Updated: 6 days ago
The UPside represents everything anti-gravity about our voice.
The UPside is buoyant, open, free, weightless, grounded sound that helps us sing in tune and with ease.
It's tall, spacious, joyful and free from tension.
Voices can move and grow and fully resonate in the UPside. It's not a particular place to "put" your voice, it's the freedom from having no walls or structure to enclose your sound. It's allowing your voice to freely resonate in the spaces above your jaw and above your head, as well as behind it, around it and below it. There is no ceiling on the UPside. It's 'Topless'!
Ensemble singers who access the UPside lose their sound into the overall group resonance, making their musical leaders very happy!
OVERTONES live in the UPside
Overtones in the human voice are ABOVE the pitch we sing. Those overtones (harmonics) live on the UPside!
If you've ever felt or had someone describe your voice as 'reaching', 'tight', 'difficult', 'closed', 'heavy' or 'forced' - accessing the UPSide could be just the thing for you.
Let's take a closer look.
Onsets and releases
Move into and out of word sounds on the UPside.
'Ng' in "long", "wrong", "song" etc, take the back of the tongue UP to the soft palate to create the 'ng'
't', 'd', 'g', 'b' - imagine these sounds being made lightly on the UPPER jaw, teeth, palate. See how this changes the flow and connection through your vocal line
'm' - are you sqeezing the top lip down? Instead take the bottom lip UP to make the 'm' gently. Try it on "Some day when I'm awfully low..."
Where a word contains more than one vowel sound, we call this a 'diphthong'. Eg 'Sigh' is AH+EE. "Sah---------ee", with the AH being the primary sound.
Think UP for the 2nd sound (ee in the above example) especially if it falls on a descending note
"No" (OH+oo) think UP for the 'oo'.
ONSETS and RELEASES
Approach the making of sound from the UPside. If the note is a runway, you're a plane landing on it from above!
Imagine the best version of the note before you sing it
Choose an UPways energy for all phrase endings.
Breathe ABOVE the pitch for the note you're about to sing
Let the air fall into your lungs, then send a small steady flow of air UP through your vocal folds, to send them into efficient & effortless vibration
Notice the abdominal muscles easily come in and UP as the air is being used for singing
Release that abdominal tension at the end of the phrase, to allow new air to fall in from above.
HELD NOTES & REPEATED NOTES
Requires UPways energy to maintain pitch
Relies on a steady stream of air coming UP.
They require UPways energy to maintain pitch Gravity is not on our side!
Think 'straight out' rather than 'down' when descending.
THE DOWNSIDE (It's good!)
Our vocal instrument is within our body and our body is hugely important in releasing our voice to live in the UPside.
Physically, there is a feeling of being lower and more grounded, the more our voice is in the UPside
Our body often instinctively goes DOWN as our sound goes UP (watch someone who is instinctively cheering for their favourite team with a "woo-hoo!")
As those higher notes soar, allow a lower body energy and centre of gravity
If you have a habit of raising your chin the higher you sing, try keeping it level or even down a little, the higher you sing.
Lea Baker is a singing teacher, voice coach, and musical director. Helping vocalists find freedom and ease through use of natural, organic and instinctive sounds is her thing. She holds a Master of Fine Arts (Voice) from the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Sydney.