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Speech Level Singing

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GUEST,Claire 16 Nov 04 - 10:53 AM
MMario 16 Nov 04 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Claire 16 Nov 04 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,Russ 16 Nov 04 - 05:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 16 Nov 04 - 05:34 PM
John Routledge 16 Nov 04 - 05:57 PM
GUEST 16 Nov 04 - 06:26 PM
The Fooles Troupe 16 Nov 04 - 06:50 PM
John Routledge 16 Nov 04 - 07:22 PM
The Fooles Troupe 16 Nov 04 - 08:13 PM
Don Firth 16 Nov 04 - 08:37 PM
John Routledge 16 Nov 04 - 08:37 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Nov 04 - 09:03 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Nov 04 - 10:09 AM
GUEST,Claire 17 Nov 04 - 10:40 AM
Don Firth 17 Nov 04 - 04:46 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Nov 04 - 05:08 PM
Don Firth 17 Nov 04 - 07:00 PM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Nov 04 - 07:06 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Nov 04 - 09:18 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Nov 04 - 12:46 AM
GUEST,Claire Z 18 Nov 04 - 10:53 AM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Nov 04 - 02:08 AM
John Routledge 19 Nov 04 - 11:36 AM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Nov 04 - 07:27 PM
GUEST,Liz Murhpy 19 May 05 - 12:49 AM
GUEST 29 May 05 - 11:31 PM
GUEST,guest 11 Mar 06 - 04:35 PM
GUEST 11 Mar 06 - 04:36 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Mar 06 - 06:08 PM
GUEST,Sandy Andina 14 Mar 06 - 06:00 AM
Dave Wynn 14 Mar 06 - 06:55 AM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Mar 06 - 08:56 AM
GUEST,leeneia 14 Mar 06 - 10:37 AM
GUEST,Sandy Andina 14 Mar 06 - 02:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Mar 06 - 06:55 PM
The Fooles Troupe 14 Mar 06 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Andrea 10 Mar 07 - 06:00 AM
GUEST,Guest 10 Jun 10 - 06:40 PM
GUEST,Somewhere 31 Oct 10 - 09:44 AM
GUEST,Randy Buescher 29 May 11 - 03:10 PM
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Subject: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 10:53 AM

I am curious if anyone out there has ever taken speach level singing lessons. I recently took a workshop and lesson and had mixed feelings about it. Specifically, the idea that what everyone else is teaching out there is misleading, since the emphasis should be on the larnyx position above all else. This method teaches relaxation in the throat and face, which I totally agree with and so I might like to pursue it, however lessons are inconvenient and expensive for me. Can I learn many of the same things with accessible vocal coach, or is this method really different enough to warrent seaking it out?    Here is a summary that I found on the web.... I look forward to hearing if anyone has had success with this method. Claire

Speech-Level-Singing involves training one to sing with the same ease and relaxed nature as in talking. Training emphasis is on the larynx, which should remain at a fixed level in the throat, even when singing the high notes. The breath support system, specifically the diaphragm and the lower costal muscles, work involuntarily and automatically when the voice box is kept at this level.

Exercises are given to strengthen the muscles within and below the larynx, to train the larynx to remain down and at this fixed level. One must never raise nor hike the larynx to hit the higher notes. For detailed information on the larynx, vocal cords and diaphragm, check out our Vocal Anatomy section.

If you are using the proper muscles, the sound produced from training with these exercises will be free and relaxed. If there is any tension in the sound, or in the throat, neck or jaw, you are using other muscles besides only the ones in your voice box, which should always remain relaxed. Most singers use excessive air and outer muscular effort and push too hard when singing. Singing should be comfortable and easy. The result is ultimate vocal power.


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: MMario
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 11:04 AM

the idea that what everyone else is teaching out there is misleading, since the emphasis should be on the larnyx position above all else.

I would say this is a big warning sign.


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 11:34 AM

Yea, that is what I thought too. Plus, it is not how you sound that counts, but physical harmony and speach comfort relaxation in your body. In practice, this means that the vocal coach is omnipotent and tells you if you are doing things correctly, or what is wrong, since your sound (the result) is not the defining factor. I personally have suffered much more vocal strain after speaking for long periods of time, than I have while singing. But that may mean that I am speaking incorrectly.... hmmmm. However, I am so curious if someone has had good results with this method.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 05:06 PM

Suppose you do find someone who has had good results with this method? It will still just be anecdotal evidence.

Unless the person is a true believer they'll tell you that your mileage may vary.

Also the placebo effect would suggest that any method can produce good results for somebody.


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 05:34 PM

"Which leg do you start with" they askeed the Centipede. Si he starting trying to work out which it was. And he fell over.


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: John Routledge
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 05:57 PM

A useful practical device for learning how to pitch a new song is to speak the first line at singing volume and then sing the second line onwards and you are away.:0)

This does work for me and I have seen it work in others. There is no risk to one's vocal chords or pocket.

The teaching technique you mention seems to be a considerable extension of my simple exercise and I would need to investigate much further before committing to it.


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 06:26 PM

Speech level singing is a method of teaching singing invented by Seth Riggs - Stevie Wonders vocal coach no less. Hes also taught Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Michael Bolton and thousands of others. Other coaches using this method have taught just about every notable pop and rock singer in America and an increasing number of those in the UK. Its about singing in the most natural, un-forced way possible but particularly its the way of training the vocal muscles to work together in a productive way that is the innovative bit.

Its like going to the gym with a trainer to build muscles, rather than staying at home and lifting your weight on a door frame - you could achieve the same results with just common sense if you spend some time on it, but its worth getting a teacher because it'll be quicker and more effective and you stand less chance of damaging yourself in the process.

One prominant young English folk singer is said to be studying it...


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 06:50 PM

Beat me to it GUEST!

I have a copy of the Seth Riggs book, and find that it is on the same wavelength as the Alexander Method of Relaxation. Using his techniques, I have extended my range at both ends, and with practice, have increased my vocal power & volume all over the range.

My book came with 2 audio cassette tapes. Having had some singing training when a kid, and having done a lot of singing when young, I found it easy to pick up. I was electrocuted thru the throat when working in theatre, and my voice was damaged for ages, but with his techniques, apart from starting to lose focus and thus control when tired, my voice is better then I ever thought it would get back to.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: John Routledge
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 07:22 PM

Robin - Is your book called "Singing for the Stars : A Complete Program for Training Your Voice". Author Seth Riggs et al. Publisher Alfred Publishing Co. 1992.

If so it is available on Amazon at £24.26 inc UK postage.

Will get it for Christmas :0)


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 08:13 PM

Yes, that is the book - it's in my bookshelves somewhere... just can't put my hand on it at the moment.

Highly recommended - even though many music teachers think he is a fraud and a looney... Just goes to show - if you have a small mind - you can't understand things you don't want to know about...

Robin


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 08:37 PM

One big warning sign: "Exercises are given to strengthen the muscles within and below the larynx, to train the larynx to remain down and at this fixed level."

Keeping the throat relaxed and open is one of the absolute essentials of good singing--especially singing that keeps the voice healthy and avoids nodes on the vocal folds. I can't think of anything much worse than trying to "strengthen the muscles within and below the larynx" or trying to hold the larynx in a particular position. These muscles are involuntary. They respond very poorly to trying to "exercise" them. And trying to hold your larynx in place rather than allowing it to position itself naturally is guaranteed to produce tension, a voice killer.   

Good diaphragmatic breathing and keeping your throat relaxed is the way to go. And never, ever push your voice beyond what is comfortable for you. If you feel your range is limited, practice vocal exercises (partial scales, arpeggios, etc.) and sneak it up or down a half-step at a time. But again: never beyond what is confortable.

There are lots of threads here about vocal technique. Read Alice's posts especially. She knows what she's talking about.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: John Routledge
Date: 16 Nov 04 - 08:37 PM

Thanks Robin - They said the same abour F.M.Alexander !!


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 09:03 AM

While there are some good pieces of advice here, the idea that one would NOT have to strengthen any muscles to allow the larynx to remain in its neutral position is misguided, especially if for years you have been singing and bobbing your larynx up and down all around the place. It took me quite some time, and it was most difficult at first at the very ends of the range, where I had been 'strengthening the muscles that force the larynx to bob up and down' for over 30 years.... :-)

It still moves around a bit, but it stays more neutral now, and the strain I used to get as a result from the electrocution thru the throat, is now almost non-existent.

But Hey! I don't give a damn if you don't want to believe - I no longer try to stop people smoking, or drinking to excess, or lots of other things these days - it's your body, not mine! And I'm not getting paid either...

It's just that - after the initial period where just because what I was now doing was different and felt a little strange, it now is far more relaxing to sing.... and far less effort (mental as well!) too!

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 10:09 AM

Re "Other coaches using this method have taught just about every notable pop and rock singer in America."

I am forced to listen to pop music from the 70's - 90's at work. Considering how god-awful their singing is, I have serious doubts about any method they've used.

I often hear such flaws as singing out of tune, singing bizarre vowels unknown to any Indo-European language, straining so hard they cannot end a phrase without a glug, and having poor sound. By "poor sound" I mean they either push to the point where they sound like a trumpet or oboe, rather than a human, or their throats seem so scarred and rasping that they sound like a harmonica with sand in it. (This last may be produced by a sound engineer pushing a button, I realize that.)


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST,Claire
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 10:40 AM

My goodness,

These are all the ideas that have been floating around in my head too. Skepticism versus believers. I am glad to hear this has worked for some of you, especially Robin - that is great. I have studied some Alexander method and definitely think there is a lot that is useful in that method. I am sure there is a lot that is useful in Speech Level singing, however, I am skeptical when one practitioner puts down others and then charges a bundle for you to study with them, and sites a lot of pop icons to convince you (which he did by the way). I have read many of Alice's threads and have contributed at times. She is a great resource.

Let me ask a personal question. This teacher said that I had a "serious" problem. I am tightening the muscles right below my chin when I go up the scale. You can feel these muscles by putting you thumb under your chin while you sing. My voice teacher agrees that I am doing it, but does not think it is a problem. He thinks that it is one of the ways I am creating a traditional sound, rather than the open operatic sound. So, it is an interesting question. Do I fix my serious problem, or keep singing the same way, or try to split the difference (what I will probably do). Also, I am not suffering from vocal strain that I notice at this point, and my voice is generally described as open clear, lilting, words that don't indicate that the listeners are hearing a strained tightness. Any thoughts?

Ok, enough typing.

Claire


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 04:46 PM

There are umpteen different methods for trying to get the best out of the human voice. Some are successful. Many are, to put it in the most gentle terms, counterproductive. They can all be boiled down to two different approaches: one approach emphasizes a relaxed, open throat, correct diaphragmatic breathing, uses a lot of imagery in "placing" or feeling where a tone resonates, and avoids any attempts to exert direct muscular control over the vocal mechanism. The other approach attempts to take over direct, conscious muscular control of the vocal mechanism by minutely adjusting muscular tension here or there in and around the throat, and/or trying to hold the larynx in a particular position or moving from one position to another while singing.

The basis for the former method and the problem with the latter method is that, other than some conscious control over breathing, the vocal mechanism is controlled by involuntary muscles?muscles over which it is impossible to exert direct, conscious control.

We learn to speak in the first place by imitating the sounds we want to make. Within the limits of individual physiology, involuntary muscles make the necessary minute adjustments in an attempt to duplicate those sounds. Thus, we learn to speak. Imagine how well you would do if you had to learn to speak by holding your larynx in a particular position, concentrating on how much tension to apply to your vocal folds, and manipulating the shape of your mouth and the position of your tongue to produce the correct series of consonants and vowels. That's just not the way it happens. And that's not the way to learn to sing.

Almost anybody can sing, after a fashion. Some people have a naturally pleasant sounding voice, and others sound like a rusty hinge. Part of this depends on individual physiology, and part depends on habits we've picked up during a lifetime of talking (however long that life happens to have been). We can't do a whole lot about the physiology, but the rest we can. The habits we've picked up that inhibit or obstruct the potential of our voices can be changed. More often than not, they have to do with tension in the vocal mechanism and how we place our speaking voice (where the tones we produce resonate).

The method for producing the optimum sounds from the human voice have been around for a long time. The following passage describes how the best voice teachers teach:
Bel canto emerged in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but its roots lie all the way through the Middle Ages. It began in the singing instruction that Italian masters provided their students. Because singing must be mastered internally, teaching singing is tricky. Italian masters relied on a system of teaching and listening to their pupils. When the pupil created a tone or sound that was of admirable quality, the master would urge that pupil to repeat the sound until it was ingrained in their memory [Emphasis mine]. This practice became so inherent to Italian singers that Italian singing became shrouded in mystery. Many thought that Italy was protecting its singing mastery from foreign countries, when in reality it was simply espousing a valuable teaching style.
This "admirable quality," if it is to be produced at all, invariably comes from a relaxed, open throat, a relaxed jaw, an open mouth, properly controlled (but not over-controlled) diaphragmatic breathing, and allowing the tones to resonate where they resonate the best. Low notes tend to resonate in the chest and throat, and high notes should resonate in the nasal passages ("head voice"). The correct feeling for head voice can be fairly easily found by humming a medium or fairly high note ("mmmmmmm"). But even when singing low notes, you should be able to feel some nasal resonance. But "nasal resonance" does not mean a nasal or "nosy" sound to your voice. Good nasal resonance has an almost ringing sound to it. This is the quality that gives life to your voice, and, although it may not sound all that loud close-up, can bounce your voice off the back wall of a fairly sizable auditorium.

This is the method that produces some of the finest singers in the world. And the most admirable voices. But never fear. If you want to sing folk songs, it will not make you sound like Luciano Pavarotti or Renée Fleming. Not everybody has an operatic voice. Actually, darned few people have operatic voices. This is one of the reasons why voices like this are often referred to as "God-given." They're not that common. But even if you did have an operatic voice, you don't have to sing that way. I've heard opera singers like Kiri Ti Kanawa and Samuel Ramey back off and sing Broadway or pop songs, and although they sounded great, they didn't sound "operatic" at all.

Every few years someone comes along with a "new method" of teaching singing that is supposed to render all previous methods obsolete. And often the purveyor of this "new method" is predisposed to trash the long-standing, tried and true methods. This is not Divine Revelation; this is salesmanship.

During the Fifties, when I was studying music at the University of Washington, I knew a voice student, a young woman, who insisted on sticking to her voice teacher (not one of the University's four voice teachers) who operated out of a studio downtown. He had taught her the complete physiology of the larynx, including all of the surrounding muscles, and his method consisted of teaching her how to control these muscles to produce the kind of tones she wanted. Over a period of a year, I heard this young woman's voice go from promising to chronically strained and frequently hoarse. This guy was a regular Svengali. He had her convinced that he was the only way to go. Other voice students who were familiar with him, but considerably less enthralled by him, referred to him as "The Strangler."

I started voice lessons even before I got interested in folk music. My first voice teacher was a soprano who had retired from the Metropolitan Opera. She wasn't one of the biggies, but she did sing small roles and she had also sung in the chorus. She was American, but she had trained in Italy, and had married an Italian cellist who played in the Metropolitan Opera orchestra. I've taken voice lessons from other teachers, all good, but she was the one who gave me an excellent foundation in vocal technique. I've sung folk songs and ballads for fifty years, and my voice (I'm a bass-baritone) is strong and secure?and at the age of seventy-three, it remains so. It's deepened a bit within recent years, but I've retained my top notes. I still practice the vocal exercises Edna Bianchi gave me, every day. The voice feels good, and a few people have told me recently that it sounds as good as it ever did. Actually better (very nice to hear!). For this, I have to thank Mrs. Bianchi, who started me off right.

And when I sing, I don't sound "operatic." Unless I want to.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 05:08 PM

There are traditional types of singing where a tight voice is an essential part of the sound, and where a relaxed open voice just sounds wrong.


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: Don Firth
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 07:00 PM

Aha! But there is an important distinction here. Someone who has learned to sing with a relaxed, open throat can always sing with that tight sound when they want to. But the contrary is not always the case.

There is also the very important consideration that consistently singing with a tight throat can produce nodes on the vocal folds. Then, you have got troubles.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 07:06 PM

Someone who has learned to sing with a relaxed, open throat can always sing with that tight sound when they want to. Maybe they can, but too often they don't. "Give a boy a hammer, and everything looks like a nail."

I have a feeling there are ways to sing with a tight throat that avoids the damage you mentioned, because some of the old singers who do it that way have been doing it a hell of a long time. Anyone have any hints about that?


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Nov 04 - 09:18 PM

I've been told yodelling is 'singing ON the vocal chords' - basically Speech Level Singing.

Don Firth has given lots of very good info with which I totally agree.

The whole point - that seemed to have been missed by many - is NOT that one is trying to FORCE ANYTHING in Speech Level Singing - exactly the reverse - you also CANNOT FORCE Alexander technique!

Keeping the larynx in a neutral position AVOIDS the strain placed on the area of the vocal chords when you use the muscles around them to 'tighten' the chords for a higher pitch, or move the whole shebang up and down to achieve a certain pitch - this is the whole core of the Seth Riggs idea.

And of course, the whole POINT, is that once you have learned to RELAX the whole throat, it becomes an unconscious reflex.

Anybody who is trying to 'consciously put the muscles into a certain state to achieve a certain sound' is totally off the beam as to what both Alexander & Seth Riggs are on about! Got it back to front in fact!

I do agree that many 'pop singers' have lousy singing technique! And don't assume that they all have studied the Seth Riggs method! And you also can't blame to poor teacher when an occasional student stuffs up (not referring to Don's story) and doesn't perform well in accordance with the method - just ask me! ;-)


Robin


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 12:46 AM

Thanks for the info, Don.

Today I was in a MacDonald's when I heard a pop singer who keeps his throat as tight as possible in order to sound pathetic sing something about "the pain inside me." Perhaps if he relaxed his throat...


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST,Claire Z
Date: 18 Nov 04 - 10:53 AM

Don, your comments really ring true for me. This is what my gut told me as I went to the workshop and the private lesson. Sounds like several people have gotten good results with Speech Level Singing, and I could probably learn things, but I would probably get equal or greater benefit from going back to my wonderful voice teacher on a regular basis, plus I don't hazzard the problem of potentially wrecking my voice. That on top of my natural antipathy at being told to control my larnyx (which bops around even when I speak), and the expense ($35 for a half hour). I think I will skip it.

Here is another thing to think about. The Speech Level guy also said vibrato is like an on off switch and he could teach me how to get rid of it in my voice. Because I sing traditionally, don't have a lot of vibrato, and don't want very much vibrato, this perked up my ears. However, the idea of singing unnaturally to affect a certain sound is really unappealing. There are plenty of traditional singers with a touch of vibrato, which is a natural phenominon of the voice.

My band is going to play at North Texas Irish Festival this year, come say hi, if you are there and maybe we can find some singing time.

All the best,
Claire


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 02:08 AM

Unfortunately, not every practitioner of an art is competent, and some of them can come up with weird 'improvements'. The idea of 'removing vibrato' is perhaps slightly misunderstood - one of the old fashioned styles of singing used to involve heaps of vibrato, so much that it became unnatural. CONTROLLING the amount of vibrato so that one can have more or less is not a silly idea.

Many 'Folk Singers' who haven't had much voice training have 'taught themselves' to sing by 'just doing it'. They may get a good sound, but just like because smoking or drinking heavily for 40 years hasn't killed you yet, doesn't mean that it is a healthy practice!

My throat used to bob up and down when I sang - I didn't have much singing training - my family decided that we couldn't afford two lots of music lesson charges, and my teacher was annoyed when I got second place in the Eisteddfod when she said that I was her worst student... so I more or less 'taught myself', but often felt vocal strain, especially after I was electrocuted there. After taking notice of Seth Riggs book, and having spent some time relearning hoe to use my voice, I don't get anywhere near as much vocal strain now - I used to think that was normal... and as I said, my vocal range and power has improved since I first read the book.

"my natural antipathy at being told to control my larynx"

but you have it back to front - you ARE controlling your larynx now - you move it around all the time under 'learned conscious' control - which has now become a 'learned unconscious habit'. It's like any physical skill where someone insists on twisting joints to the limit of their movement in one direction 'cause that is comfortable for me' - instead of keeping the joints in a more 'neutral' position. Sooner or later you WILL have problems with your joints. I have seen such threads here ...

It's not unlike piano accordion players who use the simple 'obvious easy 2 finger' bass method, and then have to relearn things the way of the more useful 'proper' method - it takes time, you seem to go backwards, and you don't seem to sound as good at first, but with time, you just want to kick yourself for having wasted so much of your life doing things the hard way. Just ask - you'll find a few of us here...

But as I said, if you REALLY insist on doing it your way, then I don't really care, but I probably won't be able to give you much sympathy down the track...

Robin


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: John Routledge
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 11:36 AM

The thought had struck me that Claire's Speech Level guy sounded more like a double glazing salesman than a voice coach.

Like Claire I would not at this stage spend $35 for half an hour "tuition" However I have ordered a copy of the book for the UK equivalent of a one-off $45 as I have no doubt that it will make fascinating reading.

Laban's Theory of Efforts mentioned by Peggy Seeger on her website and her reference to speaking in connection with singing may have certain similarities with Speech Level Singing.

I await delivery!!

Best wishes to everyone in their efforts.


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Nov 04 - 07:27 PM

John

As someone who was skeptical at first myself, I would really like to see your comments after reading Seth Rigggs, and then maybe after trying the concepts for a while... :-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Speach Level Singing
From: GUEST,Liz Murhpy
Date: 19 May 05 - 12:49 AM

Mr. Riggs is like buying a brand name. According to many of the top celebrities in the industry he is rude and over glorified and causes vocal damage with the nei nei nei stuff. Many Grammy winners that he trained are not longer with him and have gone on to other teachers.

Also he learned the method from a man named Keith Davis on New York.. who has since passed on.. Thou Seth says he invented it..

Seth also never allows students of his that trained with him for years and that are excellent teachers say they trained with him if they don't keep give him a $1,000.00 a year to be so called recertified. Even his ex wife Kathleen Riggs an outstanding teacher of over 20 years is only a level 2 instructor! He has 5 levels! Instead he intimidates anyone that stand up to his mandate and takes legally action so that even if they were certified by him or had trained as teacher for years with him that can't say they did because unless they keep given him a $1,000.00 a year to keep up there certification. They are intimidated and harassed to the point of them not being able to teach!

This is a case a pure injustice! It has nothing to do with a person being a good or even great voice teacher.. its all about prestige and money! According to the top entertainment firm in the nation. If some one has trained with a teacher or institute, and was certified at one time they can say that they have.. It's just do they have deep enough pocket to fight Mr. Riggs.


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST
Date: 29 May 05 - 11:31 PM

So I'm joining in a bit late here, but I would like to comment on Guest/Liz Murphy's comment, as well as SLS in general.

I am working on my BM in Commercial Vocal Performance right now and at least one of my professors as well as a number of our students has trained privately with Seth Riggs. The professor of whom I speak uses SLS in his teaching as well as other methods such as Bel Canto and various contemporary methods. He gets good results from some of his students when using SLS, but this is not always the case.
Additionally, he left Riggs after a few years for another teacher with whom he "found his voice" and became successful as a performer. He has worked in all forms of media internationally.
Riggs knows he teaches SLS, although he looks down upon him a little since he left Riggs and went to another teacher. This man happens to be the bass featured in Seth Riggs' Singing for the Stars. His professional performance range easily covers Bb1 to C5 with a very pleasing and powerful quality.
He definitely agrees with Liz Murphy, though. When I've spoken with him about Riggs, he emphasizes that while SLS does work for some students, the SLS Associate program is really more of a "cash cow" for Riggs than anything else.
As far as the results I've seen from SLS, they've been good overall, although I can point out an SLS-exclusively trained singer from a mile away! lol. I much prefer a student who is taught by an experienced teacher with the ability to combine methods and tailor a custom vocal method just for that student.
As I am attending a school of music with a number of voice teachers (about 15+), I have the opportunity to listen to various teachers teach their students. This has given me insight into what results may be gained from certain methods.
I've noticed from this that students trained mostly through SLS techniques tend to have a VERY bright, pop/musical theatre tone. I love musical theatre (and perform it far more than I do my classical rep) and I enjoy doing pop as well, but sometimes these studeents become so bright-sounding that it becomes the extreme opposite to the stereotypical fat lady opera singer who is entirely incapable of singing anything but opera! To me, either of those extremes is bad!

Mike

Virtual Conservatory of Singing (free vocal training)


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 04:35 PM

what are some speech level singing exercises


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 04:36 PM

what are some exercises to keep the larynx down


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Mar 06 - 06:08 PM

Read the book...


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 06:00 AM

I started out for five years in the 1980s studying the Stanley Method--it "built" my voice in half the time of conventional techniques, and allowed me to develop a natural vibrato where I had a strained and stright tone but I am convinced that its physical manipulations may have caused vocal damage. Decades later, I was appalled that my voice had a distinct lack of edge and clarity--not quite hoarse, but sort of "cloudy." I knew I needed to resume lessons--use it or lose it--but did NOT want to go to a teacher of "legitimate sound" technique (i.e., opera, art song, Broadway). I found a SLS teacher here in Chicago who broke off from Seth Riggs. The goal of Speech Level Voice, as he calls it, is NOT to consciously "place" any part of the vocal anatomy--it is to learn to sing naturally with enough vocal support and lack of constriction of muscles that don't need to be involved (kind of analogous to Bradley-method childbirth), so that the registers (head & chest) integrate, there is clarity to the voice, and vocal fatigue is no longer a problem. Also, the goal is to produce clarity and expression without belting or excessive volume due to pushing exreme amounts of air.This teacher immediately noticed the "cloudiness" I was concerned about and referred me to a singer-specific ENT (the "team physician" for the Lyric Opera) for laryngoscopy to rule out pathology like nodes or polyps; he suspected a "bowed vocal fold," and the ENT confirmed it--caused not just by years off from singing, by abusive exercises and manipulations, and by working alone and not talking often; but also by pickling my larynx in stomach acid for years. Treating my GERD made a dramatic difference; and the exercises designed to strengthen my chest voice and make my head voice less hooty brought me vocal clarity and made vocal fatigue a thing of the past--my voice gets stronger and paradoxically more relaxed as the gig goes on. I do not sound operatic or "poppy;" my teacher is extremely open-minded and respects his students' preferred styles and does not try to force them into the B;way/classical or R& B molds. After 3 years, I now sound like a clearer version of myself, and can sing much longer than before. I can sing far more effectively at a much lower volume than even those around me. Oh, and my teacher also believes Riggs, while a pioneer, has deteriorated into a caricature of himself and has become a venal ego-on-legs.


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: Dave Wynn
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 06:55 AM

I am a poor misguided fool. For 35 years I thought that all I had to do was open my mouth, breath and sing. Now I find I am doing it all wromg and it's going to cost me a fortune to put it all right. All those years spent in the choir at my local church not to mention singing in folk clubs for over 30 years and now I find I have been wasting my time by just singing.

Now I have to sing in a special way after being tutored or buy a book. What a waste my life has been just thinking I could sing. Now I learn I need a certificate before I can sing properly.

I may just end it all. It's not worth going on singing without a certificate to say that I can.

Good bye cruel world.

Spot the Dog


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 08:56 AM

Here Spot!

I have no certificate either... but a read of the book did help a lot!


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 10:37 AM

Someone at the Mudcat, I believe Mike, gave me the best wisdom ever to improve my voice. Pretend that there is hot food in my mouth and I can't just take it out. Feel and remember the open position in which I hold my mouth and throat in order to cool the food off. That position opens everything up and lifts the palate, providing resonance and relaxation when singing.

Since then, I have been trying to combine the openness needed for tone and volume with the closing needed to sing consonants. It's an on-going process, but it's fun.


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,Sandy Andina
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 02:59 PM

Spot, if what you've been doing is working for you, then obviously you're doing it right. Not all of us are blessed with the kind of untutored voices or the innately and automatically good technique that can make us sound as good as we can for as long as we can without damage. Good for your choirmaster--(s)he probably taught you right. OTOH, I have seen more choir directors ruin more solo voices by forcibly suppressing natural vibrato and having singers do "warmups" that really should not be done without more gradual warmup exercises preceding them. One thing that drives me nuts is uncertified people trying to teach singing--and by "certified" I do not mean any one particular method of pedagogy or certifying authority. To me, someone without formal voice pedagogy (not just voice) training of some sort (either conventional, conservatory, or one of the newer programs) holding him or herself out as a voice teacher raises HUGE red flags. Anyone looking for a teacher should check out their prospective instructor's formal training and professional affiliations--membership in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (which has a wide umbrella of styles and methods among its membership) is a good sign.

And the "tight throat" singers of the British Isles and high lonesome bluegrass styles who haven't hurt their voices probably don't sing that way every day for hours on end, so that's why they haven't evidenced any vocal damage. Many, if not most, are probably amateurs or semi-pros (and I use the term quantitatively, not qualitatively) who just don't sing that long or that often.

I am NOT a voice teacher--I teach only guitar and dulcimer. I am merely dedicated to making sure people don't wreck their voices studying with people who have no business holding themselves out as teachers. (And it's no surprise that Riggs is losing adherents faster than George Bush is losing supporters on all sides--ever hear the guy talk? Any voice teacher who smokes as much as he has--or had--is IMMEDIATELY suspect in my book).


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 06:55 PM

I detest people who claim they are 'music teachers' in the primary school system and tell kids that they will 'never be able to sing'. I have met a few of the resultant products - not all have them have lost the desire to sing. A few minutes talking to them, showing them how to 'listen properly to their voice' and how to keep their throat relaxed through all their range (I knew the first decades ago, I learned the other thru Seth Riggs' book) and these people usually start to show improvement rapidly if they really do the basics and firstly 'really listen to their voice'.

I don;t consider myself a 'voice teacher', but if someone asks for help, I will tell them what little I know based on observing them.

Riggs had some good ideas. One's personal life is not always a recommendation for one's ideas.


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 14 Mar 06 - 07:05 PM

Actually, I just remembered that I found a lot of similarity between the ideas of Riggs and Alexander. You may have heard of "The Alexander Method" as used by many musos, including singers.

Maybe that is why I found no problems with Riggs' ideas, I may have just ignored anything that clashed with the Alexander method as I read the book!


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,Andrea
Date: 10 Mar 07 - 06:00 AM

To liz murphy,

Kathleen Riggs, the level 2 instructor, is Seth Riggs' young daughter. Not his wife.

Also, Kathleen Riggs is not his ex wife. She died.


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 10 Jun 10 - 06:40 PM

1) Every teacher who teaches a certain technique is going to put down another. My suggestion is to go take a few SLS classes and other methods like Bel Canto and see which you prefer. It is all about preference when it comes to a technique.
2) If it hurts don't do it.
3) Breath support is important but the SLS method is just stating that you don't want to make a big commotion about it like trying to suck all the air in from the room. Again, breathing should feel natural but come from the lowest part of the lungs right up to the top of them. The DIAPHRAGM does not take in are. It is a muscle that drops down on the inhale and then when you exhale it rises up and slightly inwards.
4) If you look at a lot of the SLS training it does have very good points to it because it talks about the bridges of ones voice which are where most problems with range come from because one does not know how to get through these bridges (The Passagio)

All in all, I believe in getting as much knowledge about the voice as possible. Try out different techniques before you pick one that you like the best. Make sure you get a reputable teacher though and don't just do the lessons off of the CD if you do the SLS method. Try to avoid teachers that avoid answering questions with a direct answer. You want someone who will give you the answers and guide you properly.

O,h and one last thing, an amazing Opera singer who graduated from Juilliard with her masters went on to study with Seth Riggs and she found it absolutely fantastic and loves his method after she studied Bel Canto approach for years. She is also a teacher in NYC and is very reputable. Her name is Badiene Magaziner if you want to check her out to see what she ahs to say about his method.


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,Somewhere
Date: 31 Oct 10 - 09:44 AM

Hi all,

I had taken quite a number of SLS lessons from 2 teachers of lvl 2-3.

So far so good. It does expand the vocal range easily and enable singers to sing effortlessly.

I'm still learning. If you guys wish to know if it works, I think Adam Lambert, MJ are some of the famous singers who had learned this system. If not mistaken*


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,Randy Buescher
Date: 29 May 11 - 03:10 PM

Hi,

I am a former certified SLS teacher who has been published several times in the NATS JOS. I have my fourth article coming out in the fall edition. It's called the female pharyngeal voice and theories on low vocal fold damping.

A previous article that was published was an interview with Seth Riggs. You can read it at:

http://yourtruevoicestudio.com/page1.htm


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Subject: RE: Speech Level Singing
From: GUEST,Randy Buescher
Date: 29 May 11 - 05:09 PM

I also have a facebook fanpage where you can interact with me:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Your-True-Voice-Studio/130982506947845?ref=ts


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