|Originally published: October 27, 2020|
Updated: December 4, 2020
Is One Vocal Technique Better?
Thanks to the knowledge given to us by modern voice science and vocal pedagogy, we know that the vast variety of vocal sounds singers wish to create can be produced in a strain-free and sustainable way. This is why many voice teachers don’t think in terms of different vocal techniques, per se, but rather different vocal aesthetics for various genres, all of which can be achieved in a vocally healthy way.
A singer in a comedic Broadway musical may choose a brassy, edgy sort of vocal sound. A jazz singer may choose a warm, rich vocal tone. A singer fronting a heavy metal band may choose vocal sounds such as screaming and growling. A singer in an Italian opera will choose the round resonant vocal tone with a healthy does of vibrato that evolved in the 17th century. No matter what type of sound we choose, there is an efficient and safe way to achieve it. Voice experts in a given genre can guide a singer on how to achieve those sounds.
The differences in the tone of the voice that distinguish one genre from the next, are largely achieved through vocal tract shaping – i.e. the positioning of the structures above the vocal folds (pharynx, tongue, soft palette, mouth). Attaining an efficient vocal sound is a matter of learning to create the right shape in the vocal tract, while balancing breath flow, as well as the engagement of various muscles in the larynx, without tensing or tightening the tongue and extrinsic muscles of the neck. Of course this will come easily to some singers (no fair!) while others will need practice, training and a gradual development of vocal stamina to achieve their intended sounds.
Laura Mvula – Overcome
From the piercing vocal, to the mesmerizing dance moves, the vocal harmonies and the uplifting energy, “Overcome” might just bring you out of your slump today. A composer with a formal education and a background directing choirs, Laura Mvula (pronounced mm-VOO-la) has struggled with what she describes as “crippling stage fright.”
Non-Musical Things that Inspire!
Highly creative people know that musical inspiration can often come from non-musical places. In this blog article, several vocalists share unexpected sources of creative fodder.
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