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The Case of the Stylistic Challenge

Hazel’s function band insisted that she deliver the covers in a fairly rigid arrangement, so she was tense and nervous right from the outset!

Hazel had three weeks to get ready for her performance with her function band.

And they were being Rock n’ Roll “purists”, insisting that she maintain original arrangements.

Getting to the source of the problem – and fast!

Hazel was out of her comfort zone and hated the sounds her voice made at the top (and bottom) of her range.

When I asked her to sing with her natural expression, she produced some strong tones in a couple of her favorite songs but was clearly uncomfortable with most of the band’s material and their style.

It was too late to pull out so clearly we had some work to do!

For Hazel to succeed, she would have to develop her tome over her entire range.

Developing Vocal Tones

First we just had fun and played with animal sounds, (supported by good breath!)

Hazel slid all around her whole sound spectrum and made some high-pitched bird squeals, some ally cat meows and some big bear growls.

We then played with identifying the actual notes within these sounds and Hazel progressed to singing scales, moving to each animal sound progressively to get through the increasing demands on her tonal range.

A Little Extra Homework

She had fun and went off with this exercise to practice for 10 days (with a break in between).

She also had a list of artists to explore in terms of their ‘sound-scapes’ so that she could begin to be more relaxed with the idea of ‘sound’ in the voice (Tina Turner, Aretha and Nina Simone to name a few)

On her return she had already begun to merge some of the shapes with her own more natural expression.
More importantly she had accepted that the whole range inside any song demands a variety of sounds from any singers throat!

Hazel’s repertoire of sounds

Hazel returns regularly for sessions whenever she has to cover a new set.

Now she is playing around herself with new and adventurous tones so our focus is on achieving these sounds in a healthy way.

Learning about the kaleidoscope of sounds in one’s singing voice is a vital part of growth and development of individual style and expression.

There are many exciting routes through this exploration; what is most important is that it is done under the tutelage of someone who has knowledge of anatomy and a safe and effective practice