Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Question about Power, Path & Performance open throat techniques

Hi everyone... sorry it's been a few days since my last post.

I had a question from a man who bought the 6-cd package of Power, Path & Performance vocal training cds, and I thought I'd share them (and my answers) with you. I always want my vocal training courses on cd to work for you- so your questions and feedback are always welcome!

Timothy Rehagen from O'Fallon, Missouri wrote:

"I have concerns about the open throat and the six-way head stretch. I am definitely stretching out all six areas. But exactly how much should one stretch them? I can't tell if I'm stretching too much. When I do the head stretch comfortably without straining my facial muscles, I sometimes "crack" or hit a break in my voice when I practice vocal slides up and down my range. So, I try to stretch out further. The breaks tend to go away then, but after awhile, I start to feel a little pain in my facial muscles. It seems that I have to overdo it in order to successfully melt my registers into one. I can't tell what I'm doing wrong. This is hard to explain. What do you think could be the problem?"

I reply:

"Sorry you're having trouble, Tim. All I can say without seeing you at personal lesson is that you should be using your facial muscles like you're communicating the words and the emotions of the song. You should feel a sense of stretch all over your body, all through your range, but DON'T OVERSTRETCH ANYTHING! Talk with your hands, and center your weight on the strong bones of the pelvis and upper legs. This should help take excess effort out of your face. Also... try singing with your heels and head at the wall, staying flexible, tall and animated. When you bring your head back to "pull" your words from the vocal path I teach, pull your head slightly to the side with your chin flexible and level.

Sometimes there are sneaky things you're doing of which you are unaware. You must co-ordinate correct breathing and correct articulation (performance communication) in order to keep your throat open so your voice doesn't break. If you're trying too hard to do the right thing, thinking too much, you sometimes get very stiff. This lack of flexibility can definately cause your voice to break. To help you in your discovery, it would be very good for you to visit and study the vocal technique subjects I discuss in my blog. You should then understand your cds at ever deeper levels as you listen to them and learn the exercises.

Your posture should be tall, flexible, alert & open when you sing or talk, no matter what.
When you truly communicate, you shouldn't have to be thinking about the 6-way inside head stretch. It should become habit to stay open. You can't perform while concentrating on technique. Practice vocal exercises to gain correct habits, then just get real within the song and communicate.

I hope this helps! And again, to all of my readers and purchasers of Power, Path & Performance vocal training cds ...please send your questions my way and I'll be glad to try and solve your vocal mysteries. This helps me as a teacher, makes my training more valuable, and we can share the information with others on this blog!