The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157317   Message #3712262
Posted By: Don Firth
27-May-15 - 03:28 PM
Thread Name: How To Sing With Power?
Subject: RE: How To Sing With Power?
Joe's advice (second post) about singing to someone in the back row of an auditorium (projecting, not yelling) is excellent. It's the difference between yelling and projecting. It comes from the diaphragm. When you inhale, feel your ribs and abdomen expand outward. Keep your throat relaxed.

And don't forget to open your mouth!

And Leeneia's comments about involving your sinuses (head voice) are also excellent. The way to get the feel for this is to hum, feeling the vibration in the front of your face, around your nose and forehead. And your upper teeth. Then, when you are singing, make sure that you can feel the same kind of sensation in the front of your face. As my voice teacher, Edna Bianchi (retired from the Metropolitan Opera years ago) said, "The tone should have nasal resonance, but should not sound 'nosey.'"

And above all, keep your throat relaxed. Any feeling of strain is a dire warning. Any persistent feeling of hoarseness after singing could develop into a permanent condition. Be warned!

I fell in with some folks who were into opera when I was in my late 'teens and took some voice lessons from Mrs. Bianchi early on, going around blatting tenor arias in a lower key (Mrs. B. diagnosed my voice as being bass or bass-baritone). Then in my early twenties, I heard a couple of good folk singers and got thoroughly turned on to folk music (Light bulb: a ballad is like a mini-opera, an opera is like a ballad on steroids), and resumed lessons with Mrs. B.

Taking voice lessons will not make you sound like and opera singer. Many aspiring young singers wish it were that easy! You have to have the particular kind of voice for opera or "classical" singing, and not everyone does (for example, with all the voice lessons, I sound more like Ed McCurdy or Gordon Bok—or so I've been told—than Dmitri Hvorostovski or Giorgio Tozzi).

Bonus tip: I also took some singing lessons from George Hotchkiss Street, who was a bass-baritone like myself, and one of the most valuable things he worked me on had less to do with voice production than simply putting a song across. He had me bring my guitar to the lessons and sing a few folk songs for him. He would often stop me in mid-song and say, "Now, what does that line mean?" He knew perfectly well what it meant, but he wanted to make sure that I knew, and wasn't just singing the song by rote.

Very important: know what you are singing about!!

Don Firth

P. S. There are a number of good books on singing. One I would particularly recommend for singers of folk songs is Singing Professionally (Revised Edition): Studying Singing for Singers and Actors by Arabella Hong-Young. Arabella Hong-Young is classically trained, but she is more of a singing actress than an opera singer. Most of her singing was on Broadway. Among other things, she created the role of Helen Chao in Rogers and Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song.   Good vocal exercises, lots of good tips applicable to any kind of singing.