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February 23, 2007

Go again here we

I Attempt

Vowel exercises

Very frustrated right now. I know fully well that I try to control the sound and always ever so slightly constrict my throat and vocal folds. I don't like the sound that is coming from my mouth and finding it difficult to balance all the variables I needed to better my sound. That said--I'm all for hitting the grindstone...but not much more today because my throat is hurting.

I'm finding that my upper scale is difficult today. I don't know what note it is because I didn't have a piano with me to practice.

I'm having a hard time with the breathiness factor most of all. Throwing in crescendos comes easily, but I find that I'm cracking, which my voice teacher tells me that is a good thing--coming to a breakthrough. But, that frustrates me even more because that means I'm close to letting go. I want to let go, but I don't know how to let air freely flow and vibrate my folds. Ugh.

February 22, 2007

Entry the Third

I Attempt...
Close Every...

Worked on brightening my vowels and sound as much as possible. I wanted to be told that I was too bright and I reached that goal. I still am having problems completely relaxing my vocal folds and allowing them to vibrate. A natural vibrato still eludes me at this point.

I am finding that my throat is scratchy and hurts by the time I'm finished practicing. It's either a cold or I'm using my voice incorrectly. I'm also finding it hard to raise the volume of my voice without hurting my throat.

I Attempt...
Close Every...
Worked on E and O vowels

So I'm too bright. Yes! Time to think tip of the tongue. I'm not supporting up in my chest. I need to be more legato on the eight notes in "I Attempt." The latter has been proving to be difficult for most of the practice. I think I'm trying to balance too many variables at a time.I tried using crescendos in warm ups and through the songs and to fully support them. Overall I felt I was getting closer, but I still try very hard to control and manipulate the sound coming out of my mouth. It's been frustrating me to no end. I'll focus on a breathy sound and forget my vowels. I did finally get through the fly phrase with legato, but I didn't like it in my head. It sounded round, but I felt it was resonating in my nose. I also felt I achieved legato by sliding--which I've always been told was a bad thing--if that sounds better I need to unlearn that. Overall, I think there's a lot I need to unlearn.

February 12, 2007

Next entry

Haven't been getting them in directly after rehearsing...
Most have been a few minutes here and there while dish washing or driving. But here's what I've done and found:

I Attempt...
Close Every Door

Focused on brightening the sound until it is uncomfortably so. Then contrasted it with over-modifying every vowel.
Focused on breath and using it up on every musical phrase.

I've found that the brighter and more air I use, I can hear and feel more vibrato in my voice.

Problems with the descending eighth notes at the bottom of 54 and top of 55. Need to work on supporting and keeping it legato.

Otherwise, I've had to keep my rehearsals short. My throat has been sore either because of drainage or I'm using my voice incorrectly. I think it's the former.

February 8, 2007


Areas of reherasal:
Vowels vs. Consonants

Songs Rehearsed:
I Attempt from Love's Sickness
Close Every Door
Bring Him Home

Tuesday's voice lesson showed me that I tend to modify pretty much any vowel that comes across my lips whether or not it is in my upper register. This could be part of bad vocal training in the past or just myself unconsciously mimicking other singers who should be modifying (e.g. baritones).

I also found that I don't support as much as I thought I did. I always learned to breath from your diaphragm and usually started breathing early--when I thought about it. I need to not consciously think deep breath and practice the physics that easily draw breath inside.

Finally, I found that the reason why I was dragging songs down was not me trying to be "sing-songy" (though what singer isn't sometimes?!?), but rather that I held on to my consonants far longer than I should. I think why I did that was because of my background in theatre and show choirs. Annunciation was always crucial.

So, this leads me to practice.

I started by singing "I Attempt..." using only the vowel sounds--which took a few tries to get it in my head, but I got there. I focused on trying to make the vowel sounds as bright as I could to avoid the rounded sound of modification. I especially focused on the "ee" sound--as made appaernt in my last lesson as the bane of my vocal existence.

After that I moved on to working the words. Again, I thought about singing this as bright as possible. It sounded quite different to me than the way I would usually sing--modified. I could definately tell when I would slide out of my brightness and modify a vowel. The sounds were night and day different. I have to consciously think about the word fly. That "eye" sound is one I tend to modify if I don't think about it. Again, the "ee's" needed attention, but I think I'm much more conscious of it now.

Throughout these exercises, I tried to expell as much air as possible and get quick breaths in between phrases. It sure worked my gut and found I was tired after rehearsing. I must be on the right track...

I attempted Bring Him Home. I think I need more practice before I can tackle this one with confidence. Keeping those high f's and a's bright didn't seem to be a problem, but making them resonate and support them enough definitely was a problem. But I can't wait to be able to belt this one!

So, instead I looked at "Close Every Door." I focused on making this one loud and not worrying so much about the lyrical content. This song feels pretty easy--it's in my sweet spot range at the moment. Like the eighth notes in "...Sickness...", I need to make sure to sing this piece with as much legato as possible. Otherwise it gets very note punchy and not very interesting to hear. I would like to go up with this piece, unlike how it is written at the end. I think I could handle it.

Overall, I can't wait for spring because I'm sure tired of my runny nose affecting my throat!!