(Sing your heart out . . . not your voice)
Screams are red, whispers are blue. Funk is orange with some green
mixed in too.
and the rest of the rainbow, are the colors of emotion. In general,
we tend to paint with a limited pallet of vocal sounds. Singing
in a single hue not only limits your expression, but may lead
to vocal problems as well. While screaming is an obvious example
of vocal abuse, whispering can be stressful in a different way.
Fortunately, the healthiest technique also creates the most
compelling results. You simply need to sing with a wide variety
of tints and shades.
equal parts strength, flexibility and coordination to keep your
voice out of harm’s way. A pure vocal tone is the result of
balanced muscle activities. Think of it as white light. This
balance (equal amounts of pressure and resistance) creates a
slippery, free-floating sensation that allows maximum range
and dead-on intonation. You can sing this way for hours and
not feel the slightest bit of fatigue, but it’s about as exciting
as painting by numbers. Popular music is about passion. Feelings
like love, hate, anger, joy, lust and loneliness inject color
into everyone’s life. To accurately capture the spectrum, you’ve
got to be willing to mix it up and sing outside the lines. However,
physical realities like strength and condition cannot be ignored.
Here’s where the tints and shades come in.
a deep, red scream coming out of your mouth. As you sustain
this ruby roar, you notice your pitch is flat. This is classic
imbalance -- too much red (pressure). Lighten up just a tinge.
Think of it as adding a drop of white to the color of the sound.
The audience won’t hear any difference in the new tint but your
larynx will immediately feel less burdened. Continue to back
off the pressure (adding white) until you have satisfied both
pitch and passion. Your new scream remains red but is now semi-balanced,
which means less vocal fatigue.
with a pale blue whisper. With so much air dumping out, it’s
hard to sustain notes and finish phrases. Your throat becomes
dry and ticklish. Just as an artist adjusts the air/paint mixture
on an airbrush, blend more pigment into your sound. The more
blue you add, the less air escapes -- increasing control. Again,
the new shade will be undetectable to an audience but make a
world of difference to your larynx.
required to make a micro adjustment in sound-color is the skill
of singing. Some are born with it and others develop it by performing
and/or training. Since physical abilities change slightly from
day to day, an internal awareness is necessary to consistently
stay in balance. Monitors and head phones mixes can’t provide
much help. Dialing in the perfect shade relies on feeling, not
hearing. This is a difficult, advanced concept, but well worth
pursuing. It develops a respect for the smallest of details.
The result is a vocal performance that is as rich in color as
the moment allows without sacrificing tomorrow’s performance.
In other words, a singer with a future.
Baxter is a vocal therapist
who offers private and video lessons. To contact him, call:
(800)659-6002. Visit his website at: www.voicelesson.com
with the kind permission of Mark