Sunday, June 11, 2006

Active Voice Training

Picture Sopranos squatting like ducks during voice training. Actually, I wish I had taken a photo of our voice training session today because that's what we were doing!

Both our current and our former voice teachers believe that producing sound is not just a matter of using our voices but our whole bodies. The teacher has us doing a great deal of movement, for example, stomping our feet alternately, particularly if a piece has a syncopated rhythm, or moving as though we were gliding along like speed skaters. Sometimes such a movement feels awkward or foolish, but it invariably helps produce a better sound.

The images she has us visualize are also very helpful. My favorite is one from the former teacher who had us imagine being synchronized swimmers. While there is powerful, rapid movement underneath where no one can see, our upper bodies are thrusting upward and outward, producing a sound that carries to the top of the large concert hall in which we sing.

Another image that works especially well for me is when singing high notes, visualizing a string pulling from the back of my head to keep the note moving, not letting it fall in tone or pitch. Again, though, much like in my dancing classes, the lower body remains grounded while the upper body is lifted, keeping the spine erect.

After a voice training lesson, I feel as though I've gone through a 2-hour fitness session - which it truly is!

(For a photo of my chorus, see Sapporo Academy Chorus.)

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