Vocal pedagogy #1
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. What would you like to do?
What must the teacher student relationship be based on?
Mutual respect and awareness of the complex personal feelings that each person brings into the studio
You need three basic abilities to be able to communicate with your students. What are they?
- 1. Comprehensive knowledge of vocal mechanism and how it works.
- 2. Ability to express yourself in terms the student can understand.
- 3. Some of the skills of a master psychologist.
The process of determining by examination the nature and circumstances of a diseased condition.
What are the two approaches a teacher can takes to correcting vocal issues?
Mechanistic and psychological. Most teachers use a combination of the two, which is usually most effective.
Name five characteristics of consonants.
- 1. They are more of less restricted speech sounds.
- 2. They contain more or less conspicuous noise elements due to the degree of restriction present.
- 3. They are subordinate to vowels in sonority.
- 4. They do not form the center of syllables, but define the borders.
- 5. They function as sound interrupters or sound stoppers and thus separate the vocal tone into recognizable unites which communicate meaning.
What are three fundament questions to ask about a patient of a student in order to make a diagnosis?
- 1. What are the symptoms?
- 2. What are the causes of these symptoms?
- 3. What are the possible remedies?
How does a teacher establish a standard of good sound?
Listening to recognized artists especially those who have had lasting success and who continue to demonstrate vocal freedom and tonal beauty.
What is the primary task of the teacher?
To spot imperfections which may be present and to plan a course of action which, in due time, should remove them.
Why must a teacher have a systematic approach to diagnosing vocal faults?
Otherwise, it is likely that certain faults will go unnoticed.
What are the three steps to diagnosing faults as related to a medical diagnosis?
- 1. Informal observation of the student.
- 2. Self-evaluation by the student.
- 3. Systematic analysis by the teacher.
What does the ability to devise cures come from?
Applied knowledge and gained experience.
The medium through which sound waves are transmitted
Velocity at which sound travels
approximately 1100 ft/sec (750 mi/hr)
When the molecules of air adjacent to a vibrating object are compressed, the tend to fly apart, thus compression the molecules adjacent to them on all sides. These molecules in turn, fly apart, and the chain reaction continues until all the energy in the sound wave is used up.
Purpose of elasticity
It keeps molecules from flying into space after they've been disturbed.
Define compression wave and rarefaction wave.
The alternate action of molecules moving closer together and springing apart.
Another word for the basic pitch (without overtones)
First partial or fundamental
Four physical processes that make up vocal sound.
Respiration, phonation, resonation, articulation
Sequence of vocal production (specific)
- 1. breath is taken
- 2. Sound is initiated in the larynx
- 3. The resonators receive the sound and influence it.
- 4. The articulators shape the sound into recognizable units.
The process of producing vocal sound by the vibration of the vocal cords. It takes place in the larynx when the vocal cords are brought together (approximated) and breath pressure is applied to them in such a way that vibration ensues.
The process of moving air in and out of the body (inhalation and exhalation).
The process by which the basic product of phonation is enhanced in timbre and/or intensity by the air-filled cavities through which it passes on its way to the outside air.
The process by which the joint product of the vibrator and the resonators is shaped into recognizable speech sounds through the muscular adjustments and movements of the articulators, resulting in verbal communication (words).
Which instrument categories most resemble the voice and why?
Brass and wind instruments, because the breath is used as the actuator, which vibrates the mouthpiece or reed, and then that sound resonate in the body of the instrument. The breath is the actuator of the human voice, which vibrates the larynx, and then the voice is altered in the resonating chambers (mouth, throat, etc.)
Standard A concert pitch
The frequency rate of a vibrating object is determined by what four factors?
- 1. size
- 2. shape
- 3. elasticity
- 4. Mass
If these factors remain constant, the pitch will not vary. Regardless of how strongly the vibrator is set in motion.
The frequency of vibration of a musical tone as expressed in the number of vibration per second .
Two categories into which sound is divided
- 1. noises
- 2. musical tones
The function of the ear
To receive the alternate waves of compression and rarefaction and transmit them to the brain, where they are interpreted.
What are the four elements essential to the existence of sound?
- 1. a vibrating object
- 2. a power source to make the object vibrate
- 3. a medium through which the vibrations are transmitted
- 4. an apparatus to receive the vibrations
Three questions a teacher must ask himself when a student enters the studio.
- 1. What is wrong with the sound I am hearing?
- 2. What is causing it to sound that way?
- 3. What am I going to do about it?
In order to recognize symptoms, the teacher will need to evaluate what two types of clues?
Audible and visible
Five questions to ask a student to encourage him to indulge in self-evaluation:
- 1. What are your goals as a singer?
- 2. What do you hope to gain from studying with me?
- 3. What previous training have you had?
- 4. Are you aware of specific vocal problems you may have?
- 5. What music do you enjoy singing?
Most words used in the descriptive vocal terminology are drawn from:
- Other disciplines
- Examples: warm, white, light, dark, bright, reedy, spread, focused, covered, swallowed, forward, ringing, hooty, bleary, plummy, mellow, pear-shaped.
What are five characteristics of a vowel?
- 1. It is an unrestricted speech sound
- 2. It is capable of being sustained
- 3. It normally is a voiced sound although it can be whispered
- 4. It is the basic building material of vocal tone
- 5. It has definitive shape or form
a speech sound which may constitute a syllable or the nucleus of a syllable.
What are the two basic categories of vocal sound?
vowels and consonants
What are three essential parts of an instrument and what do they do?
- 1. Actuator- to furnish the energy or power needed to set the vibrator in motion
- 2. Vibrator- to generate a series of sound waves- alternate waves of compression and rarefaction
- 3. Resonator- to influence the intensity and/or the timbre of the sound waves
What is a prime factor in sonance?
Vibrato, which is made up of changes in pitch, intensity, and timbre
What does the fundament of sound do?
How long the musical tone lasts
Amount of energy in a sound, strength of the sound. Can be measured objectively by its decibel level.
Characteristic tone quality of sound as determined by the presence and relative strength of its component partials
The pattern of change in timbre, pitch, intensity, or a mixture of noise in a given pitch
Classification of vocal faults according to the vocal mechanism (4)
- 1. Faults of the tongue
- 2. Faults of the jaw
- 3. Faults of the lips
- 4. Faults of the soft palate
What is the classification of vocal faults according to their relation to the physical processes involved in the singing act (4)
- 1. Faults related to respiration
- 2. Faults related to phonation
- 3. Faults related to resonation
- 4. Faults related to articulation
Classify vocal faults according to their relation to the essential properties or elements of musical sound (5)
- 1. Faults related to pitch
- 2. Faults related to timbre
- 3. Faults related to duration
- 4. Faults related to intensity
- 5. Faults related to sonance
What is sometimes considered the fifth physical process involved in the production of sound?
According to the book, what are the basic reason for good posture?
- 1. The body functions best when the skeleton is in proper alignment
- 2. The actuator of the vocal instrument functions best when the posture is good. Air moves more efficiently in and out of the body.
- 3. The vibrator and resonators function best when the body is in alignment
- 4. The singer can get a psychological boost from being in proper alignment knowing that they look good and will function well.
What are some adjective to think about to achieve good posture?
Buoyant, expansive, erect, alert, free to move, vibrant, flexible, poised tall, loose, free, happy, balanced...
What is the best way to arrive at good posture?
Use of a mirror
What is the greatest enemy of the public performer?
Describe good posture as related to the feet.
weight evenly distributed between the feet, toe of one foot slightly in front of the other, feet fairly close together yet separated
Describe good posture as related to the legs
Feeling of freely flexible legs, ready to move at all times. Avoid rigidity or locking into one position.
Describe good posture as related to the knees
loose, ready to be moved at all times, not locked
Describe good posture as related to the hips and buttocks
Should be in line with the rest of the body. Neither hip should stick out further than the other, and the butt should be gently tucked under and forward as if you are trying to straighten the small of your back
Describe good posture as related to the lower abdomen
hold it in comfortably, pull it in very gently
Describe good posture as it relates to the upper abdomen.
Free to move at all times. Don't pull it in or stick it out.
Describe good posture as related to the back
The spine should be tall and in a straight line, and the small of the back should be straight
Describe good posture as related to the chest
The chest should be high and expanded. It should remain relatively still.
Describe good posture as related to the shoulders.
Rolled or gently pulled back, and then dropped into a comfortable position that allows the chest to be expanded. They should not be forced down or tight, and they shouldn't move much when the singer breathes
Describe good posture as related to the arms and hands
The arms should hang freely and naturally. The hands and arms should be free from tension and fidgeting.
Describe good posture as related to the head.
The head should be directly in line with the body and centered on the shoulders. The eyes should appear level, and the chin should be very slightly tucked. The chin should not reach for high notes.
Describe good seated posture
The back be straight, and the body in a straight line from the head to the base of the spine. The hips should be deep in the chair to allow for movement. The feet should be in the same position they would be if you were standing.
Name five alignment faults (9)
- 1. Head tilted to left or right, or front or back
- 2. Chin too high or low
- 3. Raised shoulders or one higher than the other
- 4. Slumping posture with collapsed chest
- 5. Protruding abdomen and/or buttocks
How are most alignment faults corrected?
By called them to the student's attention and insisting that he or she practice in front of a mirror
Why are alignment faults important to correct?
The contribute to additional faults
Explain the function of a muscle.
Muscles are a tissue composed of bundles of elongated cells capable of contraction and relaxation to produce movement in an organ or part. It performs its work by contracting its fibers, thus shortening its length and exerting a pull on the part to which it is attached. When the muscle is relaxes, it returns to its former position and the pull is released.
How are the muscles named?
The less movable part is named first and is called the origin, the more movable part is named last and is called the insertion. The direction of pull is toward the origin. Example: Sternothyroid runs from the sternum to the thyroid cartilage.
True or false: muscles pull in two directions
Muscles perform most efficiently when given sufficient time to:
How will a muscle react to being held in tension for too long?
It will begin to tremble, begin to hurt, shake violently, and lose function.
Two primary clues to indicate tensional posture faults:
- 1. Some form of trembling, quivering, or shaking
- 2. Rigidity
What causes a trembling leg muscle, and how is it corrected?
It is caused by holding the calf muscle in tension for too long. Often, this is from pulling back on the knees. To correct it. loosen the body and warm up first, be aware of the leg tension and try to stay loose, and bend the knees slightly until they feel loose.
What is the best remedy to rigidity?
Three stages of breathing for life (not singing)
- 1. a slow intake of air
- 2. a quicker release of air
- 3. a waiting or recovery period before the next breath begins
What makes air enter the body?
A difference in pressure between the lungs and the outside air
What cause the difference in pressure that cause the intake of air?
The contraction of the diaphragm muscle create a partial vacuum in the lungs.
A dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity form the abdominal cavity
What bones are the diaphragm connected to?
Breastbone, lower ribs, back bone
When the diaphragm contracts, the dome (lowers or raises)?
Four factors involved in exhalation:
- 1. The diaphragm relaxes
- 2. The lungs return to their original shape
- 3. The abdominal muscles and wall return to their origin position as the diaphragm stops pushing on them
- 4. The internal rib and ab muscles assist in the expulsion of air (more so as the level of exertion increases)
The purpose of the nose in relation to breathing:
To filter, warm, and add moisture to the incoming air, slow the air down
Why is aerobic exercise important for singers?
The lower lungs are able to filter air faster than the upper part of the lungs because more capillaries exist there. Sedentary people tend to breathe more shallowly, while active people take deeper, and more efficient breaths.
Four stages of breathing for singing:
- 1. A breathing in period (inhalation)
- 2. A setting up controls period (suspension)
- 3. A controlled exhalation period (phonation)
- 4. A recovery period
Why do singers often develop chronic breathing problems?
They abandon conscious control of the breathing processes before the correct habits are formed.
How does inhalation for singing differ from inhalation for living?
Inhalation for singing is quicker, more air is inhaled, and the air goes deeper into the lungs
A singer can take the most breath in the shortest amount of time by breathing through the:
mouth and nose simultaneously
What are three thoughts a singer can have to achieve a proper inhalation?
- 1. Smelling a flower
- 2. Pre-yawn
- 3. Drinking a glass of water
Three words to describe breath action
in, out, down
Why do the abdominals expand when a breath is taken?
The diaphragm displace the abdominal viscera.
Two reasons that the abs expand more than the ribs and back with inhalation:
- 1. The attachment of the diaphragm to the skeleton is higher in the front than in the back or sides.
- 2. The upper abdomen is capable of more expansion for less expenditure than the back or sides.
What is the cause of audible breathing?
The path of incoming air is partially blocked.
Does suspension happen in natural breathing?
What is the purpose of the suspension in breathing?
To prepare the vocal mechanism for phonation.
As long as _______ , it is easy to maintain an expanded position.
...the diaphragm remains down...
When done properly, suspension insures...
an almost effortless inception of vocal tone without the need to readjust the mechanism.
What determines the length of the period of exhalation?
The demands of the musical phrase.
What is the best way to gain control of the exhalation process?
To try to maintain the expansion around the middle of the body while the diaphragm slowly beings to release its tension.
The feeling of holding back the breath is essential to establish __________ , and continues through the attack and the entire phrase following.
Literally, to lean, Equilibrium between breathing in and breathing out mechanisms, plus posture.
Why is a period of recovery after each phrase important?
Without it, the muscles may become more and more tense with each succeeding breath, particularly under the added pressure of public performance.
How is a catch breath the best executed?
Drop the lower jaw quickly open while breathing as if you have been startled or surprised.
A better term than breath control or breath support is:
The dynamic relationship between the breathing in and breathing out muscles, the purpose of which is to supply adequate breath pressure to the vocal folds for the sustaining of any desired pitch or dynamic level.
Mainly a function of the vocal cords themselves. It may be defined as a dynamic relationship between the breath and the vocal cords which determines how long you can sing on one breath.
During this, the breathing in and breathing out muscles are brought into equilibrium.
The area of the upper abdomen just below the tip of the breastbone and bounded on both sides by the ribs. It is what bounces when you cough or say "hey" loudly.
This is really important in establishing good breathing habits:
Name the four faults related to breathing and support.
- 1. Upper-chest breathing
- 2. rib breathing
- 3. back breathing
- 4. belly breathing
How can one recognize upper chest breathing?
The chest rises and falls with each breath.
Why is upper chest breathing undesirable?
- 1. It limits downward travel of the diaphragm.
- 2. It is visually distracting to the audience.
- 3. It wastes energy and is physically tiring because of the effort exerted in raising the chest.
- 4. It often is associated with poor posture.
- 5. Tension in the muscles of chest and shoulder may be transmitted to the neck area and the vocal mechanism itself.
- 6. It is inefficient, tending to be shallow
How does a teacher correct upper chest breathing?
Introduce the student to correct postural and breathing techniques. If that doesn't work, it may be necessary to impose mechanical controls. Possible solutions may include pushing out on the epigastrium area, practice while leaning against the wall, or laying flat on the back.
How can one recognize rib breathing?
Only the ribs expand when the student breathes, limiting expansion in the back and abdomen.
Why is rib breathing undesirable?
- 1. It limits (inhibits) the downward travel of the diaphragm
- 2. It wastes energy and is physically tiring because of the effort expended in forcing the ribs outward
- 3. Tension in the muscles of the chest, ribs, and shoulders may be transmitted to the neck area and the vocal mechanism.
How does a teacher correct rib breathing?
The release of postural tension with the encouragement of upper abdominal expansion while inhaling should correct rib breathing. The key is to stop pulling on the upper abdomen.
How can one recognize back breathing?
the back expands when the breath is taken, while expansion in the ribs and abdomen is limited.
Why is back breathing undesirable?
- 1. It limits (restricts) the downward travel of the diaphragm
- 2. It wastes energy and is physically tiring because of the effort expended in spreading the back
- 3. Tension in the muscles of the back and shoulders may be transmitted to the vocal mechanism
- 4. If the shoulders are pulled forward, it is postural weak
How does a teacher correct back breathing?
Encourage frontal expansion during inhalation. Proper posture as related to the shoulders and chest will also help.
How does one recognize belly breathing?
The abdomen over expands during inhalation.
Why is belly breathing undesirable?
- 1. It restrict the upward movement of the diaphragm during phonation.
- 2. It results in poor posture - sunken chest and protruding abdomen.
- 3. It severely limits breath support for the upper voice.
- 4. It can result in tone quality and vibrato problems
How does a teach correct belly breathing?
Correct posture, especially a high chest, stretch spine, and straight back, make it nearly impossible to belly breathe. The student already expands correctly, but must not push out against his belt.
What is hypofunctional breathing?
Failing to demand enough physical activity of the breathing mechanism. common amongst beginning singers.
How is hypo functional breathing corrected?
Explain and demonstrate the four stages of breathing for singing, and ask the student to experience them, while being careful not to encourage overcorrection (hyper functional breathing).
What is hyper functional breathing?
one of the most common faults, hyper function breathing occurs when the student demands too much physical activity of the breathing mechanism. More common in experience singers.
What cause hyper functional breathing?
either the misconception that the ability to sing long phrases is in direct relationship to the quantity of air you can inhale, or the fear of running out of breath in a public performance.
Where does the ability to sing long phrases come from?
The efficiency of the vocal cord action. It is the result of good laryngeal adjustment and not lung capacity.
Why is taking in too much air undesirable?
It wastes energy and create unnecessary tension in both the breathing mechanism and the larynx.
How does a teacher correct hyper functional breathing?
Limit the student to taking a comfortably deep breath, convince the student that there dis enough breath available without taking in too much air, encourage the student to develop positive thinking about breathing
What is hypo functional breath support?
the failure to demand enough activity of the support mechanism. It consists of the failure to activate the support mechanism enough to provide adequate breath pressure or proper functioning of the vocal cords.
What causes hypo functional breath support?
- 1. No suspension phase in the breathing process
- 2. The misconception that the singer is singing much louder than he actually is
- 3. An anemic concept of vocal tone
- 4. Devitalized posture
- 5. Lack of awareness of the nature and function of the support mechanism.
How does a teacher correct hypo functional breath support?
Make the student aware of the problem and its causes, and ask him to make the necessary adjustments. Exercises such as panting like a dog or laughing like Santa may be helpful in setting up the initial feeling of support.
What is the hyper functional breath support?
Demanding too much from the support mechanism. This is one of the most frequent vocal faults.
What does the hyper functional breathing lead to?
Malfunction of phonation, resonation, and articulation system.
What are the causes of hyper functional breath support?
- 1. The misconception that more support is the answer to all vocal evils
- 2. Trying to make a voice bigger than it really is
- 3. Pulling on the upper abdomen
- 4. Eliminating the suspension phase of breathing
- 5. Excess postural tension
- 6. A too muscular approach to singing
How is hyper functional breath support corrected?
Get the student to stop exerting so much local effort in the upper abdomen. Ask the student to sing as though he were singing to a baby. Encourage him to engage in the suspension phase of breathing. Ask him to describe what he feels when suspended
Source of power for the voice
Source of the voice's sound
vibrating vocal folds
Source of the voice's resonance
air column inside the vocal tract
Purpose of the resonator
amplifies and modifies the sound of the vibrator
Why is the voice unique amongst instruments?
the vocal tract can rapidly and continuously change its size and shape while singing.
Technical term for the throat
Technical term for the mouth
Technical term for the nose
Three parts into which the pharynx is divided
laryngopharynx (part nearest the larynx), oropharynx (part nearest the mouth), nasopharynx (part nearest the nasal cavity)
What is the laryngeal tube?
A small area inside the larynx between the vocal folds and the pharynx that serves as an additional resonator of the voice
Name the unique parts of the vocal tract (7)
lips, tongue, jaw, soft palate, larynx, head, cheeks
What is the purpose of the tongue?
moves around to change the shape of the resonant chamber of the mouth
How are vowels classified?
by where the tongue restricts the air column
The name of the joint that hinges the skull to the jaw.
Temporal mandibular joint (TMJ)
The jaw acts as a...
...cradle for the tongue
How does the larynx work?
It sits at the bottom end of the vocal tract. Its position moves up or down which lengthens or shortens the vocal tract, having a dramatic affect on the vocal sound. It is attached to the base of the tongue at the hyoid bone. Jaw and tongue movement both influence the position of the larynx.
what is the purpose of the lips in singing?
The movements of the lips shapes the opening of the vocal tract, altering the resonance and helping in articulation.
what does the purpose of the cheeks in singing?
They assist the movements of the lips and change the shape of the walls of the resonator.
What is the function of the soft palate?
It functions as a valve, opening and closing the passage to the nasal cavities.
When the soft palate is ______ , no air enters the nasal cavities.
What is the cause of nasality in singing?
The soft palate is too low.
What parts of the vocal tract are impacted by head movement?
The upper and back wall of the vocal tract.
what happens in the vocal tract when the head nods forward and back?
The spine moves against the back wall of the throat, addict its shaping qualities to the hollow tube, and the hard palate moves up and down.
Researches believe the "ring of the voice" is generate in:
the laryngeal tube
Despite the fact that it originates in the laryngeal tube, where is the "ring or the voice" felt?
in the mask or the head
True or false: All parts of the vocal tract are interrelated, and none can move without affecting others.
Muscles throughout the body should always feel
free to move
What would you like to do?
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