Introduction to Contemporary Voice
Introduction to Contemporary Voice Lesson Notes
There really is no clear standard on the correct approach towards voice training itself. Many teachers may use the same terminologies but often have vastly different opinions on what those terms mean.
What does operatic singing have to do with contemporary singing? Very little. Just because someone says that they are a voice trainer doesn’t mean that they are qualified to train your particular style of voice. At VirtualVoiceLessons.Net we train the contemporary style of singing.
Contemporary voice can simply be defined as singing that is based around the natural speaking voice. Contemporary voice is pop singing, it is rock singing, it is country singing, etc. It is all the basic styles of voice except for one…Classical.
Classical singers are devoid of these differences because to be different in classical singing means that you are doing something wrong. This is why every operatic singer sounds like every other operatic singer.
Any voice instructor will tell you that breathing is a huge part of developing the singing voice and with this I fully agree. Correct inhalation and exhalation is one of the few subjects that contemporary and classical singing have in common.
How to Inhale Correctly - Good singing always starts with correct breathing. There are actually two different ways in which we can inhale correctly. The first is commonly referred to as diaphragmatic breathing and the second is intercostal breathing. We will only cover the first type of inhalation in this lesson. Contrary to common belief, no matter what style of inhalation we use, we are in fact using our diaphragm. The way to use the diaphragm in the most efficient manner is to allow it to drop downwards. What we must do is allow the stomach to drop downward when we take in our breaths.
How to Exhale Correctly - Just because we may inhale correctly does not mean that we will necessarily exhale correctly. What we need to do is to create an internal pressure behind the vocal chords by squeezing the muscles around our midsection. It’s very similar to shooting a cube of ice from a tight grip between our fingers. We will spend much more time in your upcoming lessons discovering the difference between pushing and flexing.
One area of singing that truly distinguishes one style of voice from another is undoubtedly the subject of vocal tone. Vocal tone is what we usually refer to as the “sound” of ones voice. A more detailed description of tone is that tone is the quality and character of sound.
The character of sound has a lot to do with the emotions that it elicits. Rock singers having an angry sound to their voice is an example of the character of tone. The quality side to vocal tone is a little easier to describe in absolute terms. It mainly has to do with the color of ones tone. In other words, it has a brightness to the tone as well as a dark side to the tone. The tone consists of treble and bass frequencies, just like a car stereo.
In contemporary voice we aim the voice in the back of the mouth or “hard palate”. By sending the voice here at all times we create a high-pitched ring but without the nasal sound. We want to maintain this bright side of our tone no matter how high we sing, what vowel we are singing, how loud or soft we are singing or whatever.
There are other differences between the two major styles of voice such as the vowels and consonants found within words. The study of English phonetics is essential if someone is singing English based songs.
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Each lesson will include:
A 15 to 30 minute instruction video that you view right on your computer
Notes and text highlighting important points in the lesson
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Most lessons will also include one or more audio downloads with drills and exercises that you can download to your computer (and burn to cd or put on an mp3 player)
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"I am enjoying your virtual lessons! I have taken classical voice, and been singing for many, many years, but I am loving your approach to singing. Thanks so much. I look forward to sending in a video for you to critique. Love any feedback I can get....!!" - S. Parker
Here are just some of the things you will learn:
Tone Development - Pitch Control - Increasing Vocal Range
Correct Breathing Technique - Expressive Singing
Stylistic Techniques Such As Vibrato and Raspyness
Getting Over Stage Fright -English Phonetics