- Relaxed Concentration;
- Breath Control & Support; and
Sounds simple right! It is once you've mastered it.
What is 'Relaxed Concentration'?
Relaxed concentration is when we are fully emerged in what we are doing at a given time without an external/internal interference. Like a child playing in the sand pretending they are building a huge castle and all a long they are singing away without a care in the world, they don't care who is listening or watching. They are completely in the moment. When we are in this state of relaxed concentration our learning ability is heightened because we are enjoying it more.
I quote Jeffery Allen - Secrets of Singing, "It is impossible to overstate the importance of relaxation to the singer. Relaxation is the key to producing one of the fundamental elements of a great voice: The "floating" tone. When a tone 'floats', it seems to defy gravity; it has an otherworldly, ethereal quality."
This can be achieved by a simple relaxation exercise (see blog on relaxation).
What is Breath Control & Support?
There must be a precise balance between the air pressure from below (moved up by the lower breath support muscles) and the resistance to that air-flow by the diaphragm and the lower ribs. If your support system is too weak, it worn't send enough air to the cords, leaving you with a weak, shaky tone. If you're not able to control your breath, too much air may hit the cords, causing them to tighten too much. This is common among singers and leads to a forced sound.
What is visualisation?
Singing is largely in your mind. What you think is how you sing!
One of the most common beliefs held by beginning singers is that the voice is completely formed in the throat, at the site of the vocal cords. This is far from the total picture. There are actually many elements that combine to form your 'voice' as YOU are the instrument. When you sing you don't just open your mouth and sing, you sing with your whole body, your instrument.
We can project our voices, tones and emotions through visualisation. The pathway that breath follows from the vocal cords is extremely important as the breath system naturally carries tone to the resonant bones and cavities in and above the mouth. Incorrect visualisation or thought can disturb the normal flow of vibration and produce an incorrect tone.
Think about singing through your nose and sing,
"I'm singing through my nose".
Does this sound nasally?
Think about singing through your mouth and sing,
"I'm singing through my mouth".
Does this sound clearer?
This is an extreme example, however relevant.
These 3 steps will set the stage for your singing! If you take the time to develop your foundation you will find hours of enjoyment and increased confidence to take that stage.
If you have any questions or comments you'd like to share please post them below I'd love to hear your feedback. Please check back in soon for more blogs expanding on each of these areas for your practice.
Have a great day.