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.
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.
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?”
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:
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.