Donna Summer: how to twang (how to what?)

  • LEARN TO SING JAZZ, online jazz vocal course, learn to sing jazz, how to, lessons, voice, jazz voice, program, JAZZ SINGERS ACADEMY, Ilse Huizinga

Are you familiar with the works and empowering thoughts of American Life Coach Tony Robbins? On Facebook he shared that he loves music. Well, so do we! He believes in using it as a tool to score moments in your life, to produce different kinds of states.

One of the queens of the seventies that I just loooove for that, is Donna Summer. I’m certainly aware of the possibility that you immediately consider me uncool…
Thing is, I’m always energized, happy and hopeful whenever I hear Donna sing State Of Independence, Could It Be Magic or Last Dance. Wait, I’m just putting on the record as we speak!

Aaaaaaah! Carry me away. I hear such sublime voice control, such radiant colours, such glory. Technically, you could say that Donna Summer is the epitome of a high belter. Now belting is not something you frequently do as a jazz singer, as the music much more invites us to sing in a comfortable range, at a low to mid volume.

But now and then, it could be quite fantastic to add those colours to your rainbow, don’t you think?

Belting (or ‘edge’ as it is also known) is not without risks. So consult your doctor first, okay? Seriously, for that, take lessons with coaches who know all about Complete Vocal Technique, or Estill Voice Training.

What can you do to start? If you know how to make a free and clear sound (your vocal chords have to close completely in the process, in order to make these voluminous sounds), you can begin with imitating a bagpipe, a mean witch, or a goat. Even a dental drill can do the trick.

Your sound will get an extra sharpness, like metal, also known as ‘twang’ in the singer’s world.

This sound may not be very likeable to many people, but you will certainly come across a crowded room.

Keep in mind that singing (or speaking, for that matter) should never feel painful. If you feel pain, you are doing something wrong. Don’t think that pain is normal. Our vocal chords are very delicate and injuries are not something to ‘halelujah’ about. Always check with a vocal coach, a logopedist, or a phoniatr if you experience pain or exhaustion of any kind. Just to be sure!

Looking forward to hearing you si-hi-hi-hi-hi-hing. (Did you hear that goat, too?)

With love,

Ilse Huizinga

Donna Summer on Youtube – State Of Independance (1982)

Donna Summer on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Summer

About the Author:

Dutch jazz singer Ilse Huizinga is listed as one of the 500 best jazz singers of all times. In Scott Yanow’s (Downbeat) “The Jazz Singers, the ultimate guide”. To date, she has 8 albums and over 25 years of experience performing and coaching worldwide.
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