Friday, July 9, 2010

NATS National Convention 2010 Salt Lake City

I am recently back from the NATS (National Teachers of Singing) Convention in Salt Lake City Utah. It seems that there is a buzz at every NATS national convention and this time, the buzz was all about teaching belting. There were four workshops covering the subject this time: everything from teaching kids how to belt to teaching "super" belt.

I went to three out of four of the workshops and I have a better sense of how to teach it. I started out singing musical theater as many young teens do, and learned how to engage a heavier mechanism (AT vs. CT). Then when I went to college, I had to learn how to use a lighter mechanism--or head voice (CT) From there, I was able to smooth all the registers out.

I wonder about the ease and/or difficulty of learning head voice after one has spent a significant amount of time singing in a belting style. Belt necessarily means more pressure on the larynx than is used in a classical production. For me, it was quite difficult to undo. It took a long time and I still find that I can exert too much pressure on the larynx when I sing.

On the flip side, I still love musical theater. I have a fair amount of mix in my mid range and though it isn't belt, it is a meatier sound. One of the most interesting aspects of belting vs the classical sound, is the size of the mouth. In belting, the mouth is more open and wider for much of the range. In classical vocal production, the aperture is smaller for most of the range.

So the question is: What is belt? Is it that meatier sound? Is it "super" belt? Is it the sound we hear in R & B?

Lots to think about I think.

For further information, check out Lisa Popeil's website. She was one of the presenters at the conference.