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Items by Ray Herman

Results: 28
Title Author Date
Comment: Re: Male Directors teaching Female Voices
Certain technical issues are the same for males and females: breathing, open throat, pure vowels, etc. The main difference I see is register. The male falsetto is produced in a very similar manner to the female head voice in that the vocalis muscle in the vocal fold is "turned off" in both. When I d...
Comment: Re: Basses singing octave lower
Melissa, Not knowing your exact situation it’s difficult to know exactly how to approach answering your question. How old are the boys, how long ago did they start the voice change process, etc.? Having said that, two thoughts come to mind: 1. They are reveling in their new found low voice, ...
Comment: Re: Community Outreach to Build a Church Choir
Since what you are asking about is essentially evangelism, I would suggest starting with your current members. Ask them to invite people they know who like to sing but are not currently attending a church. That way the member may gain a sense of pride in having taken part in building the choir and t...
Comment: Re: Trouble with decrescendos
James,   On page 51 of In Search of Musical Excellence by Sally Herman (no relation), she talks about holding a paper cup, held with the opening toward the choir, into which you pull the sound out of your singers. She says most young singers mistakenly believe that in order to sing softly they h...
Comment: Re: Instrumentalists teaching choir
JoAnn, Welcome to the choral world! It’s a wonderful and fascinating place. There are similarities and differences between the vocal instrument and non-vocal instruments. The similarities include each being made of three distinct parts: a power source, a vibrating source and a resonating source...
Comment: Re: getting female belters to blend in SATB choir
I have the same issue with one of my stronger altos in my church choir. She performs in Broadway type shows during her free time, and has for years, so that belt sound and technique has become very habitual for her.   The main difference I find between the "belt" and "classical" techniques, as ...
Comment: Re: Gospel/Pop Singer in my choir
Congratulations on having such a dedicated group!   I have two suggestions to begin with: 1. Make sure she understands the difference between styles - gospel, pop, classical, etc - and let her know as you work with her that this is not a case of replacing her style but of adding other styles to...
Comment: Re: When do I teach mixed and chest voice?
You are dealing with a few issues here all at the same time, perception being the most important. These girls probably do not have any vocally healthy models to emulate. The singers they listen to, with very few exceptions, are the belters they hear singing pop music. I would work on this issue firs...
Comment: Re: Older adolescent male transition from chest to head, etc.
Congratulations on having such an interested and dedicated student!   Let's begin by determining what we mean by the term "register." According to Manuel Garcia, the most famous and arguably most important voice teacher/scientist of the 19th century, “By the word register we mean a series of co...
Comment: Re: 1st year choir directing ~ Several questions!
Chase,   1. Since this is a new program and you are a new teacher for those students, they may be waiting to see whether this choir will last and whether they can trust you to know what you are doing. Give it time and stay postive! Have every minute of each rehearsal planned out beforehand so tha...
Comment: Re: Everybody's matching pitch - except one
I had a male student a few years ago who was also having trouble matching pitch. His problem turned out to be a registration issue. When he understood the concept of the different registers, his pitch problem cleared up.   A few thoughts: 1. You mentioned you are having them audiate. Good! Are y...
Comment: Re: Masters Programs
Dr. Stephen F. Austin at the University of North Texas. You can't do better. http://music.unt.edu/faculty-and-staff/detail/2
Comment: Re: The "New Voice Type" coming to our choruses
First thought - Privately record someone singing the part correctly, record one of your pitch problem singers singing the same part incorrectly, then play both of them back for the singer in question. In order not to embarass the singer, I would suggest playing them back in a private meeting. If...
Website suggestion: Applauds
I'm just curious as to the reason why those who "applaud" a post are not identified. It seems to me to be a wonderful way to make stronger connections between readers - but I could be wrong.
Comment: Re: High Tenor Notes as a Psychological Problem
Alex,   The top G-A flat area is typically the top for both a legitimate baritone and a tenor who has not yet learned how to get into the real tenor top. Unfortunately, you have not given us enough information in order to make an educated guess. You mentioned your voice teacher, so please do no...
Comment: Re: Bass singing a tenor role...help!
Given the fact that he is a relatively untrained high school singer being asked by adults, whom he correctly assumes know more about the voice than he does, to sing a roll which all agree is out of his range, the only ethical way of handling the situation is to transpose his song. Any suggestions ...
Comment: Re: Singing in the morning
Just a few thoughts on the ensemble needs vs. administration needs we all have to deal with from time to time:   1. Be thankful, as it appears you are, that you have an administrator who wants to get you in a good rehearsal space. That alone shows he is on your side as far as his own vocal knowl...
Comment: Re: Help with falsetto question?
Lucy,   Glad I could help.   In the best of all possible worlds, tenors would be able to sing a legitimate head voice as opposed to falsetto. The reason is that the legitimate head voice matches the timbre of the middle/chest voice better than the falsetto. So what good does using falsetto do...
Comment: Re: First Time Conducting, No Experience - Need Help!
Becky,   I realize you posted your original question a couple months ago, but when I read it I got excited remembering my beginnings in conducting so I had to respond. If all goes well you are in for the ride of your life. If all does not go well, welcome to the club, learn what you can and keep ...
Comment: Re: Help with falsetto question?
Let's start with what falsetto really is. The vocalis muscle within the vocal fold is responsible for register. When it is active the singer is in "chest voice," when it is non-active/passive the singer is in "falsetto." (In that sense, the male falsetto and the female "head voice" are very similar....
Comment: Re: Student who doesn't sing -- he fries instead ?
(My apologies for the split reply -IPad problem.)   To be clear, the 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 are beats, not pitches.   Assuming the chricothyroid is healthy, you may be able to teach him to sing various pitches through 1-3-5-3-1 pitch staccato exercises which may keep his vocalis loose long enough f...
Comment: Re: Student who doesn't sing -- he fries instead ?
The first question I would ask is, "Does he speak in a monotone in conversation?". If he does then he is either following a bad vocal model (what do you know about his father? Does he have an appreciation for music or does he see it as "sissy stuff"?), an overpowering vocalis (register muscle within...
Comment: Re: teaching the concept of a glottal stop to church choir
Jaclyn wrote exactly my thoughts as I read your original post. The "uh-oh" idea is regularly used to teach singers the feel of the clean onset, and it is one of a few techniques to give you the effect you are looking for. I highly recommend it as a vocal technique, and I also highly recommend teach...
Comment: Re: No transistion between Falsetto and chest voice
If we look at this anatomically, the vocalis muscle within the vocal fold is in charge of determining register. It is activated during chest voice and inactive during falsetto.  The cricothyroid is in charge of determining pitch. It does so by stretching the vocal folds by varying degrees. The lon...
Comment: Re: GUEST BLOG: "Stop Teaching Karoke," by Carl J Ferrara
Amen, Carl!   I also see, as I do in church work, a case of supply and demand at work here. The reason there are fewer good accompanists and organists is due in large part to decreased demand, part of which is brought on by decreasing budgets in the schools and changing tastes in music in ch...
Comment: Re: Mix My Part
So what's wrong with actually teaching our singers to read music?!
Comment: Re: Study Music, Get Smarter
The report The Arts and Academic Achievement: What the Evidence Shows by Project Zero's project REAP (Reviewing Education and the Arts Project) (http://pzweb.harvard.edu/research/Reap/REAPExecSum.htm) warns against using the argument often used, as Mr. Copeland's post does, for school support of...
Comment: Re: The A Cappella Flash Mob
I recognized three past/present members of the Swingle Singers. What other groups took part in this?