Friday, May 26, 2017


No, you read that right. That is one of Pablo's lines. Yesterday we went outside after relinquishing Joe to Sedona, his primary director, and the three of us worked on projection. I had each of them chose a line and practice projecting it to me from far away. Watching Stewart gleefully shout to all of campus, "I'M A POWER BOTTOOOOOOOM" was a highlight of my day that I didn't expect.

 Projection is something I've found myself being responsible for teaching here. I've always had a large voice but, after 7 or 8 years of vocal training, I have picked up a trick or two. If I had to boil down the lessons that my 3 college voice professors have taught me it would be this:

Dr. Richard Poppino: Good singing is not a matter of trying harder, but trying correctly.

This translates to the fact that projecting is not being louder, but arranging your vocal chords and body in a way that allows the sound to carry farther. Imagine a scenario where you're playing a song on your phone, but it's still too quiet. Take your phone and put it in a cup or with the speaker facing the back wall of a cabinet and suddenly you can hear it better. The sound didn't get louder, it is just carrying to your ears easier.

Dr. Marc Callahan: Breath support is life, 💁.

Singers are afraid to use their breath. It's contradictory but it's true. We're used to singing very long phrases so we instinctively save our breath, but that causes all of the notes to be weaker. Imagine you have a ball of dough in your hands. The wider you spread it out, the thinner it gets. If you make the pizza too big, the dough won't be thick enough to support itself. We speak in pitches and talking is a very staccato form of singing. So having proper breath support is key.

Bereniece Jones: Smell the roses.

We're so afraid of deep breathing. Maybe it's because it takes conscious effort, maybe we don't like our stomach getting larger, or maybe we don't have the time. I could theorize all day on why learning how to breathe properly is not instinctive AT ALL. But Bereniece got one thing right. When preparing to sing, or project, you need proper breath. I have heard Broadway performers use this technique. Try it for yourself: inhale through your nose like you are trying to smell a rose and notice how your chest expands. Maybe you get that stretch and lift in the back of your throat like the beginnings of a yawn. That is great breathing and it's quieter (and deeper) than mouth breathing.

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