Adults' Lesson 5: We All Have Resonance! | English Touring Opera
Hello. Everyone my, name is Edward Hawkins and instead. Of sitting here in sunny little Hampton, I had, hoped to be working for English Touring Opera this spring I was due to perform the role of akela, in giulio cesare and, then, do a show as Don Alfonso in cozy found took it but, alas. It wasn't, to be English. Story in Opera have been amazing in terms of honoring our contracts, financially. And. As, a result of that or we have been, eager to collaborate, with them in their project, of putting together these singing, lessons, this, is singing, lesson number five for. Adults there are also singing lessons for children which. You might want to have a look for on the website or. Online. Now. The one preceding mine, and I recommend you look at all the others. Set. Me some homework, it. Was done by Frederic LOM and he's, fantastic at. Getting. His text out when he's singing and I was so pleased that he shared some of his, tactics. For doing that and, he talked about really. Energizing. The consonants, making the consonants, your friends, instead of seeing them as. Obstructions. To the musical, line and he. Suggested, that we try and work. On it with a phrase that we're currently working on, in our own music, so let's. See if I can do, that on something I'm working. So. The phrase I think I'm going to use from my own repertoire I'm, working on is the first phrase, of Oasis. Enthusiast. Which is Sir Astros aria from The, Magic Flute it's. Very well known especially, among bases it's. Very slow, and stately, and majestic. And. Very, easy to be very boring if you're not careful so, I'll. Sing it the problematic. Way the boring way and then, I'll see if I can get Freddie's, idea of the homework to energize, the consonants, and give more direction to the phrase. Not. Too bad bit, blocky like, I say not much direction. To it so now, I'll try and do what Freddie, suggests, and energize, those consonants, see if it makes a difference. Shake. It. Dear. Vici. Ice. Cream. Boy. I, feel. Like when, I am doing it that way that I am thinking, more as a sentence, it's. Almost like I'm not trying to really smash out loads of energized consonants, it's, just that that, advice, from. That homework, makes, me think of a complete, thought, and therefore. My, musicality. Becomes. Less labored. And a bit more realistic, I'm, actually singing. Something that, someone wants to say instead. Of just a bunch of syllables all strung together, so thanks Freddie that was great advice. So. What I'd like to do with you in this session is to, talk a little bit about firstly. Posture. You, can't tell because I'm sitting down but I'm 6 foot 8 inches tall and posture. Is something I have to work on a lot just in everyday life, but.
Also When. I'm singing I've found that if I don't take the time to check in with my posture, I am, often. Unnecessarily. Tinkering. With my sound and my technique to, try and solve something which, is postural. In, nature. So, we're gonna do a few exercises to, try and make sure your whole body is aligned when. You're trying to sing then. We'll move on to trying to talk about, finding. Aid as, a result of that and really nice connected. Feeling a. Column. Of sound if you will all the way down to the low support, muscles, right, down into the pelvic, floor and. Then. As a result of that talk, about the. Freedom, that that should give here. And here. So. Let's, start with a few posture, exercises, so. Try and find a space we can stand up and then. Have a go along with me. So, first of all here's, a quick analogy, that you can use to. Try and think about the angle and the tilt of your pelvis, which has a huge impact, on your ability to sing because it can, get in the way of you using, these lower, muscles, I'll. Show you what I mean basically, the idea is that if you imagine your pelvis, is a, bucket. Full to the brim with water. So. I have. A natural, tendency to, stand like this. It's called being, sway. Back especially when someone tells me to stand up tall I'll do, that if I'm not careful and that, tilts. The pelvis, that way and if. You imagine the bucket of water the. Water spilling. Over that front, lip of the bucket people. Who naturally do. That, not. So much the shoulder reason but down here, which is much less common imagine. The water pouring, out the back so. Just, take a moment as you stand to. Try and imagine that your pelvis, is full. To, the brim like a bucket of water and you should feel. That. You. Can feel a sense of not tension, but, just readjusting. Of that, to, slightly, tilt, the pelvis. Or. Like, that if you like me, the. Other thing which is very important, in your posture is to, deal with this a rounding. Of the shoulders and, the head going forward -, I am, looking at my phone kind, of position, so, we're going to do a couple of exercises which. Try and get that from here. To. Here. Without. Causing. That. Again, so. Let's. Try some. The. First thing I want you to do is to stand up against, the wall quite, simple, but you'll, notice hopefully. As, you stand, against the wall you. Will feel. Certain. Parts of your body touch, the walls and past don't, don't. Overly, try and make everything touch, but you should feel your shoulder, blades, are. Slightly more together. And. You should feel. You all sort of nicely aligned, with the wall that if you take a small step forward. That. You should feel your body is nicely. Upright. So. Try. To exercise. If, you've what, you want to avoid is. This sense of walking. Away from the wall like that back into this posture try. And imagine if you can, but. The wall is still attached as you. Come away from the wall and you should feel it's natural. It, doesn't feel tense, or held, but, it is upright. This. Next exercise is a great one for trying, to get your spine in the right position, before you start to sink it's very good for the neck and it's also very good for keeping. That nice upright feeling, whilst also, preserving, a nice, angle, to the pelvis and for. This I'm going to use a very important, visual aid it's. My daughter's unicorn. Bracelet. Allow. Me to explain say what I want you to imagine is that this central bit is your spine, and we. Are going to try and roll it, up ignore. The cracking, both in your own spine, and in my visual aid so it's, that feeling of letting that neck. Come. Up at the last minute and the. Head pops. Up like, that let's, try it in real life so. Let, me show you. You. Don't need to have to bend. Right over and touch your toes I found, do that at the moment because like a lot of you in this lockdown I've, tried to exercise, a lot and do a lot of DIY and, then say if I'll hurt my back so I'll bend over as comfortable, as I can. You. Just the main thing is letting the shoulders, go and letting. Your neck and shoulders, feel very floppy, and then, right from here, you're. Gonna try, and uncurl. The spine upwards. Really. Take your time and don't rush it. Don't. Let the head come up too early so the shoulder, back and then you gradually. Feel the neck coming, up and. Then. You're in this nice open, posture. Position. The chest is up but. It doesn't feel held, and, that, also because.
Of This feeling of having Telford's. The pelvis, should feel like it's about a nice, level. Tilt, to it some. Singers talk in terms of having the. Chest, like a sort of noble posture. The, idea that is upright, without, standing. To attention but, I'm walking around like you own the place is the, kind of feeling you want very. Nice, and upright but. Also not, turning, into a, very, swayback, which. Tilts. Like that so don't think standing, to attention, think. Noble, from, the sternum a, quick. Word about posture. For those of you who find yourself singing on stage a lot obviously. During, a show a director, will want you to move they. Will want you to perhaps sit down or stand, up suddenly or run. And grab someone, or run away from someone, and how. Do you do all of these things giving, a natural, performance without, compromising. The mechanics, of your singing well. First. Of all I would say it's your responsibility. The. Directors, will mostly know what is and isn't possible, for a singer but you, know yourself, the best so, when, you've worked on this spinal, alignment. You. Need to make sure that you cheat. Your actions, in such a way that this is not. Compromised, so. Not. Like, this not, stretching, back, too, much as well, making. Sure that alignment is good because. If you don't you, are messing. Around with the things that supply. Your. Sound which, we're going to talk about now. I'm a. Late comer to singing, and I, initially. Trained as a trumpeter, and I'm going to use an analogy now which i think is helpful for what we're going to talk about next, imagine. If you will a fairly. Good trumpeter, who, is trying to make themselves sound better by. Always buying different trumpets, every, gig new trumpet, new mouthpiece, heavier. Valve taps you, know all that kind of thing when, actually the problem is that they need to deal with, themselves. Physically, how they're using the breath up here, to here and the buzzing of the lips, before. They. Worry about what trumpet, they have then. Imagine, a very good trumpeter, who. Is, very. Well set up here in terms of the physicality, of playing and, when. They buy, a new trumpet or new mouthpiece, what, they're trying to do is to adjust what they have. To. The benefit, of or to make the most of what, is already being created. So. We're, going to talk about that, because singers, I think often, can. Tinker, around here. And here. To, try and get the best sound they can, rather. Than talking about what is generating. The sound much, lower down. I, found. That there seems, to be quite a lot of confusion, when. It comes to talking about ideas. Of support, and the. Low generation. Of the sound of course we know the. Air goes into the lungs but somehow we have this sense that the, muscles below there, are heavily. Involved in making a good sound but. Their muscles which we don't always have individual, control over so, you use a lot of analogy, and in. An attempt, to explain. These things which are actually very difficult to control individually. I'm just, going to try and do a few exercises with, you that I have found helpful with. The idea of connecting, right. To the pelvis. And the pelvic, floor region. Because. I found that has made a huge difference to, my ability to not, only generate. A sandwich resonates, but, also generate a sound which feels like it's my own sound, not, one that I'm copying so. Let's. Try the first exercise, now what I want you to do is to do this just to get a sensation. Of the low muscles, being involved we're, just going to breathe in a. Nice. Slow breath and then breathe out. And. Then after we've done that with, just, the dregs, of what's left in your lungs. You're. Going to try and sing of it so, I'll do it once and then you copy. Oh. Just. Something like that a little no so. You're gonna breathe in really this time with me. Get. Rid of all the air get rid of it all get rid of all good, and then ah. And. That feeling, of just squeezing, out the dregs of what's left in your lung should. Have been a nice low, feeling, it shouldn't have felt like a collapsing. Up here, because, we've got our nice upright, posture, but. There should have been a connection, below. The bellybutton to. Help those last dregs of air get out so. That's it the first exercise. This. Next exercise is, another, one to do with trying to get the sensation, of low engagement, in, the generation, of the scent imagine. For a moment that this is your pelvis, the, pelvic, floor muscles are. Literally. The muscles on the floor of the pelvis where there's no bone, imagine. A sheet of muscle underneath, there so let's go with that as a rough analogy of, what's going on down there in terms, of the musculature, and what. I would like you to do is to find yourself, in this nice upright, posture, again and then. Just slightly. Let your knees soften, legs, a bit further apart then. Go into a mall and the under tail kind of posture, like this so.
What I want you to imagine I've tweaked this analogy. Slightly, for family, audiences. Imagine. A bowling, ball on the floor in. Between your feet maybe slightly further forward, than your feet and. It is connected by a piece, of sturdy rope to. Your, pelvic, floor muscles or, the bottom of your bucket of water if you would what. I want you to imagine is that as you try and sing even. As you try and speak through you are taking, the strain on that rope which is attached, to the bowling ball like. I say these are muscles over which we don't have easy. Individual, control, so, the use of an analogy is often the way that unlocks, it for people suddenly do for me so. What I want you to do don't sing phrases, just, try and sing a major third. Something. Like that. And. I just want you to have this clear, picture, in your mind of, this weight on the floor that you are trying to know wholly, cap or anything it's not as aggressive. A, muscle response, as that but, is this just this sense, of connection. Through. The spine, right. Down low Oh. Instead, of just ah. Does. That make sense, try. Now. I am NOT one of those singers, who tends to walk around the room talking. Like this the whole time and. As. A result of that I think a lot of my warm-up is to do with getting. Out of the habits of everyday life and getting into a space where I feel like I can access. The. Natural, resonance, of the voice that you find, when you align the spine and try. And access that low, support, and that's. The point I think is that resonance. Is something, that we all can, do naturally, so. For. Example when a teacher speaks, to one child in a class like this I'm. Very disappointed in, you Tarquin. They, are talking at this level but if they need to speak to a whole year group in an assembly for example. Well. Naturally resonate. Like this and their voice will be more projected, they're not shouting at all and they. Could do that all day without, their voice getting tired but. If I come to you now and I carry on speaking, in that way you'll, notice it's much more resonant, and unnecessarily. Said but, as singers, we can tap into our natural. Resonance. As opposed, to forcing it here. I think. It's very important, to. Continually. Access, this sense of a low support, as you go towards, the high end of your range I think. For many years I didn't really get that and and. I, was nervous of going in. My chest voice. And. Worried. About that weight that, basis can often carry to the top of their range when. Ideally you want to go, for. Chest voice Oh. Forehead, voice very, ringy here no, sense of ring. Enos here. But. What I did, incorrectly. Was I lost, that sense of connecting, to that low down feeling and you, can have, your cake and eat it in that, regard I believe so you don't sound like it la. La la and then la la la you. Can have a consistent tone so. Taking. This is an example let's say. That. Nice slow connection. Then. As I start something like I'm going into head voice this feeling, is one of getting. Out the way and then allowing it into, head voice not. Manufacturing. Head voice with. Some kind of soft palate manipulation. Or something like that. If. You connect, to that sense, of down, here. You. Should find that it is a freeing. Exercise. As opposed. To a funneling. And a tightening, exercise. It's worth talking briefly about how, expressive. Singing, fits in to this idea of a core to your sound that, you don't. Compromise on. There. Was a great example of this in giulio cesare where. I. Was. Told to really, shout a bit of resset right, before quite, a difficult and quite high Aria, special pie for me as a base definitely, and. James, Conway the director. Really, wanted, to. Love a material, like that really sort of shouted. And spat out and, sort. Of said you stay there and. Then. Of course though the director ones dual that might get it like that the conductor. Jonathan. Peter Kenny once B, flat G F, natural, or whatever the notes were and. I, had to take responsibility as, a singer like how do I make sure that I can give them what they want, whilst. Making. Sure that you Nate Byars time I can still sing, problem so. What I would say is if, your technique, is here, and this.
Is This core, of your sound which you warm up on and you practice, with you. Can stray. From. It to get to failure or Swabia, sound or, a breathless, hunt if that's what the music calls for and, even a brighter, sound like, that or whatever you need but you never stray, too far from, your. Core and you are always careful not to get stuck ruler. Strokes of a characterization. Which, isn't your true sound, that's. Really hard to do but you must trust that your physicality. Will. Give you the sound which, you can rely on. So. That's it that's the end of my little lesson, with you I hope you found, something. That I said interesting, or useful and I'm, happy to say the next lesson is going to be provided, by the wonderful, 10 at Tom Alvin he's. A great communicator and a really thoughtful guy about singing, techniques and he'll really put you through your paces I'm, sure and I must leave him and you at a little bit of homework, my. Main bit of homework is something I want you to do all the time every. Day and that is to just be mindful, of your posture, especially. If you know it's something you need to work at every. So often why don't you stand, up against a wall so that your back just reminds, itself of what it feels like to be straight why. Don't you in the mornings do one of those back rolls you remember just to get your, back nice, and straight, so the chest is up but nice and relaxed, and, when you're singing why, don't you just check in every so often and make sure that your posture is good. And. The, other exercise, I'd like you to try is, that feeling. Of getting yourself forward with your legs apart into that Neanderthal. Posture, and imagine you're lifting that weight just. So you can get a sense, of what the, low muscles, that support your, voice are and see, if you notice a difference in your singing remember just, an engagement of those muscles as opposed, to a forcing. Of those muscles is what we're after and we're. So sorry that, we can't be performing. Our shows to you it, was what we planned for all along what we rehearsed so, hard for and if. You can. Please do follow all of the great stuff that English touring opera is doing at the moment online, you, can go to English, touring opera org, UK. And follow. Their excellent social media accounts as well we. Will see you soon it, might not feel like it at the moment but we will see using so, until then look after yourselves and take care cheers, bye.