All Hail Vocal Balance!
Welcome to my shiny new blog!
I’ve decided to get out there and share some of my vocal and singing techniques in a public forum. I love to share the singing love!
You can expect nuggets from my voice lessons, insights from my years in the singing biz, and a little bit of silliness as the weeks roll out.
Today we’re going to get serious right off the bat: the one thing EVERY. SINGLE. SINGER. should know about their craft is something I affectionately refer to as VAC (I love me a good acronym).
V = Vowels
A = Airflow
C = Cord Closure
All of these elements together are sometimes referred to as vocal balance.
Regardless of pitch, range, or natural ability, every singer needs to understand how airflow and their vocal cords interact to create that beautiful sound that issues forth from our mouths. It’s the first thing I cover in every one of my singing lessons, it’s that important.
(Vowels are incredibly important, too, but we’ll get to that later.)
The Anatomy of Sound: How your Vocal Cords Work
Your vocal cords run horizontally through your larynx, or voice box (where your Adam’s apple is, if you’re the Adam’s apple type).
When you breathe in, your vocal cords open to allow air through. When you speak, sing, and make noise, your vocal cords come together to resist the airflow.
So sound, then, is based on the tension between air moving from your lungs and out through your voice box, and your vocal cords coming together to resist that airflow.
To experience the tension, try taking a deep breath and then making a humming noise: “mmmmmmm”.
Why Strike a Balance?
So why do all this balance work, and not skip right to the sexier stuff (falsettos, anyone?)?
Let’s start with imbalance #1: too heavy on the air flow, light on cord closure. In this scenario, your voice will be breathy and lack conviction, and power. BOR-ING.
Imbalance #2 is all about longevity: if you rely more heavily on cord closure and too little on air flow out of your lungs, you’ll be straining your vocal cords and damaging your muscles. Also, singers who have this kind of imbalance tend to sound like they’re yelling while singing. We’ve all heard them on karaoke night. Not pretty.
Striking a balance between these elements is the cornerstone of good vocal technique.
Pay attention over the next week - do you feel like you’re straining to sing? Or is your voice coming out breathy and a little lackluster? Either can signify an imbalance.
Happy singing! xo