So, I’ve fallen off the wagon

It happens, right? Even though I know that keeping my voice “in shape” means doing my exercises daily, I haven’t been practising what I preach.

Oh, I have my excuses…it started with a bad cold in the fall, and then I was so busy at Christmas….I never had any time for vocalizing. And then we set into this cold, long winter, and well, I just haven’t felt like it. Did I mention this winter is cold and looooonnnnnngggg?

Well excuses, no more! My voice has definitely suffered. My second passagio is breathy, and my third one is almost non-existent!

Stay tuned. I will be vocalizing morning and night for about 30 minutes each, and singing songs for another two hours.That’s a total of 3 hours singing per day.

I figure if I write it down for the world to see, I will do it! I will return my voice to that sweet sound once again.

I will keep you posted about my improvements. Why not join me? It’s more fun to exercise together!


The “ng” exercise

Do you ever ask yourself why you do all these exercises?

Each exercise is designed to bring an awareness about a correct coordination that is essential for good singing technique. When you exercise your voice by doing the same coordination over and over again, your larynx will begin to build “muscle memory” and it will become easier over time. It is crucial, however, that you are actually doing the exercise correctly. This is no different than going to the gym to tone the muscles of your body.

One coordination is sliding through your entire range using the “ng” sound, such as in “sing.” I especially like this exercise because it draws close attention to the back of the mouth and tongue area, and the front of the face where you feel the resonance.

Start by saying “sing”. Notice when you reach the end of the word “ng”, your tongue rises to the roof of your mouth in the soft palate (the soft fleshy part at the back). You are actually closing your nasal port and stopping the sound from leaving your mouth. This allows for just head resonance.

Now try to say “sing” in your head register, and hold out the “ng”. (Notice I said say the word “sing” and don’t sing the word “sing”). Take the time to feel this. Don’t push it, and don’t strain. Allow yourself to “just be” in your head register. This may feel like falcetto. You should do all these exercises slowly and quietly. Take note of the sensations. If it is too high, take the note lower.

Can you keep your tongue up and touching the soft palate? If you feel yourself straining in the throat, start over and again “allow” the note to be in your head voice. If you are having trouble staying “connected”, then start over and do it very quietly and very “small”. Does that make it easier?

This coordination is key to building resonance and developing strength in the vocal cords near the edges, as well as stretching the cords (thyroid cartilage tilt). It also brings awareness to the back of the tongue and whether this area is causing you strain.  If you can’t stay connected, then do everything in falcetto. If you do this everyday as much as you can, you will eventually gain enough strength to stay “connected” to your speech level.  (Note, this may make you sound like a cartoon character).

It is very important that you use your body energy and awareness to help with this coordination. In other words, all the “effort” happens below your throat! Do it slowly and quietly, and visualize the fine edges of your vocal cords trying to stay together. Visualize your voice box tilting and stretching to allow the resonance in your face.

Note, you may try and use the wrong muscles of the throat and tongue to “help” you with the sound you are trying to create. This is called constriction. This is why you must be aware. You must take the time and “allow” this sensation. Keep a “happy” or “smile” sensation in your throat to avoid constriction.  It may be something you have never fully felt before. When resonating correctly it should be free, light, forward, buzzy, maybe brassy, and SMALL. Yes, it should feel small!

Learn to love the smallness of your voice!

Questions? Comments? Please let me know.


It’s time to build

So, you are mixing. You have control of your larynx (not too high, not too low), and you are accessing the edges of your cords everyday through exercise, and getting good closure throughout your range. What’s next?

Build up of the voice to the next level is not effortless. In fact, the next level happens beneath the vocal cords. It’s your breathing.

That’s it. Maybe now it’s time to step it up and take in more breath.  But be careful, this does not mean let more breath out.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

If you are mixing with good resonance and cord closure (as mentioned in paragraph #1), then it’s time to make your body work harder.

Practise taking in deep breaths that make your belly extend. Hold it there. Feel the suspended feeling? Feel the buoyance to your upper chest and body? Feel the pressure build up down yonder in your genitals and rear end? There are many visuals that can help you achieve this sensation.

1. Imagine an open umbrella where the cover moves freely, in your abdomen (the open top imitating your rib cage). Not an umbrella that collapses, but an umbrella that waves from open to a little less open in a suspended, wavy but firm, motion (this is you breathing in and out).

2. Imagine holding up one of those plastic, floating, swimming devices around your mid to upper abdomen.  Keep in mind that you must still breath in and out, and keep this sensation of holding up the floating device. Feel the relaxed nature of the rest of your entire body as your abdomen and ribs are expanded while you breath. Notice as you take in the air, the device will tighten a bit around your upper abdomen. The abdomen will naturally fall in a little as you expel some air, but the sensation of holding up the device remains at all times. If this is totally uncomfortable or you feel lightheaded, then take in less air, and engage in these sensations and visualizations using less air.

3. As you expel air while breathing, engage in the pressure feeling of bearing down and build up that happens below your belly button. Control this feeling, learn to love this feeling, get familiar to this feeling; this is your breath support. Once you tap into the sensation of pressure build up in the lower abdominal area, genital and butt area, simply experience it while breathing. Remind yourself that this is your new way of breathing. This is the sensation that you will carry with you all day long while you continue to practise your new way of breathing.

You can use these sensations every minute of every day to help with your voice. You will notice your speaking voice will “pop” with ease when speaking. You will notice the rest of your body (your arms, legs, neck, head, jaw) simply relax into this unique, natural body effort that comes from deep within.

This way of breathing will help you in all facets of your life. You will feel more energy and more alive. Try to find that balance where you can manage these sensations throughout your entire day; not just when you’re singing.

Questions? Comments? I look forward to answering any questions.

Why I Chose Seth Riggs…

I’ve been training and teaching voice for many years. I’ve always found it fascinating why some people can sing sooooo beautifully and others have such trouble, with or without vocal coaching. Some people are just born with the freedom and ease of singing more than others………….or are they?

I first came across Speech-Level Singing and Seth Riggs when looking online for more vocal information. Seth Riggs’ “Singing for the Stars” was the best thing I ever found. Here is a technique that finally makes sense. No more manipulating your face, your body, focusing on your diaphragm and breath, but rather a technique that simply gives the vocal cords a good work-out. Very much like going to the gym. Finally exercises that take you through as much as an octave and a half of your vocal range in ONE SCALE. Now this makes sense. Flexibility and ease getting from your chest voice to your head voice in one scale EVERY TIME.

This was the first time I’d ever heard of “mixed voice”. Again, what a concept for a pop singer! Speech-Level Singing that uses a strong chest voice in the “mix” is what most singers are looking for these days. We all want to have a powerful, strong voice that can sing on and on and on…..

I’ve since joined the Seth Riggs organization and will be certified Level 1 this year. I continue training weekly with master SLS teachers all over the world. Seth Riggs, himself, cannot teach everyone. Instead, he has hand-picked his teachers to teach SLS to the world at large.

If you have the opportunity to take Speech-Level Singing lessons from a certified coach, you will not be disappointed. The CD’s and book are only so helpful without the feedback of someone who can tell you what your voice should be doing. We all have habits that stop us from freeing our voice through the bridges (breaks). Only a real-life coach can help you learn what your tendencies are. Then, the CD’s and book really make sense.

There is a lot of information online about Speech-Level Singing. Brett Manning has created an empire with his Singing Success package. Brett Manning was also a long-time student of Seth Riggs before the Seth Riggs SLS organization was started. Brett’s online videos are very helpful at understanding the aspects of Speech-Level Singing, and he has associates now teaching style along with the technique.

So, check out Brett Manning and Seth Riggs online. You can find certified Speech-Level Singing teachers at this website All SLS teachers in the Seth Riggs organization must continue their training so that the true definition and benefit of “Speech-Level Singing” doesn’t become tarnished or changed. The method is set by Seth Riggs. It produces excellent results and should not be modified or manipulated with other exercises or methods. It doesn’t need to be. It is complete as it is. It works and it was created by Seth Riggs!

Why not leave your comment? Have you tried SLS? Will you in the future?