Finding the Mix Placement – International Voice Teachers of Mix

Finding the Mix Placement

Weekly Teaching Tip – Sep. 8, 2014
by Dean Kaelin

This week’s teaching tip is in response to a question that I received from one of our teachers. It is actually a very basic part of our teaching, yet it is absolutely essential that all IVTOM teachers totally understand it, so it bears repeating and reminding.

Question:

I found that the “BE” exercise that works for me is the key. It is about maintaining the embouchure of the BE word that I need to do, which is reminiscent of what you have said that when the right vowel is formed, the voice stays in mix and it seems to come from the center of the mouth.
Is that correct?

Answer:

Yes!! That is exactly correct!! As teachers we try different vowels and consonants for our students and find the right combination that gets them into the right placement (vowel centering). (This is what Leigh McRae referred to years ago as finding a “friendly vowel”.) Much of this depends on the student’s accent and habits. Different vowels and combinations work for different voice types, accents and vocal problems. Once we find the proper placement that allows the student to sing through the bridges without flipping or changing sounds by finding the best vowel, or vowel/consonant combination for each student, we get the student comfortable in this place and then gradually move to other sounds and vowels while maintaining the same centered placement or “feeling”. Once they are comfortable in the exercises on most of the vowels and consonants we “sneak” them into their songs by singing the songs using the combinations that worked on the exercises. Once they can get the same feeling on their songs we can move to the actual words of the song. Once that is consistent and stabile we can then start adding style, emotion and feeling, hopefully without knocking the feeling out.
My best to you! Keep Singing!

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