What is TCM?

 

TCM is an evidence-based approach to vocal health and singing. Created by British voice researcher and teacher Allan Wright, TCM synthesizes 15 years of research in vocal physiology, acoustics, vocal rehabilitation and vocal pedagogy.

 

 




TCM offers singers and voice professionals the benefits of empirically supported techniques.

  • Throughout France and the UK, TCM is now widely used in voice studios where singers come to develop and maintain a healthy, successful singing voice, as well as in clinical settings where injured singers or speakers seek vocal rehabilitation.

 

The following is a translation of Allan Wright’s article “La Technique du Chanteur Moderne”, published on the Chanteur Moderne website:

Are you looking for:

  • Easier access to your upper range?
  • More control over dynamics?
  • More expressivity?
  • More projection or resonance?
  • A healthy, enduring voice, without discomfort or fatigue?
  • A self-assured singing or speaking voice?
  • Practical tools that are fun to use and give you more vocal versatility?

TCM may help you!

Evidence-based vocal technique

TCM stands for Technique du Chanteur Moderne (Technique for the Modern Singer). It is a rational approach to vocal technique based solely on the physiological and acoustical workings of the voice. TCM is based upon the latest findings in vocal science research and divides the voice into three systems working together towards a healthy, balanced phonation. Since it is so closely connected with current advancements in vocal science, TCM approach is an organically evolving approach: as our understanding of the human voice evolves, so does TCM.

A basic tenet of the TCM approach is that any sound can be produced healthily, provided that the relevant vocal parameters are set and used in an optimal way. Even though science is at the core of the approach, training with TCM is not about learning the names of all the muscles and cartilages involved - unless you want to! Rather, it is about developing practical, fun ways to bring more versatility to the voice and do away with vocal fatigue.

There are no stylistic bias or preferences, no rules about what your voice should sound like – just science, cool tools to play with, and a healthy, balanced voice as the outcome. And if you really want to, you can always pick the teacher’s brains for physiological explanations.

A brief overview of TCM

TCM looks at the voice as a machine comprised of three systems:

  1. A system that provides compression (lungs, thorax, abdomen)
  2. A system that provides vibration (larynx, vocal folds)
  3. A system that provides resonance (vocal tract)

A mnemonic for this, in French, is CCC, as in “Corps, Cordes & Conduit”. To this translator, only BLT comes to mind as an apt mnemonic for English speakers:

  • Body
  • Larynx
  • Tract

All three systems interact dynamically: whenever a setting has been modified in one system, the other two will be affected in turn. It is therefore impossible to consider one element in isolation: the voice is a functional unity.

Conventional vocal training often gives too much importance to the compression system while neglecting the other two. TCM considers that all three systems need to work together for optimal vocal health and vocal efficiency.

The TCM training process is then two-fold:

  1. Finding the right balance between all three spheres in order to ensure vocal health – a necessity, regardless of the style one sings in.
  2. Exploring stylistic options in accordance to the musical style one practices or wants to sing in.

TCM-trained singers know what differs vocally between, let’s say, operatic singing and gospel; these differences will be filed under “stylistic options”; they are also aware of what is common to both styles, namely the dimension of healthy phonation. Understanding the relevance of this two-tier approach opens up a wealth of possibilities: switching from one style of singing to another, singing without fatigue, singing with more power, etc.

TCM is widely sought after by singers, teachers, speech therapists, lecturers, vocal instructors and many other voice professionals. More information about our workshops and training sessions by clicking here.

A few surprising facts

  • Breath control is managed by abdominal and back muscles and by the vocal folds!
  • Our diaphragm offers no sensory feedback –we can’t feel it! Moreover, it contracts during the inbreath; since we sing on the outbreath, our diaphragm will be – almost – inactive during singing.
  • Intonation problems often arise from incorrect tongue use rather than from pitch issues.
  • Extreme vocal sounds such as screaming and distortion are part of our natural vocal repertory.
  • Relaxation is the opposite of what is required to produce certain sounds: when we relax, our voice may flip! It is paramount to know where an effort should and should not be placed.
  • Our larynx should be mobile! A larynx that is set too low is a major cause of muscular dysphonia in singers.

Text and images © Allan Wright, used with kind permission. Please, visit Chanteurmoderne.com for more infos, tips and goodies!