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SINGING TRENDS II

If you have the two very important prerequisites working for you, then the way you can shout on pitch, which is my preferred term for singing very loud high notes, or putting a bit of gravel in your voice is that you simply have to let go of your inhibitions and sing from your whole body. By that I mean you must get the body into your singing from your feet to an apex far above your head.  This does not mean pushing or belting (which I call “lifting the refrigerator”), because that can hurt your voice. Learn to blend your registers, and think as a gospel singer would. If you think about babies, who can scream and cry literally for hours without damage to their vocal cords–just watch how their little stomachs seem to fill and empty when they are upset!  This is the natural scream, and you can do it too, should you ever really want to. Unfortunately, so many women, especially, are so worried about the big tummy that we tend to keep the breath way too high and shallow, and hold back lest we might seem unfeminine. Enough!

The number one problem with most singers who want to “let go” is that they do not have the earthiness that those who do “beg, scream, and shout” are willing to expose and feel about themselves, and therefore are not in touch with how singing is truly a whole body-mind-spiritual experience.  Also, especially in Euro-American culture, beautiful singing, or bel canto is considered superior to other cultures’ genres and styles, and the result has been to divide music into highbrow and lowbrow, somehow making some music superior to other. Having been taught this myself, and going through the split involved–It ain’t pretty, folks! So you have to decide whether it is worth it to you to break through the barriers you have been taught or not.  I think it keeps a lot of singers holding back what they would really like to be expressing, which, after all, is what singing ultimately serves–the song and your job which is to express it as best you can.

Singing Trends I: Hello again!

As promised, I want to offer some tips and ideas about belting versus screaming or growling. I am going to put this into two parts, because it turns out to be so extensive!

As with most physical endeavors, much has to do with genetics; quite honestly though, I believe with strong proper training and attention, most problems that vocalists face can be eliminated. The most difficult one is fatigue.  Nothing can overcome a tired body, because your voice completely depends upon energy you can generate to support your singing, and without it, the chances of hurting yourself become much greater.  So everything I might say here must be prefaced with two very important working principles:

  1.  You absolutely must have the best, most professional basic training you can get; you need to have at least two or three years of basic vocal development before you attempt any advanced tecdhniques, and
  2.  You absolutely must be in the best physical condition you can achieve.

A note of caution: You can literally blow out your voice if you don’t do this correctly.  I don’t know anyone who has done this, but I have heard of it.  So don’t take it lightly.  Now, after you have achieved the proper techniques required to sing ANYTHING, take a look a my next post! And if you would like to see a great singer doing a fantastic job of this mysterious vocal style, listen to Lady Gaga singing Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” on Youtube before you go any further!

Hello! Welcome to my blog about singing and other fun stuff!

As a successful voice, piano, and performance coach for thirty-five years, I have had the pleasure of watching hundreds of students grow into fabulous performers. I have grown along with them now to the place where I want to share some of the methods I developed along the way. My method of teaching is based in very strong basics of good vocal production I learned in my academic career, with a departure from classical singing techniques that hold back vocalists who want to rock out, sing blues, R & B,  or musical theater.

I learned workarounds from the rigidity of classical practice through experience and a great deal of study. Since many vocal teachers do not perform very much, their approach to teaching is exactly the same as their teacher, usually only one or two to whom they remain loyal.

The limitations that this kind of training has placed on so many singers with admonitions about “screaming” and “belting” led me to experiment and study on my own.

Here I must state clearly: without the strong basis in classical singing that I learned, I would not be here today. It has kept me, surely, from developing polyps or any other weird vocal maladies despite singing rock, and yes, even belting before I learned that belting isn’t the real answer to having a strong upper range.

The one question I have been asked most often is:  “How can I get that gravel or scream in my voice?”

I will answer this question from my point of view in my next post!

I think you will be very surprised at the answer.

New Website Launch

Welcome to Sarah Baker’s new website. We’re excited to be delivering this site to you, and hope you’ll enjoy exploring the new content in the coming weeks.