Professional advice on tone development

How do you determine what the tone quality of a singer's voice should be?

A singer's tone should be determined by his or her own individual vocal anatomy and not a predetermined ideal held by a teacher – or the student, for that matter! It should be a blend of the top, middle, and bottom resonance qualities that results when the singer's larynx remains in a relaxed, stable position.

What about breathing? Doesn't correct breathing play an important part in your ability to produce good tone?

Of course. But the importance of breathing in singing has been overemphasized by voice teachers for too long a time. Correct breathing is a byproduct of good technique – just like one's resonance quality is a by-product. You should never work directly at developing your breathing. You indirectly develop the proper breath support for your tone as you condition your larynx not to move and your outer muscles to relax. When you use a speech-level approach to singing, everything, including how much air you use to move your cords, happens automatically.

My teacher says I must overdo my articulation when I sing, in order to make my tone clearer. What do you say?

Many singers assume that the reason their tone gets „muddy“ is because their articulation is wrong. Consequently, they change or overdo their articulation. However, when you overdo your articulation because your tone is „muddy“, all you get is well-articulated, but still „muddy“, tone. You don't need to overdo your articulation if you maintain a speech-level production of tone.

What about using imagery to develop your tone?

Vocal imagery doesn't always work. Imagery that evokes a positive muscular response in one individual's voice may evoke a negative response in your voice. 1 prefer to use exercises that have a definite cause and effect relationship, producing a desired result, rather than relying on the nebulous descriptions of someone else's personal experience.

Is humming beneficial to developing tone?

Well, it depends on how you hum. Humming, if done correctly, can discourage many of the tone-manufacturing devices that singers think they need to make sound. In fact, we use a form of humming in some of our own exercises.

Does cupping my ear help me hear my voice better?

No. It doesn't give you an accurate account of how you sound. You are just hearing the vibrations in your head.

What is the difference between projection and shouting?

Projection is the acoustical phenomenon that occurs when you produce your tone with an efficient balance of air and muscle. Shouting, on the other hand, implies the usage of air „blast“, which causes your voice to „jam up“.