Now Heidi, this is just a spectacular question. Because you're right, there's a lot of crossover between singing and speech. But we don't want to just have a great speaking voice for our singing. A speaking voice can be great for our social life, for our professional life, and just our confidence as a person. It's really important to have that crisp, clear, healthy speaking voice.
So today we're going to look at some tips that will help you to get the speaking voice that you've always dreamed to have. Which, is not that one... [Hits piano] That's right, 7 tips, that are going to help you to master your speaking voice.
So the first one is identifying vocal tensions. So many of the issues with our speaking voice result from a tension in the physical body. So it's important to identify what those tensions are and work through them.
First, is just our alignment and our posture. A lot of times we sit at a desk or computer or piano all day and we get into this sort of slumping. Or we overcompensate by arching the back. You need to make sure that your spine can find that neutral, tall, relaxed alignment.
Next is the neck. The neck can hold a lot of tension, particularly in the sternocleidomastoid muscles. These long guys hold a lot of tension and they can really put pressure on the larynx and the vocal cords. So you want to be able to stretch side to side and up and around, to be aware and eliminate some of that neck squeezing that we feel sometimes.
Also, the jaw and the tongue. The jaw needs to be able to release just like this. And also to be able to be moved. But yet we find that very difficult to do. Sometimes there's so much jaw tension you really need to massage it or move it around to really get in there.
Now next let's talk about speaking within your range. A bigger problem than people realize is that they're not actually speaking in their own range. "I mean what's the problem? I mean this is my speaking voice. This is how I always talk. So I don't understand why is my voice getting so tired all the time?" "I mean I just don't get it, my voice is always getting so tired and I just don't know why!"
A lot of times we're identifying with a voice that's not actually quite our own. Too deep, when really we want some higher pitches in the sound. Or too high when we really want some more depth in the sound.
Make sure that you haven't gotten yourself pigeon holed into a voice that's too deep for you or too high for you. Doesn't matter the reason, but experiment with some sounds that you wouldn't think are you and you might find a different kind of freedom to your voice than you've never had before.
Next let's talk about overcoming a nasal sounding voice. Maybe the biggest complaint that people have about their speaking voice, Heidi, is that it sounds too nasal. Now we've talked a lot on the show about how that nasal sound is actually twang. It's a bright formant that's caused by the larynx and the squeeze of the cords and not by the nose itself.
So a great fix for that is the classic yawn. Trying a yawn, feeling the laryngeal depth, and then speaking through that yawn, alright, saying sentences through the deeper, more open space. Now obviously this is not my final product. But getting some of those colors and some of that depth and experience will help to balance out the brighter sounds that one might be struggling with.
Next, let's talk about the vocal fry. I mean what's up with that?
The vocal fry is one of the most talked about trends in all of modern speech. It's very common among young people, among women, among young women. And I mean it's like whatever. I mean it's like short vocal folds and a little bit of vocalis but whatever. I mean it's like limited breath flow but whatever. I mean I could explain it to you more but it's like whatever.
Voiceover artists know all about vocal variety. You don't read a copy and say, finally 100% juice for older kids introducing new J-Max from Juicy Juice. The intense tasting, 100% juice with no added sugar and lots of vitamin C.
You know to keep your voice moving. And a lot of people complain about having a boring voice, a monotone voice. Not only is it going to make your voice more interesting to listen to, but it's healthier to move it up and down. It keeps you in different vocal coordinations.
We know this with our body. We don't want to be stiff and rigid, we want to stay moving, be agile, be flexible, that's good for our body and same thing is true with the voice. Keeping it moving throughout the day, it's one of the best things for your vocal health.
First of all, rest. Getting a good night's sleep can really help the vocal folds and the muscles to repair themselves.
Next is hydration. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Your body needs to stay hydrated but your vocal folds' vibration relies on moisture. So if you drink water it's going to help your vocal production.
Also your diet. Watch out for foods that cause acid and acid reflux. You'll find out what those foods are if you watch our episode on the singer's diet. Try to stay away from those foods that cause you problems.
And last but not least, avoid talking over loud crowds. If you're at bars or places where there's loud music or big crowds, this is really one of the biggest vocal killers. Try to avoid those situations, stand closer to people if you are in those situations, or use your nasal resonance so that your sound cuts through the crowd better. But that's a really big killer so watch out for those situations.
Our last speaking voice tip for the day is, to be who you are. I've had students come to me who have had vocal nodes because their mom told them that they were too effeminate. And they tried to speak down here.
I've had people that were told that they shouldn't speak. Or that they sounded ugly when they speak. Or that they sounded dumb when they speak. Or that they really never had anything good to say at all.
So whoever it was that told you that you shouldn't speak, that you couldn't speak, or that you won't speak, I'm here to tell you that they are wrong. And everything that's special about your voice needs to and must come flying out.
And get with a great voice teacher or speech coach in your area. Or you can check out www.NewYorkSpeechCoaching.com. Our staff has speech coaches that work with public speech, with accent reduction, with helping artists and people to discover the potential of their speaking voice. So check that out and maybe work with one of our staff members.
You can also download the Voice Lessons To The World Vocal Course. if you're looking for a vocal course to do at home. This is a 12-part course that takes you on a journey from beginner to master. You can find that at www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com. Also, for free daily vocal tips you can sign up at DailyVocalTips.com.
And I'll give you a chance to ask questions later, but our question for this week comes from Felicity M. in Santa Cruz, Aruba and Felicity writes, "Dear Justin, I've been told if I could sing Messa Di Voce I'd become a vocal god. What do you think?"
Well Felicity that's just an awesome question. And yes messa di voce is one of the most coveted skills in all of singing. It's so difficult that when we can do it we do become a kind of vocal hero or vocal heroine and our voice takes on a quality that's almost divine.
And the Italian word "messa" means "to place" or "put" and "di voce" means "the voice". It's different from "vocal placement". But this is kind of saying, if I can do that skill well I can "put" my voice wherever the heck I want. [hits piano]
But let's talk about why we need to learn messa di voce. Messa di voce emerges from the classical tradition. But really it's not just for classical singers. All singers can benefit by working on messa di voce.
Now, later we're going to do an exercise for it. But think of it this way, if we can go from soft to loud to soft and back, we have control over our vocal cords. This is the very same thing we're trying to do when we work on the mix.
We also talk on the show a lot about laryngeal control. Singers who have mastery over multiple larynx positions tend to be good at messa di voce and vice-versa. So it's great for your laryngeal control.
Finally, it's great for your soulfulness. It's easy for me to say, "to indeed be a god [softly] or, "to indeed be a god" [loudly] or, "to indeed be a god". [shouts] That's easy to do in the speaking voice. But can we have that kind of dynamic and soulful control over our singing voice? That's what messa di voce can bring.
And so next we're going to look at it in a song. Now the song I chose is, "Bring Him Home" from Les Mis. And Felicity, this has a kind of heavenly and prayerful quality to it. And it's really a perfect song for demonstrating how messa di voice can bring a song to life. So let's have some fun with "Bring Him Home".
And you hear how that push-pull of messa di voce gives this song life. Now it's very pretty just doing it softly... "God on high, hear my prayer" But compared to the messa di voce it doesn't have the same life.
The first pillar is breath control. To master messa di voce we're going to need control over our breathing. Yes, when you get louder you need more air and when you get softer you need less. That's how singing works.
But we don't want to be blasting the air to get louder. ♪ Ah ♪ Right? We want... ♪ Ah ♪ I press gently on the gas pedal for that crescendo and then gently take the gas pedal away for the exhale. So it's going to be very subtle. A little bit of pressure goes a long way.
Something like... ♪ Ah ♪ Where the pitch goes up and I didn't mean to. Or... ♪ Ah ♪ And when I take away the volume the pitch goes flat. And I didn't mean to. It's pretty difficult to keep.... ♪ Ah ♪ ...the exact same pitch as the volume changes. So really be mindful of your pitch when you're working on messa di voce.
Next pillar, compression control. In singing, we have a tendency for our soft sounds to be too light, too breathy. And our loud sounds to be too squeezy, too tough. And this is what makes messa di voce so hard.
And then the hardest part of messa di voce is coming back. ♪ Ah ♪ We don't want to go too far loosening. We want... ♪ Ah ♪ compression to stay on duty as the air and volume is taken away. That's the hardest part.
But as we move from soft to loud, you might feel a little larynx movement and vice versa. ♪ Ah ♪ There might be a little bit of drop on the louder sounds and a little bit of raise on the softer sounds. A little is okay, but try to minimize it as much as possible.
The softer sounds have a sort of chestier airflow ♪ Ah ♪ And then as the crescendo happens ♪ Ah ♪ it becomes more absorbent in the head. So it really reverses the instinct of the voice. Which is why it's so hard to do.
So there's your five pillars of messa di voce. And now we're going to try it on an exercise.
The exercise will be HAH-EH-EE-EH-HAH. On, of course, a single note. For our messa di voce exercise we're really going to let vowels be our friend. And use stronger vowels for our softer sounds and headier more stable vowels for our louder sounds. Really reversing the tendencies.
Fantastic work. We just got one more to do and I want you to keep in mind all those principles, alright. You're going to control the breath. You're going to feel the change in compression. You're going to notice your larynx's stability. You're going to feel that resonance move up and in on the strong one. And of course, watch your pitch.
Here we go with the last... ♪ HAH - EH - EE - EH - HAH ♪ ♪ HAH ♪
Awesome, awesome work. So I hope Felicity and all that you are feeling heavenly. I hope you are feeling divine. I hope you are feeling like vocal heroes. Because if you've done this messa di voce, you really are.
If you're looking for a vocal course to do at home, you can download the Voice Lessons To The World Vocal Course. This is a 12-part course that takes you on a singing journey from beginning to master. Hundreds of vocal exercises that you can do at home, or in your car, wherever you may be.
What's bright and dark? Well, there's the note that we're singing or speaking and then there's overtones above that note. And if we emphasize the higher overtones it sounds brighter. If we emphasize the lower overtones it sounds darker.
Lifting the tongue root like in an E vowel is another thing to make it sound brighter. And then lowering the soft palate using nasal resonance is another element related to brightness. It doesn't have to but it's a part of our brightness.
It's super important that you find twang in your speaking voice before you find it in your singing voice. Because if you can do it with your speech it becomes very easy to translate to your singing. However, if you can't do it in your speech it's rather difficult to apply to your singing.
Or you might try an auctioneer. Twenty five, twenty five do I hear twenty five, Twenty five to that man over there. Thirty, thirty, do I hear thirty, thirty to that woman in the back. Forty, forty, anybody forty, forty sold to Sergey M. in Murmans, Russia.
Or you might do a robot character. Hello my name is Justin Stoney and I'm the founder of New York Vocal Coaching here in New York City. Don't lose that joy, don't lose that passion, don't let people tell you that you can't sing you and I both know that's just not true.
Or maybe the best one would be a nerd character. Um, well, I just thought that maybe we would have a voice lesson and then after that we could go get our allergy shots or maybe see a movie, I mean whichever one you might think would be better to do. [hits piano]
So if I take "nan", for example, ♪ Nan ♪ I start to find that edge, that cord closure within the twang. Then I go back over into my song... ♪ I am titanium ♪ And then all of a sudden I can start to get that belt happening up on upper notes.
Then, brightness independent of other factors. I don't want to have to spread to be bright. I don't want to have to crank the larynx sky high to be bright. I don't even want to have to use nasal resonance to be bright. Nope, those things are different.
*訳注：先ほども出てきましたが "Apple" の "A" と同じ母音なので「ナーン」と「ネーン」の中間くらいの音ですね。ジャスティンの発音を真似してやってみてください。
With this one we're going to have guys and ladies on the same pitch. Not up and down the octave, but the same pitch. So we're going to be starting too low for most ladies, and going too high for most guys.
It's okay to flip to falsetto, it's okay to flip to head voice. But if you can, stay in a mix. It's not going to be too loud. We're just going to keep it really bad sounding, really twangy. That's really the purpose of this exercise.
Fantastic work with those twanged up sounds! So it's been a great day finding out what twang is, how it can be used in the speaking voice, the singing voice, the benefits of it, and then you guys did such a great job adding some of those qualities to your voice.
You also might be interested in our Voice Lessons To The World Vocal Course. This is a 12-part vocal course with hundreds of vocal exercises, it's a good resource for you on your journey from beginning to master singer. To download the course go to www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
Finally, if you'd like free vocal tips sent to your email every single day you can sign up at www.DailyVocalTips.com. Fresh vocal tips delivered to you from your good old pals at New York Vocal Coaching every single day.
In singing, good breath support is foundationalto everything that we do. Now what does that mean? That means don't go slamming a bunch of air at the vocal cords. Any civilian can exhale, but a singer knows how to release a small steady breath when they sing.
Now we know from episode 1 of the show that there's different kinds of breathing types. There's clavicular, there's rib, and there's belly. Whatever breathing system you choose, make sure you're not taking in too much and make sure that the air you let out is small and smooth.
Vocal registers are things like head voice, chest voice, mix, falsetto, different territories of your voice. Your head voice is kind of like your flexibility and your chest voice is kind of like your strength.
The mistake that singers make is only developing one of the registers. So a singer says, "♪ I ♪ would like the power of chest voice" and only does chest voice. Or another singer says "♪ I ♪ would like the sound of head voice" and only does head voice. Another singer says, ♪ I wanna rock and mix ♪ and only works on their mix voice.
Your larynx is essentially the house for your vocal cords. So when people say don't sing from the throat, really they mean don't strain. You have to sing from your throat. [Hits piano] That's exactly where the sound making happens.
Now if you remember from episode 4 of Voice Lessons To The World, we talked about larynx and style. I'm at an opera birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ I'm at a choral birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ I'm at a musical theatre birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ I'm at a pop birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ I'm at a rock birthday party... ♪ Happy birthday to you ♪ And I have different styles that I can do with different positions of my larynx.
Maybe shoulders are raising or maybe the sternocleidomastoids (whoa) are squeezing. Maybe my jaw is coming a little bit too far forward or maybe from NBC Nightly News my tongue is pulling too far back. Um, Miss Piggy, are my digastric muscles too tight? And we want to take these physical tensions and basically say "hiyah!" to them.
Now nasal resonance does not mean sounding nasal. As we talked about in episode two of the show. If I want to sound "nasal" I can widen the embouchure, I can raise my larynx, or I can even narrow my epiglottic sphincter.
One of the hardest things to do in life is just to be ourselves. And vowels have this very same problem.
We've talked already about a few vowels on the show. The e vowel and the O vowel. And if I take the E vowel something like this might happen... ♪ Me ♪ It changed to "ih" at the top. But really I wanted... ♪ Me ♪ ...the vowel to stay itself and not shift to "ih".
Now there's times to modify our vowels for all kinds of different reasons. But our step one is to make sure that we're singing pure vowels in our technique and also in our song work. Making sure that the vowels are themselves.
Look, quite frankly, singing is one of the most amazing things that we can do. It's our bodies and our spirits expressing what's inside us that needs to come out. It's one of the greatest opportunities we'll ever have in life.
So I want you to promise me that you don't let friends or familyor enemies or voices in your head talk you out of it and say... "Oh no maybe I shouldn't do this." No, you need to sing for you and you need to sing for joy.
I also encourage you to download our vocal course. This is a 12-part course that takes you on a journey from beginning singer to master singer. Hundreds and hundreds of vocal exercises that will help you reinforce these concepts and grow with your voice. To check that out you can visit www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com.
Now Daquan, thank you so much for that awesome question. Because we get this question all the time which makes me know you guys are thirsty for more vocal information. Hungry for a vocal course designed just for you.
So there it is, our vocal course. We are so, so excited about it. And I hope that you are so, so excited about it too. Because, you know, people always ask me- Justin don't you ever miss performing? And I say no I don't! Because I am hopelessly devoted to you as singers.
That's the feeling that I get from this, is that now something that I've created is going to be benefiting all of you. And so as a teaching artist, I'm so thrilled that this is going to be out there for you all to enjoy.
So let's talk about what you can expect in the vocal course.
This vocal course is truly epic. Twelve whole parts! Three beginner, three intermediate, three advanced, three master. Hours and hours of content, hundreds of vocal exercises. There's a male course and also a female course.
And we're going to cover every topic that you could want. Chest voice, mix, head voice, falsetto, flageolet, vocal fry, growls, riffs and agility, vibrato, straight tone, every vowel, every kind of sound that you could want to make on all kinds of patterns.
And now next let's talk about how to get the vocal course.
Downloading the vocal course could not be easier. All you have to do is go to www.VoiceLessonsToTheWorld.com. And all the information and instructions and download is right there so that you can get the course.
Now I know other vocal courses make you get the entire course. But we didn't think that would be fair to you guys so you're welcome to get the entire vocal course or you can get different levels or even different sections so that you can really tailor make the course for what is best for you. We thought that would be a great thing to give you options.
Think of it as a resource. I know it's a great course, I know you're going to learn a lot. I know you're going to make huge improvements to your voice and you're going to have a heck of a lot of fun doing it. That's what it's all about.
So as long as you think of the vocal course that way, I know it's going to really benefit your singing.
Also I don't want you guys thinking this is the end of Voice Lessons To The World. No no no, this is just the beginning. And I will be teaching until I ascend from the piano bench. So don't worry, we're just getting started.