The Key is Connection (the Essence of Singing)

Weekly Teaching Tip – May 14, 2012

After I had been teaching voice for about 10 years I was invited by a vocal magazine to write a series of articles about vocal technique. This amuses me because as I look back now it is apparent to me that my understanding of vocal technique was actually quite limited. I decided to write the first article about what I felt was the most important thing about singing. The article was called, “The Key is Connection” (The Essence of Singing).

As I reread the article years later with much greater understanding and knowledge of the voice and how to teach it I realize that the article is not perfect; however, I am amazed at how accurate I was in my naivety and somewhat limited knowledge at the time. As complicated as it can become about how the voice works and the many muscles, coordinations and interactions that occur during the process of singing, I frequently am reminded that truly “the key is connection”! In other words, helping singers transition from the bottom of their range to the top and maintain a smooth, even and “connected” sound. Developing the coordination where the vocal folds vibrate together with an even resistance all the way up and down the vocal range.

As I analyze voices, it is this ability to maintain an even amount of ‘vocal cord closure’ throughout the range that sets the great voices apart. Once a singer can do this they sound good. In my opinion that is about 90% of good singing. The last 10% is adding emotion and style while maintaining the coordination. It is not necessary to ‘push’ up on high notes or down on low notes; simply maintain an even ‘edge’ or resistance on the vocal folds. When you do this the voice is even and strong and smooth. Just ‘keep on the egde’ no matter how low or high without pushing and without strain.

Truly, “The Key is Connection” which is the ‘essence’ of singing.

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