How should I train my voice?

So I’ve been jogging lately to get in better shape and stay healthy.

The first time around in my neighorhood is my warm-up. I start out walking at a medium pace and by the end of the round I’m ready to step it up.

The second round I’m jogging. I set a pace that has me breathing in a rhythmic pattern that I know I can endure to the next round.

By round three I’m feeling tired. I’ve reached my peak and my technique is starting to fail. I go back to walking the rest of the way home.

Why am I telling you this? Because this is a good way to train your voice.

First round is your warm-up. Second round is your work-out. Third round is your warm-down.

How long each round is can vary, and what you do each round can vary. For me, lip rolls and sirens through my entire range is both my warm-up and warm-down. My work-out is my longest round, but that’s because I’m in good shape (vocally that is, certainly not jogging!)  You may find you spend most of your time in the warm-up, and your round two of working intensely is for only a short time. That’s OK. Being a vocal athelete takes time, commitment and training….regular training, every day.

Singers, you have a choice!

Times have changed, and they are going to continue to change for singers. This is a great thing! Singers now have a choice!

Gone are the days when there was one, and only one, way to train the voice. There was traditional voice training, and there was traditional voice training! You could go to university and develop a beautifully resonant head voice that soared through arias. Or, you could go to a private teacher, who either learned the same way, or taught what worked for them.

Traditional voice training was developed for traditional European music (where a singer had to be heard at the back of the concert hall with no microphone), but this type of projection was not what rock’n rollers and contemporary singers needed to help them sing better. Most traditional voice teachers considered these modern types of singing (which was predominantly a thick fold/chest voice coordination) wrong and damaging to the voice.

We now know this isn’t the case. Certainly there are limits to what the voice can do (in any coordination), but making unique and different sounds other than traditional classical, choir-like sounds is not always damaging to the vocal cords.

Seth Riggs was a pioneer in developing a vocal technique that strengthened the bridges in the voice and encouraged transitioning through the registers. No more vocal breaks. Hallelujah! This technique balanced the singer’s voice so they could sing whatever genre of music they wished.

Some teachers are now helping singers who want to make even more extreme sounds. Resonance and bridging is fundamental in these music genres to ensure the singer maintains a healthy larynx.

Singers, what do you think? Have you found freedom and balance in your voice, while at the same time you’re able to make sounds you are happy with?

The great vocal debate….technique or style?

Well, I have my opinion and I’m sure it doesn’t jive with all the university vocal teachers out there. Let’s remember this is the year 2010! Universities have been teaching opera and classical voice for centuries. Technique has it’s place and without it, singers can be in big trouble. However, without a sense of style, well, you are really just another nice singer, aren’t you?

I’ve had singers come to me with style that can sell records. Do they have vocal troubles, sure they do. I’ve had classically trained singers come to me who sing beautifully. Do they have trouble? No, not really. They can vocalize easily with wonderful diction and great breath control.  But……the big but…..can they sell a record?……….well, that’s unlikely in today’s pop music business because unfortunately they are “too perfect”. Too perfect you say? Yes, their voice is too perfect. Unfortunately, classically trained singers do not usually make the break into the pop-recording business unless, however, we are talking about the likes of Pavarotti, Andre Bocelli, or Groban.

Singers, my advice if you truly want a career with singing, is to not take university training. Musical theatre voices now-a-days need a good chest mix. The days of Phantom of the Opera are few and far between. Musical theatre is changing. Voices need more bottom end to appeal to the young listener. You will not get this in university……….