About the Voice
The creation of basic sound incorporates three main systems – the respiratory system (power source), the phonatory system (pitch source) and the Supraglottic vocal tract or resonance tract (quality shaper). Along with this is also the articulatory system. The impulse for making sound begins in the cerebral cortex of the brain and then Information is sent through the 10 th cranial nerve to the appropriate laryngeal muscles. During phonation, the ear picks up sound produced by the vocal system and regulates the shaping of the vocal tract to “sculpt” the sound. This feedback system is used by the brain to try to match the actual sound of the voice with the sound intended by the communication centers of the brain that generate the voice. Singers work toward developing a balance of these systems to create a dependable vocal technique. In order to perform, a singer needs to know that when he/she opens his/her mouth, what he/she wants to come out, will.
The act of singing can be compared to being on a teeter-totter or sea-saw. The teeter-totter effect occurs as follows: a person sitting on the ground seat pushes with their legs and is propelled into the air. Consequently, the opposite seat that was in the air goes down to the ground. Keeping the teeter-totter parallel to the ground requires a “balancing act.”
The shifting of power action in the teeter-totter example may be used as an analogy in regard to singing. At different times one muscle or muscle group is more active then another and a power shift takes place. Sometimes the shift is gradual and sometimes the shift is abrupt. The complex systems for sound production that interact and must be balanced as discussed above are: respiration (power source), phonation (the vocal folds = raw sound source/pitch source), and resonance (the supraglottic vocal tract=the quality shaper).
One can put into practice all of the appropriate exercises to balance sound production, but the psyche can either hinder or help forward progress. Another concept that warrants examination concerning vocal health is the understanding that each person is comprised of body, mind and spirit. When someone sings, all aspects of one’s person are entwined. Our singing voice is our body mind and spirit. We cannot separate the influences of these things.
*The excerpts above are taken from articles and books written by Dr. Radionoff
The key goals of the Sound Singing Institute are to facilitate vocal health, promote a balanced sound production, along with freedom and ease of sound production and to aid in the development of efficiency for longevity of vocal career. It is possible to use efficient, healthy technique no matter what style you sing. There is healthy technique and then there are stylistic tools. In regard to vocal styles and stylistic tools, there are many vocal sounds that can be made and some sounds have the potential to be harmful. For example, ‘grit’, ‘growling’ and glottal onsets are stylistic effects found in rock, country, and pop music. These tools must be used with the least amount of tension needed to avert damage.
- Reaching key goals
- Client education of the vocal instrument
- Client education of vocal health
- Client education of his/her diagnoses and what it means functionally
To achieve goals:
Building block method
Airflow, Phonation, Resonance
And then articulation and agility and power.
*Pictures above courtesy of Robert O'Brien, Blue Tree Publishing