Magic Choral Trick #18 Zzzzzzz
This great exercise brings the vocal production forward in the mouth for much more clarity of sound. Like the Brass Buzz, it creates a bit of back pressure and for reasons unknown to me acts like a reset button for the voice – especially if the muscles are getting a little tight or tired.
For my singing students I use this right at the very beginning of the lesson on the first technical exercise.
For choirs I often wait until we’re finished with the regular technique warm up and have them sing the first phrase of the first song to Zzzzzzz – just to get the placement solid.
Sometimes one of my choruses will arrive at the place where we’re singing the gig, and by the time we’ve dealt with unforeseen circumstances and we’re finally organized, there’s very little time to warm up. A nasty intense angry wasp-like sing through of a few phrases using Zzzzzzz – and we’re ready.
During rehearsal if I notice that the voices have shifted from their ideal placement, the first thing we do is Zzzzzzz the phrase we just sang, and that usually fixes it.
By the way – this is also a terrific exercise for extending the vocal range upwards. It’s much easier to sing high notes through Zzzzzzzz. Once a singer has sung the high notes this way – they realize that they can sing the note (more confidence) and that it was just the placement that needed to be corrected. (Just a note – daily practice of this technique will yield much better results than suddenly remembering it on the day of the gig. However, it’ll always make things better!)