Cygent into a Swan

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Last week I travelled to Turin for an intensive week of singing lessons. I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say that it was the most important week in my singing journey so far. I stepped away from what I am currently doing, went to a new city which I’d never been to before, in a country that I love. I opened up to new ideas and my voice opened up with me. I was working with a singer who I admire and look up to and I found it to be one of the most inspiring times I have experienced.

After this week I feel like I have found the voice I will be singing with for the rest of my future. I sound like I have grown up, and it is actually very moving to sing repertoire that I had previously found scary. I used to feel like the bottom of my voice would ‘drop out’, or that I would have no power in my lower-middle register. I didn’t know how to address this and simply thought that I would have a lighter, higher sitting voice.

I did not sing with my vocal folds closed. I began every phrase, and probably every note with the folds slightly apart, which meant I used too much breath to make the voice sound and then I would tire easily. I think I did this as good student thinking of keeping the throat open, when in fact the throat does need to feel spacious, but not to the detriment of the folds meeting. Having the folds apart to begin with meant that in the lower middle of my voice it made it really, really difficult to find focus and I used to think of placement only using head resonance.

In the past week I have begun retraining my body to really feel the connection to the pelvic floor muscles for tenacity and support. My vocal folds touch very gently, so that I get a very clean onset. Once I began to get the feeling of the folds gently touching, I found that I don’t have any problems at the bottom of my voice like I thought I had! For the first time I let go of the voice (only trusting it because I could feel the folds together and I had enough body underneath the sound) and I began – miraculously – to allow chest and lower resonance colour to come into the sound.

The difference is quite stark. And I will be eternally grateful to, and in awe of this wonderful teacher. I feel like I am emerging as a singer who trusts their body and their technique. Cygnet into a swan.

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