Day 21: Hey y’all

I’m pretty proud of myself for one of my little lockdown achievements… I’ve been working on one of Lady M’s arias from Verdi’s Macbeth which is traditionally sung by sopranos.

As a mezzo who started out not being able to sing above E5, I didn’t think I’d ever comfortably trip out B flats and top Cs. Go me! I’m still definitely no sop, but finding my head voice has been one of the greatest discoveries on my operatic journey. I now can’t imagine a time when I had no idea what head voice was. I apologise to those of you in audiences that had to endure my trial and error phases!

There’s a lot to say about head voice and tons of tips and tricks to help you find and exercise it. For now, we need a sensible place to start.

Today’s operacise is #11 in the series and is called ‘The head voice “hey”!’ I was taught this little gem by Janet Haney – my coach for a number of years. In retrospect, I’m sure Janet despaired as I rumbled on in the lower part of my voice, scarcely knowing how or daring to lift myself out of it. Getting me to “hey!” was not only a way of helping me to understand the correct technique and how that should feel in the voice – and, indeed, in the head – but it also forced me to shake off some inhibitions since you look and sound positively ridiculous doing it!

In spite of being tall, fairly sturdy, and having quite a large voice, I’m pretty polite and it’s in my nature not to want to impose. I’ve had to overcome this natural disposition and learn to occupy my space and own my sound when the time’s right. The head voice “hey!” helps a lot and I still do it frequently at the start of my practice.

Stay cheered, stay healthy and I hope you enjoy toying with your head voice until we return to refine it later in the series. Lots of love xx

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