Let it flow. This is the message I got from our last voice class. Singers need to put themselves under a reasonable amount of (mental) pressure to do everything right: deep breathing, utilizing head voice, correct posture, etc. But too much pressure within the body often leads to tension in the throat and unnecessary interference from the muscles, causing the voice to sound squeaky.
Notes, as shown in sheet music, are merely dots. Our voice should be the line that connects these dots and brings the flowing melodies to life. It is useful to imagine yourself being a willow tree with its branches moving gently in the summer breeze. Another approach is wave your hand a half circle (from one side of your body to the other) for each phrase before taking another breath, and then alternate to the other hand.
If you want to feel the difference between “flow” and “non-flow”, sing the following line in “over the rainbow” in two ways. First try this:
When, all, the, world, is, a, hopeless, jumble, and, the, raindrops, tumble, all, around.
This is an extreme version of lack of “flow”. There is no coherence, no meaning conveyed through these scattered words. The voice is dry and indifferent.
Now try this one, with emphasis on the capital letters:
Does it sound more coherent and vibrant? Now it’s like telling a story, not throwing a bunch of words to the audience. I experienced the difference in class under Dr. Linnartz’s instructions. Pretty amazing. I look forward to our next voice class after the spring break.
To celebrate the start of a one-week holiday (and another seven days of anxiously waiting for admissions results), I watched a concert by Celtic Woman at Durham Performing Arts Center. They are great in live, much better than I expected. Highly recommend!