Vowels. Vowels. Vowels.
When I’m not talking about ribs, I’m talking about vowels. They are the second most important aspect of delivering top-notch vocals. Why? Because vowels ARE vocalizing. At least, in terms of using your vocal cords.
Make the sound Ah. And the sound EE, and Uh. Where do those sounds originate? In your throat. At your vocal cords. Really, when we talk about vocalizing, we’re talking about vowels.
But how do we turn the sound from our vocal cords into different vowels?
We change the shape of our vocal tracts. By doing that, different frequencies within the sound are either canceled out or amplified, thus creating different vowel sounds. Seems incredible, doesn’t it? But so much of what the body does is amazing.
Why am I sharing this with you?
The key to a smooth, rich execution of singing lies in having a tension-free, unobstructed flow of air. The vocal tract needs to be as open and relaxed as possible while making any sound.
So, what’s one easy way to open up your throat while singing vowels that close up your vocal tract?
Use background vowels.
A background vowel is the vowel that you add just a hint of behind another vowel to open it up.
For example, if you’re holding a word with an EE vowel sound, you can open and enrich that sound by adding a hint of EH behind it (so “me” becomes something closer to “meh”).
You can also try adding a background vowel of IH (as in kid) to an EE sound. Try it yourself now.
OOH is another sound that can become pinched, so it helps to add the background vowel OH or UH, which drops the tongue a bit making a larger opening in the mouth.
Lesson 3 Videos:
Lesson 3 Workout:
- Stretch and detox from the day as needed. Release any tension you notice in your neck, shoulders and back before you continue.
- Palm Press Inhale/Exhale: Your new palm press workout is the same as the last but with one change. As you hold your palms open, you’re going to inhale and exhale 3 times. See if you can start right off the bat with two sets of ten. NOTE: When you inhale, your chest should remain still (because it is already expanded) and your abdomen should move outward.
- N Octave Siren: Similar to the N hum you did with the last lesson, but now you’re sliding up and down through one octave.
- Ga Warm-Up: Same melody as the La Warm-Up. Since “Ga” requires a different kind of tongue movement, you should do this one in the mirror for starters. You want a still jaw, but jaw movement can be hard to detect without looking.
- Ah Staccato: Try to make your sounds tinier this week, and the silences between your sounds cleaner.
- We Luv U: Follow the advice in the We Luv U video for this exercise.
- Song Work: Use the vowel song-development technique from the video you watched in lesson three. And keep in mind the use of background vowels to open up your vocal tract.