Saturday, June 2, 2007

Vocal Performance techniques of Power, Path & Performance and the Alexander Technique

OK people, here is the last post in my three part series discussing techniques of "Power, Path & Performance" and the "Alexander Technique".

This one will deal with "Performance", which I teach as "Communication".

Once again, I would like you to open this link to Ron Murdock's amazing article: . This time, begin reading at the top and stop when you come to the paragraph beginning with "What, then, is this vast vocal organ?".

Ron titles his article "Born To Sing" because he believes (and I agree) that anyone can learn to sing- even if you seem to be pitch-deaf. After working with what Ron calls "Tonematching Exercises" and I call "Aiming Practice", I have yet to have anyone come to me who can't learn to sing in tune. If you can talk, you can sing. Your speaking voice will be improved, too, and I soooo enjoy watching (and hearing) the blooming process.

I am always telling my students that singing is like and Olympic event. Like great athletes, singers use every inch of their physical beings. Ron quotes his mentors: In the introduction to their book called, Singing: The Physical Nature of the Vocal Organ, by Professor Frederick Husler and Yvonne Rodd-Marling, Rodd-Marling says, "Singing is a highly physical happening, a unique form of communication produced by muscle-movements set in motion by a fundamentally emotive desire to express beauty."

In Power, Path & Performance I teach the synergy of breath, open throat and communication. When we really communicate, we operate our physical bodies in a different way than when we are NOT really communicating (when our minds are occupied with non-communicative thoughts). This total commitment to giving a message to someone causes our breath to work better and our throats to be more open. It can also cure stage fright.

I agree when Ron says, "It is this exaggerated level of communication of feeling that actually sets in motion and coordinates the vast, complex muscle structures of the singing instrument. This puts a very great physical demand on a professional singer---as great a demand as that of any top athlete."

However, there is a caution: Just like a great acting, great singing will involve RE-EXPERIENCING emotion, not faking it. Don't be surprised if going deep brings tears to your own eyes until you learn to be comfortable being that exposed.

My students hear me say this a lot: Real singing is not for the squeamish! I think Ron would agree.

You might want to try out Ron's great performance awareness exercise. Read where he begins "Sing a song. Any song you know well..."

Also, I totally agree with Ron that we must not put technical singing before emotional singing. Voice teacher Jeffrey Allen says the Italians take their technique on stage with them in their little finger.

Get it?? hehehe

Next time you have a song to communicate, Go For It. I bet you'll breath better for it, and your throat will be more open, too.

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