MU202 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-20: Chest Voice, Glissando, Head Voice

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3 Jul 2017
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Singing in the Choir
Why sing? Singing is:
- a corporate activity with a common focus
- develops a personal lifelong skill
- is a form of self and group expression
- promotes discipline and commitment
- connects with the deep, feelingful dimension of the
student
- encourages self-confidence
- brings joy to participant and audience
- provides a deeper understanding of the artistic
experience
- is a lot of fun
Teaching Students Through Singing: General Choral Singing Principles
Lee Willingham
Three things we can control:
1. Vowel
2. Pitch
3. Volume
Things we cannot control: Diaphragm, open throat, resonance, raise/lower the palettes.
These are secondary or involuntary actions.
We strive for a balance in opposing muscle systems…most of us are either head
dominant, or chest dominant. We use vowels through releasing the breath and range to
strengthen our non-dominant register.
“oo” descending invites the head voice
“connected falsetto” requires head dominance, but chest to help sustain. (Pure falsetto has
no sustain quality.)
“ah” invites the chest to dominate.
“ee” can serve to bridge the registers.
Vowels in combinations (e.g., ah-yoo ascending a 5th with “oo” as the descending vowel
creates a connection between chest/head.) Most girls sing with too much chest. Most
adolescent changed voice boys are locked in a small range of chest voice notes.
Learning Expectation: Students sing in a connected
voice (with balanced registers), expressively and with
confidence
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Some Basic Principles of Singing
1. Sing, releasing your natural breath through a carefully shaped vowel.
2. Sing with naturally good posture…rib cage slightly raised, feet slightly
apart, back straight, face bright and “raised”, relaxed yet poised.
3. Develop and use an “engaged” tone, a tone in contact with the laryngal
production of your voice. Avoid throaty or chesty tones when singing
with students.
4. Use pure, rounded vowels, and well-articulated consonants. Use the
text as a means of developing good singing tone.
5. Connect the music and words to the overall mood of the music…use
words to describe feelings when possible.
6. Be encouraging and supportive to all students and their voices…
everyone can make a musical sound, and everyone can improve with
good instruction in a trusting environment.
7. Make singing fun! Focussed, skill based activities can bring great
pleasure to participants.
Personal Improvement Suggestions
1. Develop a good mental concept of singing. Listen to choral and solo
singers who exemplify excellent tone and technique.
2. Experiment freely with your own singing. Explore your range from
highest to lowest. Sing in your natural, open throated voice with well-
supported breath and focussed vowels.
3. Take a few private lessons with a knowledgeable teacher or coach.
4. Join a choir. (community, amateur, theatre group, church, etc.)
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