By now you’ve probably heard about Straw Singing – all these YouTube voice teachers and IG singing influencers posting videos about how it will save your voice. Some are even selling $75 “special” singing straws!! (don’t get me started). Now, working with straw exercises can be helpful to alleviate tension and vocal fatigue. . . .BUT. . . .the reason why I think it’s complete BS and why I’m not hopping on the Straw Singing bandwagon is because it’s a BANDAID on a MOSQUITO BITE. Why, you ask? Because it doesn’t address the real problem!! There’s so much bad information – and “fad” information – out there and I don’t want you to be misled. So this Thursday I went LIVE in my FB Group (The Pro Singer Success Collective) to give you some real information about Straw Singing. We talked about: What Straw Singing is, why people use it and why it’s useless for singers who care about the health and longevity of their voice and their careers. AND what you should be doing instead. If you weren’t able to tune in for the live broadcast on FB, you can watch right here! If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to
Most people would assume that, to take a singer from good to great, you need to do in-person voice lessons every week for a long period of time. But that’s absolutely not the case. And Grace Theisen is a prime example. Before doing The Intensive, Grace had so much vocal tension, strain, and vocal fatigue in her singing that it kept her sitting on the bench instead of thriving in her singing career. Now, just a few months later, she just celebrated her recent live show recording with this post: “This shit works!!!!!!” . . . . . .These are the results you can get in JUST A FEW MONTHS when you have an expert strategy and a supportive community. You don’t need in-person lessons to do it. You don’t even need to see your teacher every week to do it. And you certainly don’t need to grind away at it for years, inching along – two steps forward, one step back. When it comes down to it, if you’re a talented singer who’s had lots of training, who’s out there hustling (auditioning/recording/performing) and you’re just not seeing results at the level you want in your singing and/or career. . . .
I just got off the phone with a brilliant singer whose career has been dying a slow death over the last few years (goes back before Covid). She has a wonderful instrument, tons of talent and so much passion. But her recordings don’t make an impact, she has no real fan momentum, her live shows don’t get her any traction…….and it’s killing her career. Thing is, she’s working her tail off: Practicing every day. Writing/recording/releasing new material all the time. Networking. Auditioning for opportunities. Posting on Instagram six times a day. Grinding out YouTube videos. Doing everything she can to get noticed……but she just can’t seem to rise above the noise. Like so many other talented singers, she’s stuck in the talented singer burnout spiral. With so many singers out there all fighting to be relevant, she’s twisting herself into pretzels just to get noticed. But in doing so, the game is over before it’s even started. The bottom line: it all comes back to the voice. If you’re not performing in a way that makes an impact…your story, your music, and YOU will never break through the noise to get the attention you deserve. BUT…what if there were another way?
This one’s for you if you get frustrated with breath support. Trust me, you’re not alone if you: Struggle to make it to the end of long phrases Have an airy sound Deal with tension or strain (yup….that’s a support issue) Feel like you never get enough air on your inhale Have trouble transitioning between registers (yup….also a support issue) I want to let you in on something. . . . .there are three simple changes you can make that will improve your support right away so that you’re not frustrated with breath support anymore. Here’s what I want you to know: Your ability to improve your breath support involves the synthesis of a few essential things. You’ve probably heard me say before that singing is not just an artistic endeavor, it’s an athletic endeavor. And not only that, singing is also a cerebral endeavor. It’s body AND mind. One thing matters more than anything else when it comes to how the mind & body communicate. . . . drum roll please. . . . Words! The words we choose to direct ourselves around our singing really affect how we embody our technique, for better or for worse. Changing
Let’s talk about RESULTS for a second……there are so many online voice teachers and singing workshops these days, but do they actually deliver lasting results in your singing, and if so, how long does it actually take to SEE results? Most singers have been conditioned by voice teachers to believe that singing at the level they want is a looooooong and gradual process. And they’re right in the sense that if you do it their way – the old, traditional way – it IS a long and gradual process. But what if there were another way to get results MUCH more quickly? What if there was something different then the online voice teachers and singing workshops you’ve been doing that have disappointed you because you’re STILL dealing with the same old issues in your singing and your career? Today I want to introduce you to the fabulous blues/folk singer-songwriter Grace Theisen. Grace is a blues/folk singer-songwriter who went from being sidelined by the effects of nerves, tension and vocal fatigue to blazing a new trail in her career with rock solid confidence in her voice, zero vocal fatigue AND a brand new record. . . . .in EIGHT WEEKS. If
Is your singing career stuck in first gear because you’re afraid of really putting yourself out there? 😬 Or did it used to be easy to put yourself out there, but now…..after so much time and energy constantly chasing this dream and constantly coming up short, are you so beat down that it’s becoming harder and harder to keep putting yourself out there? So many giant talents never reach their potential because of fear. In my studio and in my Intensive program, a lot of the singers started out that way. They’re knowledgeable and talented and want to build a world-class singing career……. But they’re stuck. Bottom line is, you can’t be successful if all these things are dragging you down, no matter how talented you are. If you want to understand how to master your fear and trust your voice so that you can stand in your greatness every time you sing and open all the doors to an impactful career, join Daron Larson and I for a fascinating discussion on artistry, singing, fear and trust. Daron is the host of a great NPR show (and podcast) called “The Art Of Attention” and he had me as a guest
When it comes to vocal technique, I think the thing singers struggle with the most is (drumroll please). . . . breath support! Would you agree?? That’s why regardless of if you’re a pro who’s been at this for a while or you’re a new singer just starting out, you can never have too many tools in your arsenal for good breath support. And of all the things you can do to improve your breath support, there’s one global idea you need to know to make all the other tools work. Watch this video to find out what it is and learn how to implement it!
I’ve got a question for you. . . . How do you feel about singing in your head voice? Is it no biggie? Or do you cringe at the mere thought of it? Or somewhere in between? If you’re a classical singer: You probably luuuuuuuuuuv singing in your head voice. After all, it’s the warm fuzzy place you call home ninety percent of the time. It’s your happy place – UNTIL – someone asks you to sing a contemporary pop type song (think cousin Ida who will just die unless you sing Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” at her wedding) and then you panic! You think: How do I sing those notes in a healthy way without shoving my chest voice up too high? If I use my head voice I’ll sound like an opera singer trying to sing pop which is the worst. (Sigh – maybe I’ll be mysteriously sick for the wedding) How do I sing in head voice for pop music? If you’re a pop singer: You probably have more of a love-hate relationship with singing in your head voice. Using head voice for pop music seems to bring up all kinds of anxiety and confusion. Maybe you’ve even gone so far
Ever wonder if there’s one thing you could do to always sing well? Kind of like a secret weapon that would give you power & reliability every single time. Well, I happen to believe there actually is such a concept to sing well. And once you know it, it globally changes what your body does to make sound when you sing. I know your curious. . . . I call it a secret weapon because of the dramatic effect it has on eliminating strain and creating stability and reliability in your voice. So no matter what genre you sing or what level singer you are, your chances of maximizing your technique to sing well go WAAAAAY up when you understand this key concept. So what is it???? Drum roll please. . . . . OPPOSITION Yup. . . . That might sound totally esoteric to you, but I’m goin’ SUPER fundamental with this one. The concept of Opposition is a game changer. TRUST ME. And you know me, I’m in this for the long haul with you. While I enjoy giving you tips and tricks to sound better singing in the short term – my ultimate goal is to set you
My voice teacher in grad school would always say that unlike instrumentalists, singers are not able to objectively look at our instrument. So the development of our imagination is crucial to how we “play” it. If your goal is to play your instrument to it’s potential, then opening your imagination to conceive of your singing technique in new and different ways is essential. Today I’ve got a new image for you that will stabilize your breath support. If you are a singer who has ever struggled to get through a long phrase. . . . If you are a singer who has ever experienced tension and strain as pitch rises. . . . If you are a singer who has ever struggled with stamina. . . . This one’s for you!! You just need some better tools to stabilize your breath support. I bring you this image courtesy of two of the great vocalists of the last century. Thomas Hampson, one of the great baritone voices of the last 50yrs, and Richard Miller, a vocal pedagogy pioneer, voice teacher (at my alma mater) and author of the seminal book on singing technique “The Structure Of Singing”. Both Hampson and