Sound Engineer | Technologist | Co-founder of Singdaptive
Voice Teacher | Choir Director
This week’s Tips from the Team are all about where to do your singing practice! Should you sing in your car, in a church or maybe in a stairwell? Today, we hear from sound engineer, technologist and Singdaptive co-founder, Kevin Alexander on favorite singing spots; and voice teacher and choir director, Mandy Bryant on singing in your car.
Tips from the Team Transcript: Is it OK to sing in your car? That is a great question. And I would feel like a complete hypocrite if I said no, because I often practice or warm up in my car. But the answer is actually yes and no. I think it’s totally fine to do a light rehearsal and a light warmup in your car. Those little sirens, a little bit of lip trills, anything like that. A light practicing of your song just to make sure you have the notes and rhythms, and to keep your vocal chords warm, is great to do in your car. But when it comes to actually working on technique, like breathing and everything that you would be doing to dive into technique, you really need to have proper posture.
And so to get that proper posture, you really need to be either standing up, or if you’re not able to stand up, you need to have the ability to be sitting in a way that everything is lined up, so that you can access a proper breath, as well as your resonators. In a car, the seat, it doesn’t quite work for those mechanisms that you need. So you either need to be standing up for everything to work or sitting up in a specific posture.
Tips from The Team Transcript: Where’s your favorite place to sing? Is it in a padded room? Is it in an anechoic chamber, like someplace where you can’t hear anything except the voice inside your head? No, it’s not. It’s not anyone’s favorite place to sing. Your favorite place to sing is likely in a big church or venue, or a hall you sung in. For me when I was younger, one of my favorite places was actually a stairwell and a building that was all cement and metal and was very, very reverberant.
Why do we like to sing in places that are reverberant? Why do we like to sing with reverb? And I think one of the reasons is we can actually hear ourselves better. When we sing in a very isolated environment or even if you maybe plug your ears and listen to the way it sounds in your head – it’s interesting. You’re hearing your raw sound but you’re not hearing what an audience would hear, or the sound in the room. So when we sing someplace that has reflections, that kind of echo that comes back to us, and especially when those echos or delays are longer, we can actually hear our voice back. So when you’re singing, if you want to appreciate the sound of your voice, the way an audience member would, don’t sing in a place that’s completely isolated and dry.
Sing someplace where there is some reverberant surfaces and walls so you can hear your voice back. It’s actually great for checking intonation too. You hear back and you kind of go, “Oh, that… you know, I think I’m out of tune there.” This can be really, really helpful. And of course, this is counter-intuitive to where often were told that when we recording contemporary music, we want a very isolated room that has no reflections in it. And this is often why when we record, we want to have headphones that have a bit of reverb in the mix because we want to be able to hear our voice back. That’s what’s happening.
The Singdaptive Team feature a collection of contributions of thoughts from Singdaptive founders, instructors and currated vocal experts.
Janine Le Clair
Gregory A. Barker