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"NG" Exercise - Why I Don't Recommend it
September 13, 2014
11:42 pm
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Phil Moufarrege
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The "ng" exercise is often recommended to learn how to navigate from chest voice to head voice smoothly. I personally do not recommend this exercise. Watch the video to find out why.
If you have personally benefited from this exercise or if you are a vocal coach and find it has helped singers then please don't take my video as an attack on what you are doing - keep doing what works! All comments/questions welcome of course. Enjoy!

http://Grow-The-Voice.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8AgmqBAcPY

@PhilMoufarrege
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September 14, 2014
3:51 am
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OwenKorzec
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Great video, left a comment on it.

Good job providing completely new information too. Never heard any other coach ever say this before but I know from our training it makes perfect sense.

September 14, 2014
9:08 am
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Martin H
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I believe that the NG can be very useful in various circumstances:

- It's a semi-occluded phonation which helps in registration.
- It keeps the tongue high which helps keep the larynx from lowering too much and thereby making it easier to reach higher notes.
- It's great for learning the melody, because it doesn't stress the voice very much during the learning process, and it's easier to hear the pitches + you can really pay attention to the laryngeal movements.
- And the best thing about it is what EVT calls "mironing" (mouthing + sirening). A long with learning the melody you can also articulate the lyrics (the jaw, lips and tongue is mostly free) with minimum stress.

So it's a great tool when learning new songs. Very often tensions creep in when learning new things and the NG is great at minimizing that when getting the melody and lyrics into the muscle- memory.

Usually when singers have problems with NG it's because they push too much and use too much volume. :)

September 14, 2014
10:06 am
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TommyTheHat
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"It's not how many notes you know. It's what you do with them."

September 14, 2014
3:45 pm
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Jens
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Ouch my favourite exercise of all time :) really opened up my highrange

September 14, 2014
7:13 pm
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Phil Moufarrege
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haha I'm glad you all found benefit in it. As for me I prefer humming or an OO because I can still keep that open feeling in the back. I have encountered too many singers that have that dropped soft palate NG sound in all of their singing and really don't need that further embedded :)

@PhilMoufarrege
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September 14, 2014
10:55 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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I think most of the problems happen due to how it´s used and presented.

It´s a very useful exercise because there is a lot of occlusion and it kinda hits one of the problem areas directly: tongue height and soft palate. People confuse useful with magic though, and it´s thrown around as a recipe for solving all kinds of problems, registration, power, lack of money, uglyness and probably even cancer :P.

In my opinion, just like all other similar exercises, occluded or not, if done well and with purpose, it can be helpfull, if not... It´s better to not use it, just sing.

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

September 15, 2014
1:30 am
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Phil Moufarrege
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Felipe Carvalho said lack of money, uglyness and probably even cancer :P.

LOL!
Could you give me an example of when you would personally use this exercise for someone? What kind of situation would it be (what problem they are experiencing), and what would you be getting them to focus on and what would the desired result be from it? And why you would choose it over say a "hum" (where there is more clarity in the sound)?

Thanks Felipe. Btw I'll get those clips you were asking for to you shortly.

@PhilMoufarrege
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September 15, 2014
12:57 pm
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Felipe Carvalho
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Well, a simple example, someone that is starting to work on mix/head resonance. In a lot of cases the tongue will be retracting and the person will be convinced that all that is possible is to break into falsetto.

So NG + go strong starting from a high pitch can work very well, without giving it much thought. But just as an idea to explore, not to consolidate anything.

Later on, the same NG can be done with focus on the tongue and soft palate, to develop better control and then reposition the vowels...

Or maybe to help reposition a consonant that is causing problems, G or K...

But there are tons of ways to look into the same, if a "guh" is more relaxed for example, you can first position using it, then position the vowels, and then fix the humming.

I think there are a lot of possible applications, but it depends so much on how it's executed... For example, you mentioned the more "open humming" (lol), in fact it should not feel so different from it, just more pressure against the soft palate, that's all. No holds, no blocking, no "swallowed" voice, which is what a lot of people do on: NG, yawn, dopey, etc. Which on it's turn is exactly the coordination that needs to be corrected... I think it's what you were talking about in the video too, and it's also what Martin mentioned.

Edit: Just to clarify I don´t mean to disagree with what you said, I think you are spot on, I just think it´s not really a fault of the NG but of the preachers, similar to what people do with lip bubbles and tongue trills. It´s helpful, but not THAT helpful, for example: saw a loonie saying that some dude trained his voice to be "monstruous" by just sitting down at the piano and doing lip bubbles daily during 6 months...

Confused Just... no.

Felipe Carvalho
Singer and Voice Teacher in Brasil - São Paulo

September 16, 2014
11:05 pm
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Marnell Sample
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I agree with you, Felipe. I've found the NG can be useful for helping one to experience a high, bright, clear resonance. It's hard to point exactly to the place in the center of the skull where you can really feel a focused tone at; the NG helps one to experience it on their own. It is, however, only a starting point, and largely depends on how a person does it. If someone came to me doing the NG the way Phil demonstrated in his video, then I would recommend that they cease the exercise. (Doing that exercise in that manner does close off the throat, as he alluded to in the video.)

When I do a hum, however, the "placement" feels very similar to when I do an NG, N, M or vowel for that matter. They shouldn't feel that far off from each other. Like you said, it's a matter of just learning to coordinate it all properly. Some people naturally find a good coordination on the NG, while others don't. Once you get a sense of where the resonance is supposed to go, then you still have to learn how to coordinate all your vowels. There is no shortcut around that.

September 17, 2014
12:22 am
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Phil Moufarrege
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Thanks for the input guys.

@PhilMoufarrege
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Grow-The-Voice.com | PHILMOUFARREGE.com

September 17, 2014
12:18 pm
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IAm
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I am far more comfortable with NN and MM humming than I am with NG. But that's just me... my body, my stage in development, and my unique brain-pan contents. I have a big fat tongue and NG to me just feels like I have a mouth full of steak. Laugh

"There is still a future with music, because people want music." - MJK

September 17, 2014
2:59 pm
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TommyTheHat
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"It's not how many notes you know. It's what you do with them."

September 17, 2014
3:50 pm
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IAm
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TommyTheHat said

Coming from a technique based background and having kind of a free flowing constant state of flux type of mind and philosophy, I use it all. Kind of mix and match. I don't learn things and place them neatly in a file marked (insert file name here). So NG for me isn't necessarily just an NG exercise. it is a fundamental that helps me learn certain aspects of singing and voice placement etc. So, while I also like humming, and NN or MM and similar things for practice that doesn't mean I can't apply NG to those things or vice versa. Or at least the "feel" of NG. It doesn't have to be heavy or so pronounced. Just the feel of it or bringing the sound/note up...or whatever. It helps me move the humming around my head and experiment.

Basically mix techniques or ideas and experiment. Somethings I don't even practice as a typical exercise. I use it in a particular part of a song and I sing the technique adjusting as needed. So rather than have just an exercise, I have it within the context of what i am practicing for. I can practice hitting the heavy bag with perfect technique all day and actually become "perfect." But that is only perfect technique. And it is only on a bag that isn't moving and hitting me back. I need to apply and "adjust' on the fly, i the actual task at hand.

And that is the Tommy philosophy!!! Laugh

I can dig it! Heck, I might have one day found a use for NG, had mother nature not decided to cram a cow tongue into my human mouth... Laugh

I resonate with this sentiment though, in all seriousness. I'm pretty sure you've got way more singing experience under your belt than I do and with all of that practice in-tow, a JKD-esque approach to the skill should serve you rather well. I'm already to that point with my guitar playing, being that I'm not bound by stricture. There's what works for me on stage or in studio, and what doesn't, and I'll abide accordingly.

You're a proper-sharp dude, Tommy! Smile

"There is still a future with music, because people want music." - MJK

September 17, 2014
4:07 pm
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TommyTheHat
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Have you ever tried NG without moving the tongue? Just placing the sound? Well....as best you could anyway fighting the natural reactions of the bodyLaugh

Caution: of course, with any exercise or practice you have to be careful not to ingrain into your CNS the wrong signals. In other words don't make habit the wrong thing!!!!

"It's not how many notes you know. It's what you do with them."

September 17, 2014
5:11 pm
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IAm
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TommyTheHat said

Have you ever tried NG without moving the tongue? Just placing the sound? Well....as best you could anyway fighting the natural reactions of the bodyLaugh

Caution: of course, with any exercise or practice you have to be careful not to ingrain into your CNS the wrong signals. In other words don't make habit the wrong thing!!!!

Well no, to be honest! But I just now did! About 10 times or so.

When I do, it sounds and feels *nearly* identical to a NN sound! The NN feels slightly more "Forward" than the NG, but both still feel predominately "upward".

"There is still a future with music, because people want music." - MJK

September 17, 2014
5:25 pm
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TommyTheHat
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"It's not how many notes you know. It's what you do with them."

September 17, 2014
5:42 pm
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TommyTheHat said

Yea....for each individual I guess it would be different. Just something to try and either use or discard.

Agreed! Each of our bodies are unique. I'm always happy to play around with new concepts. Being as I'm under Phil's tutelage, and him having never suggested I needed it, it simply never crossed my mind.

For whatever reason, I am quite amused at how similar this sounds to NN for me. I've laughed out loud 3 times already.

TommyTheHat said
...Imitate your favorite singers...

...When I was a kid i was the class clown. Part of my humor was making fun of or imitating people. Mimicking is a great tool. I tried to imitate (mimic) singers also.

Ah, we've got some things in common there! Many of my schoolteachers wished I'd crawl into a hole and die! Hah!
I am, as well, pretty comfortable with mimicry. Phil can attest to that actually, having remarked on that in one of our sessions.

TommyTheHat said
Just keep singing man.

My pleasure, you got it sir! I can't seem to help myself! Laugh

"There is still a future with music, because people want music." - MJK

September 17, 2014
5:51 pm
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TommyTheHat
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"It's not how many notes you know. It's what you do with them."

September 17, 2014
6:26 pm
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IAm
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TommyTheHat said

Just a note IAm. I'm just tossing out ideas and opinions here based on how i approach things. That doesn't mean they are sound ideasLaugh

I'm just a student bro. I don't really know too much technically.

Ah no worries there my man. I'm not going to go nuts throwing a half-hour of NG into my routine or anything, haha! No harm done whatsoever. I like playing around with noises. Smile

"There is still a future with music, because people want music." - MJK

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