How Your Voice Works
Traditional voice training often focuses solely on placement, breath control, and posture as a means to improving a person's singing ability. However, modern scientific advances from the last 20 years have shed light on how the voice actually works. At the Contemporary Voice Studio, we use this information to inform our teaching. We call it "Voice Pedagogy for the 21st Century." Our particular approach is called Somatic Voicework™, which is a functional approach to singing. In your lessons, you will learn how the voice is actually designed and you will learn how to control the mechanism in a manner that is beneficial to you. although we were both trained classically, we have chosen to teach the Somatic Voicework™ method because it works! As long as the student practices, they will see dramatic improvements in a short amount of time. We do integrate "classical" techniques from time to time, but we only use them for specific purposes with a specific outcome in mind and we only work on repertoire that excites the students. If you don't want to sing in a foreign language, you don't have to!
The larynx is located in the neck and is comprised of multiple structures that enable you to produce sounds.
The vocal folds are set into motion by air as it escapes from your lungs. The vocal folds have a muscle running through the center called the thyroarytenoid muscle (TA). The TA is covered by a gelatenous material that when set into motion has the ability to vibrate hundreds to thousands of times per second. Another muscle called the cricothyroid lengthens the vocal folds when engaged, which enables you to sing different pitches. By isolating, strengthening, and coordinating these muscles you will gain better control of your voice and be able to expand your range and increase your power.
The constrictor muscles surround the larynx and are a primary cause of trouble when singing. When the constrictor muscles contract, they narrow the throat causing tension and many times discomfort when singing. By learning to release these muscles while phonating, you will not only improve your tone quality, but also reduce your risk for vocal damage.
Neck, Jaw, and Tongue
The constrictor muscles are not alone in causing tightness around the larynx. there are numerous muscles surrounding the larynx that can cause vocal troubles if improperly engaged. By learning how to release tension in your neck, jaw, and tongue those muscles will release, your tone quality will improve, and you will experience less vocal fatigue.
Breathing for Singing
You may have heard that singing is all about breath control. Well unfortunately, it is not that simple. Numerous scientific studies have shown that there is an intricate relationship between body size, vocal fold closure/registration, and musical style that must be considered when teaching singers to breathe. At the Contemporary Voice Studio, we will teach you how to manage your breath in the most optimal way for your body type, tone quality, and style.