch and dynamics, allows for easier movement upon their instruments. Even when bearing down for more power, these musicians still 'pull their punches' and never play as hard as they can upon their axes.

This secret is directly applicable to singers. We're talking about the light-just-right touch of air applied to the vocal cords. Our voices need adequate and consistent breath support, sure, but breath support that is CONTROLLED. With this balanced pressure we get much better vocal tone, more technical ability, we record better and we have the added bonus of protecting our instruments from strain!

In other words... for great singing try backing off breath pressure. Just a bit, especially on the power notes. There... doesn't that sound/feel better? Comments welcome.

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