Wanna sing BIG? Start small! Learn the secret of a tiny head voice!
The big deal about singing small… how a tiny head voice…
or A.K.A. Cuperto… can help you!
Watch American Idol, The Tony Awards, Grammys, or an Opera production and you’ll agree that it is the loud, sustained high notes that bring people to their feet.
The singer’s unbridled belt is met with cheers and whistles. And perhaps for those that desire to make their own “joyful noise,” this gift of wild applause gives them a portion of the artist’s own courage, vulnerability and freedom.
Because our mainstream culture encourages singers to deliver a high chest voice belt, many vocalists – student and professional – are “muscling” their way through their own singing, bringing unwanted tension, pressure, or “weight” to their vocal production.
This added pressure may show up in the voice as…
– Raspy tone
– Large vibrato
– Loss of range
– Lack of unity between registers
– Strained high notes
While it may appear to be counter-intuitive…
I believe the foundation for successfully singing bold high notes is to start small.
I have found in working with my students that developing a keen sense of how the sound in made on the minutest level brings great awareness and health when creating a full vocal sound.
One concept that that supports this intimate study is Cuperto.
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My world-class teachers taught me about Cuperto, or singing with a tiny head voice.
Cuperto vocal placement is a wonderful way to discover how to produce an easy tone with flexibility and clarity from throughout the vocal range.
Cuperto, as New York City voice teacher, David Jones writes, is “singing through a tiny mouth space with a large throat space.” And he goes on to say, “It is the very secret to giving a singer a professional sound without creating layers of tension on the larynx.” Click here to read the full article.
What’s so great about Cuperto?
It is created with…
– Low intensity
– Efficient vibration
– Open throat
– Lifted soft palate
– Deep core connection
– Tiny mouth space
Click below and watch exercises to help you discover Cuperto…
When we ignore the quiet, detailed workings of our voice we may unknowingly push or “muscle” our way through our singing. We may add unnecessary weight or pressure.
This tension may rob us of our vocal purity and flexibility.
It may even steal our singing longevity.
If you want to sing those crowd-pleasing, show-stopping notes…
– Start small
– Get quiet
– Move slowly
– Caress your voice with Cuperto exercises
– And have fun!
Explore your Cuperto register… it may be the way for you to have people on their feet again and again as you share your voice with courage, vulnerability and total vocal freedom.
I would love to hear from you in the comment section below and please share this post with your friends 🙂
Until next week… Rejoice In Your Voice™!
P.S. Would you like to take voice lessons?
Email me today for your free 30-minute singing lesson and voice assessment in-studio or via skype – my email: email@example.com
I look forward to hearing from you!
June 12, 2014
Thanks for sharing this. Although I don’t sing, I find your posts fascinating.
June 18, 2014
You are so welcome, Lilia 🙂 I am glad you like my posts. You never know… singing in the shower may become a powerful place for self-expression and you will have the tools to sing well and impress your neighbors 🙂 I appreciate you! Thanks!
June 13, 2014
As always, yet another brilliant, helpful lesson. I have some questions:
1. Where should your tongue and jaw be ideally placed when you are doing Cuperto exercises? Tongue is limp and jaw is hanging open on the inside?
2. When you did the octave exercises in the video, you changed the shape of your mouth and
lips between the ‘Aaah’ and the Cuperto ‘Ooos’ – what is the correct voice placement change – from the
hard palate/mouth area, then to the soft palate/back of mouth area?
3. Are Cuperto exercises always done using ‘Ooo’?
4. Would you recommend doing Cuperto exercises first before moving onto other warm ups like lip trills/bubbles, Ng exercises, singing vowels, etc. especially when preparing for early morning singing?
5. Do you think chanting is linked to Cuperto? I have found the voice to be a in very comfy place when doing these exercises, like chanting Latin hymns, articulating and extending vowels better, etc. Would you also recommend chanting as part of a daily vocal routine?
Cuperto feels comfortable – like going to bed with warm cosy socks and a good book (it’s Winter in Australia 🙂
And I love the idea of singing until at least 102 years old! Thanks so much for another great post.
June 18, 2014
You see, this is why I adore you Therese! Thank you so much for your awesome questions 🙂 Sorry for the delayed response… our summer schedule is a bit wonky 🙂 Here we go…
1. Yes, your tongue is relaxed and the tip is resting behind the bottom front teeth. Jaw is also relaxed in the down and back position. I had to learn to fall in love with my double chins 🙂
2.I like to have the ahhh and oooo in the same place – lifted soft palate. The ahhh may sound like it has more hard palate in it, but I believe this is because of the octave and the volume… where as the oooo is meant to be very tiny… but still withe lifted space of the soft palate. I feel my lips wrapping around the ahhh space to make the oooo – does that help. Write again if you need more clarification.
3. The teachers that have passed on the Cuperto exercises to me have always used oooo. But that is a good question… I will see what happens when I try different vowels.That will be a fun experiment.
4. I a going to let you go with your gut on this one… Over the years, I have found my favorite warm-up routine – but every student is different. I like to start with an easy hum while physically stretching out, then do lip trills. Next I do some Cuperto sighs, and then move on to the ng followed by some gentle iiii, oooo, and aaaa sounds. Get into the feel and let me know what works best for your voice.
5. I find chanting is different for me than Cuperto… although there may be similar sensations involved. They are both feel very easy, effortless, and can be done be done with a lifted soft palate. I can start with Cuperto and grow to a full voice chant. For me the difference is that most scared choir directors like chant to be straight tone and I find the tiny head voice, Cuperto, likes to allow for the vibration of breath to move freely… adding in the possibility of vibrato. I love Latin chant – very soothing – and I think adding that to your warm-up would be beautiful.. perhaps when you do… give yourself space to let the breath move freely and see how that feels.
I am thrilled that you liked this exercise and that you have found it comfortable in your voice. Yay! My mom is 84 year-old and still sings beautifully… you and I have many, many more years of singing to look forward to!
Thank you again for you wonderful comment. Truly makes my day! And please let me know if I may clarify any of the above notes.
Hugs to you! Happy singing 🙂
June 17, 2014
Cuperto? That’s a new vocabulary word for me! I think I can use these skills for public speaking. Although I don’t sing much these days, public speaking requires good vocal skills. Thanks for the post!
June 18, 2014
Thank you, Frances, for your comment 🙂 Definitely try these exercises before you do your next speaking gig… your voice will thank you!Let me know how it goes!
March 20, 2015
I enjoyed your video and have a very keen interest in the similar technique that you are describing. I am interested however where the word “Cuperto” comes from. Do you mean perhaps coperta, to blanket or cover? But then this would not be strictly correct in my thinking.
My description of what you describe would be focus or “Acuto”. This would be to focus the chords to meet cleanly in a smaller and cleaner way. Starting with the (squeaky) and resonating top down, forward to the mask. Focusing to a point bringing the resonance all the way down through the passaggio.
March 23, 2015
Hi Simon, thank you so much for your comment. Wonderful to hear from you. I am glad you liked the video. For more explanation about where the word comes from and the technique, here is a link to an article written by David Jones, a New York Vocal Coach. @http://www.voiceteacher.com/cuperto.html In my study, with teachers from Austria, England, New York and LA, I have never heard it called coperta or acuto. My understanding of the sensation is more like a small whistle rather than a squeak. Using an open throat and tiny embouchure, it brings together the thin edges of the the vocal folds very cleanly and like you said… promotes a balanced resonance throughout the vocal registers. I would love to learn more about coperta and acuto. Do you have an article to recommend or perhaps when your time allows you could explain them to me in more detail? Thank you again for your questions. I hope this helped. Best wishes in your work 🙂 Have a beautiful week!
May 29, 2015
I was wondering when it is possible to add a bit of edge in the head voice?
June 2, 2015
Hello, Lorenzo ~ Do you mind explaining to me a little more what you mean by adding a bit of edge to the head voice? I want to make sure I don’t lead you down the wrong path…