Monday, December 12, 2011

Using your nasal cavity in singing

nasal cavity
The proper use of our nasal cavity when we sing can greatly affect the sound of our voice. Most of us sing through our noses which we can easily tell when we have a bad cold and we try to sing. Our voice does sound different as it has this distinct muffled sound ("ngongo" in Tagalog).

The following video will explain how we can use and train ourselves to make use of the nasal cavity when we sing. Though this videos primarily targets female singers, the lesson however will benefit the male singers as well.

My chorus has greatly improved their way of singing and even has produced a louder and fuller sound using the nasal cavity. It has diminished the strain off their vocal chords, enhanced their breathing pattern, and produced a sweeter and melodious sound fit for a choral group.

One way to force our selves to make us of the nasal cavity is by holding our noses. When we do this, it forces our mouth to open wider for air to pass through and in turn make use of this air to support the production of sound in the process.

Our mouth, the palates, tongue and our nasal cavity will then perform their function in supporting your voice in producing the sound.

Most of the time the vowel sounds, particularly the "ah" (A), will be more round and full when we make us of this technique.

After several rehearsals using this technique, your body will be accustomed to the way you sing and will no longer require yourself to cover your noses just to make use of your nasal cavity.

Again, practice makes it permanent.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Warm-ups for proper breathing while you sing

I made a standard breathing routine for my choral group to work on. In this article, I will share what I have taught my chorus in order for them to be accustomed to diaphragmatic breathing and in the end make them make use of it subconsciously while they sing.

As I have mentioned on my previous article "breathing the key to proper singing", we cannot fully rely on our voices to create the sound for it requires our body and enough air to control the flow of sound that comes out from within us.

These exercises were adopted from a collection of various breathing routines that I have read on other sites and watched from streamed online videos that focuses on diverse methods and techniques on proper singing. I just picked up the effective ones for I have tried some myself.

It is important that when we do these exercises we have to observe proper posture. Keeping your hands to your sides, standing straight and your chin up is a good way to start. Definitely, slouching is a big no-no when doing breathing exercises.

Also, before you begin trying these drills, you might as well refer to this previous article that I wrote. 
  1. Feel the air.  A slow approach to the routine. This is done by breathing air in slowly till it fills your lungs and expands you diaphragm (which you can rightly feel if your tummy inflates while you do this) and then releasing the same amount in the same leisurely pace till you feel all the air come out. Do this in counts of four (4) for each inhale-exhale routine. That is inhale (4 counts) then exhale (4 counts).
  2. Hold it up. Doing the same routine from number 1, we will be holding air in the middle after the inhale part. So that would be inhale > hold > and release (exhale). Again, do this in counts of four (4) for each phase.
  3. Hiss is what it is. This time instead of normally exhaling in a normal fashion, we will be doing a hissing sound when we let air out. So, it would be inhale > hold > hiss. Similarly, in four (4) counts for each phase.
  4. Make it sound. The last routine would be making a sound when you exhale. We chose a comfortable note for this one so everyone can make it through the work out - G (sol) on first octave (that is the first G after the middle C on your  piano). That would be inhale (4) -> hold (4) ->  voice out (4).
  • make deep and slow breathing patterns.
  • start with a four count repetition for each routine.
  • for added weight, increase your reps in increments of four - 4, 8, 12, 16, 20
  • why 4? Because a standard measure in music is done in 4 beats for every measure.
  • make sure that participants are in good health condition before engaging them in these exercises. For safety reasons, start with the first routine and give enough time before moving on the rest of the list.

Related readings: