The OOH, as in Moon, Vowel!
OOH is the most narrow vowel. You can feel OOH far back in the
mouth cavity. Pucker your lips and deliberately say OOH.
How does it feel in the back of your mouth?
Now say EEH like in Eagle and feel how it widens the shape of your mouth.
That will give you a comparison to how narrow the OOH shape is.
The OOH vowel makes the sound darker and gives it warmth.
Practicing scales on OOH will help to lower the position of the larynx.
How to practice OOH.
The best way to experience the pure shape of the OOH Vowel, or any other vowel,
is to use your thinking and your imagination. Here is how:
Sit straight and connect from the soles of the feet down into the ground and from the top of the head up to the ceiling. Watch your breathing. How high up in the chest or how low in the belly
do you feel your breath? How often do you breathe? How shallow or deep is your breath?
As you observe this your body will relax and your breath will too.
Little by little you can feel it in your lower belly. It is very important to take time for this step.
Slowing down can be painful but it is the only way for you to truly feel your
muscles and thus be able to relax them.
Now make a very soft sound. No particular vowel, just a sound. Almost only a vibration.
Start with the smallest sound you can make. The attack of the sound
should be without any push.
Try to precede the attack by creating a little bit of suction inside
the mouth. Imagine the way a cigar smoker puffs on his cigar.
He is sucking on his cigar he is not blowing air into the cigar.
You want to avoid pushing the air against the chords.
The slightest push and the chords will be hindered in their connection
with each other and as a result you will have to make more effort to sing.
Back to the OOH vowel. So you sit and you start the sound in a very gentle fashion as if sucking on it. You are looking for a way to vibrate the chords yet not involve
any muscles. Now linger on this gentle sound and start "hearing" the OOH inside your head.
Imagine hearing OOH. Imagine the chords getting closer together in the back of the throat. See the image of a closing curtain. ( Do you remember the narrowing action when you were saying OOH?)
The OOH vowel will definitely give you that sensation once it starts coming in.
Maybe you have to work for 10m before the OOH sound even appears. Never
"make" the sound just linger on your little hum with no vowel and then THINK the vowel
OOH. Really imagine that you are unable to move any muscles in your face or throat. Keep sounding that undefined vowel and keep THINKING the vowel OOH.
That is all you have to do. Sometimes it can take a few days of repeating this exercise
before you feel the muscles shape the OOH vowel. If that is the case then
just focus on relaxing all face muscles as you stay on the gentle sound.
When you take the breath between repeats always let the breath fall
into your belly as low as you can think it. Don't pull the air in!
Let the jaw be relaxed every time the breath "falls" into your belly.
When we hold tension in the jaw the breath stays shallow and does
not reach low into the body.
The moment the chords start to react to your thoughts the place from which the chords
are connecting will be much more deeply felt. It will feel as if it happens far back
in the throat and you will suddenly feel so much more control of you sound.
The sound will have a strong center to it and it will grow strong without you having
to push. If you get the attack right and without any push then you have a real
chance for the vowel to shape because of your thinking and not because of your doing.
The difference is huge because if you only think then the muscles will move as nature intended.
You will be surprised by the increase of control you will feel over your voice.
Jumps and leaps should be much easier now. Your legato will improve.
It's worth taking the trouble to think and not to do. It takes patients
but it is truly magic.