Split into ‘figures’, the ultimate goal is to be able to master each facet of the voice in isolation. For example, you may be able to produce a wonderful operatic sound, but can you produce some of the constituent parts in isolation: twang (constriction of the aryeppiglottic sphincter), lowering of the larynx? And if you can’t, does it matter?
The answer of course is no, it doesn’t matter. The goal for your voice is your own – make a sound you love and which you are happy to produce for other people. As long as you are singing in a healthy, sustainable way, and you are happy with your sound, of course you don’t need to know all this stuff. It helps if your teacher does though!
To find out more about Estill Voice Training (EVT), click here.
This week I attended a workshop on advanced vocal anatomy which included a full day of lectures from a laryngologist (basically a super-qualified ENT). I found the course enlightening as it allowed me to bring together everything I’ve been learning as part of my osteopathy degree, but I also sat through the lectures with one part of my mind always on my students. Which of my singers might this technique help? Which one might be suffering from this problem? I honestly found not a minute of it was wasted.
On top of all the learnings I had the chance to have my own larynx scoped (video below) and was able to see how well (or not!) I can perform some of the Estill figures!
I am planning to attend a vocal massage course at the end of November to further expand my skillset when it comes to working with vocal problems.
If you have noticed a change in your voice (speaking or singing), or are struggling with range or tone don’t ignore it. The chances are that it’s something simple, but any change in your speaking voice that lasts for more than 3 weeks should be taken very seriously.