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The Importance of Ugly Vocalise

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One of the failure I've noticed among many modern voice teachers is that the coach rather then train. They run scales and exercises like songs making everything pretty and sweet. There is a huge difference between trainingg mechinism and running someone through songs. Many exercises when done properly are ugly to the ear, but very effectve for developement. Staccato in a song should be clear and not too heavy, in developement however it should be nailed until the snot comes out of your nose and your upper lip is numb or it is doing little for the growth of the voice. If you train the habits correctly you wll perform in key. If you work based only on pitch and avoid proper developement, you are more likely to be off when performing. In many cases the proper way may be more difficult at first and you will be flat or sharp, but you should not back down from proper technique, habit , placement and correct register transitions.

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Brings up an interesting point... after training singers for some time now, Im see the vocalise in two genre's. Workouts that which you train on (typically your traditional stuff most of us are familiar with and less musical, more "chop" oriented. The objective being, to train muscle strength and coordination) and Coaching Excercises (a vocal workout that is more musical, has an appealing melody to it and is used to coach dynamics and interpretation).

My Pillars 2.0 edition to be released in 2009 will feature an additional 8 new Coaching excercises with very appealing musical motiffs that "swing" and move you to work on "feel" and dynamics... this with the original David Kyle 11 and 9 more new workouts that I invented for advanced bridging & connecting... totaling about 28 vocal workouts with video tutorials.

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One of the failure I've noticed among many modern voice teachers is that the coach rather then train. They run scales and exercises like songs making everything pretty and sweet. There is a huge difference between trainingg mechinism and running someone through songs. Many exercises when done properly are ugly to the ear, but very effectve for developement. Staccato in a song should be clear and not too heavy, in developement however it should be nailed until the snot comes out of your nose and your upper lip is numb or it is doing little for the growth of the voice. If you train the habits correctly you wll perform in key. If you work based only on pitch and avoid proper developement, you are more likely to be off when performing. In many cases the proper way may be more difficult at first and you will be flat or sharp, but you should not back down from proper technique, habit , placement and correct register transitions.

IMO, the 'ugly' exercise is very important and useful, when it comes to working specific phonation issues.

A story: There was a sound I used to hear in college when hanging around wind and brass players as they began to warm up before playing a rehearsal or concert. Almost to a person, they would take out the mouthpiece (or just the reed for oboe, English Horn or bassoon) and just make buzzes for a while, and then begin to vary the pitch... even to the point of playing tunes. Most singers do not think much about this (if at all), but without an instrument resonator connected to it, the embouchure of a horn or reed player controls the pitch and tone quality of the reed or mouthpiece. Using this approach, they can hear the quality of the original buzz of the reed or lips (including the sound of any wasted air), and reconnect their 'chop' with the notes they intend to play in the piece. Its pretty funny, actually, to hear a group of them playing tunes in harmony this way... strange and wierd. But, the player who can do their part accurately on just the mouthpiece, without the connected instrument body, has the embouchure muscle memory (and connection to the musical ear) to play it very well when the instrument body is attached.

Anyway, my fave ugly tone is the 'nasty, blatty, catty' /A/ (as in the English word 'cat'), made with a big wide smile and the jaw dropped 1.5 inches or so. It can also be made with the childhood taunting tune (same vowel, but started with N), to the tune of 'ring around the rosey'. Some of the most fun is experienced with adults for whom refined tone is the eventual goal, but who are all tied up with preconceptions about how to get there. This exercise really gets them 'outside of the box', and into a much more spontaneous (and gasp, childlike) sort of attitude. Its very liberating, and helps them (along the way) return to a spontaneity of vocal expression that IMO they need in some cases.

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Steven that nasty, bratty A sound you mentioned is quite similar to what we have been talking about with the whole twang and pharyngeal sound thing. to me its closer to what i would call a pharyngeal sound though. in the technique i study we also incorporate ugly bratty sounds such as a nasty sounding NAY.

Centre: Ok, I am getting a better idea of what you are talking about. Thanks!

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