What SLS has taught me…..

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!

Singers, has this happened to you?

I haven’t been blogging much lately. I’ve been so busy with the kids, performing at festivals and keeping up with my gigs. The weeks are just flying by. However today, I had a booking that inspired me to share my singing experience with you straight away.

First, let me mention that I’m a seasoned singer. I’ve been singing professionally for years.  And, for the record, sometimes I neglect myself.  Yes, sometimes, I don’t practise what I preach.  By this, I mean, I neglect my voice…I don’t bother to warm-up adequately before a singing performance.  Sometimes I notice, sometimes it doesn’t matter. Today, it definitely mattered. Today, I noticed big-time. Today, I should have warmed-up better.

I always do liproll exercises while I’m driving to bookings. Today was proof that I needed to do more than that, but didn’t.

I could tell right away in the first song that the notes near my bridge (A, B flat) were giving me trouble. If the song was mostly set under my first bridge then I would really “get stuck” when I had to reach the A or B. This is most of my songs! I found I was preoccupied with “warming” into those notes, instead of focusing on the audience and the song.

It took about 45 minutes of careful singing to finally get the notes around my bridge to set in comfortably. By then I was crooning and ready for the night. The problem is, the gig was almost over! Only 15 minutes left!  By the end of the gig, I was very warmed-up and ready to sing.

This has happened to me before. You would think I would know better. After all, I’m a singing coach. I preach about warming up the voice adequately all the time…………maybe next time I’ll learn, ha! Don’t let it happen to you!

Were you labelled tone-deaf?

Teachers have learned a lot from the previous generation. We have learned that one of most detrimental things that can be said to a child is that they sound bad and they can’t sing. These children grow up into adults who have never experienced proper pitch matching in a song, and therefore have never really experienced the true joy of singing. They have been labelled tone-deaf.

Many children who have trouble singing on key are children with deep or lower speaking voices. Music played in elementary school is generally written in a key that takes the song up to and over high C. This can be challenging for children whose speaking voices are lower because their speaking voice is further away from their head voice.

When encountering a child who has trouble with pitch, it is necessary to first put songs in the key that is close to their speaking voice. This is where singing starts….at speech level. Then raise the key of the song by semi-tones with careful attention to the pitches that start getting higher than A above middle C. This is where their speech level must adapt to get the correct pitch. Do simple 5 tone scale exercises with them, and make sure they match the pitch. Give them lots of praise when they find the coordination that is necessary to find those pitches. Let them know when they are doing it correctly, so they know what they have to do …. over and over and over. Once they memorize the feeling of singing in their head voice, they will have much less trouble matching pitch.

The same theory goes for adults who have trouble matching pitch.  An adult needs to find the right teacher who can help retrain the vocal cords to stretch out and thin as they go higher in pitch. It will probably take longer to retrain an adult than a child simply because an adult has been in the habit of singing off key for much longer. Their vocal cords have not been experiencing the coordination necessary to match pitch and sing higher pitches.