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I'm wondering... - Opera for Teenagers

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Previous Entry I'm wondering... Feb. 24th, 2007 @ 01:41 pm Next Entry

Where were you guys after 6 months of training? What problems did you have that you had still to work out? (such as breath support, proper resonance, etc.) What problems had you already corrected?

I'm curious because I don't know any opera singers-in-training personally. ;]

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From:lillyangel
Date:February 26th, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
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Even to this day, I still struggle with singing in my passagio. Nevermind singing high notes, when it comes to singing notes at the top of the scale (E5,F5), I totally freak out... The problem is that I don't open my mouth enough (I just figured this out a week ago so woot for me!! ^_^)

On a happier note, I have improved my execution of hitting extrememly high and extremely low notes, almost completely mastered proper breath support, and vastly improved my resonance.
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From:ichi_chan0326
Date:February 26th, 2007 05:46 am (UTC)
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You've mastered breath support?! Would you mind giving me some advice on how I could improve mine? It is really bad XD;;;;

Yeah, I can't manage high notes either. I only practice them at lessons for fear of killing the neighbors (xD;), so I have no control over my voice up there. =/ Whenever I start going high, I freak out and push my sound to the back of my throat. Or, if I manage to get it to the front of my mouth where it's supposed to be, I hold it there instead of "letting it go." Gah. XD;
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From:lillyangel
Date:February 28th, 2007 03:57 am (UTC)
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Erm..I not sure I can really help you with the breath support bit...can't think of how to explain it...I can't even remember how I learned it...

For singing high notes, it helps if: 1)You don't freak out before singing them, and 2)Try directing your voice out through your sinus cavity (or whatever cavity that is...)
dropping your jaw straight down, keeping your mouth wide open (You should be able to stick four finger into your mouth if that helps...or look at your Emmy icon, lol), keeping your cheekbones up, and just thinking of your sound flowing out through the top of your head in a nice rounded way can help too...
I'm really not the best person to describe technique stuff...
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From:ichi_chan0326
Date:February 28th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I think my freaking out is what hinders me a lot... Did you used to do that? If yes, how'd you stop XD;?

Yeah, Emmy can open her mouth pretty wide, no? XDDD

I've heard that sinus tip before and it DOES help a lot. Thanks! I really appreciate your help ;)!!!
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From:lillyangel
Date:February 28th, 2007 04:12 am (UTC)
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I freak out when I sing in my passagio. I've never really freaked out when singing high notes (which for me is anything above F5, and that's probably because I've never actually realized just how high I can sing...) but I get major freakouts singing anywhere from Eb5 to F5...I need to learn to just plain relax, open my throat, drop the back of my tongue, and use plenty of breath support, but I can never manage to do all that at once...*sigh*

Hope my advice helps... my kinda advice...
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From:ichi_chan0326
Date:February 28th, 2007 04:24 am (UTC)
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It does help! ;]

Now if I could only manage to do all that XD!
From:vocaliste09
Date:April 14th, 2007 11:28 am (UTC)
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Don't be afraid of your voice. It's your instrument, and if you pursue this profession, it's going to be how you earn a living. It's a very big part of who you are, and if it's high, then you should let it be high without holding it back. Don't think when you sing. That's what makes singers make the worst mistakes. It will come together with time and practice.
From:marz8earth
Date:March 9th, 2007 06:28 am (UTC)
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After 6 Months of training I had pretty good control of my air and learnt how to breath properly, still couldnt find my placement or direction though, which i have since found. I am now trying to round out the sound and not make such a big deal out of my high notes.


One peice of advice I have been told and find to be true about high notes - it was mentioned above to drop your jaw and make your mouth wide (to place 4 fingers or something) but by opening your mouth that wide you are letting too much air and your voice is no longer focused and if your working on real high notes and your voice isnt focused you will either simply be screaming or crack. If you look at lovely Emmy you can see it's almost all vertical movement not horizanal. Of course your mouth if gonna be some what wide but just what is nature when your jaw is that low. Focus on that vertical drop of your jaw, lift your cheek bones, lift rib cage and think of the sound coming out somewhere between your eyes and dont force too much air, really try and focus it. Think about trying to put that voice/note into a little ball or putting it through a little hole, it has to be round.

Agg blabing again ;) Hope that helped anyways. What problems are you having with your breathing? If you explain what you think you are doing wrong or whats happening Maybe i can help.
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From:ichi_chan0326
Date:March 10th, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
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Thanks so much for taking the time to write all of that! I really do appreciate it :D!!

Recently I have pondered that my problem is not so much breathing, but moreso this stuff:

I have no idea what to do with my tongue for high notes, or for any notes for that matter. I tend to hold the root of it really hard unless I focus on using the muscles below my abdomen (which I only really learned today). Then, if I let go of the root of my tongue when I'm singing high notes, I don't know what to do with the rest of my tongue and the note is muffled by it. Also, if I relax my tongue like I should, I lose much of my vibrato.

Maybe I just need more practice connecting all the right muscles? ...I did just realize all this today at my lesson XD;; Arg v_v;
From:marz8earth
Date:March 17th, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
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In my experience my tongue follows my mouth. It's not soo much the note you form the tongue too but more the vowel you are singing the note on, so when you sing an AY your tongue is high then when you sing E. But try relaxing it and just let it sit naturally with your mouth shape. Or ask you teacher where they want it placed for each vowel, to me it sounds like you are putting too much tention on it and totally relaxing it for a while would be a good idea and then slowing forming it again.

As for your vibrato, it sounds like it's not natural to me. If you find you only have good vibrato when your tongue is tense it's the wrong vibrato. Your vibrato should form when you are totally relaxed. If your jaw is tense you can make a sound like a vibrato but it's refered to a false vibrato. If i was you I'd try to relax my whole face (jaw and tongue) and start again with basics and then start to form placement and proper vowel sounds. Talk to your coach about it, maybe he is simply moving too fast for you and dosnt realise it. I had one like that she thought i was doing good but i didnt have a solid enough base yet and ended up going back to basics.

But for sure there are muscle there that have to deveople and that just takes time.
From:vocaliste09
Date:April 14th, 2007 10:48 am (UTC)
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Another thing that you might want to try, is lightly keeping the tip of your toungue up against the back of your bottom teeth. Especially if you find yourself pulling it backwards into your mouth when you sing. It feels wierd at first, but it eventually helps you relax. Above all, you should have no tension. Other than keeping it forward, try not to think about it too much. One exercise that is good for breaking the habit of pulling your tongue back is singing simple vocalisation exercises with your tongue over your bottom lip, completely relaxed. On 'ah' or something. But especially, listen to what your teacher is telling you. Your teacher is a real person with good training, and will help keep you on track.
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From:ichi_chan0326
Date:April 15th, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! I've actually heard that tip before; I read it in a book I was flipping through a few months ago. I tried it and it really does work!

Whenever my teacher tells me something, I always listen to her and I try to do it, but sometimes it just doesn't work! For example, she tells me I need to use a muscle that it somewhere below my abdominal muscle, but I have no idea how to access it! Do you know anything about that?
From:vocaliste09
Date:April 15th, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC)
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Is it your diaphragm that she was talking about?
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From:ichi_chan0326
Date:April 15th, 2007 11:18 pm (UTC)
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Somehow I don't think so, because she never never called it that, and also I think it's much lower than that. Supposedly, it's right above or one's pelvic bone and should move in and out when you're singing. ?__?
From:vocaliste09
Date:April 16th, 2007 01:50 pm (UTC)
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Ok. What she wants you to do is relax your abdominal muscles when you sing. Most people squeeze in their abdominal muscles, for example, when they stand. People think that makes them look better and whatever. But, to sing properly, you can not be that tense (but can't completely let go. It's about finding a balance, and it's hard. The trick is not to overthink.)

So basically, your diaphragm is a really thin muscle that stretches across the bottom of your rib cage. when you inhale(a "proper singing breath, that is) your rib cage expands outward slightly, and your diaphragm is pulled DOWN, like a suction cup turned inside out. Your abdominals push OUT, in order to give your diaphragm space to pull down. (It's very thin, and you have layers and layers of abdominal muscles. So, you must allow them to move, because it can't "fight" them, if you will, on your own.) When you exhale, your ribcage contracts (to its normal position), which pulls your diaphragm back to its original position. Your abdominal muscles also return to their original position. Your shoulders should remain in a relaxed and comfortable position (your teacher has probably told you about this), and should not move when your are breathing.

This is kind of complicated anatomical stuff. A book I would definitely recommend for further reading is The Diagnosis and Correction of Vocal Faults by James C. McKinney. He has a chapter on the vocal anatomy that is not too complex, with good pictures (although it's only of the vocal mechanism: larynx, vocal chords, etc. and not what you are most interested in at this point in time.). You could also probably find diagrams online. I highly suggest seeing what this looks like. You will relate to your body better as a singer, and it may help you visualize the process better.

I'm really sorry if I ended up confusing you more. This is a very difficult subject for everyone.
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