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International Vocal Coach Chuck Stewart teaching singing for 25 years
Technique


TECHNIQUE
 
TRUE OR FALSE:

  1. Your larynx goes up for high notes and down for low notes.
  2. Your diaphragm forces out your air when you sing.
  3. You have to push out high notes.
  4. Fill up your abdomen with air.
  5. You should sing from your diaphragm.
  6. Hoarseness is normal after you sing.
  7. You should place your sound in the "masque" (or your sinuses or your forehead).
  8. You can feel your diaphragm.
  9. Your tongue should stay down when you sing.
  10. Mental imagery is very helpful to singing better.

  1. FALSE
    If your larynx goes up for high notes you will have problems with high notes. If it goes down for low notes, they will sound "muddy" or "thuddy".
  2. FALSE
    Your diaphragm causes air to enter your lungs, when it contracts (it is a muscle). The oblique and transverse abdominal muscles, the rectus (not the rectum), the triangularis sterni, and the internal intercostals (they are between the ribs) PUSH out your air.
  3. FALSE
    If you have to push out air when you are singing a high note, then you are hyperadducting your vocal folds (cords). This is usually a result of an elevated larynx. There are exercises to work the sternothyroid and sternohyoid muscles which can teach them to overcome the upward movement of the larynx.
  4. FALSE
    Your abdomen has no air pockets.
  5. FALSE
    Your diaphragm "pulls" in air. Read above.
  6. FALSE
    Hoarseness is from swelling or irritation or worse-nodules, polyps, or cancer. It is not normal. If it persists, see your doctor and consider vocal training.
  7. FALSE
    Sound comes out at about 750 miles per hour. It is 1/2200 second, more or less, from the time that the sound is made until it exits your body. You do not have valves to stick it somewhere (except to make a nasal sound).
  8. FALSE
    Your diaphragm does not have the kind of nerves in it that allow you to feel it. You may feel the organs that it presses against as it descends but the diaphragm doesn't have proprioceptive nerves in it.
  9. FALSE
    Your tongue forms your vowel sounds. There are front (or forward) vowels and there are back vowels, described as such according to the tongue's position. The tongue is most flat on "a", as in 'apple' and on "o", as in 'on'. If you sing with your tongue down, you can make only those two vowel sounds.
    There ARE some vowel sound alterations which can help with high notes sometimes.
  10. TRUE OR FALSE
    Depending on the imagery. Imagery having to do with where sound travels is useless. You do not have valves in your head that direct sound.

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MOST VOICE TEACHERS HAVE BEEN TAUGHT COMMON MYTHS

They were taught these in high school and in most colleges. The common myths are about: breathing, the function of diaphragm, about “placing the sound (tone)”, about jaw position and a myriad of other things. In this age of information, it is almost shocking that this is still going on. I have had many students who are confused by the myths they have been taught. When they discover the science behind singing, it is as if they wake up and are relieved that they (the singer) weren't the problem.




WHY WOULD SCHOOLS TEACH MYTHS?

It’s the same as things being passed on from generation to generation. Who taught the teachers? Other teachers. Other teachers who have been carrying around the same lies and misconceptions all of their academic lives. The myths have been perpetuated by fixed ideas such as: If you mix science with art, you will destroy the art. That single statement when acted upon is sufficient to stop you dead in your tracks. You will not and shall not know anything about anatomy. You will not consult a medical doctor about how your voice or your breathing works.
You should consult with a medical doctor, when the ignorance of your voice teacher results in the loss of your voice, or hoarseness that just won’t go away, or constant vocal fatigue, or the loss of your tone quality. Many doctors do not fully understand the function of the voice in regards to singing. Many voice therapists still have misconceptions about “diaphragmatic support”, which they may have "absorbed" from their voice-teaching counterparts.



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