I’m asked sometimes about the volume level we should use when we’re practising our technical exercises.
My Bel Canto teacher Luigi used to tell me that technique should be sung with ‘a mezzo forte thought’ – meaning not too loud, but don’t hold back.
Imagine that you want to speak distinctly and clearly to someone in the next room. Not only does this give you a good idea of the kind of volume you want to be using, but it’s a useful tool to help with placement – placement that is the same as you would use to project your speaking voice a distance of about 30 feet.
Try saying these vowels with this image above in mind.
Ay, Ee, Ah, Oh, Oo
Now say them again at the same volume, but elongate the vowels a bit. (Remember that the listener is still 30 feet away)
Next, sing/chant them all on the one note – with a little time on each vowel. See if you can sing them on a pitch that’s quite close to one you used to speak them. However, most of us press our voices down a bit in pitch when we speak – so a bit higher would probably be better.
While still imagining that you’re trying to make these vowels understood 30 feet away, try singing them (all on the one note) using the Lip Ring
( https://betterchoirs.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/magic-choral-trick-149-lip-ring/ )
If the placement is far enough forward – and the Lip Ring should make this happen – there should be no tension or discomfort in the throat as you sing your technique exercises at this volume.