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How to find a balanced onset

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Hey all, I have pillars and the onset package is cool but isn't really doing much for me when I get up high. I find it very difficult to staccato in head voice (a short o or ah sound), staccato exercises in the lower register are quite easy. However it feels like I have to push out that small sound in falsetto.

The problem is the beginning of the note in the upper register is either too breathy or too much of a glottal shock.

How can I create a balanced onset without pushing too hard on the cords or letting them slack too much for a breathy sound. In other words if I can't even get into the note without a glottal attack or having the phonation be breathy then what do I do? The quack/release phonation has done wonders for me but I still can't onset easily/properly.

The closure seems to fall apart in the passaggio area and above! What can I do to improve my onsets in all areas of the voice? What has worked for you?

Thanks in advance.

- JayMC

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Oh its easy, if its breathy, you can use a fry on the attack of an open vowel, for example, as long of course as you keep an intention compatible with the sound you are trying to make. But it may be that the breathiness comes from a backwards posture of your voice, in which case just trying to use the fry will not accomplish anything other than unnecessary tensions, so something else that address both problems together is more desirable.

If its overcompressed, it may be usefull to use a softer attack pattern, thinking of an H for example. but it may also be the case that its coupled with an unnecessary high larynx that will prevent you using higher notes due to the ammount of tensions, so something else may be necessary, like using an yawn, keeping track of jaw postures.

It may also be the case that you just dont have the strenght on the muscles that must perform the action, I would use a certain kind of Z to address this issue, or something else which could allow you to apply power and not hurt yourself.

And the emission will only be ajusted as long as the air flow is adequate, so support must be working.

The problem is: all these require you to listen to the quality being produced, understand what you are doing, decide which is the case and how it should be working, and then act to fix it. A matter of perception before anything else, if you were perceiving the points to be adressed, you would have fixed them already...

So, what is the case?

Speaking for myself, I can only tell by seeing you in person. An audio sample is not enough to allow a correct ajustment of this crucial step. Just with text we can keep talking about it until we are dead, and nothing will be accomplished.

So, a teacher is a nice idea, really nice idea. ;)

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And have patience. I'm gonna pull a "Bob" on you, Jay. It's not going to happen overnight. Or with the first time you do the exercises. It will take a while.

And time is not the deciding factor. Whenever you learn is whenever you learn.

I have been singing for a long time. That doesn't make me a good singer. And even now, I learn new things. And it doesn't mean that I was a bad singer before. But it does mean I am doing some things better, or more easily.

4 Pillars is a lot of material to digest. It took years for Robert to develope such a cohesive program. One that he continues to fine-tune as time goes by.

As someone told me to go back to basics, it doesn't mean starting over. It means revisiting a previous step. So, if the staccato exercises are giving you fits, go to resonant tracking. That's a nice place to start onsets. Build some success there.

Even when I expect to play a game of golf (once in a great while, with my clubs collected at garage sales,) I stop at the driving range for a few shots to revisit the basics of a long drive. Sometimes, I may only go to the range and not play a game. Because redefining basics makes everything else work. I have sailed a ball over 150 yards with a 5 iron. Because of a basic technique in the swing.

I talk about practicing with songs. But there are days where I just warm-up and do vocalises. And yes, a few scales. Whatever it is I feel I need that day. (I kind of cross-train. Your milage may vary.)

But what is more important to me is not whether it is songs, or vocalises, or even just stretchy warm-ups. It's how you are doing them that is important. Just as, it really doesn't matter how long I have been singing. It's how I am singing that is the point.

And it takes time. The only magic pill is patience and diligence.

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