Jun 09 2015

Announcement and a Favor


I’m working on a new class and I could use your help. If you could do me a favor, I’d really appreciate it if you could answer a question for me. What are your two top questions about your voice?

Now, I know I’ve asked this before, but there are a lot of new members of the VocalWisdom.com community. And your questions might have changed in that time. So I thought it would be OK to ask again.

It will really help me make sure I’m including information that will actually be useful for those in the class. Because as you have probably been told before, if you have the question it is most likely others have the same question.

So don’t be shy and let me know your two biggest questions you have about the voice. You can put it in the comments of this blog post or just reply to the email. Thanks!

Michael Mayer

  1. Stephan Greyling

    Is it possible to ‘expand’ one’s lower range? If so, how? If not, how can one ensure that the low notes already available to one (but of low volume and poor quality) is produced optimally?

    J. Vendera’s “Raise your voice” method seems to be quite controversial. What is your opinion on this?

  2. Lorna Kelly

    1. How can I regain my youthful vibrato? (I am 72 and still singing and teaching)
    2. My chest voice is weak – is it best to just let it be? Or are there exercises to strengthen it. (Problem occurs from D above Middle C and lower)

  3. Steve Lewit

    I am 71 and want to regain my Heldontenor voice.
    1. How does an older dude like me get back into the game of singing Wagner?
    2. Sang through Die Walkure at home okay .. but top is unreliable for Lohengrin; Meistersinger etc.
    3. Should I train my voice differently now and forget Wagner (which I love)

  4. Giacomo Racugno

    1) What are the main parameters to define the appropriate vocal register (tenor, baritone, bass, soprano, mezzo, contralto) and the appropriate repertoire?

    2) Which kind of daily routine would you suggest?

  5. How do I “mentally stimulate my larynx to activate”?

  6. alan mcleod

    How do you keep your jaw relaxed throughout your vocal range.? How do you achieve good pharyngeal reasonance without becoming nasal?

  7. Gilbert Doummar

    Why is the “ee” sound do difficult to maintain in the mask.

    Exercises to mix chest to head voice in the high register for a tenor with easy high notes.

  8. Justyna Adamska

    How to avoid getting one’s voice “stuck up & tied” in the throat during practicing – maybe it’s the tongue blocking, or the throat opened too little?
    How to work on the “E” vowel, to prevent it from ‘falling down into the back of my throat”. Men do not seem to have that problem as much?

  9. Two biggest questions!
    Conception and execution of blending falsetto and chest voice.
    How to consistently suspend my breath in a musically productive way

  10. Bob Walton

    I have come to feel that my larynx is involved in almost every aspect of my voice – how can I begin to isolate and change this?


    Have you come across any cases where people who have strong larynx involvement when singing are also more prone to choking while eating?

  11. The 2 Absolute BIGGEST QUESTIONS:
    1.) How to Speak / Sing Properly with the Least Amount of Tension
    2.) How to properly place the voice without being too consciously aware of it

    These are the 2 that have gotten me to study the voice & search all over for answers to expand my knowledge of this.

  12. 1) How to gain a relaxed jaw while singing? What about TMJ pain?
    2) Appoggio technique

  13. Exercises to achieve and strengthen the power / intensity of high notes (for a baritone / other voice types)
    More exercises that will aid in making the voice a reflexive instrument guided by throught rather than something one consciously tries to control

  14. Bob, thanks for your question. From what you describe, I don’t think it is actually your larynx that is giving you trouble but the muscles around the larynx. They are the muscles involved in swallowing, and it is pretty common for them to get involved when we use our voice, a;though it in not desirable. But it sounds like yours are being more active than normal.

    What we need to figure out is how to convince the body that those muscles are not necessary for vocalization. This is one situation that I would use a sigh to teach the airway to stay open like in breathing. I also use the very small, quiet vocalization that I call the little oo. Stretching with a yawn can help, as well as making sure the jaw open sufficiently when vocalizing.

    Gradually the body needs to learn that those muscles are not an appropriate part of the vocalizing process. The issue with choking is very likely the same muscles. Some people have uncontrollable spasms that closes the airway, which is often referred to as the throat.

  15. Might seem basic but here it is: what is proper speech production? What should the voice do and what mental image should you have?
    I’ve been told repeatedly to take more air in, to place it forward in the mask and feel the nose & lips vibrate. This has resulted in a sore throat invariably. Another..

  16. another thing I’ve been told was to picture the air flowing thru the throat and hitting directly the hard palate. Haven’t been able to make this work either… I’m still to find the correct mental image that will enable me to speak loudly without strain. Thanks

  17. Thanks for your submission, David. Your experience supports my assertion that manipulating the breath on an outward flow is completely wrong and harmful. I want people to understand that the breath is not the tone. Tone is created by the vibration of the vocal folds resonating in the empty space of the airway. The role of the breath is to feed that vibration, not to project the sound. Sound projects itself by its own properties. These techniques you quote are attempts to control what should be natural. Which really just causes effort and strain.

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