Archive for the ‘Estill Voice Training’ Category

How to Avoid Vocal Trauma #3: “Hard Shell, Soft Middle.”

June 7, 2010

You know the candy I’m talking about…crisp chocolate shell on the outside, ooey-gooey center (imagine your favorite filling). Mmmmm mmmm!

Oh yeah! So, what does this have to do with good singing?

Well, once your breath is free (How to Avoid TVF Trauma #1) and your True and False Vocal Folds are better organized (How to Avoid TVF Trauma #2) now it’s time to find your “support” where it actually counts!!

In Estill Voice Training™, we make a distinction between the muscles of breathing and the muscles of “support.” The muscles of true support are known as the “anchoring” muscles: Torso Anchor™, Neck Anchor™ and Head Anchor

Torso Anchor: Engage the Lats, Pecs, and Quadratus Lumborum Muscles by

1. Standing as if you were about to walk backward.

2. (standing with your hands at your side) pretending to lift two heavy suitcases–one in each hand!

3. Imagining there are small balloons under your armpits then squeezing them.

See Anatomy

Neck Anchor: Engage the Sternocleido-mastoids and muscles at the nape of the neck by

1. Bringing the back of your hand to your forehead. Without throwing off the alignment of your head and neck, pressing your hand against your head and your head against your hand, equally. (Notice the muscles engaging at the sides of the neck–the SCMs–and the back of the neck.)

2. “Shivering” your head quickly left and right–with a very quick, but small movement as if your were actually cold and shivering to keep warm.

See Anatomy

Head Anchor: Engage the muscles above and behind the Soft Palate by

1. Snorting! Feel that lifting up sensation behind your hard/soft palates. Maintain that feeling and breathe in and out normally–without snorting.

2. Sneering and flaring your nostrils while breathing in and out normally.

See Anatomy

With each of these exercises, be sure that your breath stays free, easy and soft, that your face and throat stay relaxed and that you can use varying degrees of effort (Low/Medium/High degrees of effort)!

The muscular regions targeted by these Anchoring exercises ARE the regions of muscular “support” that actually make the difference when singing AS LONG AS the breath remains boingy and pliant below!

Once you get the feeling of these and the previous exercises, try putting them all together while you speak and sing:

1. Release the belly, and reduce the air pressure

2. Retract™ the False Vocal Folds

3. Add Head, Neck and/or Torso Anchoring™


Hard Shell (Anchoring), Soft Middle (Easy Breath and TVFs)! = Healthy Singing and Speaking!!

***If it doesn’t feel right or good while you are doing these exercises, you are doing something wrong! Check your breath. Retract the FVFs. Slow down, be gentle and stay aware! Try doing it a bit differently next time!! OR stop and rest.***




How to Avoid Vocal Trauma #2: Freeing the True Vocal Folds

May 13, 2010

Once your breath is free and relaxed and the pressure is reduced from below your true vocal folds now you can release any pressure above or throughout the folds themselves.

Here’s some basic vocal anatomy first:

This is the view as seen from above and behind the larynx.

Often, when we are straining at the level of the true vocal folds we are squeezing in on them from just above in the false vocal folds. This happens naturally when we swallow and cough, but when it happens when we are singing it can be detrimental–either immediately or over time.

What is Estill Voice Training?

May 13, 2010

…and why haven’t you ever heard of it?

"Everyone has a beautiful voice, it's just a matter of learning how to use it!" --Josephine Estill (EVT Founder)

Estill Voice Training is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive approach to voice training for singers, speakers, actors, voice teachers, voice clinicians–ANYONE interested in voice! Based on the the most current voice research, EVT is a simple and direct approach that not only allows one to identify and control (with learning and practice) the various parts of the voice that create ANY sound in any style (Classical, Pop, Opera, Folk, etc.), but also debunks the many myths that have surrounded voice training for the past 400 years!

Benefits of EVT:

-Replaces mystery with knowledge

-Reduces performance anxiety, increases confidence

-Empowers students to take charge of their own learning, technique and choices

-Allows for vocal versitility

-Brings consistency to your vocal performance

-Leads to a balance between vocal health and aesthetic freedom

Estill Voice Training is broken down into two components:

Level 1: Figures for Voice ™

Breaks the voice down into it’s components or Figures and allows each student to feel, hear and see how each movement directly effects voice quality. Some of the Figures explored are: True Vocal Folds, False Vocal Folds, Velum, Tongue, Thyroid Cartilage, Aryepiglottic Sphincter and Head, Neck and Torso Anchoring.

Level 2: Figure Combinations for Six Voice Qualities™

Puts everything back together again by showing how we can combine the Figure options to create “recipes” for Six Basic Voice Qualities: Speech, Falsetto, Twang, Sob, Opera and Belt and BEYOND!

For more info about EVT, Estill teachers and Estill courses and events in your area visit:

EVT has been invaluable in my career as a singer and voice teacher! It has turned out to be the missing link in my training that allows me to synthesize voice understanding, movement and learning in new and innovative ways!

Check it out! It’s FANTASTIC!