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!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Numb Singing Or Speaking Voice? Question: What Are You LOOKING At?


This is yet another post I want to do on eyes for the voice. Bare with me, but as a vocal coach for singers and speakers, I talk a lot about eyes. This is because the sound of your voice can be dramatically changed by what the 'windows of your soul' are focused on. Even a great blind singer speaks with eye language, moving tissue behind and around the orbs of the eyes. Like an athletic event, when the eye is unfocused, movement creating vocal sound is, too. Like a camera eye must choose its focus, you must learn to choose your message delivery point, zoom in like a laser and block out visual distraction!

To experience visual vocal technique, try the following experiment:

Choose some phrase, such as 'what are you doing?' Speak it in each of the following ways, every time at the same volume. Only change your eyes, and say it:
  • with your eyes very still, not really focused on anything.
  • with your eyes very active as if talking to a baby or puppy.
  • with with your eyes frowning at a someone.
  • with one eyebrow up.
  • with eyes laser focused on someone else's eyes (a picture of someone maybe).
  • with laughing eyes.
  • with closed eyes, but imagining speaking to someone
  • with closed eyes, not really focused on anyone in particular.
What did you notice? Did you experience how your eyes directed your larynx, soft palate, jaw, tongue, shoulder tension, neckbone, articulation even your spinal curves and ribcage and the sense of where your breath came from?  Try making up a melody and singing a phrase as you change your eye language. Record it and hear for yourself how vocal tone changes.

Next time you want to wake up a numb vocal performance, try REALLY looking at the object of the lyric. Yep, even if that person is not there. If it's to your own heart, put yourself outside your body. If it's a story song, look at the one composite heart of the audience.

And a big hint for vocal recording in the studio: Stop looking at the pop filter. Look through or past it TO the heart you're lyrics target. Could be represented by a little sticky on the far wall:) Let me know what changes! (More at www.SingingInTheStudio.com) Really. Your comments are most welcome...

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  • At January 15, 2015 at 7:11 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Another fantastic post, Judy. This could be especially helpful for students whose eyes wander around the studio. I'm talking about that unfocused wandering that happens when they just go on "autopilot." The resulting sound can be flat and boring. Some of my students think I'm crazy when I ask them to "sing to the ____ on the wall" (insert something on the studio walls).

    Thanks for the teaching inspiration!

  • At January 16, 2015 at 8:09 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Thank YOU Sara, for your feedback here! So glad you find this helpful. I'm happy your students have found such a caring and creative teacher as you are! May none of us ever stop learning:)


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