Why Singers Should Do Scale Exercises

Introducing Calisthenics for the Singing Voice

This exercise system has been devised to demonstrate the validity of the arguments put forward in the previous articles. As documented in other essays much of the impetus behind this project came from my taking up the challenge of playing the natural (valveless) trumpet as used in the baroque period. On this instrument the main operating scale (The octave and beyond from 3rd space C) is played completely using mind and tongue control – (there is no configuration change being made to change the pitch) and, along with the natural horn, is the closest in required technique to the human voice. The skills I had to develop to master this instrument, especially in the use of the tongue began to influence my singing technique and I found that I had much more control over both words and notes than previously and this also led to techniques for correcting apparent ‘tone-deafness’. The system uses sequences of 4 vowel sounds in various permutations to move around the notes of the scale by step,skip, or leap generally spanning an octave but the important aspect is that these exercises are repeated over 6 defined pitch ranges in total spanning d to c’’’’ for female voices and D to c’’’ for male voices. This means that you are singing a very focused pattern right across the bridge points between registers and achieves the required blending of those registers in a manner which reflects actual singing. The particular use of the tongue which is clearly described in the system notes ensures that the vocal tract and hence the voice remain relaxed and there is no strain. The voice develops the flexibility needed to sing in any style and sound authentic in each.
(eg I trained a ‘pop/country’ performer to authentically sing Messiah arias with all those florid runs and trills with the result that he was able to sing his usual repertoire much more effectively!!!) The exercises are all supported by fully composed keyboard accompaniments so the warm-ups/exercises are sung rhythmically rather than having a rather unstructured track of just the scale notes going remorselessly up and down the keyboard.

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