Jeannie covers what she calls the mind-body connection. To illustrate this idea, she gives an example of when a singer is thinking about a particular upcoming high note, and then the singer would strain to hit the note, and it is very apparent to the listener.
- I'm going to be repeating certain things as we go forward and shed new light and look at it from new angles. And we're about to do that to some extent with this next lesson. We've taken a look at a lot of things so far regarding how the body is designed to make sound but we haven't really talked about who is the player.
And for some it's obvious and it may be so for you. But it's definitely worth exposing and talking about. So there are as we've covered, there are certain parts to your instrument and they co-relate, co-exist and work together, or need to, in a certain manner. But they serve you.
Your thoughts, your sensitivities, the emotion that you decide you want to put into your voice, your song, actually comes though your voice. Our body as a vocal instrument is designed to be thought and emotion sensitive. This can either serve us or can show up problems. For example if you're thinking the wrong way about sound, which we'll get into more in a future lesson, but we'll talk about a little bit now.
If you're thinking, what would be the wrong way by the way. Let's say you're singing a song and it's ♫ Woah ♫ Oh, here comes this high note. ♫ Oh ♫ (chuckles) You know like the way you're thinking about the note ends up showing itself in how the body works. If you think that a note is high and that you have to leap for it, stretch for it, push up, send up more air, all of those thoughts unfortunately are against how the body works to actually make that higher note.
Which is why I try to eliminate the word high and low and talk about it in a different way. So if you're going ♫ Oh ♫ ♫ Oh ♫ It's just sound. You imagine the sound. Okay, again, easier to say than to do and that's where exercises come in to help you rework your thinking. And it's also why I get into some of the vocal anatomy with you so that you have the actual facts of how your instrument works.
And then you can compare it to your thoughts and go, "Wow, you know that's not really true." My vocal folds don't go up to the top of my head or above or on the ceiling in order to this particular note. They're in the same place. So, you know there's a lot of things said about singing and a lot of thoughts that get created about range and how to sing loud and all these things.
And a lot of them, to our misfortune, are based on no real fact. So, of course, if it's not based on fact, and it's based instead on fiction, and it's an alteration of how the body actually works, it's gonna make it harder for you, not easier. If you think that in order to be understood you need to articulate your words very well, what's gonna happen is your tongue is gonna overwork and get real tight.
Your lips are gonna do the same. And of course we covered earlier stuff about tongue tension, stuff about lip tension, and the way it backfires here and ends up overworking the muscles of your vocal folds and basically rags your voice out. You end up getting hoarse. You end up having loss of flexibility if you had it prior you certainly won't have it after all this extra articulation. It is easier to be understood than often people think and are told because all this extra work is not really gonna get your idea across.
To get your idea across people first of all need to hear your voice. Well what's making the sounds of your voice? It's not all this movement. It's actually the vowels that are what are created when your vocal folds vibrate. So it is the sound of your voice not the position of your consonants and again, we're gonna get into a whole bunch of really cool exercises and more details about that but I want to start your consciousness penetrating this area because what you think is what will happen physically.
Which is pretty cool if you've heard that expression I don't know if I'll get it exactly but, oh, actually I think it's from R. Kelly's song, "I Believe I Can Fly" if I think it, I can do it. That has a lot of truth but there's this one other element which that phrase isn't taking into account. And that's fine. The song aside, the idea is this. If you don't know something that you need to know, you might think it, and you might be very capable of executing it, but not knowing how will block you.
That's actually pretty good news because if you've priorly thought that you had a short range, hmm, maybe you'll find out something different as you move through this school and in fact I can guarantee you will. I have never met a singer who didn't have, if not two octaves, often more, a lot more sometimes, but they didn't know it because they didn't know how. Just like you don't, you know you're given a car.
Does that mean you know how to drive it? There are things to know and if you step on the gas, when you're supposed to be stepping on the break you'll be crashing into a tree or someone else's car or whatever and that's what can happen with singing. You have a body but that doesn't necessarily mean you know all about how to use it for the purpose of singing. And that's what I'm hipping you to as we move along.
Note: Vocal Lessons with Jeannie Deva was recorded and produced by ArtistWorks. We are honored to host this training in our library.
- Developing as a singer
- Improving vocal tone by listening
- Freeing your voice from preconceptions and categories
- Eliminating register breaks to achieve a multi-octave range
- Improving range and precision