In order to use any vocal exercise effectively, several things have to happen. First of all, the person singing or the teacher has to decide what direction to take….we call this in Somatic Voicework “diagnosis”. We have to decide “what is going on here?” with the voice from a functional place. The first decision must be about registration. Is this a voice with two strong, functional registers? Do they seem equal? Are the low notes solid and the high notes easy? Is the middle undistorted and natural-sounding? How does the sound connect to the body? What is the posture like? Where and how does the person breathe?
Addressing these issues alone can be a very big task. If one register quality is missing, how can it best be coaxed into existence? If one or both registers needs attention (likely), which one is weakest? What would strengthen it? What else is out of balance due to this situation? (jaw, tongue, face, mouth, head, neck, upper chest, torso?) Is the sound nasal or breathy? Is it squeezed and held or flabby and under-energized? How do we address these issues with exercises? (That’s the first course of action, but not the only one).
And if the goal of the sound is not to make “resonance”, which in SVW it is NOT, then what should be the goal? What is a functional voice anyway? In order to measure disfunction, you have to recognize function first. One can never be too familiar with functional sound and its application to style. Health first, style second. When that is organized in the voice, the process can be reversed. That means that a singer with a really healthy, functionally varied voice, can adapt the voice to the style at hand without causing vocal distress. That happens only after the singer is skilled and experienced, and has the voice fully developed and available, a process that takes from 2 to 5 years of regular, disciplined technical work.
The exercises are simple. How we use them can be varied in multitudinous ways. In order to evoke the desired response from the vocal mechanism, we need to know what the result is before we ask for it. That’s the intention for the exercise — stronger high notes, a brighter vowel, a clearer middle voice, etc. After that, things get easier. If you need assistance, go to the Solution Sequence (for those who have completed Level II of my training), and look up the references.