A Simple White Girl’s Guide to Vocal Training Approaches

A Simple White Girl’s Guide to Vocal Training Approaches

What’s the difference between vocal training methods and where did they all come from?

Here’s an entertaining, fast-paced flyover of the Holy Grail of vocal instruction and the history of how different methods have tried to recover it.

Plus hear the story of how a personal tragedy created The Voice Club’s  ‘Sing Better….Faster” method that now uncovers the vocal potential of the singers we train.

Enjoy the video and give me your opinion below!

Are bad singers better worshippers?

Are bad singers better worshippers?

worshipersI’m going to share a secret with you: I’m uncomfortable singing in the church.

Don’t get me wrong; I love singing in the church. 

But between my inbred-midwestern-Nazarene-born fear of the fine line between ‘swaying for God’ and ‘ungodly swaying‘ and that time when my well meaning brand new husband told me I sing so loud in the congregation that it makes other people uncomfortable, I have to admit I have a really hard time just freely worshipping when I’m elbow to elbow in the seats.

God knows I have an issue.

So I imagine He must have chuckled to Himself that Sunday as I was ‘self monitoring’ my volume and trying not to move enough to inadvertently touch the stranger next to me.

 

THIS is worship

We had moved and were settling in to a new church.  Some of the songs or arrangements were new to me, and Lord knows the only thing worse than being heard when you sing something right is singing something wrong, so I was….well, ok.  I’m just going to come out with it: I was lip syncing.

It was nice.  It was peaceful.  Then band transitioned into a hymn. 

Without warning a booming, shrill, angry sounding male voice blew past the back of my head. 

My husband reacted before he caught himself.  I hoped the man hadn’t seen our surprise.

The voice knew every word.  Not many notes, but every word.  And he sang them each with the gusto of an Irish drinking song at final call.

 

The problem with worship singers (like me)

Between my work in Christian radio, as a worship leader, guest vocalist and workshop speaker I’ve had the opportunity to worship in a good number of churches and talk candidly with a whole bunch of singers who serve in worship.

We all take very seriously our job to remove distractions so other people can worship in song.  That’s why we learn the words, memorize the notes, try to stay awake through rehearsals at hours no self respecting singer should even be awake yet and train to increase our vocal skill.

But many of us are distracted too: distracted by not sounding ‘good enough’, not being loud enough or being too loud, and not sounding as good as the singer next to us.

Put us in a room of other singers who know (or think) we can sing (can you say ‘worship conference’?) and we are even more tempted by the distraction of our perceived imperfections and what the singers next to us think.

 

What we’re afraid to tell worship leading singers

‘It’s ok if you can’t hold a tune in a bucket’

‘God does say to make a joyful noise

‘It doesn’t matter what you have as long as you give it to God’

These are the things we tell non-singers in the church all the time.  But what would happen if we said them as often to our worship teams, leaders and choirs?  Would everything might really become noise.

 

Is singing worship really so different than cover songs?

There are the 3 steps I teach every professional/gigging singers I work with:

1) You build your skills (ongoing personal training)

2) Then you fit those skills to a specific purpose (rehearsals for a show)

3) Finally, when you hit the stage you stop thinking about you (show time)

Why the last one?

The goal of a great singer/performer is to grow a fan base to start or build a career.  Thinking about good you are (or aren’t) might get you through a gig but thinking about your audience turns attenders into fans.

But if our brain is forced to choose between thinking of ourselves and thinking about our audience, it will inevitably choose ‘me’.

When a singer has taken the personal prep and group rehearsal steps seriously, the quality of what they studied and what learned will kick in (aka, they’ll become good), leaving the brain free to focus on the audience instead.  

 

By verse two of that hymn God was reminding me that the same is true for worship.  But many of us (guilty) forget step 3.  (By the way, how do you get a  ‘joyful NOISE’?  Forget steps 1 & 2)

To refuse to be distracted by anything is to have the ability to give our full attention to our audience of One.

 

This IS worship

When the hymn finished we were directed to “shake a hand next to ya”.

Thinking about how wonderfully un-distracted this man’s worship had been I turned around to put a face to the voice behind me.

“I really enjoyed your fervent worship”, I said.

 

It must have emboldened him.  At the closing hymn, he sang twice as loud.  And twice as badly.

 

I smiled.

And joined in.
 

 

Signs of Trouble with Your Voice

Signs of Trouble with Your Voice

voice painIs there something wrong with my voice?

The Voice Club’s speech therapist Chelsea Roberts has a great list of symptoms that your voice could be in trouble.

____________________________________________________________________________

As a speech therapist, there are several things I listen for when evaluating a new patient. Most of the warning signs I listen for are also signs you would recognize as well! It does not always take an expert to identify a concerning sound but does usually take an expert to treat the disorder. Below is a list of ten vocal symptoms that may require attention from a speech therapist.

1. Pitch breaks
2. Phonation breaks (voice completely cuts out for a second)
3. Increased vocal fatigue as the day progresses
4. Harsh vocal quality (raspy, gruff, etc…)
5. Low pitch
6. Frequent laryngitis
7. Frequent throat clearing or coughing
8. Inappropriate breath support (odd breathing patterns)
9. Obvious vocal and/or neck tension
10. Reduced loudness or vocal range

If you hear these symptoms in your voice while signing or talking it may be time to request a referral from your primary care physician for an evaluation by a licensed speech and language pathologist.

 

Good luck and happy singing!

Why do I have strain and pain (and can I make it go away?)

Why do I have strain and pain (and can I make it go away?)


Why do I have vocal strain and can it be fixed?

Vocal strain is the #1 complaint from singers, so it seemed fitting to kick off our podcast by addressing an all to common problem that prevents you from singing or speaking to your full potential.

There is a wealth of bad information about this issue, leading already frustrated singers to believe it might not even fixable. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

I hope you find hope based on the science of vocal anatomy in the answer I give to Alyssa’s question.

Alyssa asked:

I’m an aspiring voice actress and singer. I can hit notes really good sometimes but other times I feel tension in my voice. Sometimes I get so scared about vocal damage that I get discouraged about doing voice acting and that makes me so sad. Is it too late for me?

I answered by sharing details about:

  • What actually causes strain, pain and tension in the voice for both singers, speakers and voice talent
  • What few people (that includes teachers, trainers and professors) know about vocal strain
  • How strain, pain, tension and even vocal damage can be reversed for good
  • What your voice will really be like once vocal strain is removed the right way

Why you have vocal strain & what to do about it

by Kim Snyder

Thank You For Listening to the Show!


– Kim Snyder,

host of the Help My Voice Podcast, certified vocal coach and vocal repair technician, and creator of The Voice Club Method & The Voice Club Academy

Why Singers Stop Looking for Help for Their Voices

Why Singers Stop Looking for Help for Their Voices

Why Singers STOP Looking for Help

 

Let’s just be real.  It is stupid-crazy confusing trying to find help for your voice as a singer. 

Everybody says they’ve got the answer.  Every singing teacher is better than another singing teacher. Every method is the end all to all other methods.

Heck, we don’t even know how to figure out our own VOICES let alone figure out the difference between everyone promising ‘rainbows and unicorns’.

 

When I say ‘we’, trust me,   I’ve been in the muck of this just like you.

 

Still, I find it kind of hard to explain what The Voice Club even is in the middle of that tornado.  I even made a video showing what I found the difference is between different schools of thought when it comes to singing instruction were.  But, we still get the question all the time.  It’s unavoidable.

So I’m going to share a story with you that I hope will clarify the confusion.

It starts with this truth:  Everything I did was purely to answer my own answers as a singer: as it turns out, questions that you probably have too.

This is the story of a singer I bet you can relate to.

 

Every singer has questions…and we all find the common answers confusing

 

I’m not your average vocal coach. 

But I AM the average singer.
Almost every singer has a story about how they searched for ways to sing better.  Mine isn’t really that different, although it does prove how long I can bang my head against a wall and not pop a clue.

 

I hated my voice.

Singing for me was like trying to hold together a bunch of guesses, tricks, mistakes and bate and switch show tactics while smiling and trying not to fall over in heels.  All while desperately hoping the audience didn’t hear what I think I heard.
I spent years (20+) training in every major singing technique I could find, trying to find a real solution for what I didn’t like about my voice.  But honestly, all I had to show for it in the end was a very empty pocketbook and a nagging belief that maybe I wasn’t cut out to sing after all.

So I did what most singers do:  I quit looking.

 

How I Found Out I Wasted All That Money

 

I had ‘quit’ looking for help for my voice dozens of times.  And I would’ve stayed ‘quitted’ if I hadn’t had an even bigger reason for trying again:I made my living as a professional singer and voice talent.

My need for a ‘right now’ solution was huge.  I never knew how long I could keep tricking people that I was better than I knew I was.  I lived in fear of the day someone asked me to sing something a certain way and the cracks would start showing.

 

What Do Singing Teachers Know Anyway?

 

In my 20’s I developed a training workshop for other voice talent so they could have more speaking range and keep their voices healthy through cold and flu season.

Now because I believed that someone must have taught me something helpful somewhere in my long history of looking for singing help, I would to do my ‘singing exercises’ before a jingle session or live gig.  But on the way to voice commercials and other voice work, I’d use the VO warmups I’d created for the workshop.
One day I had 20 minutes to get across town to the next session.  I forgot is was a jingle session and spent the entire drive using my VO warmups instead.
The shocker came when I realized that I could sing WAY better than usual just because of the ‘happy accident’.
I was amazed at how little time and effort it took to get a drastically different result for my singing voice, without even using anything I’d ever learned I ‘must do’!

 

I swear I heard someone turn on the light bulb in my head: Singers are taught that the voice starts in the body: squeezing your butt, putting sound in the mask. or screaming and yelling till your eyes bulged out.  But voice talent are trained to implement only the vocal anatomy (the rest of it just makes extra noise in the studio).

 

I started to add up how much I actually spent all those years in an attempt to learn something that may have been completely false.

Then I remembered I’m really bad at math and turned the radio on instead.

 

 

If My Singing Teachers Were Wrong How Did That Just Happen In My Voice?

 

Everything I had learned just got dumped on it’s nose.  I didn’t follow even one of their rules and still, I had just experienced something crazy great in my voice!

What the WHAT?!

 

The thought wouldn’t leave me alone.

So I starting researching it.  And, no surprise, I discovered that I was not the first bright bulb in the bucket.
Vocal surgeons had known it for decades.  If you had a hook up with many record label managers you could learn about people who had used a similar speech approach to help retrain singers with vocal damage.
So I started asking around until I found someone who taught singing like I taught speaking.

I had never been so happy to part with my money.  In fact I was just about to buy the congratulatory ice cream cake to celebrate that my 20yr quest was over.  But then I started actually training in the new technique.
I followed every direction.  I assumed they must be right when they said that I didn’t need to ask questions because my voice would just magically start getting better.
But the working singer in me protested.  I should be able to understand the ‘why’ of it.

 

My voice was my livelihood.
There is no other job field where you’re asked to just ‘take it on good faith’ that you’ve been trained to do your job.  You have to KNOW you can do it.  (And how not to screw up!)

Why can’t we have that as singers?

 

After a few months with little change outside of the increasing pile of questions, I insisted I needed to know what my instructor knows.  I was told that only the instructors had access to that level of information.

 

FINE.

I dug out the checkbook again. I attended the pricey masterclasses.  I hob-nobbed with the most educated purveyors of vocal enlightenment. 

They told me I wouldn’t really understand how it works until I had seen it happen in student’s voices.

ALRIGHT.

Despite the fact that I specifically did NOT want to be a voice teacher (my jobs paid way better), I started teaching by following a chart of to-do’s that were supposed to turn my students experiences into my continuing education.

 

Well, I did learn something new.  I learned that no one had the answers I was looking for.  (And that, as expected, I really didn’t like being a singing teacher.)
I gave my notification to quit.

But as a last ditch effort, I was told that one of the five people at the top of the organization could answer my questions. 

I just needed to pay for sessions with them.
CHA-CHING!  (How my husband put up with me through this I’ll never know)
The sessions were long and philosophical.

 

I explained that as a singer  working 2-5 times a week I just needed to understand the ‘why’ so I could find a ‘how’ so I could start seeing improvement by my next gig or session.  And I needed to have the ability to know I’m not doing anything damaging to my money-maker.
I listened.  Something rang true.

The theory was solid.  I made copious notes.

But it was tightly interwoven in the language or theoretical scholars.  And since I had no desire to become one just to get the meaning f it all, I was left feeling like an idiot who either wasn’t smart enough or somehow just didn’t deserve to know the real answers.

 

I crawled right back into my familiar frustration where the same mixtape was still playing:

“How can it be that NO ONE can explain to me IN SIMPLE TERMS why my voice does this or that conclusively.” 

“How is it that NO ONE can SHOW me how to DO and FEEL what they tell me I should?” 

“And since when we have to pay the price of admission just to know if’ I’ve already damaged my voice?” 

“Shouldn’t they WANT me to know how NOT to do that??”

 

 

It wasn’t long until I ran out of money, again. (It was very pricey.  It didn’t take long)

In my last session I gave notice and threw out one more question in one last desperate attempt to prove to myself that ‘the truth is out there’:

I asked my coach; “Can you please just explain why this does that….in simple white girl terms?”

 

Long pause……….

 

Longer pause…………….

 

Then a jumble of parts of words fell over other words I didn’t understand.  They swirled around my head as I tried to grab any that made sense.  But in the end, all I really understood was:

‘Ummmm-no.’

 

Why Singers Quit Looking for Help

 

I’ve watched so many singers give up trying to find answers to help something in their voice.

And, believe it or not, those who sing more and at a higher level are just left with even more questions.

So why do so many of us feel our only hope left is to guess, cheat and make it up so no one knows we’re not sure how we’re gonna pull off what we promise half the time?

I was once again at the end of that very short rope.  People were still hiring me to sing and I was still so tired of ‘faking’ being good.

I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I felt responsible to do something.

 

 

Singers Shouldn’t Have to DIY Our Own Singing Lessons

 

One weekend as I was preparing to throw away all of my ‘vocal education’ materials to clear space in my studio I got one last idea.

I started sorting the piles of research; everything that had worked even though she didn’t know why, medical information about the voice, and all of the things I’d learned while training voice talent.

As a surveyed the piles, the VO coach in me said, “There has GOT to be a way.  This CAN’T be that different from training speaking talent.”

So over the course of a few months I started an autopsy of my dead dreams of singing better.

I worked forward from what I knew about the anatomy and backwards from what had worked either in speaking or singing.
Notebooks were filled with theories.  Theories were tested and narrowed down. Rinse and Repeat.

 

Finally I had finally narrowed it all down into a one page ‘gig cheat sheet’ I could use that explained my key problem, why my voice was doing it and a couple of tips  to start getting it to stop.

I still didn’t want to be a singing teacher.  And according to what I know of the career field, I still don’t think I am.

But when singers I knew asked what had made the fast improvements they heard in my voice, I just told them.  Because we singers have the same questions.  And unfortunately very few people really know, or they’re all just reeeeeeally bad at communicating it.

It took watching my husband say goodby to me as I was wheeled into a surgery I was not expected to survive and a few other ‘encouragements’ before this selfish singer would take what I learned and develop it into something that did the same for singers like you.

 

But that’s a story for another time.

 

 That one page cheat sheet was the first page of what has since become a full blown proven vocal training system that has been helping singers ‘sing better FASTER’ for over a decade.  

 

To date The Voice Club Method is the only method designed to answer all of a singers question

and effectively give them the tools to protect and grow their voice.

 

 

P.S. Here’s that video I told you I made

Top 10 Ways to Keep a Good Voice from Going Bad

Top 10 Ways to Keep a Good Voice from Going Bad

 

When is the last time you saw your favorite singers live?  If you’re like most of us, it’s been awhile.  Maybe that’s why what you’ll hear can shock you.

You get tickets, jam into the venue and cheer as the drums start.

But then they sing.  And as they go along you start to realize  they don’t sound at all like you expected them to.  In fact, sometimes they’re just… really, really bad.

It seems to be happening more often than ever before.  Voices who don’t sound as great as they used to.  Like Mariah Carey, Steven Tyler, Julie Andrews, Kelly Clarkson, John Mayer, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith…and thousands of singers who you haven’t even heard yet.  Singers who haven’t even started the fun part of their career yet.  Singers like you.

Maybe you haven’t had to cancel a tour and miss out of tens of thousands of dollars in lost income. But the problems you hear in those live performances are just an exaggeration of the basic problems all singers face.

 

How Good Singers Go Bad

Every singer has (or has had) some pretty bad habits that they don’t think are a big deal. But what you see in the headlines is not about singers that suddenly got worse.  Just like the rest of us. they didn’t see it coming either.

Every little bad habit we ignore grows as we use our voices more.  I have students who gig more than I did but even when I was doing sessions, gigs and voiceovers full time none of that talent I worked with ever worried about vocal damage.  Having to ‘rest your voice’ was almost like the proof that a singer was working a lot or rehearsed more than other talent.  Wow.  What a lie.

 

How do you know you’re getting vocal damage?

Worried my voice has a problemHonestly, unless your voice gets the heavy and regular use that a touring or up and coming singers voice does, you probably won’t.  Busy singers feel it sooner because they have a better idea of how their voice performs under different stresses.  But because their voice is their money maker it’s even harder not to do what the rest of us do: ignore it.

Ignoring the signs of vocal problems that can lead to damage is easier when you sing less often.  That’s because it never really hurts bad enough or lasts long enough for us to get worried enough about it.

Even those who get to the point where they’re ready to ask for help, finding the right professional to get the right diagnosis can be very daunting, expensive and time consuming.  And you may not even get any advice that you can really do anything with.

But wouldn’t it just be easier to know the top ten things you can change today so you don’t have to go down that road?

Then let’s do it!

10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Escape Vocal Problems Later

 

10.  Get Some Rest Already

Physical fatigue has a really bad effect on the voice.  If you feel exhausted and almost not yourself you’re may not be getting enough REM sleep to spark the cellular repair we need from sleep.

You’ve probably heard the result of this before.  If you were to follow an actual live singer on a tour from beginning to end, you’d actually start to hear when their fatigue starts dragging down their voice.  In addition to regular sleep, if your life becomes more demanding (vocally or even just stress) you actually need more sleep to keep your vocal cords from fighting off irritation or damage.

So “Yay YOU!”  You just got a great excuse to take more naps!   Nighty night.

 

9.  Watch Those Burritos

**Important ‘common sense no one thinks about’ alert! **

Nothing you eat or drink affects your vocal cord or voice directly.  And don’t believe anyone who tells you that Lays Crinkle Cut Potato Chips can ‘grease your cords’.  Your vocal cords are in your windpipe.  Any food or drink gets diverted down the other pipe when the Epiglottis (the flap at the junction of the pipes) reroutes it.

So all that chip grease does is build a layer of grease glop onto the Epiglottis, making it even harder for it to open the door to your beautiful voice.

But while food and drink don’t directly affect your voice, singing involves your whole body.  And science, studies and everyone in the front row after a singer has just binged on bean burritos say that your singing brain can’t be at it’s best if another part of your body is suffering.

That’s why spicy, greasy, milky or heavy foods (farewell Mr. Cheesecake; I knew you well) are big no-no’s  in that 24-48hr window before you sing.  (That goes for food sensitivities and allergies too, so no cheating.)

The best advice is the simplest: just eat a healthy, well balanced diet all the time.  But….. if you don’t…. just commit to backing off the junk food 2-7 days before you sing.  It helps.  It really does.

 

8.  Make H20 Your Favorite Element

Your vocal cords are teeny tiny, slippery little suckers.  They vibrate so fast during speech (or singing) that it wasn’t even until the last year or so before they developed a camera that could slow down enough to even see that they flutter.  But without adequate hydration, they can’t perform those incredible rolling waves of vibration nearly as well.

Keep them slippery. Make 80 ounces of water your daily minimum.  If your kind of singing involves walking around or running the stage and lots of body movement, try to double it at least two weeks before your show.

Not in the habit of drinking that much?  Me neither.  So I’m as bummed as you that the single bottle of spring water I grab during the show doesn’t even start to cut it.  That’s because it can take up to TWO WEEKS to re hydrate your body when you don’t drink enough daily.

We’ll wait while you go get a glass.

 

7.  Get in Shape

Even if you don’t have to serve as your own backup dancer, the better shape you’re in, the more energy you have (and give) in your performance.  And that little edge could mean turning those people who would rather play on their iPhones than really listen to you into your loyal fans instead.

Not that in shape?  Don’t even use that as an excuse not to sing!  We may all want to fit into those size 2 leather pants (you too,right?  Tell me I’m not alone) but that’s not what we’re talking about.

Just start thinking about how you’d like to move around the platform or interact when you sing.  Then consider all the time on your feet from setup to tear down and saying thank you to all your adoring fans.  Then add an activity that will give you twice as much energy as you need to do that without getting winded.  It’s so much easier not to have to fake energy when you could’ve had enough to enjoy every bit of the night.

 

6. Don’t Rock ’till You See the Doc

When was the last time you saw an Ear, Nose and Throat doc?      Really?  ….well then, time to get out your calendar.

Singers of all levels should get to know a good Ear, Nose and Throat doc.  **My secret tip to getting better medical care for your voice is in the free download of this article.  Don’t miss it!**

Having a baseline for how you sound and what your anatomy looks like provide a hugely beneficial tool that can make it easier for your doc to help you head off dangerous damage you might not see coming down the pike. (Have you heard my story about my first appointment that almost costed me my voice?)

 

5. Let’s Clear the Air

Smoke = bad.  Secondhand smoke = worse.

If you tend to sing in smokey venues, start booking more outdoor gigs or places that have a no smoking rule for the room where performances take place (some casino’s do this).

You breathe in much more when you’re singing than when your not.  And unlike food and drink, smoke DOES go right down that windpipe where you vocal cords live.  Serious singers have this one in their performance riders because it so greatly impacts your ability to keep your instrument healthy.

You don’t need to be ‘big enough’ to have a performance rider to start protecting your voice from smoke.  Just make it a non-negotiable when you access requests to sing. It should be just next to requesting that you have access to a bathroom.  it’s that important.

 

4. Don’t Play with Pain

If you have pain while singing or after a show, somethings amiss in Singersville.  Pain is NOT a part of being a singer, regardless of what style you sing.  Danger, Will Robinson.  Danger.

Remember that ENT doc you’ve got in your contacts?  This is why.   But that’s not all you’ll need. 

While your doctor is going to look for physical signs of trouble in your mouth, throat and maybe vocal cords, don’t be surprised if your doc says it all looks fine even when it feels anything BUT fine!

This is why you need the second half of your vocal care team: a vocal coach who specializes in vocal repair.  We don’t have to see damage to hear the effect it has on your voice.  A good vocal repair coach (not a speech therapist) can help you pinpoint what’s caused the problem and give you an action plan to start to repair the problem and fix the bad habit that caused it in the first place.

And a good vocal repair coaches can also show you how get through a ‘can’t-miss’ singing opportunity and sound healthy even when you’re on vocal rest awaiting vocal surgery.

 

3. Save it for the Show

 

I give Celine Dion five gold stars for the level of commitment she makes to vocal care.  Because of the demands on her voice in an arid desert, she goes to the extent of using sign language instead of speaking on the day of a show.  Now THAT’s commitment!

That little sign language bit is the reason Celine Dion sounds as good or better today than she has been in the past, when all the other singers whose stars rose at the same time as hers have either had to quit singing, sing rarely or just sing horribly.

Because your singing opportunity is probably not as time consuming as Celine’s you don’t need to download that Sign Language App just yet.  But you should make a habit of finishing all prep work on your song(s) in time to allow you to keep quiet as least 24hrs. before you sing. (more if it’s outdoors).

Skip the screaming for your favorite team (GO HAWKS!).  No long gab sessions with your friends.  And definitely no long verbal arguments when you have a demanding show coming up.  Give you voice at least 24hrs. of rest (until soundcheck, then rest again until it’s your time).  You’ll be glad you did.  And just think of how many people will love this pleasantly quite new you!

 

2. Step Up Your Style

Many times bad vocal habits that get huge start with a styling trick we copied to sing fancier.  A good vocal styling coach can help you take out the harmful approach and give you healthy ways to spice things up.

A good vocal coach will also teach you some new styling options that keep you from defaulting to potential damaging ones.  For instance, there’s a way to do a healthy ‘growl’ and a really damaging way.  There’s a way to add that ‘edge’ to a line without scraping the edges of your vocal cords.

 

1. The RIGHT Teacher Knows Best

A qualified vocal technique instructor who understands how the anatomy of your voice works should be able to assess how your lifestyle and bad little habits affect your vocal potential. Even better, they can show you how to sound great (even when you feel like crap.)

Regular vocal training is not just about improving your skill level. Your vocal coach should also give you usable specific tips that take into consideration your unique voice, style and singing demands.

 

 

Good singers who don’t ask for help are the ones that stand to lose the most ground when a habit becomes a real problem.   But taking the time to build a stronger, healthier voice will make the journey even more incredible!

Grab the free QUICK TIPS!

Get my 10 action QUICK TIPS to keep my voice from going bad and, while you're at it, send me a some more free vocal training stuff.

Powered by ConvertKit

What Do You Think?

If you had a magic wand to fix only ONE thing, what would you fix?

ConvertKit Form

Check Your Vocal Health

"Top 10 Signs You're Abusing Your Voice"

Subscribe to get this free report and other healthy singing tips from the certified vocal coaches at The Voice Club.

Powered by ConvertKit
The Answer – Was Lady Gaga lip syncing at the Superbowl AND how YOU can work the stage like a pro

The Answer – Was Lady Gaga lip syncing at the Superbowl AND how YOU can work the stage like a pro

 

In the last post, I gave you some tips to assess the video of Lady Gag at the Superbowl with new eyes.

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn how to spot a lip syncing singer and put your new skills to work, it’s time to answer the question: was she actually lipsyncing?

(If you haven’t, click here to read the previous post so you can see how much you know!)

 

Those of you who said she was NOT lip syncing are…….CORRECT!

 

All of the tips from you used to tell if a singer is faking it usually give you pretty solid results.

But the one reason people call out singers for lip syncing when they’re really NOT is because we think this:

“They HAVE to be lip syncing!  

How can anyone run around that much and still hit all the notes?!”

Good question.

 

 

Where do singers learn to look so great on stage?

 

There’s a reason singers improve so fast on shows like The Voice, America’s Got Talent and the now debunked XFactor.  And it ain’t the vocal coaching (which btw, is worth it’s own post since it has damaged more voices than it has helped.  Don’t get me started).

The real answer is live show producers.

Just like record labels or tour management, TV shows employ a live show producer (sometimes under other titles, but the purpose is the same).  They are the ones who create the vision that the choreographers, vocal coaches, the wardrobe department, and the singer(s) will use to bring that incredible performance to life.

Live show producers know exactly how to look at what a singer can and can’t do and move them quickly through what they should master next to look incredible, inviting, and much more marketable on stage.

The longer a singers career involves a live show producer (& depending on the level of commitment of the singer), they can be transformed to the level where they can do amazing things like you Lady Gaga do.

 

How do I try things on stage as a singer without looking stupid?

 

It’s one thing to have the vision of what you want your live performance to look like and quite another to know how to make it happen.

Most singers don’t get a lot of experience ‘filling a large stage’ until until they’re performing on one. And that’s not the best time to try to figure it out,

But long before then you WILL have opportunities to sing on a platform that’s big enough that you really should be moving on it. 

How do you know how MUCH to move?

The more energy a song has, the more movement there needs to be on the platform.  The type of music you sing will determine what that movement should look like.  Look at videos of the top five artist in your niche (no one lower – you may just pick up the same mistakes they’re making). Below I’ll show you how to go from watching their show to designing yours.

Now it’s time to ask that question again: how can I sing that incredibly demanding song AND move all over the place without having a heart attack on stage?

 

Here is the ‘trick’ to what Lady Gaga did on stage live

 

There is only one way to sing your very best while really ‘working’ the stage without faking it: Exercise.

Stick with me here.

We’re not talking bench pressing 250lbs. or looking like some of the borderline anorexic singers you’ve seen.  What we ARE talking about is being at a physical level that allows you to sing full out without the activity affecting your voice.

As far back as singers have been their own dancers, managers and show producers have put singers through as much physical exercise as vocal exercise.

The Back Street Boys once complained that their manager made them jog in a line while singing their entire set during tour training.

 

Do you really need to jog for two hours while singing or sing while descending from a wire in a harness?  Proooooobably not.

Here’s a good starter guide for working up your physical fitness to meet your performing demands.

 

Infographic-How to Work the Stage Like a Pro

Determine what level of movement works for what you’re doing.

  1. Watch any videos of the top 3-5 singers who do the kind of music you do.  Skip other singers,  We’re hoping the top three have been coached out of their bad habits so you don’t pick them up. Pick songs with the same kind of energy as the songs you sing.
  2. Identify the ‘attention grabbers’: dancers, pyrotechnics, video backgrounds, etc.  Ignore any that you won’t have in your performance.
  3. Ignore any movements the lead singer uses that utilizes props or stage items you won’t have on stage (like jumping off an 8 foot speaker stack)
  4. Taking those items out, how much does the lead singer move?  What kind of things do they do?
  5. Pick the 2-3 you feel most comfortable doing and work them into your song.

 

Build the muscle memory & the mojo.

  1. Do any of the movements you’re adding require more physical stamina than you currently have?  Up your cardio workout.(anything you enjoy doing that makes you sweat.)
  2. After you’ve up’d your cardio for at least two weeks (preferably), start singing your song(s) during your cardio workout at tempo. Expect your singing to suffer at first.  This will become a gage for how well you can really move comfortably on stage.
  3. Take out your lyric chart and note where you’re going to add movement and what kind of movement it is.  It makes learning the new pattern of movement much faster..
  4. Every time you sing the song, add the movements (make them as big as your practice space allows).  Prioritize your weakness!  You can’t focus on singing and moving the exact same amount.  Get one down well.  Then only focus on the other.
  5. PRACTICE!  Every time you sing the song the muscle memory for movement needs to be attached. This makes it look like second nature even if you feel weird doing it.

3 Foolproof Steps for Looking Like a Pro On Stage

  • Stage movement always LOOKS smaller than it FEELS.  Plan to go over the top.
  • It’s NORMAL (even for pro’s) to feel weird, nervous or stupid when adding something new.  Expect it.  Embrace it.  Do it anyway.
  • Your FACE will tell your audience if they should love it or judge it.  Your face must say “Heck YEAH I meant to do that!”, never “oh…crap.  you didn’t see that did you???” regardless of what you think about how you look or sound.

 

You’ll be amazed how much more revved up your audience will be when you make the choice to give them a better show.  Two artists or bands can do the same song just as well and the audience will chose the one that moves every time.  That’s because it gives THEM permission to move and enjoy what you’re bringing them.  And that’s what they wanted all the time.

Note for worship musicians: Don’t think this doesn’t apply to you.   It’s probably more important for you. What you do or don’t do on the platform will determine your audience’s focus.  If you’re not comfortable moving during worship music, look for artists videos that don’t come off as ‘me-me!’  Try those, then let your authenticity drive you on from there.

But for heaven’s sake, please don’t just close your eyes and stand there!  That says. ‘hey I’ve got a really cool thing going on here….butt out.”

 

Looking like you’re having a great time on stage is more important than you think.  We’re a very visual generation with short attention span.  If your music, your message, your identity as an artist is important to you, take it seriously and grab their attention.

If you don’t, something else will.

Was Lady Gaga Lip Syncing at the 2017 Superbowl?

Was Lady Gaga Lip Syncing at the 2017 Superbowl?

Ok, Gaga haters. Stick with me because I live in your camp.   Gaga lovers – don’t judge… just yet.

I’m not a Gaga fan and I honestly wasn’t planning to watch Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2017 Superbowl Half Time Show live.  I just happened to walk in as she descended from the heavens and struck a pose.

I rolled my eyes and almost left but the vocal coach in me made me stay for the game.  Not football.  I mean a little game I play while watching live performances where I spot the non-singing ‘singers’ who are paid to not sing.

 

Let’s face it, many singers are not signed because they can (or can’t….Madonna..shhhhhh) sing.  The lable just fixes it in the mix and runs the ‘fixed’ version over the live vocal on tour so that the ‘singer’ can sing as much, but usually as little as they want.

It’s been done that way longer than most people know.  And now that you’re onto them, producers have gotten better at hiding the lip syning in live shows. But there are still ways to know if you’re really getting a ‘live’ show.

Maybe you’re ok with paying premium ticket fees for a not-really-live show.  That’s ok too.  It’s a bit tougher for the hundreds of genuinely good live singers out there.  Singers who have spent years honing their skills, learning how to keep their pipes in shape on the road and doing the work of developing their own sound.  Singers who are really worth hearing live.

For them, watching a sometimes 100% lip synced concert is like watching a robot take your job and do things not possible for a human.   It’s kind of buzz kill.

 

Whether you relate or not, it’s handy to have a way to know if you’re getting what you thought you paid for.

Wanna learn how?

 

 

How to Spot a Fake Singer

 

Since I know a few of the tricks commonly used to fake a live show I like to look for the signs of a cover up.  Educated guesses, let’s call them.  If I can spot three or more incidents of any of them, it’s proooooobably not a real live vocal.

Here’s how you can spot a ‘faux’ singer (which appropriately means ‘fake’) next time you see a live show.  Look for ‘faker flags’ like these:

  • The singer is very physical on stage (lots of dancing, running, etc.) but you never hear breathing when you would expect to
  • You don’t hear the singer breathe between phrases of the songs, only when speaking (or at the beginning and/or ending of songs for the sneaky ones)
  • The singers mouth doesn’t line up exactly to the vocal you hear (there’s a reason there’s not a close up shot sometimes)
  • You see 3 backup singers (and those dancers really are just lip syncing so they don’t count) but it sounds like there’s 10.
  • There is any volume change when the singer moves between singing and talking.  This one is harder to detect because live show arrangements are generally produced so this there’s more time to make the switch. But if the singer is talking to the crowd, starts to sing and they’re suddenly louder, you get the bonus point.

 

Keep in mind sometimes only parts of a song or just certain songs are not 100% live.  This is usually due to a singer recovering from surgery or damage or because the singer can’t dance and sing at the same time without breathing like a creeper on a prank call.

I just call ’em like I see ’em.

So are you saying Lady Gaga did NOT sing LIVE at the SuperBowl?

 

 

 

 

As if I’m just going to give it away.  Come on.  I just told you how to find out.

So you tell  me!  Click the video above to watch it again.

Look for Faker Flags. 

Tell me what you see in the comments below.


Next time, I’ll tell you exactly what I saw. AND I’ll spill an ‘industry insider tip’ that you can use to sound so good live, your audience may think you’re lip syncing.

(Join the mailing list so you don’t miss it!)

WHY you still don’t sing better (sorry)

WHY you still don’t sing better (sorry)

If you’re like me and you’ve sat through endless hours of singing lessons (and if you aren’t, be REALLY glad!), you know that these singing lessons are NOT for asking questions.

They’re for doing what you’re told.

 

If you’re one of the very bravest (or like me, completely clueless of impending scorn) and you have dared to timidly raise a hand in the presence of the almost-mythically-robed-wise-ones and ask the dirtiest three letter word to ever exist, you know the wrath of a teacher without a good answer.

Why you don’t ask why

I have always been a front-row, hand-always-raised kind of girl. So I’ve had the opportunity to experience the entire pool of possible reactions from a teacher who is…

a) caught of guard

b) doesn’t have any idea how to answer

or 3) has their identity way too tightly strung around their vocal degree

 

If you’ve had a teacher that can’t help you, everything that follows your question will boil down to this:

It’s YOUR fault!

  • You didn’t practice hard enough.
  • You didn’t listen to the directions clearly enough
  • You didn’t rub your tummy and pat your head in the right order while you sang and missed that note.
  • You’re just getting too big for your britches listening to all that ‘pop-singer-voodoo’ and what-not.

Blah blah BLAH.

GOOD LORD!  It’s no WONDER we all think we can’t sing!

 

THE POWER OF WHY

“WHY?” is the single best question you can ever ask. And it is absolutely essential if you’re trying to sing better.

“Why does it hurt when I sing?”

…can be opening to a discussion that gives you the tools to avoid serious damage or an understanding of when you need to see a doctor and what to ask them.

“Why can’t I hit this note?”

…could lead to a the design of a simple to remember quick tip you can use so you never miss it again.

“Why is my voice strong here, but too soft here?”

…is a wonderful invitation to learn HOW your voice works and how you can learn to DECIDE how EVERY note comes out, EVERY time.

“Why isn’t the training I’m following giving me better results?”

Be prepared.  THIS is the question at the bottom of it all.  But this one isn’t for your voice teacher.  This one is for YOU.

If you have listened intently to your teacher and followed precisely what they’ve given you as the solution to your concerns, there should be a reasonable expectation that you will see. hear, and/or feel a difference very soon.  With The Voice Club Method, we expect it pretty immediately.

Because if nothing changes and you’re left not knowing what to do outside of blaming your own lack of ability, one of these things has happened:

  1. You weren’t honest about following what they gave you (you have to be responsible to do your part)
  2. Your instructor didn’t know how to effectively communicate to you, or
  3. What they gave you isn’t going to give you the results you wanted

(spoiler alert: it’s almost always #3)

How can I claim that spoiler alert?  Because the majority of singing lessons and vocal instruction out there does not take one major thing into consideration: your anatomical voice.

Sound like a no-brainer, but then I’m simple girl.

 

What Can I Do?

Start asking ‘why’ about everything when it comes to your voice.  If the answer makes sense to you, ask yourself ‘why’?  If it makes no sense at all, ask yourself ‘why’?  This is the start of taking control of your own voice and vocal education.

Now go through our Vocal Bootcamp training video.  It’s basically a roadmap through vocal myths and fluff with clear, concrete tools to see the truth of how your voice works.

We don’t train a single singer or group of people at a conference without starting with our Vocal Bootcamp training. It is literally everything you should’ve been told about your voice and what you need to be empowered to ask even better questions so you can know what to look for when you’re trying to sing better.

 

Start Now

Whether you’re working with a singing teacher or not, take this challenge:

Get a notebook and any time a question pops into your head, write it down.  No question is too stupid.  Actually the ‘stupidest’ questions are usually the ones with the most ‘ah-ha’ invoking answers!

Then go through Vocal Bootcamp When you’re done, go through your list and see how many questions you can answer.  The next time you’re around a singing teacher, ask them the same questions. 

Then write down the answers you got from them. 

THEN, ask yourself which one makes the most sense and ask yourself ‘why’.  You will be amazed at how much you know and clear things become!

 

 

The more you know about your voice, the better you’ll be at seeing what will really help  your voice get where you want to go.

 

Go forward…..and ask ‘WHY?’

 

Remember that dream you ‘got too old’ for?

Remember that dream you ‘got too old’ for?

We’ll dang it if it ain’t a new year again.  That dreaded time when you tuck away the real dreams that once nagged at you and replace them with something much easier, like a new workout or another trendy diet.

So im just gonna cut to the chase and admit I know what one of your longest held dreams is.

In fact, if you’re a singer, I could put money on the name of that dream you’ve shoved clear to the back corner of your mind where dreams go to die.

Do You Have the ‘Singing Dream’?

When you’re younger you might have called it a “dream to be a famous singer”.

For those who dare to rise to start working on it, it comes to you as a dream to “take it to the next level”.  Ironically, this is the stage where many singers give up on their singing dream.

Some of you have dismissed that nagging desire to be a singer so long that you hardly notice it anymore.  But it’s still there, more recognizable as a regret then a dream

“If only I had….”

Why Is It Still There?

Isn’t it interesting that no matter how many years have passed, the dream to sing is still there? Does it know something we don’t?  What is it waiting for us to do with it?

Having been there myself and having helped other singers navigate ‘the dream’, I offer you this:

Maybe the dream to be a singer is not unreachable for you. 

Perhaps you’ve just been led away from it by believing the misconceptions about what being a singer really is. 

Maybe it was possible all along.  And still is.

 

How Do You Make an Illusive Dream Come True?

Have you asked this question?  Most ‘singing dreamers’ never do.  And for those who do, there is rarely an answer that doesn’t seem

TheVoiceClub.com

more far fetched than the dream itself.

I want you to know that if you have the dream to be a singer, it’s there for a reason. 

And this year, I’m going to show you why.

I’m going to focus on sharing stories of other singers who’ve managed to put the dream in action and what the result was.

I’m also going to give you some tactile actions that will start turning that badly neglected dream into an organized actionable plan.

It has nothing to do with how old you are or what your specific dream looks like.  If you follow along with me, you can resurrect that dream and achieve it!

Are you with me?

I’d like to share your dream too.  What is your singing dream?  How did you think you would make it come true? What happened to put it on the back burner?

Put it in the comments below or email them to me.  I’ll share mine too.

This year, we’re going dream hunting. And you’re going to be amazed at what you find out about your dream to sing.

Make sure you’re on the mailing list so you don’t miss a post.  You’ll also get some killer free singing tips too.

Get ready to reenvision, resurrect, and finally realize your singing dream!

 

Don’t forget to share your dream in the comments below!

Review: STAR on Fox ain’t no Glee but…

Review: STAR on Fox ain’t no Glee but…

If you’ve been looking for a little vocal inspiration to fill the hole in your heart that opened after the last season of Glee, you won’t find it in Fox’s new show STAR.

That said, if you loved Empire, you’re probably going to love STAR.

 

The Story

TheVoiceClub-Foxs Star JanuaryDirected by Lee Daniels, the co-creator of Empire (see the connection there?), STAR pulls loosely from the rags to riches stories of girl groups like The Supremes and Destiny’s Child.

Just a side note for the very young aspiring singers in our readership: don’t expect to meet a rich co-writer online and stumble into a record deal the next week by running away from home and stabbing a guy on the way out. You know that’s not real, right?   Right?

Good. (professional obligation met)

There are no great career-starting role models here but the vast creative license taken for the sake of a good story line might just make this a great show.

 

Queen Latifah is the real star

TheVoiceClub-Foxs StarMy personal thanks goes to Lee Daniels for putting a ‘white girl(?)’ behind the mic.  It gives us all hope that we can somehow embody that level of soul.   I mean, what every soul-singing white girl secretly wishes (and don’t go all PC police on me here) is that she were black.

 

TheVoiceClub-Foxs Star ReviewJust keepin’ it real.

Every time I hear Queen Latifa sing I want to BE her.  But then I see me dancing in the mirror and hear that voice in my head that says, “Girrrrrrrlllll.  Just….. stop.  Seriously.”

 

 

 

TheVoiceClub-Foxs Star

The music of Star

Like Empire, I’m pretty sure the music will be a big draw for STAR.

Remember back when independant artists’ songs were on every major show so the network could save music licensing fees?

Ahhhhhh.  The good ‘ol days. Shame that the networks have figured out that they can make even more money from creating their own show music and sell it on iTunes.

So if you love the music in STAR but not the mature content of the show you can just buy the album!  Just be aware that lyrics aren’t PG either.

 

STAR premiers on Fox January 4th, but you can watch the complete first episode online here.

Did you see it?

Did you see the first episode?  What do you thinlk? Leave your opinion below.

 

 

 

 

No Jingle Bells for Meghan Traynor This Christmas

No Jingle Bells for Meghan Traynor This Christmas

Have you heard? 22 yr. old Meghan Trainor (“All About That Bass”) has officially cancelled all remaining performances in 2016  to rest her voice?  And it’s not the first time.

What Happened to Meghan Trainor’s Voice

An Instagram post she sent seemed to blame bronchitis and coughing for the need for vocal rest.  But the truth revealed that she is up for her second surgery for vocal cord hemorrage.  And that’s not caused a virus.

Meghan also suffered a vocal cord hemorrhage (polyps) last year, almost ruining the recording of her 2nd album and causing the cancellation of almost have of her M Train tour.

vocalcordhemorrage

Vocal Cord Hemorrhage (aka blood blister or polyp)

(a hemorrhage and polyp exist together in basically a blood blister on the surface of the vocal cord from too much strain on certain notes, generally the in the ‘vocal 2nd bridge’)

A pop star has a surprisingly short life in which they have to take every opportunity to stay in the minds of fans and convince labels that they’re worth the investment.

It seems we hear about singers having vocal damage so often that we barely lift an eyebrow when we hear news.  It’s sad.  You hope you haven’t already bought tickets.

 

But if you’re a singer, you may just be missing the main point.

The Real Cost of Vocal Damage for a Singer

Imagine that it’s you.  You have built this amazing career.  It’s all finally happening.

Then the doctor tells you your’e going to have to cancel your upcoming performances at the All Star Christmas concert in Connecticut, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Florida, not to mention The ultimate Jingle Ball Celebration in Madison Square Garden in New York City,

 

Can you imagine how much money you’re walking away from?

Now imagine that your record label is a little peaved that you’ve already had vocal surgery and cancelled other shows in the past.

Maybe they’re considering replacing you with another up and coming act and putting you on their back shelf because you’re not really the most reliable to book and you’re losing them money again.

How good are you going to feel about telling your label you’ve got vocal damage……again?

 

Why Singers Don’t Learn How to AVOID Vocal Damage

The reality is that most current top singers never learned to sing at a high level with a healthy voice before they became big.  And you’d be shocked to realize how little help you’ll find getting the time and training you need to retrain your technique so you stop getting vocal damage once you’re a bookable resource..  Surgeries are quicker and they want you back on stage.Meghan-Trainor_All-About-That-Bass_video-snap

This is typical of both artists and labels. Artists don’t want to disappoint fans and afraid to lose label support.  Labels and promoters are losing huge amounts of money and they just want it stopped.

Any singer who’s ever seen a vocal surgeon (and the labels who send them there) knows that vocal surgery puts the vocal cords at greater risk of future damage.

By scraping away the affected tissue on the vocal cords, there will always be less tissue.  And the thinner the tissue, the easier it is to damage.  Especially when most singers go right back to their damaging habits right after vocal rest.

 

Vocal Surgery is the New Botox

I’m not a betting girl, but I’d put money on another future vocal surgery for Meghan is she makes no changes to the cause of the vocal damage.

It reminds me of the story an associate of mine told me about Kelly Clarkson.

After repeat instances of vocal damage her manager was able to convince the lable to let her go to a very good vocal coach.  And knowing what I do I am convinced that she wouldn’t never had repeat damage if she had just spent a few weeks training and continued on the road.

But she didn’t.  She had people telling her this happens all the time and probably reminding her of how much money she and the label will lose every day she’s gone.

So instead of getting help that would’ve changed the course of her professional future, she patted the vocal coach on the head and said. “your a nice man” and walked out.

Since that date Kelly Clarkson has had repeat vocal damage to the point where she performs very rarely (did you notice?).  She’s tried country (songs that are less demanding on the voice).  And duets, where she can take the simpler part and only hit one or two of the ‘big notes’ that used to monopolize her earlier music.

And, as a singer, it makes me sad to see these incredible voices literally destroyed because of misinformation and, let’s just be real, greed.

 

Is Your Voice at Risk Too?

I’ve worked with many singers with vocal damage.  Heck, I had to bring my own voice back from the grave after an intubation from an unrelated surgery ripped through my right vocal muscle.  So I admit I take this stuff very seriously. voice-disorders-totalhealth.co.ukSo as someone who has been there and has walked others through the process, you need to know that you literally can avoid vocal damage and surgery if you start with solid vocal coaching that originates from the health of the anatomy (ie.takes all the lectures a vocal surgeon would give you as it’s origin and puts that into actionalbe training) The right vocal coaching will not change your signature sound.  It will not minimize your power.  In fact it will strengthen your vocal muscles so that they can handle a higher level of performing.  And it will expand your range and make the ‘hard notes’ soooo easy. If you’ve had vocal damage, please find a qualified vocal coach so you don’t continue to harm your voice.  I spent ove a year without any voice and I can tell you first hand it is nothing short of devestating.  It doesn’t just affect your singing, it chips away at your very identity. If you haven’t had vocal damage, be aware that trying different free vocal tips and trying to sing like your favorite recording star can start you down the same path….the path to the OR. You only have one voice. Isn’t it worth learning how to take the best care of it so it will always be there for you?   Have you had vocal damage or afraid you might?  Tell your story below.

TheVoiceClub.com-Free Singing Lessons

HAVE THOSE OLD SCHOOL SINGING LESSONS MADE YOU GREAT YET?

La..la..la..la...nah.

Get SERIOUS PRO LEVEL vocal info PROVEN to revolutionize your voice!

Have those old school singing lessons made you great yet?



Ebk-squeezeurbutt

Get SERIOUS PRO LEVEL singing tips PROVEN to "Sing Better, FASTER!"

Subscribe & get our top ebook, "Squeeze Your Butt & Other Singing Lies" FREE!

You're in! Your crazy bonus will hit your inbox in just a minute. Just click to subscribe and open it!