a grunt and a squeak!

a grunt and a squeak!
Saturday musings...

What is your vocal range?  Why is that important to have on a theatre resume and what does it really tell about you?

I honestly don't know.  It has very little to do with voice type,  nothing to do with vocal weight, timbre and color,  and nothing to do with quality, sustainability, endurance or singing in tune!

I have often told some of my singers to simply put, when asked, "Range: Grunt - Squeak",  since it truly doesn't attest to whether you can actually SING!

I have seen ridiculous things like female singers saying "I have a 4 octave range".   Really? Have you sat down at the piano and figured that out precisely?  Can you actually SING every note in those 4 octaves or do you grunt and squeak more than a few?! 

Being a smart singer in theatre means having to see through some of the things that are absolutely not important and getting to the things that are.  "having a high C in the studio" is very different than "sustaining a high C in a phrase numerous times during performance in the context of a song".

So what is crucial and how you make that clear to those listening to you?

Clearing know your "studio" range and your "performance" range.  There will often be 'studio' notes that never make their way into public space in order for those 'public' notes to be confident each time you perform!

 More importantly,  what is your drop dead,  always vibrant, always exciting, balanced and accessible tessitura?  In other words,  where does your voice LIGHT UP and ignite?!  Where is the "butter zone"?  THAT is more important than ANYTHING.  That is what you need to show in an audition:  the magic of your voice.  The tessitura is a range of sorts and then can be fleshed out to inform a voice type/theatre type more vividly.  This is much more crucial than range as it shows where your voice lives most effectively for long periods of time. 

If you don't have a "butter zone" yet - it's time to find it.

Get into that studio with a teacher who knows how to help you build that voice and BUILD it!  Discover what is there in the rough and shine it up!

A grunt and a squeak are not necessary if the voice finds its area of happiness!!!  You need to continue to explore that, and lead with that.  Of course, keep working on the vibrancy everywhere else, but there is always going to be a certain part of your voice that you keep going back to, in the tessitura and in the stylistic choices you make there, depending on the material you are singing.

The healthy, well developed vocal instrument isn't about grunts and squeaks and an impressive high note once in a while.  It is about claiming the physicality and athleticism of the body and developing muscular balance to discover what kind of vibrant acoustics YOU can create and replicate and live in constantly!  True technique is to command at will,  not hope it comes out!

Stating your range on your resume is extremely deceptive.  Let it simply be a way into the voice in order to show the voice where it wants to live.  Lead with your butter zone!  Lead with your voice tessitura, theatre type,  voice type.  These qualities on paper will allow for more imagination to allow YOU to then show in that audition room that indeed, you CAN sing,  in the voice that is uniquely yours, in a healthy balanced, stylistic way to show a range that is accessible, vibrant and true.

If you say you have what you have,  SING it.  No grunts, no squeaks, but REAL VOICE.

Show your knowledge on paper - not your ignorance!  Claiming a grunt and squeak with a range that is simply impossible physically is not impressive but rather, revealing!!!  And it isn't revealing anything you actually want them to see!

Better to list your voice type,  your comfort zone (tessitura) and then SHOW them what you can do! Making an impression is not on paper - it is by DOING it.  If you say you can sing - then SING IT!

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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