Vocal Coach Residency Week Eight: 3 November 2010 – by Jeannie Deva
Happy November! Thank you to Mark Cunningham and Gus Velez for their Peer Review submissions of this past week. I’ll share my reactions to their vocal work after my coaching exercise tip of the week.
This warm-up exercise wakes up the resonance of your voice. It is also excellent for examining and developing the basic vowel sounds used in singing. Repeat this exercise until you notice a difference in the relaxation of the muscles and the resonance of your voice from within your mouth and throat. When completed, be sure to sing a song and experience the difference!
1) Open your mouth and take a breath. Using a basic speaking volume, sustain a comfortable mid-range pitch, through an “NG” tongue position. To help you find this tongue position, say the word “Sing” and maintain the tongue position of the “NG”. The back of your tongue will lightly close with your soft palate. Keep the tip of your tongue resting against the back of your bottom teeth. Feel the sound vibration shimmer along the roof of your mouth and under your nose.
2) Go back and forth between the “NG” and the vowel several times slowly on one breath. Try to maintain the same resonance from consonant to vowel, using the list below. Take a new breath and repeat several times. Then go on to the next “NG-vowel” in the sequence. Use a medium volume only.
The sequence goes as follows:
1. NG-AH (wand) – or (if you’re Australian, “mum”)
2. NG-EE (Seem)
3. NG-A (Same)
4. NG-AA (Apple)
5. NG-EH (When)
6. NG-UH (The)
7. NG-I (Him)
During the last two vowels (below), be sure you do not shape your lips for the sound. This can be achieved by thinking the vowel sound and letting it naturally resonate in your mouth.
• NG-OH (Home)
• NG-Ooo (Soon)
3) Now, sing a piece you’ve been working on… and experience the difference in muscle relaxation and resonance.
Enjoy the results!
My Reactions to This Past Week’s Peer Reviews
Kudos: Mark Cunningham singing the original “Simple” – beautiful song with great vocal styling – overall a perfect match of vocal style, song and musical presentation. Right from the start of the song Mark was in his element and exuded a “simple” confident approach that attracted my attention.
Areas to develop: There are exercises that would help you gain comfort with a wider range of notes so you could use them with expressive ease. When performing, remember you still have an audience to engage. While I still found this video engaging (mostly due to your voice and the song itself), the few times that you sang it with meaning TO the camera were the times I felt the magic. When you look away, your challenge is to maintain the same quality connection you created as when you looked at the camera.
Kudos: Gus Velez singing “Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles: though Gus is not a professional musician, I appreciate his love of and involvement with music.
Areas to develop: If Gus wanted to advance his singing toward the pro level, voice coaching and the correct vocal exercises would help him perfect his pitch accuracy, develop the overall tone and body of his voice and help him to perform with his own “signature”.
Jeannie Deva is a celebrity master voice and performance coach as well as a recording studio vocal specialist. She has worked with and been endorsed by engineers and producers of Aerosmith, Elton John, Bette Midler, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones. Seen on E! Entertainment and TV Guide Channels, Jeannie has been interviewed as a celebrity guest on talk shows internationally. She is the author of the globally acclaimed “Contemporary Vocalist” series and “Deva Method Vocal Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs” CD. Certified Deva Method® teachers are located on east and west coasts of the U.S. and in Sydney, Australia. Deva’s private voice studio is located in Los Angeles where she teaches in-person as well as singers around the world via Internet web cam. Clients include Grammy award winners, American Idol Finalists, singers for Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Celine Dion, Sting, Pink, Christina Aguilera and more. www.JeannieDeva.com – www.Facebook.com/JeannieDeva – www.Twitter.com/JeannieDeva