Friday, 5 September 2014

Fiona Mackenzie and the emerging chest voice

Fiona Mackenzie came back for a lesson today. She who has been all through Conservetoire, sung in many prestigious venues including the Wigmore Hall, and who now wants to get back on the vocal path and head towards fulfilling her enormous potential and start going to auditions and singing to conductors and generally doing the professional round of vocal 'tests', has made her decision and will give it all a big push!

The voice rest since finishing her master's degree has allowed for a more relaxed approach to her technique, and a new found determination to study repertoire suitable to 'bread and butter' singing jobs ! She is a very fine Mezzo, but rather a higher than lower timbre, so she has always steered clear from the standard oratorio worked which tend to be for absolute vocal ranges, and mezzo and baritone parts do not figure much !

We opted to give The Messiah arias a go first. I know from my own experience that the alto arias are tricky for a mezzo, just in the slightly wrong area of voice, and plunging down to the low B flats or A's can be very uncomfortable. Now I have taught Fiona since she was 15, and the chest register has always been a difficult and somewhat uncomfortable place for her, but today we tackled it head on and she produced some exciting and dak chest notes which really rang around my music room !

A happy and comfortable chest register is sometimes like a good wine. It needs time to mature, and after the appropriate time, what is produced is rich, warm and like a very delicious gravy ! Very often the only journey to an easy transition from middle register to chest is 'years', and no amount of pushing or experimenting will make it work until it is ready to flow out of the vat !

Fiona's tone quality is like a rich Cabernet Sauvignon ! Full bodied, spicy and chocolatey. She has come out from the years maturing and is ready to hit the oratorio world !

Well done that voice !

The chest voice of the wine world !


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