One of the biggest challenges any singer must to face is how sound is perceived by his/her self, and how it is perceived by the audience. Like all people, I was very shocked to hear what my voice sounded like when played back to me. When I though it sounded good to me, I realised it was quite the opposite, and on many occasions when I thought it was bad, the recording was actually good. It was difficult to come to terms with what I thought I sounded like and what I did sound like. So how do we know when we are on point and our sound quality is good?
Our Head of Singing, Michael Georgiou teaching one of his students
To start, each singer needs to let go of listening to his/her sound as a means of judging sound quality. As mentioned above, what is usually pleasant to the singer is not so for the audience. When singing, we need to constantly be looking for an open space in the throat and mouth to accommodate vowels and consonants, but to also allow the sound to live and be vibrant. By doing so the larynx remains down in a comfortable position, giving the singer the impression that the voice is much darker and even lower than what he/she may be used to. We need to keep in mind that singing involves frequent vowel and consonant changes whilst moving through frequent pitch changes all through the range and so allowing the open space in the throat is crucial if we want to avoid the choking sensation as we go higher.
Our biggest ally when singing is how it feels and not how it sounds. When the air moves freely through the instrument and the sound arrives unhindered at an open space in the throat with the soft pallet domed, that is when the voice will be at its best. The sound will be rich rounded and full of life.
Each singer will ultimately understand that whilst singing, sensations felt are more important than sounds heard and that as a performer how we perceive our sound is not important, how our audience does is.