Music Notes

The Controlled Scream

 The famous Luciano Pavarotti, the greatest operatic tenor of the 20th century, was once asked how he sings the High C. His answer was, “basically, it’s a controlled scream.

A ‘scream’ in singing is a drastic concept, but to hear Pavarotti sing is to understand what he meant by the word ‘scream’ and to be aware that he used all of his voice, all of the time. This is not to say that he always sang loudly, but that he used his whole voice with great intensity in both his loud and soft singing.

Many singers, both young and old, have trouble getting to their whole voices and are even afraid or embarrassed to make that kind of sound. Many can’t believe that a big sound like that can emanate from themselves. Sometimes in a vocal coaching session I will demonstrate by saying a phrase or a word in my full voice and I will say that it’s like yelling at someone across the parking lot. If they will do it, they soon realize that the full voice is within them. It’s hard for some to find that sound and easy for others, but when they do it’s like a revelation and they discover that much more was inside. It can be a wonderful experience that can take singers into brand new places of their vocal and musical lives.

Some singers cringe at the idea of making an unpleasant or ugly sound and hesitate to go to this new place. I respond by saying that I have made thousands of really ugly sounds in practice or in a lesson and that you’ve got to make the ugly sounds before you can make the really beautiful sounds.

Singers may actually be afraid that someone will hear them and possibly even judge them. As we go further into this complete sound, we can get to the place where we look forward to letting people hear us and share with others how we feel about a particular song when we sing it. It feels good to finally share ourselves with other people. God has given each of us gifts that we can use to serve Him. Our goal is to use those gifts to the best of our abilities. Singing is a gift and a privilege. The primary purpose of music is to glorify God and bless others. Sometimes we are the vessel and the method by which beautiful music is conveyed. Find out if you may be one of those vessels.

Neil Breeden, Vocal Coach   – neil@neilbreeden.com – 615-440-2263