Page 7 - Voice for Life Yellow Workbook
P. 7

 Using the excited diaphragm
Choose a comfortable note to begin the exercise below. Repeat both sets of vowels several times. Each time you repeat, move up or down a semitone. You may find the exercise tiring at first, but this demonstrates that the correct muscles are working. It should not feel painful or uncomfortable, however.
Having mastered these diaphragm exercises, you should always prepare your voice for singing by using this level of excitement. This makes the diaphragm work hard and helps you to sing with intensity. The following exercise builds on this.
 Breathing warm-up
This is a very good exercise to use for warming-up. It is based on the ‘Placing the voice in neutral’ exercise, but this time you should vocalise on the outward movement and inhale at every rest. Practise singing this exercise using both ‘ah’ and ‘oo’ sounds. With each repetition, move the starting note up or down a semitone. Gradually increase the speed of the exercise.
 Singing with intensity
Sing one of the following phrases from Handel’s Messiah:
The excited diaphragm
Having relaxed your throat, use the following exercise to prepare your diaphragm for singing. Place the voice into ‘neutral’ again (see previous page). This time, do it in such a way that you bring a sense of excitement to the movement. Take in a breath, maintaining this feeling of excitement. With the ‘excited diaphragm’ working all the time, it should be possible to sing long, supported notes and phrases more easily.
 • Baritones and basses: ‘For behold, darkness shall cover the earth
• Tenors: ‘He was cut off out of the land of the living’
• Counter-tenors: ‘Then shall be brought to pass’
• Altos: ‘Behold a virgin shall conceive’ or ‘Then shall the eyes of the blind’ (alto version)
• Sopranos: ‘And the angel said unto them’ or ‘Then shall the eyes of the blind’ (soprano version)
Imagine you are excited, but forbidden to make a sound – like trying not to laugh in church. Keep this in mind while singing the phrase. It might seem as if you are trying to suppress the sound, but as long as this only happens in the diaphragm and not in the throat, you will be working hard to support the sound without singing forte.
In this way, you should be able to sing with a high level of intensity. As you will have discovered, you always have to work harder when singing quietly.
 Module A: Using the voice well 7

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