In my efforts to train my voice after a long summer of silence and a forthcoming recital in October, I came across a great exercise for warming up, loosening the jaw and throat and releasing the high notes. It is a bit like blowing raspberries, but is ‘vocalised’; some call it ‘lip roll’:
Say ‘Brrrrr…’ , but without the ‘rrrrrr’; blowing air through your lips so they vibrate. To make it easier stick a finger in each cheek. The sound you make should be like a horse snorting! Now take a good breath and using your stomach muscles, add a note to the lip-
Go on… bbbbbbb… try it!
Choir soloists -
We all know them, members of the choir who sing out so loud you can hardly hear your own voice!
There is a simple rule of thumb which all choir members should adhere to -
The rule: When you are singing, whether pianissimo or fortissimo, you should be able to hear your neighbours to the right and left of you. If you can't -
Trew Tips -
For any section of the choir, reaching up to those high notes can feel like a strain -
Don't reach up to them! Instead of visually looking up to the note, look down on it from above, mentally and physically.
Stand relaxed, but upright.
Relax the shoulders.
Imagine a piece of string is pulling your head up from the crown.
Your neck elongates and your chin drops down slightly.
You are already looking down on that note.
Relax your throat muscles instead of straining them.
Now let that note soar!
I have been given a book called ‘Singing in a Nutshell’ written by a man called Norman Tattersall. He was elected Leverhulme Fellow of the British Federation of Young Choirs and travels widely conducting courses in singing. There are, as he says ‘A Dozen Do’s and Dont’s’ and I shall periodically quote some of them here:
“Singing should always look easy. You should look happy and if possible feel happy. If you feel pleasure yourself, then the odds are that you will give pleasure to others, that is if anyone is listening. If they aren’t it doesn’t matter.
The singing voice adds importance to words and more magic to poetry than even the poet envisaged. Like any other art, craft or skill, singing needs technique, so here are a dozen basic ideas for all those who attempt to make a more beautiful sound with the voice they possess.”