I really enjoyed voice class this semester. I felt like I explored a whole new side to my voice. I also really learned about the connection between my body and my voice, which I hadn’t recognized before. The biggest change in my voice since taking this class has been incorporating my breathing into my singing. I also thoroughly enjoyed the close-knit aspect of our class sessions. I felt really comfortable singing with Jessie and Julia, and I really liked getting to know them as people. Thank you, Lynnell, for a great semester!
How Long I Practiced: I practiced for about 45 minutes.
What I Practiced: I started with deep breathing. Then I did vocal exercises, such as ahhhs and ooohhhs up and down the scale and lip trills up and down the scale from middle C to the C above middle C. I then spent some time playing through the bridge of Skylark to get the notes of that one phrase in my head. After I got that down, I practiced Skylark over and over, trying to be more relaxed or jazzier. I just wanted to see what felt best. I intermittently did vocal exercises to keep my throat open. I also called my dad and had him listen to me sing it.
How I Felt About What I Practiced: I am so excited that I finally got the bridge down for this song. I feel good about Skylark. It is high, but I like the challenge. I am happy with how I sound, although, given how high it is, I have trouble incorporating the jazzier elements of my voice. I definitely feel emotionally connected to the song, and I am eager to sing it tomorrow.
Tonight, I attended the Into the Heart of Symphonic Music orchestra concert. I was a bit late because of a miscommunication, as I shared, but I was able to see most of the concert. I saw the last song of the first half and both songs of the second half. Being a former orchestra member myself, it was great to see an orchestra play again. I really admired the endurance of the players. I don’t recall ever playing a song longer than fifteen minutes. These songs seemed much longer, but the players never seemed to lose enthusiasm. As a viewer and not a player, I also gained a new appreciation for the dedication of the conductor. I enjoyed matching his movements with the swells and changing dynamics of the orchestra. Additionally, the fact that he conducted and played a gorgeous concert piano piece at the same time was particularly impressive. The entire orchestra seemed invested in the emotion and powerful dynamics of the piece. It was a joy to watch such dedicated musicians shine.
On Friday night, I attended the living voice concert. This included performances by Concert Choir, Women’s Chorus, Chamber Singers, and the Gentlemen’s Quartet. The concert was loosely meant to feature living composers. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I kept trying to notice their vocal technique, but it being a good performance, I kept getting caught up in the emotion and beauty of the songs. I did notice that they all took breaths in unison, and would sometimes have to take longer pauses to do so. My favorite part was the Gentlemen’s Quartet. They had such magically blended voices, and each voice added something to the group. Their song “Down and Down” by T. Jones was so touching that I began to tear up listening to it. The other choruses were also fantastic, and I really appreciated the variety of songs and styles presented. Overall, I loved the performance.
How Long I Practiced: About 30 minutes.
What I Practiced: After another basic set of vocal exercises, like going up and down the scale and doing oooohhhs, I began to practice Skylark again. I did a lot fo the same stuff as the day before’s practice session, but this time, I learned the bridge. I don’t have the entire thing in my vocal memory, but I’m just missing one line. I practiced it multiple times, but I can’t seem to sing it without the notes playing yet. I also just practiced the song overall. Again, my voice felt very restricted. In the middle of the session, I did some scales above high C. This helped some, but I am still struggling a lot. I also recorded myself singing what I knew and listened back to that. Lastly, I tried singing the song starting on A instead of high C to see how that felt.
How I Felt About What I Practiced: I felt very good about this practice session, because I have close to the whole song memorized, and I was able to learn almost the whole the bridge. I am very troubled by how tight my voice sounds when I sing the high notes. I tried relaxing my voice and deep breathing into the phrase, but I was not satisfied. Singing the song two notes lower felt so much better, which I thought was interesting. Maybe I’m not warming up enough. I hope we are able to work this out in class today.
How Long I Practiced: About 30 Minutes
What I Practiced: I started with basic vocal exercises, like going up and down scales and doing snooty oohhhsss. Anytime I felt my voice getting tight during practice, I would return to these exercises and just try to relax. I then learned most of the notes of Skylark and started to sing it. I sang it with words, but in the parts I found especially high and troubling, I would sing it without words, just on an ahhh sound. I did not learn the bridge during this practice section.
How I Felt About What I Practiced: I listened to Skylark before this, so I was able to pick up the tune quickly. I was a bit pressed for time, so I didn’t try to learn the bridge, but I felt good about the amount I did learn in just one session. My biggest problem is how high the song is. On the high Eb and F, I totally feel my voice restricting. I tried to breathe deeper and focus on my moment of suspension, but this only seemed to help a little bit. Overall, I felt it was easy to learn the basics of the songs and I even began to memorize the lyrics.
What Time I Practiced: I was in the voice studio from 6:00-6:50 P.M. Julia was also with me.
What I Practiced: I started with warmups and practiced deep breathing at the same time. I forgot to do lip trills, but I will do them in my dorm tonight, and when I practice tomorrow. I then went straight into singing my song All Through the Night, since we have to perform on Wednesday. Julia also gave me tips on how to keep breathiness out of my voice and told me what she noticed in my singing. She also had me sing while doing a plank for sustaining. After she left, I continued to sing my song and tried it at various volumes. I also listened to Skylark and Blue Skies to decide which one I wanted to sing. I also added breath marks to my song.
What I Thought of What I Practiced: I am feeling better and better about breathing low. My throat was definitely tight when I started warming up, but I could feel it loosen up over the session. I felt good about my song, but as we’ve spoken about earlier this evening, my throat and lymph nodes did hurt afterwards. Besides that, I was really trying to evoke some kind of feeling with my song. I sang it quieter as if it was a lullaby at first. However, after noticing an exclamation point in the second verse, I decided to go for a more passionate feeling. As for technique, it was all about keeping breath out of my voice. Julia commented that I seem to have breath in my first note, and then catch myself, so I was really focusing on my moment of suspension. She also wanted me to sustain more, so I was trying to keep steady breath throughout each phrase.
Chapter 6 Questions
Principles and Physiology: “What are the primary functions of the larynx?” The larynx protects foreign objects from entering the lungs; retains inhaled air for thoratic fixation, which is used for times of heavy lifting or challenging physical labor; and produces the vocal tone.
Vocal Tone: “Are you aware of vocal onset and release as you sing?” I definitely think about the onset when I sing. In fact, it’s usually the main focus when I start singing. I try to have a balanced onset by using my moment of suspension. I rarely think about my release, so it is usually controlled by my onset. If my onset is breathy, my release is breathy, and vice versa.
Classical Singer: Pretty Yende. She is singing opera. I can definitely hear her move through many vocal registers. She moved from a very high note to a quite low note and I could almost physically see her adjust her throat. Her voice is most relaxed in what appears to be her mixed voice. Her voice is beautiful, but she sounds much more strained at the highest notes. However, it is hard to actually hear any transition between registers. Even in her highest register, she still has a clear and strong sound.
Pop Singer: Ariana Grande. She is singing her song Dangerous Woman acapella. The difference between her registers is more clear. Her chest voice is significantly less airy than her head voice. However, her voice is very smooth and lacks a lot of stress and tension. Her voice never breaks, but it is strained as she reaches higher in her chest register. She also adds a lot of jazz elements to her voice. I did not hear her use falsetto here.
What I Practiced: Stretching, Deep Breathing, Loose and Random Singing, Oohs and Ahhs up and down the scale, Went back over Full Moonlight Dance to recheck the tune and lyrics, Fly, Fly, Fly, All Through the Night, I’m going to do lip trills later tonight
My Thoughts: I felt good about the notes today. Also, after watching myself deep breathing yesterday, breathing today without breathing with my chest was a lot easier. My voice felt a lot tighter today than yesterday. I feel really good about Full Moonlight Dance and Fly, Fly, Fly, but I really need to work on memorizing the words of All Through the Night.
What I Practiced: Lip Trills, Deep Breathing, Singing Pop Songs to get my voice going, Snooty Oohhhhsss, Aahs and Oohs on Scales going up and down, Fly, Fly, Fly, All Through the Night
My Thoughts: I felt good about my practice today. I was already singing in Gospel Revelations before this, so that helped in the ease of warming up. I really enjoyed doing the oohs and the ahhs and the snooty oohs. My throat felt open. I also spent some time watching myself deep breathe, which really helped me work on avoiding chest breathing. Lastly, I practiced music. I really like the new song Fly, Fly, Fly. It is just right for the season. I also practiced my piece, All Through the Night. I feel okay about this song, but I do want to get the lyrics memorized, and I also want to get better at hitting those sudden high notes in the middle of the song.