Knowing your “unique” voice

One of the best things you can do as a singer is know your voice. Know your strengths; know your weaknesses. These two key points will save you time and anguish as you strive to sing your very best. That being said, we are talking about knowing YOUR unique voice. Not the voice you are trying to emulate. Not the voice you would like to have. Simply, your voice. The one you were born with that has developed day after day leading up to today. The natural voice you have this very minute.

This is the voice you need to know and love. If you embrace “YOUR” voice, then you have the best chance of improving your singing. It is never a good idea to “copy” another voice in terms of duplicating sound. However, there can be a lot to learn by listening to the intricate way singers make sound. But that comes with experience and knowledge.





Types of voices:

1. Breathy.

2. Non-breathy.

3. Thick folds.

4. Thin folds.


Online Singing Products

What bothers me most about online “how to sing” products is the fact that every singer has a different problem standing in the way of the voice improving. Ideally, a singer needs to know what that problem is so they can focus on the right coordinations. Usually, a singer has more than one issue to work on, but again the correct exercises and doing them correctly is the key to quick improvement.

Let’s face it….why would you go to the gym and do squats if your thighs were already big and strong. Balance is the key, and the path to getting balance in the voice isn’t always straight-forward.

I’ve started to post some exercises for different voice types and issues at If you have any questions about the exercises or your voice, why not drop me a line.

Just Do It!

I can’t get over it when students come back week after week saying they didn’t have time to practise much during the previous 7 days. I think to myself, my gosh, you are carrying around your instrument inside your throat everyday, how can you not find time to practise it? I remind them they do not need their recorded lesson in order to practise. I show them how to exercise their voice without any background scale.

Sometimes what I hear is, “oh yes, I sing everyday”. Then when I get them to clarify what they mean, they say “I sing to the radio, or in the shower, or at karaoke, or with their band”. Again, I remind them that that doesn’t count. Practising/vocalizing means doing the exercises that have specifically been assigned for your voice to get better. I remind them that singing songs as usual can, in fact, do the exact OPPOSITE of vocalizing properly… reinforces your usual coordination that we are trying to improve!

I stress this because so many singers, (and not just kids and teenagers) seem to forget, day in and out, that if a better voice is truly what you want, then you need to follow the disciplines assigned to get there.

Learning to play the piano or guitar well doesn’t just happen without daily practise and attention to detail, and learning how to sing better is no different….except in one very important area….you can’t carry your piano around in your throat!

Enjoy the journey……

Learning to sing better doesn’t happen overnight. Once you make the decision to improve your voice, it’s very much like commiting to go to the gym regularly. Except you commit to vocalise regularly. How and what you vocalize is important. There is lots of free information online to help you, if you know what you’re doing. However, one of the biggest mistakes singers make is singing “too big” too soon. In other words, singers need to learn to not push to make the sounds they want, but instead get very familiar with their head voice and the coordinations that are necessary to increase power and strength in the correct way. This isn’t the path that the amateur singer is naturally inclined to take. Most singers want to work their voice from the bottom and go up, instead of from the top and go down. This can cause problems if you do not know how to bridge through your 1st passagio. However, in saying that, there are some singers who have opposite problems, and in fact need to work from the bottom and go up.

So, take the time to learn about your unique voice and the proper ways to train your unique vocal habits. Learn what your passagio is, (there is more than one, but let’s start with the 1st one!), where it is, what it feels like, and why it causes so many singers such havoc! Then, figure out how to get through it correctly to make some fabulous sounds!

I appreciate your comments. Please leave me a message!

The Middle Voice…..

Do you ever notice that it feels like you have two voices? Well, you actually do have two “registers” and they feel very different. You have your low register (chest) which is used when you are speaking. Try it, put your hand on your upper chest and feel the vibration when you talk. If you don’t feel any vibration then talk a little louder until you do feel it.
Next you have a high register. Try to make a sound like a fire siren. Do you still feel the vibration in your upper chest? Are you feeling your throat strain as you try to make a high sound? Do it again, but this time look at the floor. Make your high fire siren sound, or a baby kitty meow. Check and see if you still feel vibration in your upper chest, or feel a lot of effort in your throat. If so, then you are having trouble accessing your true high voice. Your upper register should only vibrate in your head and sinus area. Try the same thing only lighter. Did that help? Do you get a sense of your voice being in your head? If yes, then you are able to access your high register. If you feel the effort in your throat instead, then you are having trouble.

It’s a common problem among singers so don’t be dishearteneed. Generally speaking, you are probably trying too hard. In other words, you may be blowing too much air, or singing too loud. Again, try the lighter approach (which may be breathy and weak at first), and see if you can make a high sound without all the volume and weight of your low register joining you. You may feel “the flip” and that’s OK. This is necessary so you can learn how to differentiate between the two registers. Once you are able to access your high voice (even if it’s lightly), then you can take steps to strengthen your vocal cords to hold back more air which will strengthen your high register. This is a necessary first step in moving ahead to the next step…………..the middle voice!

The middle voice is simply the area which crosses over between you low register and your high register. Singers who have the ability to seamlessly connect the two registers are well on their way to accessing their entire vocal range with ease and clarity. Accessing the middle voice is relevant in all styles of singing…rock, pop, country, gospel, and musical theatre and opera. Without accessing the middle voice, the singer may get “stuck” and reach a ceiling. The singer will need to sing louder as each note gets higher. The throat will get tight and the singer will tire.

Developing the middle and high voice can give a singer an overwhelming sense of ease and control. Not all vocal teachers strengthen the middle voice in a manner that connects the two registers seamlessly. Talk to your teacher and be sure he/she can make the sounds you are trying to make. That’s a good start anyway!

Are you willing to let go?

Singing is such a “freeing” sensation. Quite the opposite of how a lot of people sing, however. The ability to “release” or “let go” can be a difficult concept for some singers to grasp. Our instinct might be to “grab on” and “control” those notes to make them louder and more powerful. This “idea” can be quite limiting for a singer. Instead, the ability to “allow” your voice to just sit on the pitch as it moves around, should be every singer’s dream.

How to get a “mixed” voice


Everyone’s voice has a low section and high section. The low end is your chest voice and the high end is your head voice. The essence of good singing is utilizing both the chest voice and the head voice at the same time. This is called your “mixed voice”. Make sense?

Your chest voice is where you speak. Try saying “A – A – A” like the “a” in cat. Say it with some umph, and a little bit nasty. Make an open big mouth and say it again. This is your engine….and yes, it can sound rather obnoxious. But, don’t disregard this, this is your power house!

On the other end is your head voice. This is the light, airy sound at the top of your voice. Some people can’t access it very easily. Try and do a sigh with your light high voice. This is head voice.

The ideal voice is when the chest voice and the head voice work together at the same time. Unfortunately, often what will happen is one voice will “outweigh” the other, creating an imbalance of sound and sensation.

If you have any background singing with a choir or training with a classically trained teacher, then you were probably encouraged to sing with your head voice brought down even to your low notes, This can create a very strong head voice, but unfortunately doesn’t match up in balance with your chest voice, leaving you light and airy on your bottom notes with minimal strength.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have been singing pop, country or rock music on your own and copying some “not-so-well-balanced” singers, then you may have developed a strong chest voice without allowing any head voice in the mix. You may notice that you have to sing louder and louder as you go higher and higher, and eventually you just can go further. Your sound is likely harsh and well, possibly, very annoying. And, let’s not forget to mention that you probably hurt!

“Getting in the mix” is the vocal workout you need. If done correctly, it will help your voice be stronger and more flexible than you ever thought possible. You will be able to sing any note you want.

It worked wonders for me, and I know it will for you too!

Have you got any questions? Why not drop me a line!

Singing 101 – Is this You?

Knowledge is power. If you want to learn how to sing better … keep reading.

I believe the best way to learn about anything is to experience it for yourself, and to learn about other’s experiences. When I read stories online about singers who have taken lessons from various teachers, I nod my head and think, “yeah, that’s what it was like for me too”.  I’ve taken singing lessons from many different teachers over the years.  It wasn’t until I discovered Speech Level Singing over ten years ago, that things really started to make sense for me.  With Speech Level Singing I was singing through three bridges (passagio) in my first lesson.

I now teach Speech Level Singing to all my students, and they all go through at least one bridge (passagio) on their first lesson. What is a passagio or a bridge? This is a spot in your singing voice between the low sounds (chest voice) and the high sounds (head voice). Many men have never even experienced their head voice…..while many women have not experienced their true chest voice. For some men, their chest voice is their connection to power…or so they think. The opposite can be true for women (and lots of children both boys and girls) who have sang for years in choirs and were taught to blend their voice with all the other singers.  Choral music is usually written high in pitch which meant the singers would always be in their head voice.

A lot of female and male singers have the opposit and very common problem of not being able to reach high notes. This usually happens because the singer is too loud, too low, and too soon. Quite often the singer feels like they have reached a ceiling (usually at their passagio) and they just can’t sing any higher. The voice gets louder and louder as they try and sing higher notes. 

Do one of these scenerios match you? Everyone is unique so there is no one “fix” that meets everybody’s needs. This is the main problem with self-teaching CD’s like Brett Manning’s Singing Success and Seth Riggs Singing for the Stars.  They are both fabulous Speech Level Singing programs, but if you don’t know your singing problem, then these exercises might be too generic to really help you.

Learning to sing better takes time and dedication. It’s really no different than becoming a good athelete…atheletes must work out regularly with proper form and the right exercises. It’s the same for singing. Your vocal cords are your muscles and they need just the right exercise to learn the coordination needed to help you sing better.

So, first…..know your singing issue. Get a professional opinion that will give you direction and a goal. Start with this and you’ll be on your way to a better singing voice!

Singing tips…….sing higher, sing better

So many singers sing poorly by trying to copy the “sound” of their favourite singers. Unfortunately, without knowing how to copy correctly, it can cause many many problems for singers. Knowledge is power, so read on for a few tips on singing better.

To the average listener/singer, a great big voice may sound simply loud and powerful. The average listener/singer is unaware as to why this voice is so great other than for these reasons. Unfortunately, copying this singing without knowing what is really going on can cause an average singer to never reach their full potential. If your voice gets tired easily when trying to sing higher, or you have trouble reaching high notes with intensity, then you fall into this category.

The powerful sounds that we love so much come from a careful balance of air pressure built up behind the vocal cords, careful pronounciation of the words being sung (the vowels cause resonance in the mouth, head and sinuses), and the amount of vocal cord closure occurring.  In short it’s a combination of air flow, vowel production, and cord closure.

Speech Level Singing teaches the singer about these three things that they have control over. The singer learns where their bridges are, and learns how to negotiate through them to allow the voice to go higher and higher.

There is no other technique that simplifies the knowledge of singing better than the way Speech Level Singing does. I’m proud to a certified teacher with the Seth Riggs Organization. My voice is stronger and better than it has ever been…thanks to SLS.

It takes time and good habits to develop a good singing voice…

Getting results from your singing lessons takes time. Don’t get discouraged. It took me years to get the quality of voice I have now, and I still take vocal lessons.

Your voice can maintain for as long as you are alive if you do it correctly. There are professional singers who really understand this. These singers have always had a coach because they know their voices are continually growing and developing. This is no different than developing the physical coordination it takes to be very proficient at learning to play an instrument. Your voice is an instrument. I am constantly learning more and more things about my voice. I am almost 50 and I’m doing things with my voice now that I could never do when I was 20 or 30 or 40!  Most people think your voice deteriorates as you get older….but that doesn’t have to happen!

Your voice is going to change over time, especially if you are performing. You need to keep this in check. Doesn’t matter what style you are singing. It takes time to develop good habits so don’t stop. Everyone can have a great voice. Don’t get in your own way to your ultimate goal….don’t get lazy….you can do it! Yes, it takes time….and enjoy the journey!