Hey there Living Opera subscribers, or folks who stumbled onto this website, WELCOME!!

We are continuing our technique series for 2020, and today we are answering a question from one of our followers, Ashley Ambrose.

Ashley studies at Florida State University, where we were thrilled to do a Q & A session in December. She was worried she wasn't accessing her head voice, so we asked her to send us over a video.

Spoiler alert: she IS accessing her head voice, but we thought we could probably give her a few exercises that would make it even more efficient and easy in the future.

The developed head voice is one of the defining characteristics of the operatic sound, but there are a lot of misconceptions about HOW to access this register, and how to maintain the tautness needed in the soft palette WITHOUT hyperextending, which we see so often these days.

Just like our video about passaggio, we MUST talk about head voice before tackling HIGH NOTES, which everyone is always dying to talk about.

Building a healthy operatic voice is progressive and every building block must be firmly in place before we take the next step. At least, this is how we work.

We hope you are enjoying this technique series, and if you have a question you would like us to answer we are always happy to help, or if YOU would like to be featured in one of our videos next, please feel free to send us a clip via Instagram, or our Facebook page.

As always, we wish you happy practicing, and fun in the studio!

We call the passaggio, or the notes just preceding your top register the gateway to the top because they will determine how your high notes sound and feel.

The passaggio is the transition area between the vocal registers. Your vocal registers are the chest voice, and the head voice. There is more than one passaggio, as many of you know, but we are focusing on the second passaggio, as this is the one that seems to create the most trouble for many people. Ultimately we want a balance in each register to maintain a smooth, even timbre in the WHOLE instrument.

Through the right information and training, we want to use our skills to produce a rich, powerful, beautiful sound, no matter the size of the voice. This will only be achieved when the balance between chest and head voice is found. Too much chest voice, and you won't be able to effectively go into the top. Too much head voice, and your middle and low ranges will be weak.

This balance is not easy to discover at first, but once you do, it's much like riding a bike: you don't forget! Thank goodness!

For me, as with many singers, the passaggio took a lot of training, partly because I didn't have the information I needed, but also because the full weight and color of my voice didn't come in until a couple of years ago. This lack of fullness left my top notes thinner and less shimmering than they are now.

So we have to talk about Eb, E, F, F#, G, and Ab BEFORE we can get into the so-called "money notes" like high C. They need to be balanced and beautiful, so we can take all that great sound into our high notes.

So in this video we explain a bit about how to deal with the passaggio using vowel modification, as well as the nature of the passaggio in lighter and heavier voices.

We also give you a couple quick vocal exercises to smooth out this register, and hopefully help you concentrate your energies in the right way - both vocally, and mentally!!

I hope you'll watch until the end, because I had a last-minute burst of inspiration about singing in general I don't want you to miss. Or just like skip there, whatever!

Thanks very much to subscribing here at the Living Opera website, and if you haven't already subscribed on Youtube, we'd love to have you there too!!

We hope our videos are helping you on your technical journey and giving you the tools you need to succeed!

Hey there everyone! We have gotten dozens of requests for videos about singing technique, and we are filming, editing, and uploading as quickly as we can!

We collected all your questions via Instagram, and we've already uploaded two videos on Youtube for you, we hope they help!

For those of you who are struggling on your technical journey, we want to encourage you and remind you that singing is as much about learning about YOURSELF, as it is learning technique. So don't fight the process! Your time in the studio may unearth some ugly memories, or push you to a place emotionally you are not ready for. This is normal, and this means you are growing.

We encourage you to embrace where you are today, and keep up the good fight. (And believe that it certainly is a FIGHT from time to time.)

We also want to tell you that it won't always be a struggle. After many years, and many thousands of dollars of voice lessons, (ouch!), we are BOTH very happy with where we are vocally, and we are reaping the fruit of our decades of study.

The big picture

Sometimes you have to learn to be content where you are. For us, that meant learning to be just as joyful and enthusiastic about singing in the practice room as we are when there is an audience to entertain.

"E se non ho chi m'oda, Parlo d'amor con me!" - Cherubino, in Le Nozze di Figaro

We are a bit like dear Cherubino - "and if nobody wants to listen to me, I will speak of LOVE to myself" - of course I am talking about singing. But you have to learn to be so convinced of your OWN ability, and your own WORTH, that you even find pure contentment when you are singing JUST FOR YOU.

Our dedication to our skills have trained us, and even unlocked a truth for us: no matter for whom, where, or under which circumstances we sing, the only thing that really matters is if we feel that we have acquitted ourselves well, and to the best of our abilities.

So we want each of you to keep this in mind when you are practicing. Do not solely crave the attention, the stage, the lights, the costumes and the applause. Those things are fleeting and will not fill the longing in your heart for something permanent.

The lessons of perseverance and discipline you will learn from working no matter the reward or outcome, will produce some things in you that will NEVER be taken away: the satisfaction of a job well done, and a spirit of excellence.

We look forward to enriching your journey and hope to see you all on Youtube!