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Tools For Healthy Belting

Do you ever get confused and frustrated by all the conflicting information out there around the idea of healthy belting? Some voice teachers shun the fact that there is even such a thing as healthy belting and they steer singers away from belting entirely. Others teach a technique that doesn’t address the tensions that inefficient belting creates, and unknowingly lead their singers down a dangerous path towards possible vocal injury. I recently heard from a member of my virtual voice studio named Donna asking these very questions. She writes: There is so much information nowadays about singing technique and I am very passionate about it. The thing is, I read a lot of books about vocal technique and met a lot of teachers in order to improve my knowledge (and singing of course) and let’s just say the information gathered was sometimes so confusing and tension friendly. So thank you for sharing your wisdom with everyone! I have a question about those really high belting notes for females (d-d#-e-f): do you have some pieces of advice in order to help one access those notes in a powerful way (with that edge quality)? Is it enough to think about lower support

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How To Transition From Chest Voice To Head Voice Smoothly

Does switching back and forth from chest voice to head voice give you anxiety? Want to know how to transition from chest voice to head voice smoothly and reliably EVERY SINGLE TIME?  If your answer is “Yes!”read on . . . . First off, you are totally not alone. The ability to transition from chest voice to head voice smoothly is the source of SO much insecurity for so many singers. And second, I don’t blame you! The middle voice can be a tricky part of the voice to negotiate and downright scary without good tools. Today I have some insights that will help. Many singers and voice teachers call this part of the voice “the break” because that’s exactly how it sounds and feels to so many of you. . . . like a fissure in your mechanism preventing you from moving fluidly from one register to another. And boy can it feel scary. . . . . like trying to cross the Grand Canyon without a bridge! Personally, I hate the term “the break”. I don’t use it to describe this part of the voice and I encourage you to toss it out too. You see, the words

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My Best Advice For Singers

Every so often I am asked what my best advice for singers is, and I always find the answer hard to articulate  – as if one sentiment could possibly encapsulate all that I want to say! The question came up again recently and has been on my mind.  And then it came to me. . . . . The best advice for singers I can possibly give is SO macro. It’s not about the specifics of breath support or finding resonance. It’s not about learning the right repertoire or understanding your voice type. It has to do with perseverance and dedication. The art and craft of singing, whether you are doing it at the professional level or as a passionate recreational singer, is a process that is and will always be evolving within you. To be a great singer and a great artist is to embrace that process. Become a lifelong learner of your craft.  That, my lovelies, is my best advice for singers. So as summer comes to an end and we’re all back from our lazy summer days (hopefully a little rejuvenated from any travel or vacation time we took), it’s the PERFECT time to get rededicated and

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A Tip To Find Effortless Singing

It’s so awkward being at a show and watching a singer work really, really hard. You see their neck veins pop out, their breaths are gasping and labored as they push and squeeze the phrases out. They have no idea how to sing without strain and it’s exhausting to watch. Have you seen a singer like this? Nothing is worse. Well, I take that back. . . .there is something worse. . . . . BEING that singer who’s pushing, squeezing and otherwise working  waaaaaay too hard. Not only does it alienate your audience, it just doesn’t feel good to sing that way. The truth is, your body wants to sing without strain. If singing doesn’t feel good, that’s your body telling you that you’re not doing it right.  With efficient technique, singing feels effortless. It doesn’t feel like work. In fact, it hardly feels like anything at all . . . . except really, really great! If it feels like a whole lot of work, your body is signaling that you haven’t quite found the sweet spot of efficiency yet. But have no fear! Finding the sweet spot of efficiency is not as elusive as it sounds. One of

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What To Do If You Are Running Out Of Breath When Singing A Long Phrase

Running out of breath when singing a long phrase is SO frustrating! No matter what genre you sing, I think most of us have had the experience. There’s always that one phrase in that one song that gets you every time. I remember a specific piece that used to give me so much anxiety because there was one long phrase I could never make it through no matter how hard I tried. Do you relate? I wish I knew then what I know now. I’ve come to understand that if I’m running out of breath when singing a long phrase, the issue is not what’s happening during the actual phrase.   The problem usually lays in what’s happening with my breath and support BEFORE that phrase – often many, many bars before it. When I’m so laser focused on the actual long phrase, I fail to notice how my singing and breathing in the bars prior to it might be sabotaging my ability to sustain it once I get there. In today’s video, I work with a singer on getting present to why she’s running out of breath when singing a long phrase. Watch the transformation as she backs up, understands

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How To Sing Without Tension & Why “Why” Matters

Have you ever noticed that so many of the tools and ideas I give you to help you sing without tension have a component of mindfulness in them?  I realized recently that I don’t always explain why I do that, or why mindfulness plays such a big part in reducing tension and the way that I teach. So today I really want to circle back to the “why” of it all and also give you an exercise for how to sing without tension in your own practice. So why is mindfulness so important to help you sing without tension so you can sound better and feel better singing? As singers, our body is our instrument. You’ve heard me say that about a million times, right? And just like a trombone player or a cello player makes sure that their instrument is in good working order, we too need to make sure our instrument (our body) is set up to work our technique as efficiently as possible. For singers, the main thing that compromises our instrument and our technique is tension. I know so many of you deal first hand with the discomforts of tension in your singing and would do

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The Secret To Great Singing – An Interview

Do you ever notice how easy it is to get caught up in the minutia of your singing technique? We spend so much time and energy perfecting and polishing every little thing, seeking out technique tips and testing out performance hacks in hopes of finding the secret to great singing. But in doing so, we can so easily loose sight of what the purpose of it all is. Above all else, we are artists. We are creators seeking to share our experience of the world with others through our voice. “To be an artist is to witness the world. Open your ears, open your eyes. Notice the gifts around you.” That’s a wonderful quote from bestselling author, Dani Shapiro on maximizing the creative process. When we become so consumed with the physical practice of our technique, it can be like walking through a landscape with blinders on. We only see the 10% of the landscape we are focused on, and we miss everything else around us that could be informing our journey. When we take in the world and witness it with an open heart, we reconnect with the creative artists that we are. In doing so, we are much more

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How To Sing Without A Nasal Tone

It’s coming on summer and one of my favorite things to do here in Los Angeles in summer is go to concerts at The Hollywood Bowl. Hearing amazing music under the stars on a balmy evening with a gourmet picnic and a great glass of wine – well, there’s not much else that can beat that in my book. (If you’re not from L.A. or have never been to The Bowl before, here’s a photo:) Then I realized that The Hollywood Bowl actually plays a huge part in what I teach and how I sing, and THAT makes me love The Bowl even more! You see, so many singers suffer from a brassy or nasal resonance in their sound. How do you sing without a nasal tone? How do you fix a brassy sound? You guessed it . . . . The Hollywood Bowl! In today’s video I will explain how The Hollywood Bowl can help you sing without a nasal tone and rid your resonance of an overly brassy timbre. The ideas in this video were game changing for me when I first learned them, and I’m really excited to share them with you now. You will learn: The

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Improve Your Breath Support With These Two Singing Hacks

Today I’m bringing you two short and sweet technical tips to help you achieve a more reliable breath support. To improve your breath support, it all begins with words. That’s right. . . . not the air, not your diaphragm, not your lungs. . . . words! The words we use to direct ourselves in our technique and around our support REALLY matter.  Changing words shifts understanding. A new understanding shifts mindset. And a new mindset results in a new physical response which helps your body work for you instead of against you in accessing your most efficient singing technique. I love clever life hacks (who knew a balled up piece of tin foil makes a great substitute for steel wool??). Consider these breath support tips my version of clever singing hacks. They are achieved by merely changing a few words! Watch the video. And if you’d like a more in depth understanding of how to achieve proper breath support for singing, check out some of my earlier posts and accompanying videos on the topic: “How To Sing With Appoggio” has really good explanations and exercises for how to find and feel your support correctly in your body. Understanding and

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How To Get Unstuck & Stop Struggling

Is your inner voice really harsh? Does it LOVE to criticize you? Does it constantly tell you how much your are lacking, remind you of all the ways it thinks you are bad or wrong, berate you for doing too little or too much. . . . .is it ever satisfied??? A few weeks ago I wrote to you about a question I am often asked: What keeps talented singers stuck and struggling? Today I have another actionable tool for you as we continue that conversation. This tool will help you get out of your head and move past the struggle by changing the way you relate to your inner voice. You see, when you hear that critical voice, it’s not you. It is not the voice of your true self. It’s the voice of your ego, otherwise known as your “inner-critic”. The voice of the true self so often gets drowned out by the ego/inner-critic that at times the inner-critic is the only voice we hear. But it’s not the only voice that’s there. Learning how to detach from your inner-critic and connect to the voice of your true self can be game changing for improving your singing and getting you “un-stuck”. I know, you’re thinking “Oh