Ricbard Miller


Training-the amateur voice through Wal'lll-UpS and exercises

"Technique and expression must be the supporting pillars of vocal art ... Technique is of no value except as it makes communication possible ... Unless the emotional experiences and sentiments of a performer can be externalized, they have no value beyond personal therapeutic ones." - Richard Miller

Training Voices in the Choral Rehearsal

I. Posture

a. Noble & axial

1. Sternum is relatively elevated

2. Shoulders are comfortably back & down, military stance is avoided

3. Rib cage remains stationary during all phases b. Garcia position

1. Cross hands, palms outward, at the lower back area, just below the 1th rib

2. Induces "quietude of the torso" and allows the rib cage to remain in the position of inspiration (Solutions for Singers, p. 41)

II. Breath Management

a. 5-part cycle; can be practiced with onset vocalizes; vocal freedom is determined by the onset of vocal sound

1. Silent inhalation

2. Onset begins with a vibrant tone centered on pitch (never hold the breath)

3. Duration of phonation

4. Conclusion of phonation (the release)

a. Energize the tone through the entire phrase

5. Immediate quiet renewal of breath and same quiet thoraciccage posture

b. Onset exercises (see examples)

1. I-IV-V-I series from lower-middle to upper-middle ranges, alternating cardinal vowels

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Richard Miller:

Trainingthe amateur voice through Wal'lll-UpS and exercises

a. Avoid glottal onset

b. Use fricative consonants (h, sh, th, f...)

c. Breathe through the vowel you are preparing to sing (reduces tension and the likelihood of taking in too much air)

2. With repetition, the singer produces healthy vocal-fold approximation that is neither pressed nor breathy, ensures efficient breath management, and establishes a proper resonance balance

3. Exercises can be gradually elongated and should vary in difficulty

4. 4-5 minutes of each session should be devoted to onset training if a free well-balanced tone without early rib-cage collapse is to be achieved

5. Repetition also strengthens the anterolateral abdominal wall through the use of the appoggio technique

a. Neither pulling inward nor pressing outward at onset

b. Short notes may cause a small change in the abdominal wall

c. In sustained phonation, the position of inspiration is maintained until just before the end of the phrase

III. Free laryngeal function

a. Aided by agility exercises

1. Short laughing patterns (5-4-3 - 2-1)

2. Abdominal wall remains flexible yet stable b. Aided by sostenuto exercises

1. Move to simple articulated legato passages in middle range

2. In combination with onset exercises, develops appoggio technique without long explanations

3. Exercises for practicing onset, agility, and sostenuto (see Figures 9.2, 9.3, 9.4)

4. Excerpts from the literature provide many opportunities for developing onset, agility, and sostenuto as well as musicality

IV. Resonance balancing

a. Vowel definition: "tracking the vowel"

1. Changing shapes of lips, tongue, mouth, and jaw for each vowel

2. Vocal tract is not a fixed resonator, but rather a flexible system

3. Raise zygomatic arch (upper cheekbones) to assist with

resonance, vibrancy, and pitch

4. Upper teeth should show in singingV

5. Tongue should be in contact with lower front teeth

6. Vowels should never loose integrity; over-modifying them should be avoided

7. Additional 5 minutes should be spent on vowel differentiation in each session

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Ricbard Millel':

Training the amateur voice through Wal'lll-UpS and exercises b. Vowel definition vocalizes

1. Lateral to rounded then back to the original lateral vowel

a. [i-e-a-e-i] (ee-ay-ah-ay-ee) then in reverse [a-e-i-e-a] (ah-ay-ee-ay-ah)

b. Amateur singers will retain the more open position once they sing the (ah) vowel, and the last two will be distorted

2. Changing pitch along with alternating round & lateral vowels

a. 1-3-2-4-3-5-4-2-1 (ay-aw) sequence, then reverse

b. Jaw position will change (fixed dropped jaw will cause problems in vowel differentiation, it causes tension in the jaw and throat, and interferes with proper tongue placement)

3. Changing vowels follows cleanly alternating between round and lateral vowels

a. 1-3-5-3-1 [a-o-i-o-e] (ah-oh-ee-oh-ay)

b. Repeat until no timbre distortion accompanies vowel

change, then proceed to other exercises

c. 1-3-5-3-1 [I-o-a-o-e] (ee-oh-ah-oh-ay)

d. extend the patterns: 1-3-5-8-5-3-1 or 3-1-5-3-8-5-3-5-1

e. Add harmony onI-IV-V-I [i-e-a-e-i] & [a-e-i-e-a] c. Vibrato is necessary for a freely produced sound

1. Less vibrant voices should be trained, through onset and agility exercises to induced natural vibrancy

2. Balance of upper and lower partials; the light/dark tone is balanced

3. Solo singers will no longer be aliens in the ensemble if less vibrant voices become more so

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Richard MilleI':

Trainingthe amateur voice through wanu-ups and exercises

Onset Exercises & Instructions

• Work to balance each onset

• Sing each note with energy and vitality (and a lack of straight tone) until the offset

• Balance the offset as you did the onset

• Alternate vowels [a e i 0 u]

• If you have problems with unbalanced onsets, use a voiced consonant [v z m n] (vocal "training wheels").

• When your onsets become more skillfully balanced, you can remove the training wheels and sing on vowels only.

• Where indicated in the score, take a complete, small, and absolutely silent inhalation. This helps you prepare for the next onset with the minimum muscular involvement, and therefore helps you balance the next onset!

• Repeat up or down by 1/2 or whole steps, going only as low as comfortable.

These exercises do not work well above the register transition in either males or females.

From "On the Art of Singing", pp. 59,60,62

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Richard Miller:

Training-the amateur voice through warnl-ups and exercises

Adapted from 'Miller's Structure for Singing

Lb: Eighths
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Lc: Triplets
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Ld: Sixteenths II


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Set 2: 5-Down Scale

When you have mastered the preceding exercises, executing balanced vowel onsets, you need to challenge yourself by moving on to increasingly complex pitch patterns, as illustrated below.

2a: Quarters

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Training the amateur voice through warnl-ups and exercises

2c: Triplets
~j 3 , 3 , 3 3
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j j J J ~ j j j j j j I II
-e- 2d: Sixteenths

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2e: Add-Ons

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Set 3: Major Triad

(Increasing note values as in Sets 1 & 2 above)


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Set 4: Octave Arpeggios (Increasing note values as in Sets 1 & 2 above)

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Sa: 5-Down, Onset to Sostenuto Set 5: Combos

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5c: Octave Arpeggio, Onset to Sostenuto
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Training the amateur voice through warm-ups and exercises

Figure 9.1 (Miller's Training Soprano Voices)

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Figure 9.2 (Miller's Training-Sopt:ano Voices)

Figure 9.3 (Miller's Training Soprano Voices)

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AYarnell 11109 MEMT 828

Richard Miller:

Training-the amateur voice through wann-ups and exercises References

Miller, R (1996). On the art of singing. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0195098250,9780195098259

Miller, R (2008). Securing baritone, bass-baritone, and bass voices. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0195322657,9780195322651

Miller, R (2004). Solutions for singers: tools for performers and teachers. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0195160053, 9780195160055

Miller, R. (1986). Structure of singing. Schirmer. ISBN 0534255353, 978- 0534255350

Miller, R (2000). Training soprano voices. Oxford University Press US. ISBN 0195130189,9780195130188

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