So think about your very favorite places to sing…the places where you sound super amazing and don’t even have to try…
Stairwell. Bathroom. High-ceilinged spaces with no carpet.
We just can’t resist. We have to vocalize up to a high D if we happen to find ourselves alone in a stairwell. Or even if we’re not alone. It’s why instrumentalists find us insufferable. But they’ll never understand. Hearing the sounds bounce off all those hard surfaces and come back to us in that way is beyond delightful.
My teacher introduced a concept to me not long ago that has helped my practice immensely. What about figuring out how to use our resonance to produce sound like that wherever we are? What about having our own portable stairwell that goes with us everywhere? What if we stopped “trying” to get our vocal cords to come together perfectly (and consequently pressing them) and just spent time finding our optimal stairwell resonance when we warm up? It’s a concept that has increased my stamina and carrying power incredibly, because I’m not pressing, I’m riding the wave of resonance that we all have but often don’t know how to use. All of us probably have it on various notes. The trick is to use that powerful tool consistently throughout my range to maximize sound and minimize fatigue. Now I know we can’t really hear ourselves as accurately as we’d like, but hearing your sound inside your head and hearing it resonating outside yourself are two different feelings and aural experiences altogether. When I can do that, I sing with freedom and control at the same time! What a concept! My trills have completely changed, and my coloratura is better.
I've been testing it, too, in very dead spaces. I try to get that resonance going even in a room that’s low-ceilinged and wall-to-wall carpet—it’s possible and it’s super fun to hear that I can resonate even in non-resonant spaces, using my face’s own hard surfaces.