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05/31/2012

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David Johnson

This was an especially interesting post to me, as I played woodwinds for twelve years before I began to sing. While finding natural vibrato was not an issue for me, it's taken seven years of lessons, extensive reading (Miller, McCoy, Doscher, Titze, Sundberg, Vennard...), and a few voice therapy sessions to unsnarl the tongue-base tension I developed from "voicing" every pitch on saxophone. Frustratingly, people _liked_ my voice with the excess tension, whereas I could tell that the production was too effortful; the sound knödel-y; and the upper extension inaccessible. "You're a Bach tenor", they'd say, and if it weren't for a similar stroke of luck, that's what I'd have stayed.

Claudia Friedlander

Thanks, David! Clearly we need to pay close attention to the way instrumental techniques and habits affect the singing voice. I imagine that most saxophone players do lots of stuff with the tongue & pharynx to enhance pitch and resonance while they play.

There are many challenges inherent in being an instrument and playing it at the same time. It's bad enough that we have to use it to chew and swallow. Everything we do with the jaw, tongue, lips and breath has the potential to help or hinder the singing voice, and singers who play wind instruments should be as mindful as we can of the impact it has.

Michael Imbimbo

Thumbs up for Winston!

Great post as usual.

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