So I spent an hour with a vocal coach. I am putting together a CD of ten of my own songs and I want to do the vocal part as best I can.
Going to a vocal coach is not part of my usual behavior. In fact I pretty much hate going anywhere. Going to try to sing in front of a complete stranger, on top of that, is pretty unusual for me.
But I got to see a street in Santa Barbara I had never seen before where the home of the vocal coach was located.
So there I sit with this vocal coach and she says my natural voice—if there is such a thing—more or less related to my speaking voice–is probably a baritone. She says I have a deep voice for a skinny guy (because I am now once again really skinny). But the songs I have written are coming out more in the tenor range.
The coach had me try to find the soma of my sounds. That is, where my voice comes from depending on the note I am trying to hit, and sure enough when I began to pay attention, I could feel the real high notes come somewhere from the middle of my forehead, and then down through the nose, and then down in the mouth/throat, and finally down in the chest—that’s where the baritone seems to be located.
And then there’s the breathing part. I have got to get that down. That means practice, because breathing while singing is not the same as your normal breathing. More or less in normal breathing we take in some air through the nose using our lungs to drag it in, but if you do that even you will possibly note that the stomach pops out a little as one breathes in.
Singing requires stomach breathing. You really let the stomach pop out as the air goes in and then you exhale by pulling in the stomach muscles—and sure enough it’s possible that way to get air in and out more quickly and also to sustain a note.
Singing also requires good posture. I don’t naturally have that. I slouch and have slouched for years. Instead—singing wise—you are supposed to stand up straight—with your center—your stomach and pelvis–acting as the pillar for your whole body, and you let the rest of your body above that go as limp as possible.
Carol says too that in dance the center of the body—the stomach and pelvis—are at the heart of the whole thing. That’s where you start and need to build from.
I remember this pro basketball player—though I can’t remember his name—with this terrific jump shot. From a stand still position, he really get in the air, and midway in his jump, you could see his hips and stomach—go up—as if after the initial leg movement he had a second booster rocket.
I went to the vocal coach some time this week but it feels now like an hallucination.