Page 11 - Voice for Life Yellow Workbook
P. 11

                                 Tone and range
 Try laughing heartily – a real belly-laugh – without making a sound. Imagine you want to laugh, but are in a place where you must not make a sound. Do you feel a widening in the throat? A silent sob or cry has the same effect. You should feel a release of tension, not a stretch.
 This may feel tricky at first, but persist. You are learning to harness what is usually an involuntary emotional and physical response, during which the throat naturally widens. It is part of providing support around the voice and will help ensure that you always sing with a full, open tone.
The next exercise helps to widen the throat by making you tap into the same natural reflex action described above. You may find it easier to approach throat-widening from the perspective of this exercise. Choose a comfortable starting note.
Producing a bright tone
While you may want to use a dark tone on occasions, you should normally aim to produce a resonant, bright sound. Brightness aids good intonation and enables the natural clarity and energy of your voice to emerge. To achieve this you need to remain relaxed and focused. On this page and the next are a few tips to help you.
 Relaxing your throat and jaw
Aim to sing with a relaxed throat and jaw at all times. If you find your throat is tight when you sing, try these exercises to help widen and relax your throat:
     This exercise is based on the ‘Placing the voice in neutral’ exercise on page 6, but this time you vocalize on the outward movement and inhale at every rest.
Singing with a nasal tone
One barrier to a full, bright sound is singing with a nasal tone. This is a common problem, as singers are often tempted to constrict the throat and direct the sound down the nose when trying to reach higher notes. However, a nasal tone is not pleasant to listen to. It is also much harder to produce sound when singing down the nose because the effort is divided in two (between the nose and the mouth). This requires extra breath pressure and in turn, causes tightening of the throat. This may lead to physical problems with the voice.
It is not always easy to know if you are doing this. Your choir trainer may point it out, but there are a few ways of checking for yourself. One common sign is tickling in the throat after you have been singing high in your range.
To identify what a nasal tone sounds and feels like, sing the sound ‘ng’ (like the end of the word ‘sing’) on any comfortable note. Notice how, when you do this, the tongue is raised and the soft palate lowered. All the sound is directed down the nose. Pinch your nose, and the sound will stop.
Now sing ‘ah’ instead, and then pinch your nose. Does the sound change at all? If so, you are producing a nasal sound when you sing. The exercises overleaf will help you to eliminate this problem and produce a full, bright tone.
 Module A: Using the voice well 11

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