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They Can't Take that Away

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Carol M
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OK this is a little more pertinent than Ave Verum Corpus (can't believe I posted that lol). That's me trying to comp on piano..

Please have a listen. Ella did this in Bb so I don't know how I ended up in C except it's easier to play.

http://soundcloud.com/carol-m/canttakethataway

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Not bad Carol. Much better than ave. Bb isn't a terribly evil key. I avoided it for ages, until I realised it only has two flats - then I was wondering why I learnt B before Bb. It is great to have piano skills, and I find I use the piano alot, for practice, even though I don't play when I perform.

I like your pronunciation and tone and all the lower stuff sounds great. I'm wondering about your placement on the higher notes, it starts to sound a little far back, rather than resonating in the mask. Takes on a slightly operatic sound. Definetly you can make this transition into jazz, you seem to have a great feel for the music. My feeling is you need a little help to smooth out that bridge. Does that sound right to you?

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Not bad Carol. Much better than ave. Bb isn't a terribly evil key. I avoided it for ages, until I realised it only has two flats - then I was wondering why I learnt B before Bb. It is great to have piano skills, and I find I use the piano alot, for practice, even though I don't play when I perform.

I like your pronunciation and tone and all the lower stuff sounds great. I'm wondering about your placement on the higher notes, it starts to sound a little far back, rather than resonating in the mask. Takes on a slightly operatic sound. Definetly you can make this transition into jazz, you seem to have a great feel for the music. My feeling is you need a little help to smooth out that bridge. Does that sound right to you?

Yes bridging up to mixed voice is all new to me and the big challenge here. That "memory of all THAT" just goes to G as written but right across my break and it feels weak and open. Ella skips over that and goes higher each time.. I take it I still need more adduction up there, too? or just more resonance?

Trying to work the cry sound in more...thanks for listening. I'm thinking Bb may be too low even for me.

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So, what are you trying so far to work on the bridge? You mentioned a teacher? What style is she teaching? Let's look at what you already know, and do, and what works for you.

I think the primary problem there is simply placement, so if we fix that first then we can look at adduction (resonance is part of placement). Often, with correct support and placement, everything else just falls into place.

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So, what are you trying so far to work on the bridge? You mentioned a teacher? What style is she teaching? Let's look at what you already know, and do, and what works for you.

I think the primary problem there is simply placement, so if we fix that first then we can look at adduction (resonance is part of placement). Often, with correct support and placement, everything else just falls into place.

Thanks for listening. I've been working with a traditional voice teacher here since August and he has been stressing placement and resonance since I was singing way back in my throat. He has a degree in piano and voice teaching from the local U. Not a SLS or CVT guy of course. He has me use certain consonants and vowels like E to bring the sound forward but I have trouble applying that to the standards I want to do unless the words work out just right. He prefers to use folk music for teaching but I requested the classical pieces myself so it's not like he's pushing me that way. I think teachers assume students hate classical.

He has me doing Sieber Alto exercises to go back and forth across my break and he says I've caught on to this faster than his other students, but I think this is because on my own I have been working with Roger Love's Set Your Voice Free and blending exercises on CD in Anne Peckham's Contemporary Vocalist series. I never understood what middle or mixed voice was until I got the Roger Love book! I am definitely not powering through my break the way Robert Lunte would..I'd like to try Skype lessons but have only DSL and that won't work.

There is a fine jazz singer here who is teaching, no idea how good a teacher she is and I wanted to get competent at bridging before I approached her.

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Hi Carol,

I haven't forgotten about you but have visitors over the Easter Weekend. I'll be in touch next week.

Things to try, ever so briefly:

Loose lip bubbles

sirens.

Shouting out, like "Mum", or whoever you yell out to. Your dog, brother, husband, whatever. Feel the ease of the yell. Your mix should feel this easy. If it doesn't, something is wrong.

I'll drop in next week with more.

S

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Hi Carol,

I haven't forgotten about you but have visitors over the Easter Weekend. I'll be in touch next week.

Things to try, ever so briefly:

Loose lip bubbles

sirens.

Shouting out, like "Mum", or whoever you yell out to. Your dog, brother, husband, whatever. Feel the ease of the yell. Your mix should feel this easy. If it doesn't, something is wrong.

I'll drop in next week with more.

S

Been trying all those tricks all that since August per Roger Love et al...my singing before was primarily yelling that's getting a bit hard now. Oh well!

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My first wife used to do this song, playing and singing. She had a BA in Piano Performance & Pedagogy from the Meadow School of Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Her piano professor was her instructor since she was in middle school and his name was Alfred Moulideaux. Anyway, when she sang, it was with less operatic tone. More of a back-of-the-throat sound. Another one of my favorites of hers was her performance of Rachmaninoff's Concerto #2 in Cm. And "Arabesque" by Claude Debussy. Then, again, I have always had a soft spot for strong melodies. Any singing she learned, she learned from fellow students who were studying voice. But voice was not her major. But she knew about good sounds and so she was my early sounding board, back in the late 80's.

At Meadow School of Arts, all the practice rooms are in the basement. So, it's quite common to hear a cacaphony. Piano in one room playing a Bach 2-part invention. Singer in another room practicing "Maria" from "West Side Story." A double bass in the next room, etc.

Just reflections.

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Hi Carol,

OK. We need to work out why those excercises are not helping to establish a mix. This is probably something best tacked with a good teacher. If the teacher you are using is not getting the results you want, you need to change. The jazz singer may be a suitable substitute if they have pedagogy training. You do need to "click" with your teacher.

If we are going to try it this way, please give me some feedback on each excercise. So you say you've tried lip bubbles - what did you do, how did it feel etc? And the others?

Can you humm gently, on an easy note, and feel the vibrating feeling on your lips? Your teeth should be apart approx the width of one finger.

Can you sing "sing" and hold the ng sound at the end? Feel the vibrations in the mask? (eyes, nose maybe even cheeks)

Put your index finger, horizontally in your mouth, between your front teeth. Sing "Sing" hold the ng, focus the sound above your finger.

We are looking for twang, and forward placement. Please give me feedback on what these excercises feel like. We are not concerned about stretching the range yet. Do it all on easy notes, chasing that resonance in the mask. Identify with the feeling, the physical set up that is required to get this.

The tongue is wide and the edges are resting on the top back molars. Concentrate on keeping that tongue there.

Try "weeeeeeeee", slide upwards. Let it get quite nasally. We are not worried about too nasal at the moment. Let's get the higher end resonance out of your throat and into your face. I found (I had a similar problem to yours) that snarling my top lip slightly helped. Make the sound quite wicked. Support well from below. Imagine that the part of your body making the sound is not your throat at all, your throat is just a hollow tube and your vocal cords rest in the back of the roof of your mouth. So imagine, supporting well, putting the air at the top of the back of your mouth. Before you start, assume the "gasp of surprise" configuration. Pretend that you have had a surprise and gasp, your eyebrows go up, your mouth opens, your tongue comes forward slightly and your throat widens. Assume that posture, the snarl and if necessary the finger between the front teeth and try the siren again. (perhaps: Sinnngggeeeeeee, maintain twang).

Give me lots of feedback on what was easy, hard, how everything felt.

Try to keep away from the piano for a bit with your excersises. While the piano is great, it can create a bit of a mental barrier, because you see that note coming up and you know that is where you start to have trouble.

Edit to add: None of these ideas are my own, they come from several sources. Particularly, I should give credit to VIDEOHERE from this forum for the back of the roof of the mouth imagery which I found very helpful and I have passed on here. I'm sure he won't mind.

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