The IVA Technique
Guy Babusek specializes in vocal technique developed by the Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA). This technique is based on 17th and 18th Century principles of singing developed by the historic Italian School of Singing.
Guy trains voices to sing in a free and natural manner, smoothly, from the bottom of the range to the top with no breaks or sudden changes in quality. Training in this technique gives the singer access to all dynamics, with tonal clarity and flexibility where all words are easily pronounced and understood. Also, the training in this technique helps improve a singer’s range, endurance, stamina, breath control, resonance, vocal strength and vocal quality across all styles of music without fatigue or damage to the voice.
We accomplish these results by training the singer to find a balance between airflow and intrinsic muscular resistance, all within a resting laryngeal posture.
The larynx is the large bump in the middle of the throat just below the chin (men call this the “Adam’s Apple”). The larynx houses the vocal cords and also controls the swallowing mechanism. When the larynx rises up, the muscles around the vocal cords close in order to prevent food from entering the wind pipe and the lungs. This is essential to the swallowing process, yet hinders good singing. If you place your hand on your larynx and yawn, you will feel your larynx come down. If you leave your hand on your larynx and swallow, you will feel your larynx rise. Our goal is keep the larynx at a comfortable resting posture while we sing (neither jamming up, nor locking down). The vocal cords, also known as vocal folds, are a pair of soft tissue cords that are joined at the front of the larynx and extend to the back. When they close, the back end of the cords come together (adduct), and the flow of air is temporarily stopped. When the pressure of air from the diaphragm overcomes the pressure of the muscles holding the cords together, they are blown apart. Sound is made when they close again due to the vibration created. Then once again the air pressure overcomes the muscle pressure and the process begins again. If the cords are not brought together with a balanced pressure of air and muscle strength, you will have a strained and tense voice, or your voice will break. Technical study teaches the singer to eliminate any activity in the outer muscles of the larynx. These outer muscles interfere with the singing tone; once these tensions are eliminated, the tone is freed. In addition, the ability to produce words easily and clearly is enhanced.
The diaphragm, is a dome shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The lungs, which are incapable of any muscular action, sit on top of the diaphragm. When the diaphragm contracts, it flattens downward and slightly to the back, thus lowering the floor of the chest (thorax). As it does this, the lungs are stretched downward, creating a partial vacuum which causes the air outside the body to rush in. During this inhale, as the diaphragm descends, the abdominal wall is caused to expand outward. The diaphragm is active only during the inhalation process. The breath is automatically regulated during the singing process when a posture of support (also called “appoggio”) is maintained. The breathing process during balanced singing is relaxed, yet not lazy (“flexibly firm). Our method of singing is based on ancient singing principles of the historic Italian School. Singing in this manner promotes proper, automatic breath support, and thus a balance between air flow and muscle resistance.
Training in this technique gives the vocal coordination necessary to sing in every musical style.
Recommended Reading : The Voice of the Mind, by E. Herbert-Caesari; Bel Canto: Principles and Practice, by Cornelius Reid; The Structure of Singing, by Richard Miller
© 1998 Guy Babusek