#4  The Mature Voice

I think the very best vocal pedagogy book I’ve read recently is Barbara Doscher’s The Functional Unity of the Singing Voice.  In this college text she expands and elaborates on all of the complex points of respiration, anatomy, phonation, the physical nature of sound, resonance, formants and registers, and then brings it all together in the gestalt of the functional unity of the singing voice.  She includes an Appendix I on vocal use and abuse and an Appendix II on vocal hygiene. What a wonderfully clear and concise manual she has created among stacks of technical volumes. 

Especially inspiring was a short section on the mature voice in Appendix I, which I feel gives great hope to so many of us who hope to sing our whole lives. She impresses that general physical health is a great asset to the maturing singer. Doscher explains that the basic differences between younger and older singers are the abilities to sing long phrases and to articulate clearly. Both of these skills are skills which can be nurtured and improved upon by exercise and continued practice.  She says “just as there are 60 year old marathon runners, there are singers like the legendary Giuseppi de Luca and Alfredo Krause” who sang beautifully into their 70s for the MET; her final words (which I echo) on the subject are “just do it!” 

Try This:

 For elongating your phrases; sing this sequence which gradually expands in length and range.  Be sure to take breaths only where the breath marks [‘] are. You can sing the numbers or use solfege i.e., do-re-do’ do-re-mi-re-do, etc. or any combination of vowels:

1-2-1’ 1-2-3-2-1’ 1-2-3-4-3-2-1’ 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1’ 1-2-3-4-5-6-5-4-3-2-1’ 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-6-5-4-3-2-1’ 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.

 For developing and maintaining the flexibility of your articulators use the consonant vowel combinations of [bla] and [tha].  The [bla] loosens your jaw and the [tha] requires flexibility of the tip of the tongue.  Use in any scale like passage alternating between the two.

Once this combination is easy, invent more difficult combinations for yourself.

Start slowly and build up speed. 


Have a very fine week,






Copyright © 2010 by Sarah Oppenheim-Beggs