Application of Technique to Repertoire

Application of Technique to Repertoire

The development of Speech-Level-Singing technique involves the use of specialized exercises which, under the direction of a well trained instructor, assist the student in finding and maintaining a balance of airflow and vocal cord adduction while maintaining a relaxed speech-level posture in the larynx. Most students discover that once they have found this posture in the exercises, there is another hurdle to jump when applying the technique to songs. There are several reasons for this.

First of all, the exercises usually use only 1. 2 or 3 vowel sounds on a repetitive scale pattern. Songs are not like this. Songs have many difficult vowel and consonant combinations and melodies that can skip through many challenging intervalic and scale patterns.

Second, when singing a song there is also the question of style. Each style of singing has its own challenges. A singer must be able to find a balance between good technique and authentic style on his or her songs or arias.

Third, we must remember that all singers possess muscle memory. Usually a singer has been singing long before coming to the SLS technique. All the habits the singer had prior to training seem to come “screaming” back to life as soon as the singer starts to stray from the exercises. This seems to be especially true when the singer tries singing songs they have sung prior to training.

The singer must be very patient. Hopefully they are working with a certified teacher who has been trained to help them through this phase of training. Careful attention should be paid to the vowels that are being sung especially when singing through the bridges. Vowels have a tendency to widen which can cause an immediate loss of speech level posture. Specialized vowel modification may be necessary in order to avoid this widening of vowels.

Often there is a particular SLS exercise that the student is more comfortable with than others. It can be helpful to sing the melody of the song or aria on this exercise and then repeat singing the melody with the problematic text. This exercise can very frequently yield good results.

The topic of application is a very complex one. It is the crux of this technique. We aren’t singers because we want to sing exercises, we are singers because we want to sing music. Singing songs and arias well can prove to be quite challenging. It takes time, work, patience, and the guidance of a good teacher. Remember, if it were easy — everyone would be doing it! It’s well worth the time, effort and practice it takes to get it right.

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