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Starting Pillars 2.0, some falsetto issues

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pj
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Hi all, I finally started on "using" Pillars properly today, really noting what Rob has written in the book while doing the vocalizes (really regretted not doing so earlier).

Anyway I seem to have a few issues with specifically falsetto (and not twang as I feel that I haven't really get the head voice placements down). I'll list the issues out and hopefully they can be answered.:D I'll post recordings if there's a need to, but then again I'm shy:cool:

When I try to bridge into my head voice through my passaggio, the volume of my falsetto tends to get very soft and sometimes it tends to "flicker" (sound disappearing then reappearing). Does this has something to do with air flow and closure of folds? If so how do I correct it?

When doing the vocalizes how does one go high in falsetto without constricting? What do you focus on (thought processes)? When I go above C6 (I'll assume C4 is the middle C) in falsetto I tend to start pushing and constricting and then my throat hurts. :(

Lastly when we move from resonant tracking to release we're essentially changing from a smirk (for resonant tracking) to the embrochure advocated. When this happens I assume our "smirk" (edges of lips pointing up) will be non-existent in our embrochure. Am I right?

By the way I'm aware I can contact Robert for questions regarding Pillars, just that lately I have no idea why I couldn't really reach him. I thought that he could be busy and hence I would like to ask around on this forum first.

THank you. ;)

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Hey PJ! Welcome on Board :)

You go above C6?? Regarding the pain, once it hurts, its a bad sign. Don't go that high. A few notes below, you should feel no strain. If you feel strain, you are vocalizing too high in my opinion. At least for now.

Keep in mind, I am also a 4 Pillars trainee, so take my post with a grain of salt. :)

Good luck!

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Keep the smile from resonant tracking. If going above C6 right now is causing pain, stop doing that. Save that for later, after you have some things trained. Once you have some coordination going on, you can re-try that later.

Stick with the resonant tracking, worry about the meaty middle. The flickering of your falsetto is from breath managment issues.

Stick with resonant tracking. It is a multi-tasking tool. It will help develope coordination of adduction, resonance, and breath management. Start at an easy spot. Success breeds success. As you warm into it, then you can go a little higher, a little lower.

So, if I have not mentioned it already, stick with the resonant tracking.

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Hi Gilad, thank you for your warm welcome. :) I wanted to go above C6 because I was told by my choral friends that going above C6 isn't that hard... Heh just don't want to lose out. :P

Hi ronws, thank you for your reply. I would like to clarify a few points you made in your post. You mentioned that I should try going above C6 when I have "some coordination going on". Could I ask what exactly are some of the coordination and how would I know when I have them?

What does the "meaty middle" refers to?

Yes I've been warming up with resonant tracking, albeit I'm sure it's still not perfect. For me personally I feel that the greatest benefit from resonant tracking is from the "cry" that I like to inject a bit before resonant tracking and I feel that it has really helped with the adduction of my cords.

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Pj - Welcome to the forum :)

I've been using Pillars for almost 2 years and love it! Also, Rob is a super coach to get on board with for Skype lessons - to smooth out any issues you're facing.

Back to topic - I would suggest you don't hit the exercises trying to reach a particular note for the first few months. That's not the point of the vocalizes. Instead, focus on the sensations and getting the technique down right. If you train your voice in a manner that causes discomfort, you're a lot more likely to do damage to the voice, build incorrect training habits, and won't see the desired results. The range will come with time, and if it's already there (you said C6! Sure you didn't mean a C5 or Tenor High C???) it will strengthen the sound and make it powerful.

To answer your questions - Bridging and connecting in falsetto - can you please post an audio clip of what you're doing? Rob's sirens are pretty much in full voice, so not 100% sure what you mean by this. However, if the sound is cracking and becoming softer, it could be cause by a lack of support (breathing / exhaling properly), and / or constriction in the throat (which should ideally be absent).

As for the smirk, try and keep it when you drop your jaw to sing. It won't be the same as the smirk during resonant tracking of course, but usually just thinking about the smile makes it happen!

The Meaty Middle - Ron is referring to the passagio unless I'm badly mistaken (Ron??) Typically the notes from D4 - A4 (plus or minus a couple, depending on your voice). This is usually the toughest part of the voice for most men to train, as the 'chest' voice wants to push / strain to hit the note, or the 'head' voice takes over and makes it sound weak and thin.. With training this will disappear, to give you one seamless voice.

Hope this helps

Cheers

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Haha Are you a Guy? If you are they are probably with you :P C6 is a stretch for even the highest metaltenors, if they push Above C6 they probably just sound like shit :P and then does it really matter?

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Haha Are you a Guy? If you are they are probably with you :P C6 is a stretch for even the highest metaltenors, if they push Above C6 they probably just sound like shit :P and then does it really matter?

Yes I'm a guy and yes I think what I referred to as "C6" is actually C5. But then again sometimes people say C3 is middle C and others say C4 is middle C. Got mixed up here. Sorry ya.

Bigfoot, thanks for the informative reply. :) I'll post an audio clip if I feel stuck (not making progress) as yesterday I did bridging again and previously after entering head voice I'll be stuck at probably E4/F4 and couldn't go any higher, but for yesterday I managed to go straight up.

Right now I'm just transiting into falsetto when I reach my head voice, yes I know Rob does the whole siren in full voice but I'm nowhere near his standard.:cool:

Anyway out of curiosity do those really good singers (I'm thinking of Chris Cornell and Mariah Carey) always have a fair bit of adduction (twang) when they sing? I'm listening to their singing and comparing theirs to mine I find mine rather breathy, whereas theirs seem to have much more adduction. Just curious.

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I just wanted to quickly comment that using the virtualpiano.net site, a C5 is C-37 and a C6 is a C-49. If the C6 you mentioned IS a C6, then don't worry about it. I am a high baritone (or a baritone-tenor in classical terms) and a C6 is pretty much my absolute limit, and I mean that in that I can produce a pitch that high, regardless of if it is "usable" in a practical context. Pretty much every 6th octave and above note is going to be using whistle range, and is more of an effect. Unless you want to make a career out of covering Mariah Carey songs or just making weird Mike Patton-esque screams and squeals, 99.9% of songs have a range below C6.

If it's a C5, I wish I could give real practical advice on how to increase your range (and I mean absolute range, regardless of whether or not it is in full voice or usable). My absolute range topped out around A4 when I first began practicing singing somewhat seriously, and I got my absolute range up to where it is currently using SS/SLS techniques (lip rolls etc). I personally would recommend starting with TVS/CVT/KTVA etc from the beginning, but like i said my absolute range was fine when I started using the above programs so I don't know how a person's absolute range is built using TVS or similar programs techniques.

I personally would focus on my sirens if I was you, and not worry so much about if they are in full voice or falsetto/leaky air. I would use what Rob mentions in the program, which is using falsetto as a training tool to know when/where to bridge and stop constricting. Just focus on using a proper embouchure/onset, and releasing into falsetto when you feel yourself constricting because the notes are too high. As long as it is in the general passagio range of D4-A4 (barring extremely low or high naturally-placed voices), you are on the right track.

Although I would definitely get the standard 3 lessons with Rob, they will really help you get on the right track.

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Okay, so you're talking about the american C5. Same difference, if it is hurting, stop it. You are not yet trained enough. And yes, the meaty middle is the passsagio. You should worry about that more than whatever your top note is. At least, that is how it worked for me. Finding what it takes to navigate passaggio and the extremes, such as you have them, will be there.

Coordination - learning to lose the weight you have in the lowest notes your voice can possibly make when you are trying to make the highest notes you can possibly make. That is more coordination than it is any herculean effort, at least in my opinion. But I am not a teacher, just an amateur.

Singing is a constantly moving and changing activity. Do you every play basketball or watch it? See how the players are constantly reading the other team while in motion and reacting in "real time"? Do that with singing. Sure, once in a while, you are going to nail the full court lob, nothing but net. But most times, you are adjusting in the full court press to make it to the net, to continue the metaphor.

So, then, what you do with breath and resonance can shift. You do not sing as you speak.

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Hi guys, sorry for the late reply. I was spending the past few days doing the vocalizes and seeing where I'm improving and reflecting on how to improve.

I'm seeing improvements in my bridging, there were a few times whereby I could really seamlessly bridge from chest to head voice and hit the higher notes (for me) which were Bb4-C5. I was thinking about it and realised that even though I could do the transition from chest to head I probably wasn't letting go enough mass such that sometimes I would be "capped" at E4-G4, which I consider my "low head voice".

Sometimes after I finish my sirens I will feel the pain in my throat. I'm guessing that it's due to the constriction when I bridge and my lack of correct placement. Would trying to relax more and focusing the voice at the soft palate solve the problem?

What are your thoughts on my reflections? Are they right or am I missing something out?

By the way I really appreciate the responses. I've read all of them carefully and try to understand how they apply to me. Thanks.:)

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Sometimes after I finish my sirens I will feel the pain in my throat. I'm guessing that it's due to the constriction when I bridge and my lack of correct placement. Would trying to relax more and focusing the voice at the soft palate solve the problem?

Yes.

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