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neutral-mode / head voice exercises? guitartrek and others


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guitartrek I remember you mentioning that you use some neutral exercises from CVT in addition to KTVA exercises. What exercises do you use and why? Do you still do them? Do you open your mouth like Ken Tamplin explains when doing them or do you keep mouth more closed like CVT instructs in neutral mode?

To everyone: I've got a feeling that it might be a good idea for me to improve my neutral / head voice and learn to really thin out properly at the high notes with a good technique if I choose to do so. It is actually a bit easier now for me to sing fuller at the top than with a "michael jackson head voice hiii-hiii" kind of thing. Especially in the evenings when I have already worked my voice a lot during that day, I kinda tend to loose that really nice thin and bright place and get stuck with the heaviness in the cords. However I've noticed that my voice works and sounds best when I manage to maintain both, have that "little boy voice" beneath the powerful voice, like Ken Tamplin likes to put it. Then I have more resonance and better "head voice release". However I tend to get a little bit stuck to the louder side, probably because of not good enough technique. And it can in fact sound a bit less powerful and worn-out then, if it starts to lose some of that brightness, ping and "freshness" of the voice.

I hope you understand what I'm trying to talk about here :) I'm not best at explaining what I experience, however tips for working my head voice are welcome now! Especially OO vowel, it tends to be a bit breathy and dull. EE is better cause I've worked that in KTVA exercises and it usually has a nice brightness and ping in it. I want to be able to sing notes above E5 with a nice, bright, thin and easy sounding thinned out head voice.

Also I don't know exactly how I should "place" the voice, do I have to open my throat as much as normally, open my mouth, smile or not etc. I've just gone with a bit of experimenting and intuition, and kept the throat as open as I can, trying to relax etc. Is it possible to open mouth or throat too much for neutral mode? In fact is it even possible to open throat too much for any kind of singing? :)

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Hi Ollie - I'm using these exercises: CVT M 057, 058, 059 and 060. I'm starting with the KTVA lip bubbles and tongue exercises, and then I do these CVT exercises before the rest of the KTVA exercises. The reason I started doing these is when I was working on "Don't Stop Believin" I found that I really wasn't able to sing "light" up high - I was a belter only. These exercises really really helped, not only to learn how to sing lighter up high, but also the ability to sing "ee" up high which was alway difficult for me. It has also helped erase the difference between "chest" and "head" - and it has helped me relax. These exercises also helped me to sing messa de voce just about anywhere in my range.

I'm able to sing the "ee" in the neutral exercises without dropping the jaw. When singing EE's loudly I find I still need to drop the jaw and use Ken's modifications. However - the CVT guy that sings these is modifying the EE to a darker EE similar to Ken's mods.

I always practice with the clip - listening carefully to one phrase and then sing myself, then the next phrase, and so on. I essentially "copy" the exact shade of vowel that the CVT demonstrator sings.

The other exercises for Head that I always do are the KTVA "chest to head connection" from Stage 2 and the "advanced chest to head connection" from Stage 3. Both of these are great.

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s it possible to open mouth or throat too much for neutral mode?

Yes, the mouth can be too open as the sound spills out and doesn't resonate in the proper places. And, dropping the jaw so far also lowers the larynx too far and can cause the pharynx to "squash" down on the larynx. Plus it totally ruins articulation. Try saying peanut butter with your jaw down to your chest.

Yes, you should drop the jaw, but only comfortably. Just as importantly, per Lilli Lehmann, the tongue grooved to where the sides of the tongue are in proximity to the upper teeth helps channel the notes up where to they need to be.

This keeps the tongue out of the way. And when a number of some classical instructors are talking about resonating off the hard palate, they actually mean after it is has passed above the soft palate.

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