Reply To: Female singers and a male director

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I’m a male choir director and I’ve also had good results with female singers. With middle school and high school students, I always sing in my regular voice and rarely in falsetto, unless it’s to help the men with falsetto. I always work on getting a natural, free tone with my singers and never mention dark or bright vowels, or mature sound.

What exactly do you mean by “using our diaphraghm for energy”? Last year, I attended a session at an ACDA convention where members of NATS did a session on “vocal mistructions” (instead of instructions). One of the things they mentioned that is counter productive is saying “breathe from your diaphragm” because we always breathe with our diaphragm, even when we’re breathing poorly. What was an eye opener for me was that the panel said that men and women breathe differently! When getting my students thinking about breathing, my male students put their hands around their belly button. I ask my female students to place their hand, below their belly button. I’ll often tell my female singers ‘breathe from your pelvis”. I also have them do lots of sirens and lip trills. Also lots of hums on mm, nn, and ng. Sometimes I’ll have them sing something on a “v” or a “z”. Sometimes I have them speak like Julia Child.