Just adding one semitone to your comfort zone will increase the number and type of songs you can perform. -says Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher.
In Gillyanne’s PhD research the singers with a 2 octave comfort zone tended to be rated more comfortable in performance than those with an octave or less. So, how do you extend your comfort zone?
First off: don’t start at the bottom and work upwards. This will not help you as it’s like pushing your car uphill in first gear. Your voice is naturally heavier on the lower notes (because your vocal folds are thicker) so it’s harder to stretch for the higher notes if you start low. If you already know what your comfort zone is, work from the middle upwards, then the middle downwards.
Remember that the aim here is to add notes onto your existing comfort zone, one at a time. At the moment we’re not focussing on extending your total range.
This exercise will help you increase your comfort zone in incremental steps.
So far we’ve been using the first three notes of the chorus of Cohen’s Hallelujah, so sing these now with the words (think Mi Sol La La, La Sol Mi Mi for the first two Hallelujahs).
Just adding one semitone to your comfort zone will increase the number of keys you’ll be comfortable singing in, and will increase the number and type of songs you can perform.
My Reaction to This Week's Singing Competition Entry
Julie Curly - La Belle Epoque
Catchy melody and solid playing from the band. We like the pitch bends in the opening phrases – keep them in but make sure you actually arrive on the note otherwise you’ll sound pitchy. Keep that breathy upper range, it works well. Your voice/breath balance sounds slightly unstable. You need more vocal fold contact and slightly less airflow. Practise singing the opening phrases in a “calling out” voice. You can do this by saying the lyrics in a clear speaking voice then raising the pitch a little until you are calling out. Once you’ve found this stronger, clearer sound you can reduce the volume to work for the lyrics. Check the balance between you and the harmonica at the end – it’s louder than you are so we miss the last few bars. You wrote the song lyrics – what do you want your listeners to experience? Choose three words for yourself that sum up the song, and play those words to the audience.
Voice experts, authors, team-teachers for 20 years, Gillyanne & Jeremy train performers and their teachers to find the most appropriate techniques to sing their best, whatever the style of the song. This Is A Voice: 99 exercises to train, project and harness the power of your voice’. Speaking, singing (opera, rock, pop, soul, jazz, country and everything in between), beatboxing, finding your voice (and someone else’s).
Special Opportunity! Gillyanne and Jeremy are offering a special 26% discount to VoiceCouncil readers for any of their 18 voice training webinars. There are lots of specific topics like Taking chest voice higher, Finding head voice and Troubleshooting breathing. Just use the code VoiceCouncil at the checkout – and the price will go down to under $30 (£20) for an hour’s voice techniques webinar, available online at any time. Just go here for the offer. The offer runs until the end of June.