Tip # 2: Understanding Your Instrument
No matter how advanced a singer is, they may not have ever learned how the voice works.
Students who are struggling with a certain element of their performance may completely turn around once they understand how things work. Some people think very abstractly and others concretely and physically. This latter group can use anatomic information to translate what their teachers mean when they say “relax your tongue” or “raise your palate.” It suddenly makes sense, whereas before they understood how these muscles play into voice, they were helplessly tweaking things to try to comply with their vocal coach’s suggestions.
Everyone can benefit from learning how their voices work. There may be something huge that clicks for you when you see the muscles and their contribution to sound. Or it may be something small, like seeing the relationship between your throat and your sinuses that makes “singing in the mask” make sense.
Some key points about singing and voice anatomy:
- Your lungs are you power source, producing strong sound
- A critical component are the two vocal folds (or cords), which make the air column from your lungs vibrate
- Smooth vocal fold vibration is the key to smooth sound
- Everything above your vocal folds (lips, tongue, sinuses) are resonators, shaping sound and giving it color