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D.Starr
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Ok so I've been experimenting over a few things over the course of a few weeks. I'll try to keep each one detailed but simple.

First off, I'm having talks with my studio producer/engineer of being signed to a contract over publishing, distribution and getting off to working with big labels. Trying to take it slow at the same time as not rushing my vocal technique.

So...

1. Got back into Pillars today and thought I'd take a shot at the bridging and connecting area. I'm fine at sirening up and down up to A4, but today and as of late actually I've been grinding up and down. Fine start and then I find the cords really grinding. May have been attributed to me going through a decent workout on the cords for an hour.

2. This also leads on to this. I've been finding a buzzing noise whenever I sing high up. I wondered if it may be a vocal set up I have. From the book "The New Voice - How To Sing And Speak Properly" by Alan Greene, the buzzing is from collapsed fauces of my soft palate. I have noticed my soft palate rises when I sing, feels like a major stretch. Really pulls.

3. The digastric muscle under the chin or the mylohyoid muscle. Should it stay relaxed or tensed to keep the larynx down? In the book I spoke about above it says that the muscle in the chin must be strengthened to sustain notes and a lowered larynx.

4. Vowel modifications. I want to work on these. I feel I don't do it at all and something that may help A LOT!! I find it extremely hard to work on as well.

4. I've been doing my usual scales and find it hard to break into full voice. It's extremely quacky and squeezed.

Not exactly questions but they're just things I need to state.

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Found an answer to 2.

By raising the pillars of the fauces, which closes off the throat from the cavities of the head, the chest voice is produced; that is, the lowest range of all kinds of voices. This occurs when the main stream of breath, spreading over against the high-arched palate, completely utilizes all its resonating surfaces. This is the palatal resonance, in which there is the most power. When the soft palate is raised high behind, the nose, the pillars of the fauces are lowered, and this frees the way for the main stream of breath to the head cavities. This now is poured out, filling the nose, forehead, and head cavities. This makes the head tone. Called head tone in women, falsetto in men, it is the highest range of all classes of voices, the resonance of the head cavities.

Between these two extreme functions of the palate and breath, one stream of breath gives some of its force to the other; and when equally divided they form the medium range of all classes of voices. The singer must always have in his mind's eye a picture of this divided stream of breath.

As I have already said, in the lowest tones of all voices the main stream of breath is projected against the palate; the pillars of the fauces, being stretched to their fullest extent, and drawn back to the wall of the throat, allow almost no breath to reach the head cavities. A branch stream of breath, however small, must be forced back, behind and above the pillars, first into the nose, later into the forehead and the cavities of the head.

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Sorry for the amount of info I'm stringing together here.

When I sing a single tone I can give it much more power, much more palatal or nasal resonance, than I could give in a series of ascending tones. In a musical figure I must attack the lowest note in such a way that I can easily reach the highest. I must, therefore, give it much more head tone than the single tone requires. (Very important.)

When advancing farther, I have the feeling on the palate, above and behind the nose, toward the cavities of the head, of a strong but very elastic rubber ball, which I fill like a balloon with my breath streaming up far back

of it. And this filling keeps on in even measure. That is, the branch stream of the breath, which flows into the head cavities, must be free to flow very strongly without hindrance.

I can increase the size of this ball above, to a pear shape, as soon as I think of singing higher; and, indeed, I heighten the form before I go on from the tone just sung, making it, so to speak, higher in that way, and thus keep the form, that is, the " propagation form," ready for the next higher tone, which I can now reach easily, as long as no interruption in the stream of breath against the mucous membrane can take place. For this reason the breath must never be held back, but must always be emitted in a more and more powerful stream. The higher the tone, the more numerous are the vibrations, the more rapidly the whirling currents circulate, and the more unchangeable must the form be.

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Don't stress yourself out buddy! You can do this, here are some tips I have gathered that may help:

1.D.Starr for me I have found that if the muscles under the chin stay relaxed I can focus on the vocal cords and power-source.

2.In terms of vowel-modifcation... literally try every vowel... you just need to be able to bridge it doesn't matter what vowel is easiest for you because the whole point is that when you find THAT vowel you can use it to launch you into other vowels!!! So if uh doesn't work try eh if that doesn't work try ih and ouh(book) and aw and oh and so on! Then modify everything towards your easiest vowel till you can master the others.

3. The grinding cords thing is something that happens to me when I'm forcing the cords to stay shut one way to make sure you have the best of both worlds (ease of production and closure) is to use a w onset "whip/whup/whop" and the half-h onset (just say haw and then make it feel the same without the h). Ta-da you have helped remove some grinding. Practice this for a week if your grinding is that bad and see if you can maintain closure.

4. Actually talk to your voice... Videohere shared this tip with me and it seems totally hippie but it WORKS. Listen to your voice and your voice will listen to you. Right now your voice is saying "wtf man you're working me too hard find a more EFFICIENT way to use me"

Final tip (drum roll please)

5. It seems like your chest voice has failed you, why do I say this? Because since you learned closure from the lower register you can only close the cords with "more mass." I'm taking the complete opposite approach and learning closure from the higher-register. Seems to be working for me so if you have time try it out. Some koo-oo-oo and kee-ee-ee's up high really do go a long way even if it sounds retarded at first.

Look at it this way... you're learning to close the cords with a hammer while I'm learning closure with a laser-beam.

Good luck, hope this helped!

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Owen I completely agree. The K and G onset should be used minimally... only to learn the feeling of closed cords. Similarly the 'h' onset should not be overused either but in D.Star's case it may be the perfect prescription. I also like the "w" onset a lot it really kind of reveals how well you can phonate without "slamming" the cords.

What are some other ways people have discovered to stop "pressed" phonation? I think D.Stars voice is great but the DEFAULT phonation when going through passaggio is either too pressed or too breathy. It takes time to figure out how to balance the closure. For me the tendency is to be breathy so the k and g onsets work well but I still mix in "w" and "h" just for fun.

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Thanks for the responses guys.

Here's a Goo scale:

https://www.box.com/s/sgo7cf32m18iwdyqy0j4

Sounds falsetto-ish to me. It's extremely breathy and weak as it gets back into chest. It's very hard to allow it to blend back in.

A lately I find I'm having to float towards falsetto in order not to grind into my voice around E4 upwards. Before it was much higher up I felt the grind. I feel I'm still shouting at the notes rather than letting them float. I want to lean into my voice but the more I do it, the more I grind. I know vocalising isn't meant to sound bellissimo. I always shift towards an ever growing squeeze and cackly sound, so when I do exercises on MUM, NAY, NO, GO, nothing seems to let up.

I'm starting to depress me as well.

As far as my singer career is going, we're working on finding a PR, manager and working on an EP to give to labels. I'm moving at a graceful rate. I'm not pushing myself with my practice, I've actually let up off practicing for awhile because I was getting nowhere. Felt I was getting worse. I know there is no miracle exercise only persistence, but do you keep smashing your head against the wall hoping time will slowly increase your efficiency at it?

I've even gone back to the fundamentals. Edge exercises, lip trills/bubbles which I can do till the cows come home, I do the chest exercises of Mastering Mix from SLS because they are nice and easy and help me warm up.

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Owen I completely agree. The K and G onset should be used minimally... only to learn the feeling of closed cords. Similarly the 'h' onset should not be overused either but in D.Star's case it may be the perfect prescription. I also like the "w" onset a lot it really kind of reveals how well you can phonate without "slamming" the cords.

What are some other ways people have discovered to stop "pressed" phonation? I think D.Stars voice is great but the DEFAULT phonation when going through passaggio is either too pressed or too breathy. It takes time to figure out how to balance the closure. For me the tendency is to be breathy so the k and g onsets work well but I still mix in "w" and "h" just for fun.

I'm rather breathy when it comes to doing the heady gees, goos, hees and hoos. But when I sing the volume increase which is crazily hard to control as well as it feels I'm just opening wider and wider.

Maybe I should try with some closed vowel stuff? I've tried UH, UE as in True, OH. Nothing. It kinda makes it worse :(

Maybe add more cry? I've tried a lot of stuff.

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I've actually let up off practicing for awhile because I was getting nowhere. Felt I was getting worse. I know there is no miracle exercise only persistence, but do you keep smashing your head against the wall hoping time will slowly increase your efficiency at it?

I've even gone back to the fundamentals. Edge exercises, lip trills/bubbles which I can do till the cows come home, I do the chest exercises of Mastering Mix from SLS because they are nice and easy and help me warm up.

It's good to go back to the fundamentals. If you feel you're getting worse from practicing you're doing 1) something wrong - or 2) doing too much. It could easily be #2. If I were you I'd stick with the fundamentals and add only one more difficult exercise at a time and really take it easy with it. Or just do the fundamentals for warmups and then do songs.

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if the goal is to stop the tendency to grab and clutch why would you want to do a consonant whose purpose is to strengthen fold adducting musculature?

you want a consonant that promotes freedom and release...try a "w."

"woo" and "wee".....be sure to begin in chest voice and return in chest voice.

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if the goal is to stop the tendency to grab and clutch why would you want to do a consonant whose purpose is to strengthen fold adducting musculature?

you want a consonant that promotes freedom and release...try a "w."

"woo" and "wee".....be sure to begin in chest voice and return in chest voice.

I'll give that a try!

D.Starr, let me say this loud and clear:

You are precisely the person that is need of a fantastic vocal teacher. Or at the very least, a few vocal evaluations from a fantastic teacher, maybe like one every two weeks for two months.

The programs are doing nothing for you, because you don't know how to diagnose the problems of your voice. And guess what, neither do us forum members. We're mostly students, not professional singers and vocal experts.

But people like Rob Lunte and Ken Tamplin are. And many many other teachers, you know their names.

But that is the biggest flaw of programs, they don't teach you how to teach yourself. But when you've taken a bunch of lessons with a great teacher and pay attention to how they diagnose your problems...you yourself get better at teaching yourself too.

I'm telling you, a good 80% of the quality of my voice has come from my skype lessons from Rob. Pillars is good for when I'm in need for my systematic practice, just putting in the time...but most of the time, I personally believe our voices need to be "diagnosed" a couple times a month...because we always fall in a tendency to practice something that knocks our voice a little out of balance - strengthening one thing and neglecting others. Consulting a great teacher regularly helps "reset" your practice goals based on the current state of your voice.

I don't have the wage to have Skype calls with Rob. I've had one and that was last year.

I stopped going to my local teacher who was really helping me with it all but I stopped because I was saving up to go to NY in March this year. Thinking of going back to those lessons. £100 a month though.

I like to work out daily at home. I know too much can be harmful but I feel the need to sing every day. Every day not spent studying singing, vocalising or singing is a day wasted in my eyes. I want to make my voice perfect. Sick of hearing these lame singers on the radio.

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d, your voice is a living thing.

it will never be perfect. and part of being a pro singer, is knowing how to compensate and adjust to anything from allergies, climactic changes as you go from state to state, or country to country, plus the times the voice is just not feeling up to par.

then it helps to have a talk with it.

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I suppose it is possible for the glottis to close off from the built up pressure before releasing the plosive. But if you are creating the sound at the moment of attack the glottis cannot be closed. Plus the voiced part of a voiced plosive is because of the vowel that follows.

I would like to add that after the pressure is built up you can hold that pressure by the closing the glottis. Perhaps this is why we use the plosives to help us with cord closure.

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I thought that the k and g constants started the note from closed vocal cords. There's only a couple "dangers" though... 1. it doesn't balance out airflow so you could still be using air in-efficiently 2. it might promote "gripping" which is where the w onset is helpful 3. forcing closure feels different than balancing closure

Closure is a big deal... and I think it has a lot to do with airflow and appropriate usage of twang. W onsets with lots of twang are great to build gentle closure (for me).

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