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.
I want to address what Speech Level Singing is and what it is not. SLS is a vocal technique that balances and connects the voice from the low notes to the high notes. It is a superb technique that sets singers up to sing in any style they choose safely and efficiently. It is not a technique that teaches the singer how to sing rock, or pop, or gospel, etc. Style and technique are two very different things.
Students in my studio work on style in the song after vocalizing. This is the ideal time to work on the vocal timbre and sounds such as shouting or belting. Shouting and belting is NOT a part of SLS technique….it is a style choice that the SINGER makes.
Did you take vocal lessons when you were younger? Are you happy with your voice now? Can you sing the songs in the style you want?
All too often children and teens taking singing lessons during their youth have high aspirations of being a “singer” in today’s music business. Their parents spend thousands of dollars getting them the training they think they should have. The students may even go on to university to polish their skills only to find out after graduating that their voice isn’t suitable to sing commercially accepted music. They find out their voice can’t perform the style for the bands they want to join, and they soon learn that their auditions for theatrical performances are being given to singers with a more commercially-accepted edge to their voice.
Let’s face it, musical theatre is changing. Newly written musicals are more often than not, wanting vocals with a strong chest voice in their mix.
Unfortunately, universities are not changing along with the times. Professors in vocal training at universities are teaching their students the same technique that they were taught….which can create a beautiful classical voice…exactly the type of voice they were taught to have. Unfortunately, these students soon find out that they are unable to enter the workforce in today’s music business, so they are left with the only other option and that is to teach others exactly what they were taught…..and so it goes….another generation of classically trained singers, who again go on to teach rather than perform in the music business.
Less is more….so what am I talking about? Well, a few things really. Did you know that you need LESS air to sing high notes…not more. Most people use way too much air when they sing high notes. This engages the outer muscles around the vocal cords which causes fatigue and strain. Singing high notes should feel easy. When a singer is grimacing with the look of strain (not to be confused with emotion), you can bet he/she is using muscles outside of the voice box, and their larynx is probably rising as well. Ideally when singing, the larynx should remain relatively stable, and the singer should be able to reach any note without throat muscle interference.
In the words of Seth Riggs, founder of the SLS technique, you need to allow the vocal cords to do the work. That is, as you singer higher, the vocal cords should simply “zip up” and use less air.
The SLS technique will teach you how to do this. But first, you may need to back up. You may need to do less. You will need to know your habits. You need to know what is working and what isn’t. A good SLS teacher will tell you this in the first lesson. Then you will be able to sing well in any style of your choice! Check out www.speechlevelsinging.com for a certified teacher near you!
I’ve only been studying Speech-Level Singing officially for a short time. I have made more improvements in my students voices in this short time, than I ever did before SLS. Here is why.
SLS treats every voice as an individual. Let’s face it, no voice is the same. There isn’t a single recipe that works for everyone. Every voice is an individual personality with tendencies, habits and qualities. Before SLS I treated most voices the same with similar exercises and goals. Not any longer.
With Speech-Level Singing, the teacher learns to listen for the singer’s habits and tendencies. These indicate the exercises the singer needs to do in order to have a healthy, stable and balanced voice from the low notes to the high notes. No longer will a singer feel like they have two voices, or that they can’t hit the high notes. No longer will a singer feel like they have to “change” or “manipulate” their voice in order to achieve the desired response.
With Speech-Level Singing, the singer can sing any style they wish. It’s fabulous instruction for musical theatre and classical voices. As for singing rock, we all know there is no way to sing rock without creating some abuse to the vocal cords. However, knowledge is power. SLS can help the singer stay balanced and healthy when not performing, and SLS will teach the singer tips that help create the sound they want with minimal damage.
I wish I started my journey with Speech-Level Singing 30 years ago! Hopefully I’ve inspired you to improve your voice with the SLS method!
Please leave me your comments. I welcome your thoughts!