Blogging from work now. Oops.
I made a discovery about tone and resonance in an incredibly concise practice session yesterday.
At the ARIA master class in 2010, Judith Mendenhall instructed us to play with "3 balloons in your chest and 3 eggs in your mouth" to help us remember that space in the mouth is important for resonance.
I was reminded of the space in my mouth while practicing Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. I played this excerpt for my Ohio State audition in January and it led Katherine Borst Jones to give me a mini-lesson on resonance right on the spot. She instructed me to "drop my Adam's apple" at the time.
Yesterday, however, I noticed that when I try to "drop my jaw" or "open my throat," I do just that. I try. I did achieve some slight improvement after I instructed myself to "open my throat," but before I got too excited, I considered that there might be a better way.
Effortless is the way to go!
I released tension in my mouth. I stopped forcing and just allowed myself to feel a larger volume of space. Simply changing my approach to become less "do this" and more "allow this" made a wonderful difference. I noticed that "open throat" feeling without actually having to do anything.
The "It-feels-like-I'm-doing-nothing-and-yet-my-tone-is-gorgeous-and-I-have-enough-air" feeling is the best.
Asking myself "How effortless can I make _________?" helps me get there.