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- November 22, 2016 at 8:40 pm #527934Melanie RayParticipant
Would love some tips to share with a soprano who has had a higher range in the past but has lost some of that range. Any tips, warm-ups, exercises, or techniques???
MelanieNovember 23, 2016 at 11:48 am #528218Maggie FurtakParticipant
There’s such a fine line between stretching and exercising the voice and over-use or technique that’s actually unhealthy, that I wouldn’t suggest relying on written advice from us here in internet-land for something like working on range. It’s very easy for us to give advice, but without hearing the actual sound, for all we know the problem could be something that needs a throat doctor, or vocal rest, and a series of exercises to stretch things could actually do more harm than good. I’d consult with your favorite local expert, live and in-person, and ideally more than once, so they can tweak their recommendations if necessary.November 24, 2016 at 9:57 am #528516Anthony DohertyParticipant
Hi Melanie —
The most important thing for any singer, especially one who is experiencing difficulties, is to focus on fundamental technique, starting with the appoggio position of expanded rib cage and raised stern m for correct breath control. My favorite way of teaching it is to have the singer raise his or her arms straight up and stretch them as if trying to touch the ceiling. The singer will feel the expanded rib cage, then can lower the arms while maintaining the the rib cage position. That’s the appoggio.
The next thing is to keep the rest of the body as relaxed as possible, especially the head, neck and shoulders. Above all, don’t ever try to force a high note if it isn’t working. That can do damage. I recall an interview with Frederica von Stade. During the taping session she was asked what advice she would give o young singers. She seized the microphone and said very firmly, “Never force! NEVER FORCE!” I’d add that this applies to all singers.
All that is very general, of course. For detailed information, I strongly recommend “Prescriptions for Choral Excellence” by Shirlee Emmons and Constance Chase (Oxford University Press). The authors go into great detail on every problem choral singers may have and what to do about them.
Finally, I’d have this soprano begin vocalizing in midrange (in appoggio and everything else relaxed, of course) and gently work up toward the top of the range, to strengthen the upper part of the range that is working. The concept is that what one has is more important than what one doesn’t have. Then, over time, try adding one semitone at a time.
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