Your body (your instrument) is constantly providing you with feedback about it’s condition…but are you listening? In this video Dr Dan discusses ‘Vocal Kinaesthetics’ and how you can develop a better awareness of your vocal instrument.
0:17 Vocal Kinaesthetics
One of the very first things I do with my singing students is direct their attention to their whole instrument. We spend so much time as singers worrying about how we sound, that we often neglect how we feel. I’m talking about your kinaesthetic awareness. The dictionary defines ‘Kinaesthesia’ as an “awareness of the position and movement of the parts of the body by means of sensory organs in the muscles and joints.”
1:29 The Physical Nature of Your Sound
The first is your overall body alignment. Your stature on stage not only says a lot to your audience about your performance and what they might expect. It also says a lot to you about what you might anticipate from your voice. Lazy posture generally leads to a lazy sound. Equally, a rigid posture typically leads to a rigid sound. The next time you stand up to sing, take a moment to ‘feel’ your alignment. Your stance should be energised, buoyant and balanced.
A second point of kinaesthetic awareness for the singer is their laryngeal position. Your larynx is a floating mechanism housed within your neck. I like to describe the larynx as a bouy on water. The bouy needs to have the freedom to move with the swell of the body of water it’s floating in. In a similar fashion, your larynx needs to be free enough to move with the swell of a given song. If your larynx is surrounded by too much neck tension then your sound will not be free. We never want the larynx to be continuously held high or constantly pushed low.
3:56 Vocal Tract Shape
Possibly the hardest physical place to monitor for the singer is the pharynx. The pharynx is the back of your throat and it has very low levels of sensory feedback. Think about it…if you had high levels of sensation back there you’d feel every single swallow of every single day. Not pleasant. This being said, the pharynx helps the singer form tonal qualities. A lazy pharynx and, you guessed it, you get lazy tone. A rigid pharynx and the tone will often be too bright and shrill.
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