Happy Thanksgiving to any American readers, whoever and wherever you are.
He’s one of the idols of my generation of singers, and of baritones in particular. Such a beautiful voice. A commanding onstage presence. A great looking guy. He had a universal appeal that was very special.
RIP. And thank you.
It feels like a mix of giddiness and fear. There’s a sense of “duh” and “d’oh” as you realize the thing you’ve been looking for has been in front of you the whole time.
And then there’s the work to integrate it, so that it feels like nothing at all.
In finance, the concept of risk management has to do with choosing strategies that balance return with the risks associated with that return.
In your singing, you’ll face similar choices. There are techniques you can use for short term power or effect, but they might not get you through a longer performance. In reverse, there may be techniques that sound odd in the short term, but they preserve the voice for long and heavy performances. There are some vocal effects that you might not be able to 100% every time reproduce but are reliable enough to risk given the artistic reward.
Determining what’s worth the risk vocally should be determined early in the process of a new piece, well before unnecessarily risky behavior becomes ingrained. That’s especially true if you sing wildly different repertoire where defaults for one rep are not at all appropriate for the other.
Website owners see some of the Google search queries that send people to their websites. Sometimes, these queries are questions, so if I can, I’d like to answer them directly.
Question: “How do earplugs help people sing?”
In my experience and in the experience of other singers I’ve spoken with, they help for a few reasons:
- They change your perception of yourself enough that you’re forced to try something new. It’s very easy to become dependent on hearing your voice a specific way. Without that reinforcement, you may start pushing your voice unhealthily to recreate it. Think about the difference to your singing in vibrant rooms vs. acoustically dead rooms. But you never really hear yourself accurately in any room, so you should break this dependence.
- In my experience, ear plugs shift your perception to how you feel rather than how you sound, and the result can often be very positive.
- I believe they make it easier to hear the relative health of my folds. If my voice has been roughed up, I can hear that more clearly through my head with earplugs, and I can adjust more quickly.
- They protect your hearing. This shouldn’t be underestimated. Singers and instrumentalists are loud, and I presume you’d like to keep your ears healthy for the long haul.
You don’t even need to buy anything to try this out. Just sing your warmups with your hands on your ears and then buy some cheap earplugs to step up. You only need something nicer if you’re going to use them around other musicians.
Further reading: Singing with Earplugs