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Singers Key Notes: Strong Speaking Voice/Weak Singing Voice?

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Why is it that we can talk loud and strong but our singing is thin and tentative almost inaudible? Who taught us that singing was not natural? Why did we believe them? Where did we learn that singing is really hard? Who told us that singing is something other than normal and natural?

Unfortunately I do not have answers to any of these questions. They are questions that have haunted me. However, I have developed a solution that undoes this destructive thinking.

I took two of my grandchildren to a high musical last, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The kids were good speakers, most of them, but their singing was almost non-existent. What a shame! Their speaking voices were distinct and interesting. The singing was uniformly weak and boring.

Why? Fear. There is something terrifying about singing so that others can hear. Singing is the closest thing to full-front nudity with all your clothes on. The better the singer, the more is revealed about their heart and soul. So singing, truly great singing is quite vulnerable and intimate. Thus the fear.

We also have been taught somewhere along the way that singing is something other than natural. That to sing we must do something extra-ordinary to sing, when the truth is that singing is the most natural of all musical instruments.

Physiologically, the speaking voice and the singing voice are one instrument. You do not carry around a voice box labeled Use for Singing Only. Yet the prevailing subconscious thought is that you need to physically change something in the vocal apparatus to sing. The Morganix Method uses speech on musical pitch to combine the natural ease of the speaking voice with musical pitch of singing. With practice, speaking on pitch eliminates the urge to manipulate the vocal apparatus to sing, making the process simple and natural.

Let's take a look at the possibility of utilizing the natural ease of speech as the foundation for singing. You can talk all day long without giving a thought to vocal production. It's as natural as yawning. But sometimes you open your mouth to sing and the Uh-oh, I can't do this! A moment of panic sets in. By the time this unattractive flash of terror subsides, the song is over and you are still holding your breath.

You speak on pitch in normal conversation. You also speak in rhythm sometimes smooth and legato, sometimes pointed and staccato. The musical elements of speech define your distinct voice. Pitch and rhythm specify the meaning of your words and give them life. Others recognize your speaking voice by its musical qualities.

Listen for the musical elements of your speech. Try matching musical pitches to a common phrase such as,Have a nice day.Say the phrase and try to find the notes on which you spoke by playing them on an instrument. Switch it around and play a pitch then speak on that pitch to begin your phrase.

As emerging research improves our understanding of the acoustics, mechanics and neurological function of the vocal apparatus, the rules of the speaking voice and singing voice blend into one. Speaking on pitch requires a crossover in the brain in order to speak (a left brain activity) on musical pitch (a right brain activity). Speaking with emotional inflection, as far as brain activity is concerned, practically is singing. Practice helps the two lobes of the brain work together habitually to produce speech on musical pitch.

Those kids in Willy Wonka could have blown the audience away by speaking on musical pitch instead of singing in traditional way they have been socialized and taught. There is no physical change that has to take place, but a thought process of open the body (inhale) then think, speak through the space. Now you are speaking on pitch.

Using the speaking voice as a foundation for singing solves many typical vocal challenges. Fully embodied speech grounds the vocalization process deep in the body where support and strength are provided. This grounding in turn creates a fatter sound wave around the fundamental pitch giving your voice a richer quality.

Give it a try! Email me with your questions and comments.

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