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The Singer who Couldn’t Move her Voice Around

Rachel Bennett

She decided to act upon friends’ advice, that she should be singing on stage – she did possess a beautiful vocal quality…

Alfie’s issue was that she could only sing in one small range and was afraid of song material that took her out of this. Her repertoire was limited and even she was bored!

Alfie’s range was alto and her confidence and power diminished beyond a middle E.

Alfie needed to hear what her own voice was capable of but because she was afraid of high notes. I decided to approach this from a slightly less conventional starting point.

We listened to some favorite animal sounds and played some copying games. Firstly, we copied sounds of various cute videos of owls, dogs howling, mice squeaking and some bird calls.

It was fun and Alfie relaxed a bit.

I then asked her to sing some of these sounds on simple scales so she could feel alternative placement of her voice (using her head or skull as the area for resonance as opposed to pushing the sound into her throat).

Alfie had fun doing this – some animals were easier than others!

What she managed to do was sail past her mid E and get a whole octave higher.

We played with phrases in the animal sounds (I didn’t want to pressurise her too soon).

After deeper exercises using human sounds such as ‘yeah’ and ‘ngah’ Alfie was soon singing with the beginning of a mix in her higher alto range.

Alfie returned for a package of lessons and adapted very well to the exercises, gaining real confidence, and she had fun selecting songs to sing that she had previously thought were out of her range.