I received this insightful question from Jared in a comment on my post about being pitchy, and I thought is was definitely worth sharing with the group.
You mention diction as being a potential problem when it comes to pitch. Does this mean, for instance, that a singer who is attempting to sing in another language that he/she cannot pronounce very well, it can cause slight pitchiness?
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Good question! I hadn’t thought of that scenario, but YES. Whether struggling with a native tongue or a new language the issue is the same. Namely, if the articulators (lips, tongue, teeth) don’t absolutely know what they must be doing it can lead to pitch struggle.
The exercise I find most helpful is to learn to sing each note on the perfect vowel sound for that note. No consonants; just vowel sound. For example: “Oh, how I love you,” becomes “Oh, ah-oo ah-ee uh oo.” I have my students learn to sing the full song on the inherent sounds and it cleans up all kinds of things. In a group or choir setting the results are amazing as it gets everyone, no matter what their speech patterns, “on the same page.” Hope this helps. Our Complete Diction and Complete Blend CD’s are really strong in helping with these areas.