FW: minstrel: *open*virtual singing lessons?

Stephanie Desideria at msn.com
Tue Mar 4 22:25:00 PST 1997

Gentles and minstrels: this lady has graciously allowed me to forward on her 
response, if I felt it would help others.

Desideria at msn.com

From: 	Chip & Holly W.
Sent: 	Sunday, March 02, 1997 5:54 PM
To: 	Stephanie  
Subject: 	Re: minstrel: virtual singing lessons?

At 08:34 PM 3/2/97 UT, you wrote:

>I suffer from a break in mid-range. This falls from the F above middle C to 
>the G or A above middle C. On those notes, I can hear myself 'shifting gears' 

>to the higher register. Those notes tend to be off as a result. I can hear it 

>even when I do scales, though then it's less obvious. 
I'm not sure, not hearing you, if this is a normal "break" or not.  Everyone
will have notes that fall in an awkward part of their voice, and it can be
difficult to make these notes sound as good as the higher register.

For the break to occur in F-A,  I wonder if you're using "chest voice" (a
poor name for it, but that's what some people call it) for the lower notes
and your "head voice" for the higher.  Are you an alto or soprano?  I mean
no insult if I talk about things you already know, I don't know your level
of experience.  When you sing the lower notes, does your voice more resemble
your speaking voice?  Can you belt those low notes out like a Broadway
singer?  You're probably using your chest voice, then, and that's (at least
in some schools of thought) not best.  One of the things that will help you
to minimize a break is to learn to use "head voice" for the lower notes,
too, or at least to work on expanding your use of that kind of vocal 

I recently took an intensive voice workshop led by Peter Giles, an authority
on voice production and a wonderful counter tenor in his own right, and he
led us through some great exercises.  Not really possible to show in
writing, though!  He definately puished you to have that feeling of
vibration in your sinus areas, to be generating the sounds from your head
and not your throat.  Even for the low notes.   

>Any suggestions? I realize that I can seek a less-expensive and more local 
>singing teacher, but I understand that a poor teacher can REALLY damage a 
>voice, so I'm reluctant to take any teacher that isn't recommended by word of 

>mouth from a singer I trust. 
Realize that everyone here (including me) is probably what constitutes a
"poor teacher."  Most amateurs know very little about vocal production and
it's even harder to work on others, and obviously over the 'net it's nigh
impossible.  I've also not been encouraged by the level of teaching out
there.  Alexander technique is great for getting you into an ergonomic
position, but the method doesn't truly address vocal production.

That said, I'd be glad to talk with you more, or to meet with you at
Pennsic, if possible, to discuss vocal production.  I'm a soprano, trained
haphazardly for two decades in various choirs, extremely intermittent voice
lessons, and lots of self-study and practice.  I do fairly well; I get
compliments on my singing and win competitions with encouraging frequency -
but I'm no highly-trained opera diva, either.  I've recently been worried
about using my voice incorrectly, but Peter Giles reassured me a lot; he
feels I'm instinctively doing what he's trying to train people to do
(cool!).  All this isn't to brag, but to let you know I do have something of
a clue (but not necessarily all that much).

More detail would be helpful.  What are the qualities of your voice in the
different registers?  Where do you feel vibration and "work" when you sing?
Is the sound full, broad, thin, tight, pure?  Any description you can give
would help.  

Hey, I have a tendency to blather on.  If I can be of help, please ask; if
not, then good luck to you & your search for vocal teaching!  Hang in there,
and always practice!

Linette de Gallardon, East Kingdom

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