Teaching Tips for Singing Fundamentals: Part III Building Resonance

July 21st, 2008 by

Building resonance is an important step in warming up your student.  In the sequence of the warm up, start with resonance building exercises after breathing exercises and before phonation.  If resonance exercises are not part of the daily vocal warm up, the student with resort to using “speaking resonances”, which are not as high and forward as when singing.  This can bring about problems when starting to sing repertoire for the day.

1.    Hum and chew: Start this exercise in the middle voice range.  Make sure the teeth are apart and the tone is directed up and over the vocal tract. Place the heel of the hand between the eyes to establish a target to the upper resonators.
2.    Follow with [u] on a sigh to ensure there is enough vocal tract space.
3.    [m-a, m-a, m-a, m-a, m-a] 5-1 on eighth notes.  This exercise starts to balance phonation between humming and voweling.  Make sure the student maintains the appogio position of the hum in the [a], and that the rib cage remains expanded.
4.    [vi-ve-va-ve-vi] on a single pitch: Allow the vowels to change with minimal tongue adjustments.  The [v] consonant brings the vowel forward while maintaining vocal tract space.  As the student progresses with this exercise, take away the consonants, but maintain the forward motion of the vowels.
5.    “Ogni uomo” + “ogni-ignudo” 5-1 on eighth notes:  This exercise employs a variety of resonance building consonants, including hum, “ng” and “n” in onion.  Nasal sounds in repetitive patterns help induce resonance balancing between consonants and vowels.
6.    Hung + [i]:  Slide “ng” 1-5, and [i] 5-1 step-wise.  This exercise can be extended to octaves.  Be sure the student maintains the lifted soft palate from the “ng” in the [i] vowel.

Employ 1-3 of these exercises in starting in the middle voice, then explore higher and lower registers.  Do not move on until the tone is on the breath and the vocal line is thoroughly connected.

Posted in Practicing, Teaching Tips

About the Author

Sarah Luebke
Nebraska native Sarah Luebke completed her MM in vocal performance at the University of Kentucky, and her BM in vocal performance at St. Olaf College. Recently she has been seen performing the female lead, Jane McDowell, in "The Stephen Foster Story" and the ensemble of "Big River" with Stephen Foster Productions. Other performances include the soprano soloist of Bach's St. John Passion, La Fee ... [Read more]

Related Content