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How is More Important Than What

Apr 03, 2022

…but what is important too.

The gold standard is for them to work together.

When we sing exercises, how we sing them matters as much or more than what we’re singing. The right exercise for a particular skill or passage done poorly or incorrectly will do more harm than good. Doing our daily vocal practice with poor vowel alignment will do little to help us sing better in tune or with more agility, and may in reality prevent us from achieving those goals.

There are a few key practices to implement in our daily vocal practice.


A melisma is when you have two or more pitches on the same vowel sound. These are sung connected, legato. Any breaks in the phrase can indicate predispositions or gaps in our technique. We work through those so that we have a seamless phrase.


While we’re talking musical terms, legato is a great one for us as vocalists to understand. Smooth and connected is the definition. In practice, we want to seamlessly go from one pitch to the next. This is what makes melisma (see above) possible.


Short and light. Not to be confused with ‘airy’ or disconnected. Staccato pitches in our vocalizations help us balance sub glottic air pressure and vocal fold closure. This is that ‘balance’ that singing teachers are talking about. A key practice in staccato is that the body engagement remains. In other words, once we begin the phrase, the abdominal muscles remain flexed (engaged) throughout the passage. They remain engaged through the singing of the staccato pitches and as well, in the brief pauses between the pitches. We have to learn to titrate the flow of air.

For those who are members of the RVC, you can see examples of these concepts and more in the video released in the members area or listen to the audio via your podcast feed.

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