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.

Vocal tips

When my artists send to me something to hear in which they push intentions and do not find it in the voice. Very often they still think doing something on the moment to produce the note, they still think singing is when heard. Singing is doing some things with your body and your imagination and emotions put into the body, the sound heard will be just in certain moments as a part made heard of this doing and not a pressing all together just in the moment you want to produce a sound. You produce a sound and a phrase and a movement inside and you just make it heard on the outside: sometimes entirely, often just fragments of that.

Who am I

I am someone who can solve the reason why some people can’t be effective in a vocal technique or style, or when a professional can’t have the full or correct use of its instrument even with excellent teachers or coaches.

I was a soloist and being trained in Italian Belcanto technique. A chronic disease that affects my inflammation level in the body and related to a medical malpractice made my career  last just three years during which I achieved goals I even had not dreamt about (further details https://luciacossu.com/about/).2012-09-28-13-15-24
I started then teaching,  vocal technique. Being frustrated by seeing some structural issues that made some singers think about them and never relax into a deeper dialog with music I tried to found ways to solve them forever with the same approach to sound I had when I was a soloist. So I invented some physical exercises and discovered in what they were useful to a wider range of persons, even if invented on someone specific. This became a corpus of exercises, some totally invented by me, some are yoga or dance exercises modified to be useful for voice muscular chains. I have so found some principles to work on the reason why some can’t have a proper vocal technique even with good teachers. I found the relation voice-muscular chains in a way not imagined by professionals and now also the way some Manuel Garcia vocalises were intended and why even my excellent belcanto teachers couldn’t use them correctly. . It is a very specific work, nothing to do with others body practises for singers, useful  but less precise for a vocal purpose.  To be sure that the results with my students were really appropriate I put some people with and without vocal problems under medical control before and after our work together and  it was confirmed the solution of their vocal problems in very short time, while a medical prevision of no improvement possible (https://luciacossu.com/cossu-method-program/ ) and those with no issues had confirmed an improvement in voice and posture.
When I say it is new I don’t mean that my work comes from nothing and goes to a new land, no. I mean that it is a step forward in what is the italian belcanto technique. I mean that it brings to the vocal land many that couldn’t previously reach it. And those who are yet there have a way to refine and obtain more.

That it is: a way to bring to voice (and voice styles and technique or even just natural voice) those who couldn’t before and to refine and find tools and expression for the advanced and the professionals.
It is a sort of way to put everybody to the zero point.

Fundamentals Singing professionally

Professional singing is not natural and it is a wearing activity, that’s why you need a technique. A technique, a good technique, will make yourself and nobody notice those two things and that’s why it is so important for singers to build a proper technique instrument, and for us the professional of voice to ajourn our tools and adjust and evolve them with the evolution of music.

Fundamentals Registers and passaggio

In vocal technique to solve a technical point often means to make in the perception of the singer the disappearing of the question. This is the case for the passaggi, or vocal bridges. When truly solved the mechanism to adapt gesture and postures and muscles work and copertura will make the singer never perceive that such passaggio do exist.

* This is one of the typical examples of how a technical level will give opposite perceptions, even if from a physiological level the question is the same. In a technical solved level the singer will say exactly the opposite of the not solved singer about any question.

Tips Copertura: everybody the same?

One of the fundamental points in technique is when and with what position making the  copertura, especially related to the first turn of the larynx for the first bridge. Great part of national schools and national taste in sound is given by this position and way of making the copertura. If you prefer you can think about it as the first point in which you make the turn of the larynx, being the second the necessary one to obtain the high notes in female voices, falsetto in men and a certain kind of  successive slightly turn for high notes in men voices while sustaining when it is not desired a falsetto sound.
It gives the clear and precise english sound in medium and medium high register with its quite high position and the habit of not getting below, the somewhat flatted and falsetto sound in France, the velvet and lightness of accent and high tones in the spanish due to the involvement of soft palato to obtain their copertura, the always connected to sustain and back of american school that gives more strenght to the nearly same position then english school but less poetry in the ovetornes, the low position in german school that need to put some intubation to make the turn possible and connected, the perfect balance of all these elements in Italian belcanto school, the slightly below positions of the swedish italian belcanto that gives more weight by the lower position and greater use of back diaphgragm connection, the russian school which now is the closest to the XXth century italian belcanto we have.
The first turning point can be moved and managed both by pronounciation or use of mask muscles and soft palate or internal nose muscles and the sustain and appoggio muscles and the posture in itself. It is something to think about when starting a training and also it is to have a strategy about according to repertoire and market in which the singer is working or going to work.

Basics Pressure under the glottis

The same pressure can be associated to strain or perfect phonation. There are many ways to produce the same pressure: creating it before the attack, on the attack, with a certain speed, at a precise speed and with or without suspension, with some muscles and timing and reciprocal order of movement, putting a tension in some part and then just creating a slight tension in another part to create conditions for the attack etc. Understanding this is fundamental to have a correct attack and many different ways of attacks accorded to musical and interpretative requirements.

Tips Vocal logic

For a singer or a performer it is often more effective looking for vocal solutions thinking in a way that has a vocal logic instead of a truer one. We have a point of acting to obtain the voice so deformed by instrument way of being built and related and cohordinated and the fact that we are inside that we have to accept and make allied this deformation. The vocal correct gesture acts in all its possibilities only from a vocal way of perceiving and thinking; if we know that well we don’t need to make confusion bewteen what and how we think to sing and how we really act to sing.