Vocal Power – Keys to Achieving Maximum Vocal Impact With Minimum Vocal Strain

Vocal power can, like any other kind of power, be either used for the good or used for the bad. It depends on how you achieve it and the purpose for which you use it. Steamrollers have power, but I think it’s obvious that’s not what I have in mind when I use the word in vocal training. Vocal power should not lead to vocal strain, but vocal impact!

I’d like to discuss three factors that determine vocal power:

1. The balanced breath applied to vibrate the vocal cords

2. The resonance of the sound generated.

3. The communicative impact of the sounding voice.

Breath applied to the voice needs two opposing interactions: breath support and breath control. Think of the bowing arm a violin player: It must both press down and hold up at the same time. Supported plus controlled air pressure creates compression power that causes just the right amount of air to vibrate the vocal cords without straining them. In Power, Path & Performance (PPP) vocal training, I call this the “power of the pelvic floor”.

Resonance is created when vibration from the vocal cords transfers to the rest of the larynx, which then transfers vibration to the bones, cartilage and tissues of the rest of the mouth, nose throat, sinuses, and trachea. The best resonance occurs when the channels through these tissues are open. In PPP training, I call this the “path to the open throat”

Communicative impact delivers the message (OR NOT!). The psychological focus of the communicator is all-important. The phrase “Not now!” can be communicated to mean “Don’t even try to make me…”, “You’re going to make me do this, aren’t you?”, or “Danger… Don’t do it at this time!”- all according to the inflection and emphasis you give to the words. Powerful communicative impact depends on more than the combination of consonants, vowels and sound… it demands clarity of, and confidence in, the message delivered TO someone. In PPP training, I call this “performance”.

A publisher of music instruction once told me that my Power, Path & Performance method should be re-named. He had a problem with the word “power, which he interpreted as pushing the voice too hard, over-blowing the vocal cords. That word makes some voice teachers see red. I understand. It’s a paradox. Let me set the record straight:

The reason I named my method “Power, Path & Performance” was that I noticed how magically these three overarching concepts affected each other. And yes, I passed on re-naming it! For information on how you can study this method and maximize the impact of your voice without strain, check out the links below.

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