QUOTE(Seer_Green @ Sep 27 2011, 10:42 PM)
I cannot roll my Rs either and have never been able to. I was originally given to understand it was either something you could or couldn't do, though singing teachers seem divided on this. That said, of the three singing teachers I've had, none of them have been able to successfully teach me this
I had always believed you could or you couldn't and that if you hadn't managed it by the time you were 20 you would never do it. I had got through university and through a year at the RAM as a singer and I was still having to compromise.
I could do three different Rs:
1)The r that comes from the protruding lips and the teeth just touching the inside of the bottom lip. This can often come out as a w and sometimes as a v (I remember telling a steward at a music festival that our recorder group was playing Serenade, and it went down on the mark sheet as 7-ade! This is the sort of r that is being attempted by people who end up saying Woy Wogers.
2)I could purr like a cat. This was the nearest I could get to a rolled r and what I had to use for years, but it wasn't very satisfactory. It was nearer to the spoken French r (but in classical music the French use a rolled, Italian r!) This I had always been able to do on my voice, and I felt it rolling in the back of my throat.
3)I learnt to do a flipped r - often used by Americans to sound English, so I was told - whcih is a single flick of the tip of the tongue against the ridge behnd the teeth, from curled up to straight. Best practised by saying "hoddible" and "Ameddica" with no friction at all on the d part, just keep it very light, and don't let your lips try to do it too, as it my first example. I understood, the year I lived in America, that it was used to try to get rid of the American R which wasn't rolled either, just came from almost closing the back teeth completely. I was flummoxed when my singing teacher over there told me the first thing I needed to getwas a "meer" a what? "a meer. A full length meer so you can see your face and your posture"
BUT THEN: I was about 22-23 and thought I was just one of those people who couldn't, and someone said something which triggered it for me. The trouble is that everyone describes what it feels like to them, and if it doesn't feel like that to you, it won't work for you. This person said something about letting it come rolling right down the middle of your tongue until it reached the tip. I purred, adding the voice, and for me it worked. I've since managed to get someone else to do it by asking for a good strong sung purr and then lifting a relaxed and fairly thin-flat tongue position which was behind the teeth but not quite touching the teeth and not quite touching the ridge either. The purr should - OK, if you're lucky, the purr might - set the tip of the tongue vibrating. I can now say and sing that word, "vibrating", with all those four different rs, and they all sound completely different.
I'm afraid it all boils down to getting the right "trigger" for you. (Hmm, back to Woy Wogers again?)