As a vocal coach, I get an extra kick out of watching movies where a teacher helps an unlikely hero discover their magical powers, like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The look in the students eyes when they realize the greatness they’ve accomplished is just plain fun to see, and it reminds me of teaching lessons, because when you experience a great change while working with someone, witnessing that becomes one of your favorite things.
Well, one of the biggest “Ah-Ha!” moments that nearly all my students go through is when they start to own the idea that, “Sound is created by space.”
In truth, the sound is created by our vocal cords, but space is what creates the fullness of the sound when we’re singing. Space is what allows us to create great volume without much effort. I can better explain this with an analogy.
If you strum the strings of an un-amplified electric guitar, then it’s going to make a very soft sound. However, if you strum the strings of an acoustic guitar, then it makes a loud, rich sound. Why?
Well, the acoustic guitar has a box underneath the strings, and the soul purpose of this box is to amplify the the vibrations of the sound. The sound bounces back in forth in the box, multiplying the sound into something bigger than it was before.
The electric guitar lacks this “sound box,” so the sound it produces is merely from the strings and nothing more. The only way to make it louder is to apply more pressure on the strings by plucking them harder (until we play so hard that they break).
Our voice functions in the same way. If we open up space in our body for the sound to resonate, then our sound will get bigger and bigger without us having to exert any extra effort. But, if we rely only on the cords to create the sound, then the only way to get louder is to apply more and more pressure on them, leading quickly to vocal exhaustion or potentially even vocal damage.
So that being said, play with different ways that you can create more space in the main resonance chambers of your body. These are your chest, throat, mouth, and head. Creating the right space in these areas well grow your voice effortlessly.
Doing this is almost like having your own magical volume nob. You’ll be able to crank up the sound you produce while exerting less effort.
Play around with this idea for a while until you have your own “Ah-Ha!” moment, and discover what type of results you can get.
Best of luck to all of my apprentices out there!
~ Vocal Coach Ken Taylor