Handel's Care Selve has several sustained A flats in the melody. Coloraturas like me just looooove those high notes, but D., my student, was having a tough time with them. As she reached for the high note, the sound would just disappear. She was frustrated. I knew it would be pedagogically unhelpful to issue orders such as "move your tongue out of the way, relax your lips and jaw, and let your larynx fall so your sound waves can efficiently exit your vocal tract."
Instead, we talked about long legs and shoes.
I am not Nicole Kidman, so I am always trying to make my legs look longer. D. sympathized. I love high waisted skirts and I avoid tunics. I still pine for the nude-toned high heel sandals (from Payless, no less), that made my legs look positively Amazonian for seven glorious years, before they stretched out and became unwearable. I adore D'Orsay style pumps, because when I show off a little more of my foot, voila! Legginess!
The trick to instantly longer legs is to pay attention to what goes on your feet. Do that, and you'll see immediate improvement. The trick to singing high notes effortlessly is to recall what it feels like to sing low notes effortlessly. Do that, and the high notes will be easy, easy, easy. Follow?
D. realized that she was so focused on aiming for the high notes, she had tensed and constricted the very muscles that need to relax and soften. . . in order to sing the high notes!
When she spent a few moments recalling the physical sensation of singing lower pitches, her face and larynx relaxed (she watched it happen in the mirror) . . and the A flats popped out, effortlessly and beautifully. To aim high, think low.
And now . . . . I wonder what's new at Zappos? . . . .