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Universal Techniques that can help singing...It's deeper than we think

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izzle1989
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What are some of the famous and well know "singing techniques" that you know? How do you feel these techniques relate to everyday life? Can these same techniques be used to complete other tasks?

I already know how I feel about these things, but I would like to see what other people think.

Maybe we can make some progress instead of just arguing about who is right or wrong.

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The technical approach and structure is very similar to how I was learning tennis. Simple reference, consolidate, move on into a little more complex, consolidate, and so on. External feedback being a huge factor to point obvious problems that we often dont see for ourselves Makes sense?

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The technical approach and structure is very similar to how I was learning tennis. Simple reference, consolidate, move on into a little more complex, consolidate, and so on. External feedback being a huge factor to point obvious problems that we often dont see for ourselves Makes sense?

Yes that makes a lot of sense.

I associate singing with everything natural that I do.

I am a sprinter and posture is very important for efficient mechanics. When tension is present in a certain body part it hinders the ability for me to obtain the correct posture. When I lack specific strength in a certain area it also hinders me from obtaining this posture.

The same issues I have with sprinting correctly are the issues that hamper my singing ability.

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Universal Techniques in my mind would be support, Lifted soft pallet, Open throat, and twang.

How to do these things I have no idea. That is why I am here. By reading these threads I am learning.

It seems that how and when to do these things are different for the different styles of singing.

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Universal Techniques in my mind would be support, Lifted soft pallet, Open throat, and twang.

How to do these things I have no idea. That is why I am here. By reading these threads I am learning.

It seems that how and when to do these things are different for the different styles of singing.

All of these things should occur naturally.

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"should" happen naturally! :) If they did, we probably wouldn't need this forum :-P

I think we as singers need to aim to reach a stage where the above mentioned points by Mdew happen without conscious effort. That comes as a result of training, and more training, and then some!

I'm not sure if this can happen naturally, given that we have been using the voice for speech for eons, and it's just not the same basic setup as is required for singing.

I too exercise a fair amount, and associate singing training with my exercise regime - build the foundation strength first, then move on to complicated / area specific training. Take rest when needed, drink lots of water! Just like building big biceps or a 6 pack, it isn't gonna happen over night. Be prepared to invest time in your self. Even if you do 3 basic exercises the right way, it'll take your voice to new levels. Certain days will be better than others, but that's the beauty of it. This Sure has worked for me.

hope that helps

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Izz, everything that Im learning and trainning is done with the objective of the mechanism becomming simply: breath in -> sing what you want. Very natural, very easy.

Still, the process is not natural, to me it is almost alien, specially breath support and resonance tracking. I could not even feel resonance when I began trainning with my current coach. Before, support consisted of inhale, press down, send voice out and keep it strong. Head voice was simply, send it back and raise soft palllet, keep it strong. Took me several years to get rid of the problems, and I still fight a few.

To me, and for most people I know, natural or unnatural approach, it all comes down to the quality of the orientation you receive.

All the technical definitions I know, if done improperly will lead to problems rather than solving them. And even your natural approach, if not done by someone that, as I believe that you do, knows what he is doing, will result in the same problems I had in the past.

There are certain things that I most surely will agree with you. For example, finding references on natural things that the student do, like an emotional reaction, or a scream of pain, calling someone that is far away, etc... Cultural differences play also a great role.

For example, just imagine the ammount of damage someone who picks a reference material done for western language and culture and apply it to an asian singer, or someone from africa, without hearing what the person does with his voice and understanding first? Covering for example, for someone with a totally different focal point in his voice? What a mess would it become?

Perception, orientation and defined goals, I think its more important than the methods applied. I know a very skilled classical coach who will tell you how useless and ridiculous I am for advocating the use of sibilances and other unvoiced exercises to train support, he would probably say "yes, and how many songs do you know that are done only in ssss or zzzz?", "support is used to sing, so it must be trainned with singing", and so on.

If all these methods works, even being different, to me its clear that rather than the method, the human factor is the crucial part in it.

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Most people on this forum have admitted that they had or still have trouble singing in the passagio. There are basic setups or techniques that they use to navigate this area. Some will say they have to twang more some twang less. One persons technique is to back off of vocal weight and go lighter another may say support more and keep your connection. Yes these will all work if you do it right. And it should be natural.

I have laughed my a-- off and tried to speak and I was way above my passagio. Afterward I would try to make the same configuration with the same result and it would sound nothing like it did when I was actually laughing.

Crying may be natural, laughing may be natural, but sustaining a note for varying lengths of time or gliding from C2 to C5 or singing a succession of notes on specific pitches and having a consistant tone or varying tone to convey emotion is not natural.

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If I'm honest I'm a little uncertain what the initial question is, but going with the flow of the thread anyway ;) ...

I think izzle is right when they say 'it should happen naturally'. The vocal cords are muscles, we already know how to use them, and we cover an immense dynamic range when we speak anyway (particularly women). However, I also think bigfoot has identified the major problem with singing for most people - 'If [it] did [happen naturally], we probably wouldn't need this forum'... or teaching of any description!

Many singing teachers use phrases like 'open throat', 'sing from the diaphragm', etc... which are all true! but not necessarily helpful... like bigfoot has already hinted at, if singers could understand these instructions 100% of the time and 'just do it' then they wouldn't need lessons! Singers are very hit and miss with their results with these instructions. So something can definitely be improved here. We want to be working towards a 100% success rate. Don't get me wrong, the results these instructions are getting at are definitely characteristics of good singing... but (IMO) they are not the cause.

When I say Izzle is right about 'it should happen naturally', you already know how to operate your vocal cords - you do instinctually and without thinking. Posters have already commented on how they are using things they do in everyday life that they CAN do (e.g. laughing, crying, particular words/sounds), to help them achieve something they CAN'T do in their singing (e.g. appropriate adduction, resistance to airflow etc). I would liken this to using a roadmap we already have - the one we use instinctively for speaking/vocalising in everyday life - and then mapping the experience of singing onto this existing successful roadmap, so that we achieve the vocal co-ordinations that we already know how to do, but in our singing. From there we can start to trust that our voice will just work as it should when we sing, just as we do when we speak, i.e. so that it's not just hit and miss on any given day whether we can 'work out' how to do something or not. The goal (for me at least!) is to be able to sing as instinctually and as naturally as when I speak, so that I don't have to think about it, it just happens on demand.

That's my take on the gist of this thread anyway! Apologies if I'm miles wide of the mark!

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Izz, everything that Im learning and trainning is done with the objective of the mechanism becomming simply: breath in -> sing what you want. Very natural, very easy.

Still, the process is not natural, to me it is almost alien, specially breath support and resonance tracking. I could not even feel resonance when I began trainning with my current coach. Before, support consisted of inhale, press down, send voice out and keep it strong. Head voice was simply, send it back and raise soft palllet, keep it strong. Took me several years to get rid of the problems, and I still fight a few.

To me, and for most people I know, natural or unnatural approach, it all comes down to the quality of the orientation you receive.

All the technical definitions I know, if done improperly will lead to problems rather than solving them. And even your natural approach, if not done by someone that, as I believe that you do, knows what he is doing, will result in the same problems I had in the past.

There are certain things that I most surely will agree with you. For example, finding references on natural things that the student do, like an emotional reaction, or a scream of pain, calling someone that is far away, etc... Cultural differences play also a great role.

For example, just imagine the ammount of damage someone who picks a reference material done for western language and culture and apply it to an asian singer, or someone from africa, without hearing what the person does with his voice and understanding first? Covering for example, for someone with a totally different focal point in his voice? What a mess would it become?

Perception, orientation and defined goals, I think its more important than the methods applied. I know a very skilled classical coach who will tell you how useless and ridiculous I am for advocating the use of sibilances and other unvoiced exercises to train support, he would probably say "yes, and how many songs do you know that are done only in ssss or zzzz?", "support is used to sing, so it must be trainned with singing", and so on.

If all these methods works, even being different, to me its clear that rather than the method, the human factor is the crucial part in it.

First of all I would like to thank you for such a fine post Felipe :cool:

Now I would like to say this, the feelings that are described in singing are all things that are "suppose" to occur naturally to one extent or another. If we start from the foundation we can figure out exactly what we need to target.

1. Posture-The ideal posture is very hard to obtain because of tension, constrictions, and weaknesses in certain muscles. The ideal posture would occur naturally with a more active lifestyle and less sitting. Since this is not the case with most people an exercise regimen with some focus on flexibility can help to get back towards natural.

2. Breathing- The ideal breathing technique is one that allows the ribs to expand, the free and complete descent of the diaphragm, and the expansion of the core as a result. The ideal breathing would occur naturally if the posture is correct and the tensions are release around the core upon inhale, but with many people this is not the case. This is a direct result of scenario number one.

3. Phonation- Obviously we all know that the correct and most efficient phonation is a clear crisp tone with efficient vocal fold closure. This does not happen among most singers. As I have been stating this should occur naturally, but this is only an effect of the tension that number 1 and 2 have caused.

I know that there are more causes and effects for certain problems and these problems, but this was just an example to show just how natural things should be.

It is our aim to take these natural occurrences and try to fix them with as natural of a solution as possible. If not we could cause more bad habits with the tools we use to fix them. This is one of the most important reasons why you need a trained teacher with a great ear in your corner.

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Most people on this forum have admitted that they had or still have trouble singing in the passagio. There are basic setups or techniques that they use to navigate this area. Some will say they have to twang more some twang less. One persons technique is to back off of vocal weight and go lighter another may say support more and keep your connection. Yes these will all work if you do it right. And it should be natural.

I have laughed my a-- off and tried to speak and I was way above my passagio. Afterward I would try to make the same configuration with the same result and it would sound nothing like it did when I was actually laughing.

Crying may be natural, laughing may be natural, but sustaining a note for varying lengths of time or gliding from C2 to C5 or singing a succession of notes on specific pitches and having a consistant tone or varying tone to convey emotion is not natural.

These are actually great learning tools to help influence the correct actions of the singing voice.

If we stopped trying to look at singing as "singing" but only an extension of speech things tend to get a lot easier.

First and foremost we must understand how natural and closely related singing and speaking are.

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If I'm honest I'm a little uncertain what the initial question is, but going with the flow of the thread anyway ;) ...

I think izzle is right when they say 'it should happen naturally'. The vocal cords are muscles, we already know how to use them, and we cover an immense dynamic range when we speak anyway (particularly women). However, I also think bigfoot has identified the major problem with singing for most people - 'If [it] did [happen naturally], we probably wouldn't need this forum'... or teaching of any description!

Many singing teachers use phrases like 'open throat', 'sing from the diaphragm', etc... which are all true! but not necessarily helpful... like bigfoot has already hinted at, if singers could understand these instructions 100% of the time and 'just do it' then they wouldn't need lessons! Singers are very hit and miss with their results with these instructions. So something can definitely be improved here. We want to be working towards a 100% success rate. Don't get me wrong, the results these instructions are getting at are definitely characteristics of good singing... but (IMO) they are not the cause.

When I say Izzle is right about 'it should happen naturally', you already know how to operate your vocal cords - you do instinctually and without thinking. Posters have already commented on how they are using things they do in everyday life that they CAN do (e.g. laughing, crying, particular words/sounds), to help them achieve something they CAN'T do in their singing (e.g. appropriate adduction, resistance to airflow etc). I would liken this to using a roadmap we already have - the one we use instinctively for speaking/vocalising in everyday life - and then mapping the experience of singing onto this existing successful roadmap, so that we achieve the vocal co-ordinations that we already know how to do, but in our singing. From there we can start to trust that our voice will just work as it should when we sing, just as we do when we speak, i.e. so that it's not just hit and miss on any given day whether we can 'work out' how to do something or not. The goal (for me at least!) is to be able to sing as instinctually and as naturally as when I speak, so that I don't have to think about it, it just happens on demand.

That's my take on the gist of this thread anyway! Apologies if I'm miles wide of the mark!

I would like to thank you for this gem of a post it is right on target with what I am getting at here.

I have heard too many times a voice teacher tell a singer to open the throat and lift the soft palate. These are things that occur naturally when we just relax and take a deep breath.

We all deserve the right to sing and the best way to do anything is the most natural way...I just want to make sure that none of the readers associate natural with habitual there is a major difference.

Singing should be just as easy as speaking and speaking should be just as easy as singing.

Lets work to get closer to what is natural by performing things that "seem" unnatural due to the habitual instincts instead of the natural instincts.

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if i had to do it all over agian, the best advice i can give beginners is to develop strength in the head voice "musculature" first. no strong head voice, no complete performance voice.....

build that unused part of the voice first. it's the part we don't habitually speak with.

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if i had to do it all over agian, the best advice i can give beginners is to develop strength in the head voice "musculature" first. no strong head voice, no complete performance voice.....

build that unused part of the voice first. it's the part we don't habitually speak with.

This is so true.

If I had to do it all over again I would have never separated the head/chest voice.

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This is so true.

If I had to do it all over again I would have never separated the head/chest voice.

The only thing I would add is that we need to develop head voice, but not to the exclusion of chest voice. THe two need to be connected to create that illusion of one voice to the audience. The goal I have when singing is to connect the bottom to the top and the top to the bottom with an even connected quality. The quality of the top suffers without the bottom, and the quality of the bottom suffers without the top.

On the topic of great truths, Spencer Welch (SLS guy in Canada) said that if someone struggles with their voice, when teaching them/exercising, they need to spend 2/3rds of their time in that part of their voice.

And another one, is that Guthrie Govan says everything is hard until you've done it so often it becomes easy.

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Universal truths:

breathe

resonate

if it hurts, stop it.

That almost reads like a haiku.

I was a poet, and didn't know it.

But my feet did show it because

the are longfellows.

Great post Ron I agree with you completely.

If everything is functioning correctly it almost feels like the voice just magically places itself into existence.

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The only thing I would add is that we need to develop head voice, but not to the exclusion of chest voice. THe two need to be connected to create that illusion of one voice to the audience. The goal I have when singing is to connect the bottom to the top and the top to the bottom with an even connected quality. The quality of the top suffers without the bottom, and the quality of the bottom suffers without the top.

On the topic of great truths, Spencer Welch (SLS guy in Canada) said that if someone struggles with their voice, when teaching them/exercising, they need to spend 2/3rds of their time in that part of their voice.

And another one, is that Guthrie Govan says everything is hard until you've done it so often it becomes easy.

To add to this there is only one voice. We only have the illusion of two voices when we have issues coordinating the different musculature of the larynx.

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True!

It's a bit weird when you think about it. One voice, that we feel like it's two voices, that we train to create the illusion that it is one voice, when it actually already is one voice...

?!?!?

Yes it is very weird haha! The feeling of two voices only comes from the lack of muscular development within the larynx. I just can't stand to see people train these two separately because it only helps to establish two voices. Sometimes we will pick one over the other and continue to keep them separate.

This is just like me training only my biceps to become stronger while neglecting my triceps. When in all actuality these two have to work together to have complete mobility of the arm :-)

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Hmm, I wouldn't have said that's my understanding of why they feel different. I understood that they feel different because of the shift in resonance above and below a particular pitch. The sudden shift at the first bridge can be quite jarring even to very advanced singers and capable singers. From a vocal performance point of view it's all about recognising it's irrelevant what you hear/feel, because it's what the audience hears that is the true litmus test of how you sound.

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Hmm, I wouldn't have said that's my understanding of why they feel different. I understood that they feel different because of the shift in resonance above and below a particular pitch. The sudden shift at the first bridge can be quite jarring even to very advanced singers and capable singers. From a vocal performance point of view it's all about recognising it's irrelevant what you hear/feel, because it's what the audience hears that is the true litmus test of how you sound.

The reason why we hear or feel a bridge is because we lack the strength and coordination to gradually thin the vocal folds.

The range should be a seamless transition from thick to thin, Black to white, or heavy to light. Many times we try to hold on or stay in one area because of failure to correctly coordinate the changing fold mass. That's why many people "break" into falsetto.

We should aim to go from Black to gray to white with many closely related colors or gray in between these. That is the true definition of one voice. I must admit that I have been guilty of making it seem like I have one voice too, but now I truly understand that we don't have to actively blend or actively stay in one place. Any attempt to do so will cause a break.

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I agree as to what we should be doing, but I don't agree that this will necessarily yield no noticeable abrupt change in sensation inside one's own body. Everyone's perception of what it feels like is different, so some advanced singers will be acutely aware of the change, and some novice singers will be totally unaware that something has changed.

I basically 90% agree with you, the 10% I don't agree with is that once we learn to shade perfectly we won't feel the change. I just don't think that makes sense with the understanding of how resonance shifts in your body above/below your first bridge.

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paying close attention to how you speak is imperative to a healthy voice.

to add to everyday things we could do towards improving the voice i would add primal screams and crying.

a completely unstructured, primal scream and crying like a friggin' baby.

but the tough part is to commit to a scream without holding back and just letting it fly as we might do if we lived thousands of years ago.

easier said than done...lol!!!

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I agree as to what we should be doing, but I don't agree that this will necessarily yield no noticeable abrupt change in sensation inside one's own body. Everyone's perception of what it feels like is different, so some advanced singers will be acutely aware of the change, and some novice singers will be totally unaware that something has changed.

I basically 90% agree with you, the 10% I don't agree with is that once we learn to shade perfectly we won't feel the change. I just don't think that makes sense with the understanding of how resonance shifts in your body above/below your first bridge.

I'm sorry If I wasn't completely clear with my response, but what I mean is the change should not be "abrupt"

The change in where we feel the resonance should be gradual and only follows what happens at the level of the larynx. If we feel an abrupt change in where we feel the resonance then this abrupt change is the effect of the abrupt change of the vocal folds.

The lesser the skill the more change we feel.

I hope that cleared the 10% :)

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