I find it really funny that you can sing for years and then someone ill finally explain a basic concept in a way that really strikes you in a whole new way, and opens up new areas of understanding.
I had a breakthrough this week in my singing because my teacher explained something about consonants and was able to help me feel in in a physical way that I never had before. We were working with a basic warm up which was a closed mouth hum that alternated over the scale degree of a 5th. I had always been told to feel the M consonant buzzing on my lips before and so I dutifully did so. Then my teacher stopped me and asked me to try and feel the buzzing sensation of the consonant in my palate area.
So I thought about it and experimented and I was able to feel sensation in the areas highlighted in red above. As soon as I did so my resonance opened up and I had considerably more sound with much less effort. When we opened up into other vocal exercises I found that if I could feel the M, N and L buzzing in my soft palate as well as my lips the consonants were consistently clearer to the listener and it helped my voice to be much more easily produced and have more volume and clarity. Through the week I experimented in my speaking voice with using a “Muh” to help me become open and relaxed and well aligned for speaking any time I felt like my voice was getting tense, breathy or difficult to produce, and I noticed significant improvement.
This whole experience was amazing to me. I sometimes think that when we try to explain things we become accustomed to using a certain set of words that eventually become like a short cut to us. We tend to forget that other people are wired differently and don’t have the instinctual understanding of what we mean that we have built over time. For them, those words have no meaning.
I love the title that I came up with for this entry because it feels sometimes like my whole experience of singing is a journey to try to find consonance with myself and resonance with others in a world full of dissonance.