Learning from my voice class (5)

Blogging has been delayed recently because of school visits. Since I don’t have any this week, let me start by summarizing a few things I learned in the last voice class.

Dr. Linnartz talked briefly about speaking voice health. Some of us tend to overuse our voice or not use it efficiently. “Vocal fry” (a “low, staccato vibration during speech, produced by a slow fluttering of the vocal cords) is rampant in our generation and quite often defines a “cool” person. But the production of this “cool” voice hurts vocal cords to an unnecessary extent. By contrast, some people do not carry enough energy with their voice and presents others with a weak, indecisive personality. We should always speak up into the resonator. For singers, this can also serve as a warm-up exercise before the actual performance.

When I was singing Over the Rainbow, I did the half circle exercise to help myself get the flow in my singing. Dr. Linnartz insightfully pointed out that I shouldn’t rely too much on the mechanical hand movements to keep the flow. Instead, I should internalize it and make it natural for this song and all my performance subsequently. Another useful advice from her (which was also brought out by several of my previous voice teachers) is that I should be more “active” — basically, I should open up the space in my mouth and produce a fuller voice.

For me, singing brings out the audacity part in me, in a good way. As a singer, I have to push myself hard, to observe and critique impartially, to challenge myself and refine yourself. “You’ve got a beautiful voice,” Dr. Linnartz said to me, “and I would love to work with you if you stay at Duke.” I was so happy to hear that.

Let me end this post with a beautiful song, Down by the Salley Gardens, by Peters Hollens. Econ-related posts to be written soon.


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