Is our voice really like a horse?

Last week a voice teacher in a group of professional teachers I follow wrote a witty and brilliant post with a list of points he follows in its lessons. I wrote that all the ones from his point 2 are mine and this takes away all the other points but the last. The last was on having a perfectly clean bathroom, yeah everybody still in lockdown and online lessons.

What was his second point to take away every other one? He does not accept students who do not sing in pitch: and as him many others do, as those who not have yet a voice. He asked me about my answer and I told him that basically I have all the students out of pitch the others did not want, the singers who start losing their pitch or never solved it really and have by that some career problems and I have had also many teachers when they start losing something and they do not know what to do about. In my concept they have to be treated in the same way, because they have something in common and it is the main reason teachers historically do not accept them.

To explain that I do a little diversion: some decades ago, as teen, it was discovered I could bring back into balance horses got dangerous. I am a pretty serious soul and I spent then summers in Uk to perfect my training skills and also there they gave me school horses not happy with kids anymore, or with various stiffnesses inexplicable or after surgeries while I did refine the technique. What I thought was that I could use some movements that were typical of a happy and joyful situation to change the emotional state of the horse, so to destress him and take away the preventive fear, and open back to what they mostly love: playing and collaborate with us. Also the joyful and happy gesture will improve and condition muscles and muscular chains and patterns so to have them present in every moment more than before. The origin being a physical trauma or not skilled kids moving heavy on their back or a not respectful or violent or inappropriate trainer? If repeated with no other input they would go in burnout as we do. So I was just putting back functionality and reopening the thing horses love most doing with us.

Why do I talk about horses? The voice is a horse and reacts as a horse. So is the student the horse? Not exactly. The student or the singer is both the horse and me, meaning by that the one the horse live playing with. Why teachers do not want the kind of singers we said previously? Because they have a bad horse? Not exactly, they do not refuse the horse but something the person clearly have shown of not being able to do: they have a burnout horse. So again: is the horse?

Do you remember bullies at school? Were they fragile or strong kids? We well see they are kids with a huge energy that has taken a bad flip, we see and experiment them as fragile as violent. Violent, not aggressive; their energy is not well expressed and it becomes the frustration of it in burst of violence. When do they save themselves, they discover that this fantastic energy they have inside is a hell of a gift. Taking care of their burnout horse is easy and will give some fresh air and good vibe to the other part, the smell of what they can really be and have inside. They will then have to learn not to always escalate but reopening easiness for their horse and by that the dialogue and playing with the other players. They have to learn to restrain themselves not to act the bully actions, suspending them for a certain time and thus letting the place for other things.

If they do then they will be the singers ev’ry teacher and musician want, as many of my students or professional have become. It is not easy and sometimes really annoying, and as teacher you must not have a problem in being profoundly straight as profoundly respectful of the human inside and fond of his qualities, with the vibe of the admiration of the true soul you have in front, acting protecting the horse but not loving less the non horse of that person. How this: not teaching the person but teaching on focusing and freeing and respecting the horse, that at the end is what we call in music listening and playing. Because a happy horse is sign of a hell of a rider ;).

In the group I will only write of how to free technically the horse. Have a good weekend everybody.

On #cossumethod

He definitely starts understanding this trip. He certainly has last Saturday while recording. . 🕶. He certainly starts seeing that nothing mystic but just this complex engine made of us, interlaced of everything of us to regulate and put in the correct places very precisely. . 🕶. This was last year on #cossumethod .

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Irenea__

@Irenea__ , getting professional in 2019.

Another happy ending from struggle. She arrived to me not being able to sing without strain and breaking the sounds. Younger she was a natural voice, then some voice lessons and her voice did not improve but collapsed (that is why training of young voices must be of the finest level of knowledge for functionality and voice development, so easy to slip down fast and put dysfunctionality just for too much pretension too soon). It developed in a dysfunctional voice with struggle and breaking the sounds, impossibility of singing more than half an hour every other day.  Logopedic treatments and other different voice teachers useless. She did not contact me immediately because skeptical of Skype lessons. Then we started, we made 11 months weekly lessons, a pause of one year due to her scholastic tasks. Another 11 months of weekly lessons and here she is preparing the first gigs, no need of my lessons now. She seems to develop in a talented professional, now it is her choice and path, but not anymore struggle for unknown reasons. Very very happy.
Enjoy her and her evolution 🙂

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Limitations in extension: always to correct it?

VOCAL TECHNIQUE

There is the case of very interesting timbres, generally very effective and a certain limitation in extension, better refer in tessitura in those cases.

Some would think as a limitation this lack of great extension and some would like to solve it.

In my experience when the timbre is obtained by a sustain that reach the positions of second register by mimicking the first and maintaining the larynx movement of pronunciation of the first register is something truly effective and musically precious and if they do not want to absolutely sing repertoire that requires complete development and use of the three registers I would discourage to change it.

If otherwise obtained by a lowering of positions in my experience it will not damage so much the musical effectiveness to correct it.

Strategies for singers, the absolutes in your tastes and choices

VOCAL TECHNIQUE MADE SIMPLE

One of the frequent positions, of internal musical choice on voice that take some away from the development of their true voice is the refuse of something.

To make an example: those who totally refuse nose sound, in any way. They usually get to such a pure flat that takes away the sustain and as I said many times in my tutorials when you have not sustain you will have the sound of no sustain and in this case with correct positions they will sound truly nasal as they do not want. So avoiding the nasal resonances they are obtaining exactly to be stuck in the nasal sound any time they do not want to break the flat sound. So the correction is to put some exercises with correct nasalisation and develop sustain through that and yeah the nasal sound will go away.

Think about that anytime you are absolute in refusing a voice characteristic.

“We do not know what we do not know”

We do not know what we do not know.

So we can know our goals but not precisely how to get there (quite clearly we are not yet there),

for that we need to learn. And to learn is easier if we get coachable.

Being coachable is a smart move, and can be crucial if you have some motor control failures, some dysfunctions.

Dysfunctions even if born from some physical event present a stubborn certitude in the order, an order that being coachable can smoothen enough to change into a functional one.

Being coachable means that you can learn from every thing useful crossing your life, and especially you can learn what you do not know you need to know (that is the centre of knowledge, to know what you do not know not to know).

Singing patterns or movements versus single functions.

In the last two days I published three videos on Instagram about a fundamental concept I am talking about with a student. It is an important point that in rehabilitative and performing field has been well stated by Gray Cook, he defines it “the movement versus motion paradox” and says “Movement often denotes the act of a functioning body as it changes position under its own power. Motion might represent the available range of flexibility within a single body segment or group of segments”. [Gray Cook Movement Functional Movement Systems]

What this has to do with us and vocal technique? The well known experience some singers report me or see in others when in improving or correcting a voice of the nothing happens or the quality sound improves but not the singing or even some singers lose the effectiveness they had before yet tells us that something of this paradox is in voice too. Also those who do not have a natural voice and has never experimented what a singing gesture truly is and remain stuck in the training and giving command to single functions (sustain, copertura, pronunciation, turn of the larynx, modification of the vowels to have a sound more forward) in an impossible sum of command. Those who had not a natural voice and they find how to unblock it with an exercise in a function and get convinced that voice is training and finding everything with that function.

What I wanted to precise is that we have to gain and give our students or singers perspective. Singing is a movement, it uses synergistic functions and many patterns into a movement and every kind of work we do on parts must maintain the perspective and the care of the movement.

Sometimes we have to deal with singers who see a great improvement into their sound by improving just one function and do not see the risk of loosing the entire movement, and we have to improve the culture of what singing is on a functional level so that they will follow our advices when we say that yes to improve but let the system integrate and then see if can absorb another quantity of this function.

Also we have to give trust and courage to those who found finally something in voice by working on one thing with the integration of knowledge from other fields who can better clarify why at a certain point we want them to make a step further into true singing movement.

Italian belcanto as all the others method born from it contains the movement and work on movement and that is why it is so renowned and balancing in the voices. It has the limit of being well balanced but not yet developed into how much we can develop the single functions before losing the movement or if you prefer getting dysfunctional. Train on the single functions, but do it smartly.