We went to a Dirty Loops concert last week. Never mind the name. I know it sounds bad. They are a Swedish band and a true YouTube sensation. I think it just means like awesomely cool loops because they use keyboard electronic stuff. Anyway, get over the name and listen to them; you will not believe the incredible vocals by the lead singer. He is like a young Swedish Stevie Wonder. Maybe he even plays the keyboard better than Stevie Wonder and his bass player and drummer are ridiculous.
“Get over your voice” is a phrase that my voice teacher at Belmont University said often. He was commenting on a really good singer in a master class and I had no idea what he meant. We listened as this singer hit all the high notes and moved through lots of riffs with ease and power. However, he pointed out that the singer was more enamored with hearing himself sing than communicating the lyric. So, that’s what he meant by getting over your voice! That one phrase has had a huge impact on my performances and my coaching ever since.
So many of my young singers struggle with being pitchy, which means missing the note by either being too high-sharp, or too low-flat. There are some practical things that you can do to improve your pitch!! I am going to give you five tips for improving your intonation.
It goes with out saying that the Searcy family is just a little geeked over Season 7 of The Voice. We are a clan of musicians who make our living, performing, coaching, writing and recording music. Even so, this particular season has held our interest like no other since our one and only eldest son Jordy Searcy made it to the battle rounds for Team Pharrell.
The singers are so incredibly talented that it is easy to watch and cheer them on and oh so sad to see them go. I have picked up a couple of insights from the coaches choices and comments this week and thought I would share.
You can’t play it safe and expect to “turn the chairs” or get the gig. It’s usually the high note or money note that is the big moment in the song and that is often the very note that will give you so much trouble. Often the tricky high note is smack dab in the “break area” or the place where you feel that shift or change registers.
So how do you sing those notes without getting tight, straining or flipping over to your head voice?
You Have to Find that Marvelous Middle
The middle or mixed voice is truly a blend of the head and chest registers. Singers often shy away from using the mix or middle voice because it can lack the power of their chest voice. The problem is no amount of squeezing, straining or lowering the jaw can coax the chest into hitting notes that are clearly out if its jurisdiction. You can take the easy route and flip to head or you can settle for a pushed, strained chest voice that almost hits the mark. I suggest you give in and face the fact that you need that coordination that is literally between the head and chest. Most of the time singers try to completely avoid this area. In college, my commercial voice teachers told me to just lower the key. Sure that works sometimes but not for every song! No one in my commercial voice program knew how to help me gain this coordination. I left feeling like there were notes that I just didn’t get to sing. Thankfully I found the mix and learned a new way.