Vocal Coach: Adrienne Angel

Top Ten Tips from a Vocal Coach: Adrienne Angel

Adrienne Angel

The Seven Deadly Sins of Singing

1. Poor Posture

The voice is a wind instrument. You produce sound by blowing air between the 2 folds of the larynx. When you have poor posture, you limit the ability of your body to use the breath with maximum ease and efficiency. Improve your posture and you'll improve your tone. Alexander technique and pilates are both effective at helping singers with postural problems.

2. Noisy Inhalations

Ideally we should breathe through the nose, but singers are often required to take breaths through their mouths. If there is any gasping noise, that indicates throat tension. Free inhalations are silent!!!

3. Jaw & Tongue Tension

This is self-explanatory. Clamping the jaw and/or stiffening or retracting the tongue while singing produces tight tones and inhibits the singer's range.

4. Glottal Attacks

These are harsh clicking attacks on words which begin with vowels. We all use gentle glottals to some degree when we speak. As they become more forceful when we sing they can fatigue the voice. Glottal attacks are one of the prime causes of nodules.

5. Carrying the Chest Voice Too High

The mechanism which produces the low notes, or chest voice, is often mistakenly used by singers as they progress upwards to higher pitches. When this is done, the result is vocal fatigue, pitch problems, harsh tone, and ultimately vocal damage.

6. Making the High Note of the Phrase Louder than the Rest of the Phrase

Most of us are guilty of this. I call it "singing on automatic pilot." Contrary to what is commonly believed, we need less air for higher pitches, not more. Singing louder for higher pitches may give you a feeling of confidence, but is extremely inartistic and wears the vocal machinery.

7. Lack of Vibrato

Vibrato is the pulse, or beat in a freely produced tone. Stylistically, we should be able to produce both straight tones and vibrato. The inability to produce vibrato indicates tension somewhere in the vocal mechanism.

Adrienne AngelAdrienne Angel is a voice teacher and musical theater specialist. Among Adrienne's past and present students are: Bernadette Peters (since l983), Cher, Ann Reinking, Mary Tyler Moore, Christine Baranski, Kenneth Branagh, Armand Assante, Whoopi Goldberg, Jane Krakowski, Cybill Shepherd, Jason Alexander, Joel Gray, Swoosie Kurtz, Janine Turner, Joan Jett, Sheena Easton, Bridget Fonda, Sean Young, Mariel Hemingway, and Jessica Walter. You may contact Adrienne directly at [email protected] or visit her website www.adrienneangel.com