Michael Jackson – Jackson Five – ABC – Cover – Sara Loera – Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy
Michael Jackson (The “King” Of Pop) had one of the longest standing careers in all of Pop Music History.
Beginning in 1964 (a year after I was born), The “Jackson Brothers”
(which later became “The Jackson 5”), dominated the pop music charts.
Michael went on to carry that pop music torch all the way until his passing in 2009. (45 years!).
Not many artists can boast that kind of longevity.
For this demonstration purpose, (with utmost respect of Michael’s musical integrity), I want to point out some aspects of why Sara Loera and I chose “ABC” by the Jackson 5.
Obviously Michael was still pre-pubescent (before puberty). And a stark contrast can be observed between his years with the Jackson 5 and his long standing solo career.
In this case, Michael’s voice hadn’t “dropped” yet. (we also see this in artists like Justin Bieber).
Learning how to “work through” this change is an important aspect to retaining as much range as possible.
Before puberty, boys and girls have roughly similar vocal pitch, but during puberty the male voice typically deepens an octave, while the female voice usually only deepens by a few notes.
Most of the voice change begins around puberty. Adult pitch is reached
2-3 years later, but the voice does not stabilize until the early years of adulthood. It usually happens months or years before the development of significant facial hair. Under the influence of androgens, the voice box, or larynx, grows in both sexes. This growth is far more prominent in boys than in girls and is more easily perceived. It causes the voice to drop and deepen. Along with the larynx, the vocal folds (vocal cords) grow significantly longer and thicker.
The facial bones begin to grow as well. Cavities in the sinuses, the nose, and the back of the throat grow bigger, thus creating more space within the head to allow the voice to resonate. Occasionally, voice change is accompanied by unsteadiness of vocalization in the early stages of untrained voices. Due to the significant drop in pitch to the vocal range, people may unintentionally speak in head voice or even strain their voices using pitches which were previously chest voice, the lowest part of the modal voice register.
Historical changes in the average age of puberty have had profound effects on the composing of music for children’s voices. The composer Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) was known for typically singing parts in high pitches throughout his seventeenth year.
Unchanged voices were in high demand for church choirs, which historically excluded women. The British cathedral choir ideal remains based on boy sopranos (or trebles), with the alto part executed by adult countertenors. But in German-speaking countries the alto parts as well are sung by boys.
Historically, a strategy for avoiding the shift altogether was castration. (Yikes!) Castrati are first documented in Italian church records from the 1550s. Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, Allegri’s Miserere and parts of Handel’s Messiah were written for this voice, whose distinctive timbre was widely exploited in Baroque opera. In 1861 the practice of castration became illegal in Italy, and in 1878 Pope Leo XIII prohibited the hiring of new castrati by the church. The last castrato was Alessandro Moreschi (1858-1922) who served in the Sistine Chapel Choir.
OK, let’s NOT do that again! (Whew! makes me talk high just thinking about it!)
Now; while certain aspects of this change cannot be avoided, we can train the voice to “stretch safely” through this transition.
Understanding how to stretch the voice is a necessary cornerstone to the longevity of good vocal health.
Sara’s natural registration is much lower (as is witnessed in songs we have covered like the Carpenter’s Rainy Days And Mondays). We had to work on setting her timbre and pitch up high to be able to capture this kind of high pitched-tone. (In this video, Sara gets to sing in the rafters instead of me!)
I cover all of this in my singing course called “How To Sing Better Than Anyone Else.”
We hope you enjoy this duet between Sara and me 🙂
Ken Tamplin Vocal Academy – Where The PROOF Is In The Singing!
Watch this 30 second before and after video of a student who took the course:
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